With the tragic death of Luke Perry (1966-2019) from a stroke this past week, there’s been an influx of “Buffy” fans announcing that they loved him as Pike in the 1992 “Buffy” movie and they are rewatching the film in his honor. Some are even going so far to say they like the movie, giving it a bizarre short-term boost in cult popularity.
In addition to the main “Buffy” series and its miniseries and one-shots, Dark Horse put out several short tales about the Slayer in its early days with the license. The main outlet for these yarns was “Dark Horse Presents,” a monthly black-and-white comic that served as a way to advertise the company’s titles and get current fans to buy another comic – something that obviously worked on me. “DHP” delivered four comics containing “Buffy” stories from 1998-2000; here’s a closer look:
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.
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.
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.