‘It’s all my interpretation’: Reading Spike through the subcultural celebrity of James Marsters

Matt Hills, Rebecca Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article considers how fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel interpret the character of Spike through meanings attached to actor James Marsters as a 'subcultural celebrity'. Work on TV's celebrity actors has stressed how character and actor can become semiotically blurred. Rather than approaching this blurring of textual and extra-textual connotations as an essential property of television celebrity, we analyse how Marsters displays situated agency by discursively constructing 'himself in publicity materials as 'like Spike'. We then consider Marsters as a reader of Buffy. As a subcultural celebrity, we argue that Marsters is positioned between media producers and media fans, and therefore is able to offer up privileged interpretations of 'his' character, Spike, while simultaneously observing the symbolic power of producers' preferred readings. Marsters supports certain fan readings of Spike, acting as a textual poacher who nevertheless is 'inside' the texts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-365
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

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