Call this a vanity-post. Back in the first edition of my book, The Gentleviewer’s Obsessive Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I had original collage art at the beginning of each chapter to represent some key motifs of the season. When I went to the second edition of the book, I tool the artwork out because printing a full-color book was too expensive.
I thought it was a shame to have done this artwork and let it have such a short life, so I’m putting it all here. Click each image for a larger version. If you are familiar with the series, then I hope these make sense to you.
Season 1: Buffy Meets the Master
Season one shows us the horrors of the high school social life, which is harder for Buffy to navigate than the mortal danger of slaying vampires. It also shows us that beneath the veneer of cliques and high school stereotypes are real people with individual strengths that are unseen unless you look.
The Master comes to represent all that Buffy must overcome: her fears, her resistance to her role as the Slayer, and her childhood. When Buffy finally defeats the Master, we see that when you grab hold of fate and take control of your life, it’ll turn out okay—or at least it won’t kill you… for long.
Season 2: Buffy Loses It All
In season two, Buffy loses almost everything. She falls for a trick which leaves her friends unprotected and they are seriously hurt. With her identity revealed to her mother, an argument between them sends Buffy out of the house. To stop yet another apocalypse, she makes the right choice when she must choose between having Angel back and saving the world. And accused of murder, she is expelled from school and hunted by the police.
Buffy has nothing left but herself, and she’s not so sure that’s enough. She is haunted by having killed Angel and sent him to hell, and she is tired of fighting. Unable to deal with all that has happened, Buffy leaves Sunnydale. Alone.
Season 3: Buffy Graduates
Buffy is scorned by the school principal, shunned by the popular kids, and she struggles to do well on her SATs. When she battles hellhounds to save the day yet again, the Sunnydale High student body acknowledges her at last, naming her the Class Protector.
The school year ends with another potential apocalypse averted and with a graduation for Buffy and the Scoobies not only from high school, but into adulthood.
Season 4: Buffy and the Gang Come Together
Season four is about self discovery and the power not only of the individual but of the group. Each of our heroes, even Giles, struggles to be an adult, to forge a productive life, and to define his or her individuality. Each of the Scoobies follows a self-discovery path—but it’s from their relationships and shared goals that they draw their ultimate strengths.
Season 5: Buffy Saves the World… A Lot
The malleability of reality is highlighted when a little sister is grafted onto Buffy’s family tree.
Season five is about power. Xander’s success takes off when he is given the opportunity to see the power he has within himself. The power of Willow’s magic reaches a level that enables her to battle, at least temporarily, against a god. When Buffy seeks to learn more about her power, she is told that death is her gift. Buffy finds that not only does she have power, but she has been giving it away, which she resolves not to do any more—although she’d be happy to give some to Giles.
Season 6: Buffy Grows Up
Having conquered death, now it’s time for Buffy to conquer life. Season six is about facing life and living it instead of hiding from it in fear or just getting by. It’s about taking responsibility and doing what needs to be done. Everything makes sense when she is fighting evil, but now Buffy’s battles are not just against demons and vampires, but against telephone bills, social services workers, and loan officers. Working at a fast-food place just to make ends meet, Buffy doesn’t feel that she belongs anywhere. Just as she said to Dawn before she died, she finds that the hardest thing in this life is living it.
Season 7: Buffy Changes the World
Season seven brings Buffy up against the greatest possible challenges. No evil is greater, and for much of the time she is sure that she cannot win. When you can’t win the game, change the rules. When Buffy’s plan turns all the world’s Potentials into Slayers, she changes the rules, and the world, forever.