Is Buffy’s Transition to Comics Any Good?
When news first hit that Buffy would officially continue with season eight in comic book form, I, well… hit the roof. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been much of a comic book reader. But more Buffy? Real Buffy? Like canon, with the original writers and everything? And this time with no budget constraints? Still my heart! I can’t breathe! I’m even willing to read comic books for this.
I preordered my issues the moment they became available. A marathon of the seventh season held me over as I counted down the days. But when The Long Way Home arrived, boarded and wrapped, I couldn’t open it. Faced with Jo Chen’s gorgeous cover art of Buffy, confident and indomitable with the words JOSS WHEDON printed above her head, I got cold feet.
What if it wasn’t that good? Actually, what if it was terrible?
The final moments of the TV series were still fresh on my mind. Everything was wrapped so poignantly, and the poetry in that final shot still brings a tear to my eye. Did I want to ruin it with a potentially disastrous comic book? And this is real stuff, you guys – Joss Whedon’s name is on the cover. You can’t pretend like it never happened if you don’t like it. This isn’t a case of Donnie Darko versus S. Darko. No, this could be a case of old Star Wars versus prequel Star Wars. Once you start down that road, there’s no turning back.
I couldn’t do it.
Months passed, and the issues I had preordered stacked. Longingly, I stared at the beautiful covers, wondering what magic could be happening within. I could only imagine! The last issue I had preordered arrived, and the cover teased me with a glimpse of what I was missing out on: Dawn’s a fucking giant.
What if it’s amazing?
Enough was enough. I tore open the wrapper and dove in. And it was Buffy! The dialogue was witty, hilarious, and true to character. Even if the artwork didn’t quite (at all) match how the actors look, I could still picture them saying every line and exactly how they would say it. The lack of a network television budget allowed the writers to go wild, and it took the Scoobies to places we never would have dreamed of seeing on UPN.
I devoured them, and anxiously awaited the next, and the next, and the next. The monsters became bigger, and badder. The Scoobies were reunited with old characters without actor scheduling conflicts, or nasty network contracts preventing crossovers. The Buffy cartoon saw fruition. It was pure fan service, at it’s best.
But as the plot gradually began to climax, and the big bad reared his ugly head, something terrible happened.