Arthur Byron Cover’s “Night of the Living Rerun” (March 1998), the third original novel in the young-adult line, anticipates future episodes like “I Only Have Eyes for You” (2.19) and “Restless” (4.22), while also calling to mind the already aired “Nightmares” (1.10). Unfortunately, the ambitions of Cover’s writing outstrips the execution.
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Written by John Vornholt with only Season 1 to draw from, “Coyote Moon” (January 1998) – the second young-adult novel – is a time capsule of that period before Joss Whedon and his writing team realized they had the actors to pull off an adult show rather than a teen show. But it’s a readable and nostalgic time capsule that plays like a low-grade Season 1 episode (although it is set in the following summer).
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Did you know that during Season 3, Giles was once tormented by the return of his father as a vampire – something that’s even more traumatizing to him than the death of Jenny? One of the odd things about delving into the “Buffy” Expanded Universe is that my brain holds two continuities simultaneously – one is limited to the events of the TV show, and the other incorporates the novels and comics. I tend to default to the first continuity, but Christopher Golden’s “Sins of the Father”(November 1999) is a prime example of how the further adventures can be fascinating.
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Dark Horse didn’t have much doubt about how well its “Buffy” comics would sell. Rather than tiptoeing into the waters, the company released its first graphic novel when the regular title was only up to its second issue. Throughout the “BTVS Classic” period, it released two single-story graphic novels (which I’ll review here), plus tons of other miniseries, one-shots and short stories (but those are for another post), in addition to the ongoing “Buffy” and “Angel” series.
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“Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic” finds its groove with Issues 21-27 (May-November 2000),ironically a time period when it doesn’t have a regular writer (Andi Watson bowed out in Issue 19, and Fassbender/Pascoe start their run in Issue 28). As I noted in my review of the previous batch, novel writer Christopher Golden didn’t hit a home run in his first couple efforts, but he shows he’s a fast learner on the five-part “Blood of Carthage” (21-25), which has all the best traits of his “Buffy” books along with art by Cliff Richards and Joe Pimental that is growing on me.
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Issues 12-20 (August 1999-April 2000) of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic” consist mostly of further “Buffy”-lite stylings from main writer Andi Watson. But this batch is also notable for bringing novels writer Christopher Golden and TV show writer Douglas Petrie into the fold.
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Today, comics are the home for the further adventures of Buffy, but the Slayer and her friends got off to an inauspicious start in the medium with writer Andi Watson’s Issues 1-11 (September 1998-July 1999) of the original series, now often called “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic.” Whereas the novels expand the mythology as much as possible within the constraints of TV show continuity, the early comics contract the scope.
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Dark Horse’s “Buffy” comics have been canonical for the past decade, but the first story that is officially part of the canon came out much earlier: “The Origin” (January-March 1999) takes Joss Whedon’s script for the 1992 movie, translates it into a three-issue comic series and gives it the necessary tweaks to fit with the universe and timeline of the TV show.
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With the very first piece of “Buffy” spinoff fiction, “Halloween Rain” (November 1997), Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder do two things: 1) Demonstrate their love and knowledge of the characters, and 2) Raise a continuity debate that still hasn’t been settled to this day.
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For the “Buffy” series’ first hardcover novel, Pocket Books makes “Immortal” (October 1999) worthy of the format with cleaner copy than what was found in the paperbacks, particularly the previous error-packed entry, “Obsidian Fate.” Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, the best “Buffy” authors to this point, take the reins for this Season 3 tale of a vampire who can transfer her essence to a new vampire every time she is staked.
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