A Comic Afterlife

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily in Tuesday 27th July 2010.

I’ve written previously about the disappointment of having your favourite television show axed with no storyline resolution, denying you the opportunity to say goodbye to much beloved characters. I’ve since discovered that several of my favourite shows live on, but this time they’re back in comic book form.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran from 1997 to 2003. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and created by Joss Whedon of Firefly and Dollhouse fame, Buffy is still a fan favourite and continues to sell extremely well on DVD. The final season of Buffy, the seventh, culminates in an all-out battle between the Scooby Gang and the bad guys, known as the First Evil. Whilst delivering a satisfactory ending, many fans felt that there were still more stories to tell.

In 2007, Dark Horse Comics began publishing Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 in illustrated form. With writing from Joss Whedon, the comic picks up directly from where the television series left off. Initially proposed to be a 25 issue limited series, the comic proved to be so popular that it was expanded to 40 issues. With number 35 recently hitting the shelves, Season 9 in comic book form has now been announced. First edition copies of Season 8 issues have become highly collectible items, but for the non-collector, much of the series has been reissued in graphic novel format.

Angel was a spin-off TV series from Buffy and starred David Boreanaz, who later went on to feature in hit crime procedural dramedy, Bones. Airing from 1999 to 2004, Angel ran in parallel with Buffy storyline-wise for its first three years, with multiple guest appearances from the titular cheerleader (and vice versa). Angel’s final episode ended with an ambiguous cliff hanger which frustrated many loyal fans.

Angel: After the Fall began publication by IDW Comics in 2007. Buoyed by the success of Buffy Season 8, Angel’s comic incarnation also follows in a canonical extension of the live series. Running for 17 issues with Joss Whedon contributing to the writing, it has since evolved into an ongoing title.

Similarly, the Aaron Spelling produced series Charmed is soon to continue on in comic form. Ceasing production in 2006 after 178 episodes, the comic adventures of the Halliwell sisters will take place following the events of the final and eighth season. It could be argued that the storylines of Charmed were already two dimensional prior to the comic but I wouldn’t want to offend the show’s whacky wicca fans.

A comic afterlife is also planned for the much missed and prematurely cancelled Pushing Daisies.

For those of you who can’t get enough of current hit shows, further comic book adventures in the worlds of True Blood, Eureka, Doctor Who and Supernatural have been released.

Comic book continuations of television franchises are a great way for fans to follow the ongoing trials and tribulations of their favourite characters. Whilst television shows are slaves to production budgets, ratings and the contract lengths of its stars, comic books can keep both the studios and fans happy with storylines limited only by the writer’s imagination.

Published in: on August 8, 2010 at 12:02  Leave a Comment  
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