Buffy the Vampire Slayer
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.
Finally, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]
Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]
Dark Horse Comics has announced two flip books for next year’s Free Comic Book Day, scheduled for May 5, featuring four of their licensed titles — The Guild, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars and Serenity.
The first comic will feature a Buffy the Vampire Slayer tale that sees the title character finding it hard to take a vacation from “all things that go bump in the night,” paired with a Guild tale which features the group of gamers heading to the beach. The second title features a Han Solo and Chewbacca tale where the two have a falling out over one of their customers, paired with a Serenity tale.
You can find additional art after the jump.
Dark Horse Comics announced that they are adding their popular comics based on the television works of Joss Whedon to their digital store, starting today with a good chunk of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight and the first two issues of Season Nine.
Additional issues from Season Eight and Nine will be added over the next few weeks. Issues of Angel & Faith, which spun out of the events of Season Nine, will arrive next week. The Dollhouse one-shot and five-issue series will be added Nov. 23.
“This marks another important turning point in Dark Horse’s digital initiative,” said Mike Richardson, Dark Horse president and founder. “Joss Whedon’s incredible characters have become some of our most popular, and now fans from all over the world can see them like they never have been seen before!”
No doubt. Considering the fan base Buffy, Angel and, well, anything Joss Whedon does have, it makes sense that Dark Horse would want to make their “in canon” comics available via their digital store, and the natural question is “What took so long?” Given the titles are licensed from Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products, it wouldn’t be surprising if they had some legal/licensing issues to work through. Fans commenting on the news at the Whedon-focused blog Whedonesque are now asking if Dark Horse will move to a same-day-as-print schedule, which seems like a natural move.
After the jump you can find the release schedule for upcoming Whedonverse titles on Dark Horse’s digital app.
Comics | John Jackson Miller slices and dices the October numbers for the direct market, noting that overall dollar orders for comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines topped $40 million for the first time since September 2009. Orders rose 6.9 percent over September, the first month of DC’s relaunch. “While that may sound counter-intuitive, it isn’t when you consider that all those first issues continued to have reorders selling through October,” Miller writes. “Retailers with an eye on the aftermarket may also have some sense that second issues are historically under-ordered — something which goes at least back to the experience of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #2 in the 1980s, which wound up being much more valuable than its first issue.” [The Comichron]
Passings | Tom Spurgeon reports that author Les Daniels has passed away. Daniels wrote horror fiction and nonfiction books on the comic industry, which include Comix: A History of the Comic Book in America, Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics and DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes. [The Comics Reporter]
Broadway | Reeve Carney, who plays Peter Parker and Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has extended his contract with the musical through May. Carney’s original contract was set to expire in November. “I can’t imagine a more wonderful, harder-working company than my mates on Broadway, and I look forward to being with them until shooting begins, and again as soon as we’ve wrapped,” he said. [Wall Street Journal]
Creators | The works of cartoonists Frode Överli, Lise Myhre, Christopher Nielsen and Jason are being featured on postage stamps in Norway, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first comic book to be published in the country, The Katzenjammer Kids. [cats without dogs]
Creators | Firebreather creator and former Wonder Woman writer Phil Hester is profiled in conjunction with a visit to Limited Edition Comics and Collectibles in Cedar Falls, Iowa. [WCF Courier.com]
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15, I’d start with Demon Knights #1 ($2.99) and Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #1 ($2.99). I’m excited about a lot of the DC Dark corner of the New 52; especially these two. Frankenstein is a continuation of the only Flashpoint series I stuck with and features one of my two favorite characters from Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory. I wasn’t that interested in Demon Knights at first, but I was impressed by Paul Cornell’s chasing down a female fan after a panel at San Diego to pitch the series to her as something that people who are looking for great, female characters will enjoy. And I’ve been wanting to dig deeper into Cornell’s work anyway. On the Marvel side, I’m still thrilled about how well Alpha Flight is doing (creatively, I mean, but I guess it must be doing okay in sales too), so #4 ($2.99) is a must-buy for me. And I can’t wait to see how Mystery Men ends with #5 ($2.99). That’s been one of the high points of my summer, comics-wise. Finally, I’d grab X-Men Legacy #255 ($2.99) to dip my toe a little deeper into the X-Men world after being away from it for a while.
When Dark Horse announced their digital comics program last October, one element they called out was how they planned to offer digital comics through traditional brick and mortar comic retailers. Today via press release they revealed the specifics, as well as the first three comics you’ll need to visit your local comic shop in order to download.
So how does it work? Let’s go right to the press release:
During July through September 2011, Dark Horse will e-mail exclusive retailers a sheet of one hundred unique (one-time use) digital-download codes at the beginning of every month. The store simply prints out the codes and hands them out to loyal customers!
Customers redeem the coupon code and get their free digital comic by visiting Digital.DarkHorse.com/RetailerExclusive.
Fans should head over to their local comic shop and tell them to sign up today! Retailers can simply e-mail their business name, business address, e-mail address, and Diamond account number to email@example.com to be a part of this exciting new program! Please note: In order to be eligible for this program, you must sign up by June 22.
The program launches in July with B.P.R.D.: Casualties, with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic slated for August and a Mass Effect comic for October. Each digital comic is eight pages long and is free.
Publishing | Dynamite Entertainment CEO Nick Barrucci talks frankly about the state of the marketplace, digital comics, and his company’s plans. He also acknowledges some missteps: “Green Hornet was a license we paid a lot of attention to last year, probably too much attention. Going back to what we were talking about earlier, putting out too much product, we put out too much Green Hornet product. Part of it is that we wanted to get trade paperback collections out in time for the movie, and we did that, we succeeded. We built up our market share and we generated more revenue for us and the retailers. I’m going off on a tangent here, so I apologize, but we took that money and reinvested into projects like Vampirella, like Warlord of Mars, like the upcoming Kirby: Genesis. But we overdid it, and that we realize, which is why you don’t see us doing four Vampirella titles and four Warlord of Mars titles.” [ICv2.com]
Creators | For its annual Comics Issue, the Village Voice takes a fascinating, lengthy and very depressing look at the often-grim financial reality faced by cartoonists — an environment to which, it turns out, the Village Voice contributed. “I’m not sure how much you’ll be allowed to write about this,” says Dan Perkins (Tom Tomorrow), “but of course the Village Voice Media chain is one of the major culprits in this —their decision to ‘suspend’ cartoons [in 15 papers in 2009] dealt a serious blow to the struggling subgenre of alt-weekly cartoons.” It’s noted parenthetically that Tom Tomorrow will return to the paper “within a few months,” and that “many of the artists in this issue aren’t getting paid, but have contributed work for the exposure.” [Village Voice]
When Joss Whedon returns to Buffy the Vampire Slayer later this year for “season nine” of the TV show-turned-comic book, he’s bringing on a new co-writer to work on the book — Andrew Chambliss, a former Dollhouse television writer (and current Dollhouse comic writer).
Chambliss, whose television work also includes Vampire Diaries and Heroes, wasn’t at yesterday’s panel to talk about the announcements, but the Buffyfest blog does have up an interview where he talks about both of his comic projects, his work on the Dollhouse TV show and which character he’s looking forward to writing in Buffy Season Nine.
“It may seem the obvious choice, but I’m going to have to say Buffy,” he told Buffyfest. “Going into season 9, she’s in a really interesting place – she always thought she was going to die saving the world, but now that she actually survived, she has to face her real life (don’t worry, they’ll still be lots of slaying). And at the same time, she’s watching her friends move on with their lives, and has to deal with the fact that the Scooby Gang might not be there to help her like they used to be.”
Buffy Season Nine kicks off in September, one month after the debut of Angel & Faith.
If there’s one thing that today’s mainstream media coverage of the death of a Fantastic Four member proves, it’s that slow news days are great for Marvel Comics. But if there’s another, then it’s that Death = Attention in the crazy, depressing world of comic book math. Bearing that in mind, here are some new candidates for the Grim Reaper, to goose some other publishers’ coffers. Continue Reading »
With the release today of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40, the conclusion of the sprawling Season 8 storyline, creator Joss Whedon says he’s already looking forward to a more “down to earth” Season 9.
“I got very excited when I had a comic book with the idea that I could do absolutely anything,” he tells Etertainment Weekly‘s Shelf Life blog. “We hit a lot of beautiful notes and I’ve got a lot of great writers working [on the comics], and I’m very proud of it. But at the same time, it’s like, yeah, ‘You can do anything’ is not really the Buffy mission statement. The Buffy mission statement is, ‘What does this feel like?’ So I wanted to bounce it back a little bit to the real world.”
Be warned: The interview contains spoilers for Season 8, so if you’ve been picking up the collected editions, you’ll probably want to avoid that link.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer will relaunch late this year, coinciding with the return of Angel to Dark Horse. The publisher has said that the new season will be “a little tighter, a little more concise” than Season 8, which took nearly four years to complete.
Related: Dark Horse has a list of retailers who are marking Buffy Summers’ birthday — it’s today! — with special events.
Although the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series went out with a bang in 2003, Ms. Summers and the Scooby gang had a very busy 2010. Not only did we get the big reveal of who the villain Twilight really was — a character whose comic series will return to Dark Horse next year — but we’ve also made it to the end of “season eight” with a huge story with huge consequences. And we found out that the crew will be back sometime next year for season nine.
But before that one begins, you gotta have an ending. On Jan. 19, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40 drives a stake through the ambitious season eight, where “betrayal comes in the shape of the closest, most unexpected individual of all.” Jan. 19 is the birthday of Buffy Summers, and Dark Horse has six events planned around the country to celebrate it.
And right here for our birthday, we’re very pleased to present an exclusive preview of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40, courtesy of the kind folks at Dark Horse Comics. Check out the preview, solicitation info and details on the Buffy birthdays after the jump.
On the heels of Georges Jeanty’s cover for Buffy the Vampire Slayer #36, Dark Horse has fired another good-natured shot at Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight empire with a promo for Issue #37, the second part of the final arc of the bestselling Season Eight.
See the full image after the break. Buffy the Vampire Slayer #37 is due in stores on Oct. 6.
The big announcement in last month’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Riley one-shot about the return of the Angel license to Dark Horse appears to have overshadowed another controversy — namely, whether the character Riley Finn actually deserved his own issue.
For those unfamiliar with Buffy continuity, Riley was introduced in Season 4 as a teaching assistant at UC Sunnydale who led a double life as a drug-enhanced agent of the Initiative, the secret government organization dedicated to the capture of demons. To the displeasure of some fans, the wholesome Riley — some might say “vanilla” or “downright boring” — became Buffy’s boyfriend and, briefly, a member of the Scooby Gang. (Personal note: Professor Walsh aside, Riley may have been the worst part of the excruciating Initiative arc that dominated the season. Well, him, and Buffy’s maddening post-Angel self-esteem issues.)
The character left in Season 5, returning for just one more episode before re-emerging in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, the canonical comic-book continuation of the television series, where he was revealed as a double agent being used by Buffy to infiltrate Twilight’s organization. And then came the one-shot, which triggered enough grumbling that writer Jane Espenson — a fan-favorite writer of Buffy, Battlestar Galactica and Warehouse 13 — has taken to the Dark Horse website to defend Riley, and the one-shot.
“I hear that some of you are wondering why Riley Finn deserves a one-shot comic-book issue instead of Dawn or Xander or the deep, dark shadow under Spike’s left cheekbone,” Espenson writes. “The answer is simple: Riley wanted it more. He worked harder. He earned it.”
With tongue in cheek, she goes on to explain that not every character can withstand the rigors of a comic book one-shot — “There are no stunt doubles here” — or demonstrate the awareness required for the “highly technical” work. But Riley Finn, that wholesome boy from Huxley, Iowa, has mastered the art.
“This isn’t to say that the others aren’t excellent comic-book characters as well,” Espenson continues. “They obviously are. Xander has been turning in magnificent work despite the challenge of the eye patch, which has never, not once, migrated from one eye to the other between panels. [...] And I think Warren’s work deserves special praise, as he is quite obviously the best skinless performer in comics today.”
The final story arc of Season 8, written by creator Joss Whedon himself, begins with Issue #36, in stores today.
Last week it was revealed — prematurely, it turns out — that after nearly five years at IDW, the Angel comics will move in late 2011 to Dark Horse, home of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dark Horse previously published Angel, first as a monthly then as a miniseries, from 2000 to 2002.
The surprise announcement naturally left fans of the IDW series, and the upcoming Spike spin-off, confused, leading IDW Chief Creative Officer Chris Ryall to dedicate a thread on the company’s message board to answering their questions. This week Ryall collected that thread’s highlights for an “official Angel is leaving IDW Q&A” that clarifies some of the issues surrounding the move — including, most notably, the driving force behind the decision. Namely, Buffy creator Joss Whedon.
“… Ultimately, these are all Joss Whedon’s characters,” Ryall wrote, “and if he decides that they’re best-served being under another roof, then that’s what will happen.” Later, when asked whether IDW was outbid for the Angel license, Ryall added: “I would not have stopped doing Angel comics if it were up to me; money had nothing to do with it. These are Joss’ characters and as I mentioned above, Joss wanted them all under one roof. And it so happens that that roof is located in Oregon, not San Diego.”
Dark Horse published Buffy comics from 1998 to 2004 before launching the highly successful Season 8 in 2007. A canonical continuation of the cult-hit television series, Season 8 is supervised by Whedon, who also wrote the opening and closing arcs. The series will conclude in January with Issue 40 before relaunching as Season 9 — alongside the return of Angel — in late 2011.