In recent years there has been great sadness in the Buffyverse — and some hurt feelings among two of the biggest comics publishers — that somehow the licenses for all the various Buffy spin-offs have been sundered from the main book. Angel and Spike have been most recently published by IDW, while the main Buffy saga has been continuing under Joss Whedon at Dark Horse to great acclaim and sales. But in the Riley one-shot released today, editor Scott Allie hinted that Angel would be coming back to the Horse, something every news site picked up on. But evidently that was not how it was meant to be played out. Dark Horse has released a statement confirming that in 2011, Angel is coming back:
Dark Horse’s Angel will bring the beloved characters from Whedon’s longest-running shows under one roof, allowing for new and exciting explorations of the Buffyverse featuring favorites from the casts of both series.
“I’ve always regretted letting Angel go in the first place,” Dark Horse senior managing editor Scott Allie said. “So we’re really excited about getting him back, as well as all his supporting cast. It’s necessary for how Joss wants to handle season nine, details of which will start spilling out in the months to come. Right now, we’ve got to wrap up season eight, and IDW still has a good long run of books before season nine starts.”
IDW’s Angel run will wrap up with a six-issue run starting in November and will connect to the DH version.
In their own statement, IDW confirmed all the above , but added some hurt feelings for how the news got out:
News of the upcoming change was recently revealed by Dark Horse Publishing, without coordination with IDW. “Dark Horse really regrets that this news was released before a joint statement from both companies was issued,” said Dark Horse Senior Editor Scott Allie. “Behind the scenes, we’d been working closely with IDW to ensure that the hand-off went smoothly. It was never our intent to catch Angel or IDW readers unaware. We’ve been working directly with Chris, Mariah and Brian on the interaction and the overlap between the storylines, and we think it’s gonna be a lot of fun for everyone.”
This leaves SPIKE still at IDW, who are launching it as a new ongoing. The plan is for storylines to coordinate across publishing lines:
Starting in October, Brian Lynch and Franco Urru’s ongoing SPIKE series furthers the coordinated storylines. Not only does BUFFY “Scooby Team” member Willow appear in an upcoming issue of SPIKE, but the series will also explain how Spike appeared in BUFFY in a spaceship accompanied by giant alien bugs.
In addition to the storylines being told in ANGEL and SPIKE, November’s ILLYRIA miniseries by Scott Tipton and ongoing ANGEL artist Elena Casagrande will offer further ties with the two ongoing series, even as it vastly complicates the life of its title character.
So it’s all still a bit confusing, and the license is still cut up, but clearly everyone is trying to make the fans happy.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.