EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW: Jeph Loeb Takes 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' Back In Time In 'Season Eight'

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'Remember that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" animated series that never was? Turns out, it is getting new life -- as the basis of an upcoming "Buffy: Season Eight" comic.

Called "After These Messages ... We'll Be Right Back!", the storyline, out December 10, plops the Buffster down into the middle of her own animated show, in a sort of "Pleasantville"/"Peggy Sue Gets Married" kind of way. (And we have your exclusive, eight-page preview after the jump!)

"She arrives in the animated world, but she knows it's not right," said the issue's writer Jeph Loeb. "In many ways, it's a time-travel show. She's having a day from hell and she wonders if life was always this hard, and when she wakes up, she's got a 'Season One' bod and a 'Season Eight' brain."

We as the readers know something's off because of the different look (courtesy of animator Eric Wight), which is simpler to reflect what Buffy believes to be a simpler time: high school. And high school at a time when Willow is still crushing on Xander (i.e. she's not yet gay), Angel has yet to become Angelus, Cordelia is still alive, Principal Synder is still alive and her mom is still alive. Buffy realizes all these things when she encounters these people (especially when she sees her mom, whom she overwhelms with a huge hug). But as much as she realizes how much things will change, Buffy's also partly her old self, torn between going to a party or going on patrol. (She somehow manages both.)

"Joss [Whedon] and I talked about how, despite all her knowledge, she still can't get over being in that time," Loeb said. "Like 'What am I going to wear?' and 'How am I going to get into Cordelia's party?' If you went back to high school and ran into the school bully, you'd still react the same way. She's aware that what's happening shouldn't be happening, but she doesn't share it with anybody."

Well, not really. But Buffy makes comforting reassurances to folks, like, "No biggie, Will, maybe someday she'll be dead and you'll be a sorceress supreme," in response to Cordelia calling Willow hopeless. Willow jokes, "Do I get to wear a pointy hat?" Or when Synder confiscates Xander's skateboard, Buffy says, "Look at it this way, Xander. Maybe someday Synder will get eaten by a huge ginormous snake -- and you'll wear an eyepatch and be in charge of lots of womens." Xander asks, "Really? Like a pirate? Can I be a space pirate?" No one gets that she's telling them their futures -- they think it's just typical Buffy banter.

Buffy starts to wish she could stay in this so-called simpler time, even if her foreknowledge keeps reminding her of things to come. She asks Angel for guidance, but doesn't come away with an answer that makes her feel any better.

"She doesn't know why she's there," Loeb said. "And the question becomes, will she stay or not stay? If you knew something and could run away from it, what rabbit hole would you go down?"

(The issue is dedicated to Loeb's late son Sam, with the proceeds to benefit the Sam Loeb Scholarship Fund for a teenage drama workshop at Cal State Northridge.)

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Would you want to see more of the Buffy animated series? What do you think of Loeb's take on the character?