Still Slaying: Comic Buffyverse Continues To Expand

by Tami Katzoff

Usually, when a beloved TV series ends, you mourn a little bit and move on. But if it’s a Joss Whedon show, there’s always reason to hope. Maybe a big Hollywood studio will make the show into a feature film. Or perhaps the series will live on in comic book form.

Back in 2007, just before “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8” began its run, Whedon spoke with MTV News about his decision to move the Buffy story forward with Dark Horse Comics. “I just started thinking about it,” he said. “There’s no reason why I can’t continue the story here, and then my brain exploded and I started having all these ideas and grand plans and no free time whatsoever.”

Though he’d had a relationship with Dark Horse for several years, with Season 8 he was entering new territory. “Walking between the show and the comic book is very difficult,” Whedon said. “You want to capture essence of the show, but you do want to work on a more epic scale.”

By all accounts, he succeeded – and Buffy is still going strong. Season 9 and “Angel & Faith” are in the middle of 25-issue runs, and there are more exciting stories on the horizon: A Spike miniseries starts in August and a Willow miniseries is coming up in October.

“The Spike miniseries is maybe slightly light on plot in order to really dive head-first into character,” says Dark Horse’s Scott Allie. “There’s definitely a plot, there’s a big climax, there’s definitely a lot going on in there, but all of it is just there to let us explore a particular aspect of Spike.”

The Willow books will be more plot-driven. “The Willow series had to happen in order for some of the stuff in the Buffy series to happen,” Allie explains. “So there are mile posts in terms of our Season 9 plot that get addressed over the course of the Willow series. And in the course of that we manage to dig into some of Willow’s darkness and some of her opinions about herself.”

See more artwork and details about upcoming storylines at MTV Geek

Allie says that Joss Whedon’s material is just right for comic book adaptation. “The biggest part of the charm of his stuff, even when you’ve got something as grand scale as ‘The Avengers,’ is the characters and the writing,” he says. “And the characters and the writing can come across in comics, the same way they can come across in the other media that he works in.” And it doesn’t hurt that Whedon himself has been a life-long comics fan. “I think that infused and informed his writing on TV and in film. And so it makes sense that it kind of comes back around.”

As for the future, Allie hopes that Whedon will branch out from the comic Buffyverse, like he did with “Sugarshock” a few years ago. “The thing I’d most like to see is Joss creating some more stuff that doesn’t have the demands and the baggage of his preexisting properties. And just make something up and it doesn’t matter where it goes.”

MTV News producer Tami Katzoff presents The Weekly Whedon, a column exploring all corners of the Whedonverse from “Marvel’s The Avengers” to “Buffy” and beyond. Assemble your reactions in the comments section!