Published on December 16th, 2015 | by Kacy Helwick
Collecting Comics: Adapted from Your Favorite TV Shows
After I recently wrote about Doctor Who Comics, I began thinking of all the other beloved TV shows that have been adapted to a graphic format. Tie-in novels and comics appeal to fans in much the same way fanfiction does by adding to, rebooting, or continuing the adventures of our favorite characters and letting the fans inhabit the world of their shows for just a bit longer. And because these adaptations often have creator involvement or approval, they can be considered to be more legitimate by fans who care about that sort of thing.
Having these titles in your library’s graphic novel collection can also be a way to draw in fans who may not already read comics. As a Buffy fan who was not interested in graphic novels at all 10 years ago, I credit Joss Whedon’s acclaimed run on Astonishing X-Men as my gateway into the genre.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer one of the first television shows that sparked my geek potential and introduced me to the fandom world, so it still holds a dear place in my heart. The “Buffyverse”, or sometimes “Slayerverse”, is a term that is used to depict the shared fictional universe of the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel. There are many comics that have been written featuring characters from the Buffyverse, starting while the show was originally airing, but in this article I’ll be focusing on the titles that “officially” continue the series after BTVS’s seventh and final televised season.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, published by Dark Horse Comics, starts one year after the show’s season finale. There are now 1,800 active slayers in the world and around 500 of them work with members of the Scooby Gang in different squads around the world. This series run was generally well-received by critics, and it won an Eisner Award for Best New Series among other accolades.
Set concurrently with Season 8, and directly after the Angel series finale was the IDW title, Angel: After the Fall. The first 17 issues of the series are considered to be canon, and they were collected into 4 trade editions: Angel: After the Fall Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, and Vol. 4. A limited series, also by IDW, focused on the vampire Spike, connects the events of Season 8 and After the Fall and is collected in Spike : The Complete Series. IDW then transferred the rights to Angel characters to Dark Horse, so the rest of the titles mentioned are published by Dark Horse Comics.
And now we are caught up to the newest series that is being currently released: Season 10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 has been collected into three trade paperback editions so far: New Rules, I Wish, and Love Dares You. Volume 4, Old Demons will be out in February 2016. Angel & Faith Season 10 also has three trade editions out: Where the River Meets the Sea, Lost and Found, and United. Volume 4, A Little More Than Kin will be published next March.
The CW’s Arrow & The Flash
Although these television shows are based on classic DC Comics characters, Arrow and The Flash are considered to be in a separate universe (sometimes called “Arrowverse”) from the current DC movie canon and CBS’s Supergirl. And while Green Arrow and The Flash have a presence in DC Comics canon in New 52 titles, they also have comics that are specific tie-ins with the Arrowverse.
There have been two distinct series that have been adapted from Arrow. The first series was set during the show’s first season and featured self-contained stories that were mostly unrelated to the show’s main plotline. It was collected in two paperback editions: Arrow Vol. 1 and Arrow Vol. 2. The second series, Arrow Season 2.5, fit more seemlessly into the show’s storyline, bridging the gap between the 2nd and 3rd seasons of the show. The comic wraps up storylines left open by the 2nd season’s finale and even introduces new characters before their first appearances in season 3. There will be two trade paperback editions that collect the 12 issue series, the first, Arrow Season 2.5, is out now, and the second volume will come out next June.
The Flash Season Zero adds to the action of the earliest adventures of Barry and the S.T.A.R. labs crew as it is set in between the first 3 or so episodes of season 1 of The Flash. The Arrowverse also officially includes the 2014-2015 NBC series, Constantine, and the upcoming CW show Legends of Tomorrow. The latter of which could also launch its own comic adaptation in the future if the new show proves to be popular enough.
ABC’s Once Upon a Time & Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
ABC’s parent company Disney also owns Marvel, so it’s not a big surprise that Marvel Comics has published adaptations of these two series. Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the Queen(2013) explores the relationship between the Evil Queen and her Huntsman while Once Upon a Time: Out of the Past (2015) delves into the backstories of Captain Hook, Belle and Rumpelstiltskin, the Evil Queen and the Mad Hatter.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is Marvel’s ongoing comic series that was “inspired by the hit TV series” Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Unlike the Arrowverse titles, this series fits the characters that are featured in or were introduced by the television show into the main continuity of Marvel’s current comic canon. Because it is a part of the main canon, it can feature appearances from some characters that can’t appear or haven’t yet appeared in the MCU. One of my favorite parts of the first collected trade paperback, Perfect Bullets, is the crossover issue that brings Agents Coulson and Simmons on a mission to Kamala Khan’s high school. The second volume, The Man Called D.E.A.T.H. will be published in February 2016.
IDW published a limited series in 2015 that expanded the universe of Orphan Black. There were five issues in that first series, each one focusing on the past and present of a member of the Clone Club (Sarah, Helena, Alison, Cosima, and Rachel). It was collected into a trade paperback, Orphan Black Volume 1.
A second series from IDW started in November, subtitled “Helsinki”. At this time, only one issue has come out, but it is expected to be another 5-issue story.
X-Files Season 10 is another continuation comic, a 25-issue series that was published starting in 2013 by IDW. Though it is not “official” canon now that the show will be coming back to our small screens in 2016, it did have involvement from X-Files creator Chris Carter, who served as the comic’s Executive Producer. It was collected in five trade editions: X-Files Season 10 Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, and Vol. 5.