The Whedonverse’s assault on comics has worked only intermittently. Joss’ biggest triumphs have involved playing by Marvel rules. I found Buffy’s Season 8th disappointing, and believe me, I first opened those pages with the eager reverence usually reserved for scriptural rolls. The “Fray” and “Serenity” comics were likewise disappointing. (I do hear good things about Angel’s extension.) So I was surprised when stumbling upon the very excellent “Sugarshock,” (a one-shot scripted by Whedon and drawn by Fabio Moon), which not many have read because it was released as part of the Dark Horse Presents anthology… when that anthology was relegated to a modest online incarnation on a certain website called MySpace. Remember MySpace?
Low-profile as it was, “Sugarshock” still won an Eisner in 2008 for Best Digital Comic. It deserved it. For all its seemingly atypical manicness, the story, (about Viking-hating Dandelion Naizen and a scrappy rock group that gets tricked into a cosmic Battle of the Bands) is quintessential Joss Whedon: language put to surprising ends, expectations defied, plots taking subversive shapes. It’s also hilarious: Whedon’s never been funnier, and that’s saying something! The characters are so indelible that I feel a genuine sense of loss that there’s only THIS much of it. No brown-coats begging for sequels. In a better, worthier world, “Sugarshock” would be turned into a long-running TV show, or movie, or into the greatest Broadway rock opera ever, A to the S to the A to the P. Should we be too foolish to embrace its kooky magnificence then we deserve to be invaded by aliens with good taste.