The Comic Book Conundrum

buffy comic

With the recent announcement that VERONICA MARS may see a fourth season — albeit in comic book form — this TV Addict thought he’d pose a question to fellow TV Addicts everywhere. Is extending the life of a cancelled show via comic book a trend we should be excited about?

Short of a move to the big screen, or a two hour wrap-up movie (which rarely happens) I can’t help but think that a comic book is the perfect way to continue some of’s favorite ‘brilliant but cancelled’ shows. Sure nothing can replace the show itself, but face the facts — VERONICA MARS, ANGEL, FIREFLY and ALIAS are not coming back. Not even on that much talked about MIA network that Ausiello often hints at.

The way I see it, comics have a serious upside. Not only are they being written for the hardcore fans, ensuring the writer’s don’t have to dumb down the story for a mass audience (see: VERONICA MARS season three). There are no budgetary or casting constrains on the creative team. If JJ Abrams wants SpyMommy Irina Derevko back for the ‘season’, all he has to do is draw her!

Perhaps BUFFY fans could chime in with their thoughts on how they’ve enjoyed BUFFY SEASON EIGHT via comic book. How does the comic compare to the television show? How much, if anything, has been lost in BUFFY’S translation from screen to page? Are we correct in assuming that as long as the show’s original creator is at the helm (ie. Joss Whedon, Rob Thomas), VERONICA MARS the comic book will be almost as enjoyable as a fourth season?

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  • Chuck

    i believe there already is a firefly comic as well…

  • I’d much rather see a shows creative team sign a contract that includes however many episodes the series can last on the air based on viewers and ratings and a plus one. No matter how complex or complicated a TV show is EVERY show on TV right now could be wrapped up for the fans of the show with a plus one system. Veronica Mars would be canceled and this fall they could have shown the plus one. In 2007 people hold grudges. I can’t bring myself to watch John In Cincy because of what happened to Deadwood… 🙂

    I’m all for the comic books but I’d rather seem them as a tool to continue the mythology of a show versus a crutch to wrap a series up offline. One Tree Hill would be a good example of how to use a comic book. The show is jumping ahead four years so why not put those four years in comic book form?

    If they want to do Veronica Mars in a comic book… PLEASE do nothing with where the series was going and how it would have ended. You would officially kill any chance of a movie or tv “special” that way. You can still take VM to the comic genre and have it play out as it would any episode of the show without going to a “this is how the series would have ended” type of strip.

  • Linda B.

    Wonder if they’d have to get the actors’ permission to use their likeness in comic form.

  • Josh

    I don’t know, the idea of a comic book version of Veronica Mars doesn’t get me excited. It’s just not the same as watching the show each week. Although the writing and everything on the show is fantastic, actors like Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring are also a huge part of what makes the show so great. I can’t imagine liking a comic book version of Logan Echolls at all. Dohring did a great job with the character for the past three seasons, and I can’t see that translating to written/drawn form. He just brought this…I don’t know, something, that made him appealing.

    That said, I’m sure I’d at least check out a comic of the show. Maybe it’d surprise me.

  • Rae

    Linda: It depends on how closely the likeness is. It’s a common complaint when you go from screen to comic book, that the characters don’t look enough like the ones you got on the screen. That’s because of issues with permissions, etc.

    I’m a little unsure how I feel about the whole thing. I’m loving Buffy S8 but there was enough time between the show and the comic book to make me yearn for something new from the world of Buffy. But mostly because Joss grew up with comics and he knows how to write them. People may not like what he writes in them but I think most would agree that he’s got the technique down.

    I don’t have that same confidence in Rob’s ability to adapt to the format. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rob but I’ll need to be convinced before I get overly excited about a VM comic. Plus, I really really really don’t want a VM: FBI comic. I have no idea what the discussion is about and I sincerely hope that all involved recognize that it’s the noir world of Neptune that would lend itself to comic book form but I won’t rest easy until I know for sure.

    I mean, let’s not kid each other, you know I’ll be reading no matter what. I just hope that the show translates well and that it really does help extend the story. I love VM and I want to love anything more that comes from it.

  • TeenieBopper

    I’m not exactly sure what I think about this new trend in continuing series in comic book form. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the medium. I’ve got a decent (if on the small side) graphic novel collection, so no one has to convince me of the merits of the medium.

    One of Joss Whedon’s most famous lines came after season six, with the death of Tara. “My job isn’t to give you what you want, it’s to give you what you need.” His loyalty is to the story, not necessarily to the reader/viewer. Because of the way Buffy ended it’s TV run, it’s easy to believe that there are more stories to tell without seriously affecting what the show stood for. The same cannot be said for Angel. Because of how the show ended, I think the season six comic is going to be a serious blow to the integrity of the Angel story. I’d say the same in response to an Everwood season 5 comic too. At some point, a story has run its course, and fans should let that story stand on its own instead of demanding more, which would only hurt the story (see: Gilmore Girls season 8).

    I’m reserving judgement on both Angel S6 and VM. I’m not convinced that Joss can pull Angel from a finished story back to an unfinished one. VM because I’ve yet to see Rob Thomas work in a comic book medium, which is, in fact, an entirely different one.

  • jessica

    i have been reading the season #8 comic and aside from the fact that one episode that about 4 comic to wrap up I think its great. I am really loving it. Honestly i didn’t realize how much i missed by dose of Buffy until I started reading about the scooby gang again.

  • DeCloah

    I’m reading season #8 too and I have to say that the monthly serial format is KILLING me…. it’s taking forever to get through the main storyline. Each month issue is equal IMO to only about 15-20 minutes worth of show. I’m an avid comic reader so I’m used to month waits, but something about buffy is different. Having a whole arc (one episode) in a graphic novel format would have been much better. Kinda like how DS9 did with their book launch, wait a while for the next book, but get an entire complete story.

  • KayDee

    While I read the Angel comics, I find the medium lacking with regards to character satisfaction after seeing the rich world of the series on TV. So after having experienced some comic book life after Angel, I would say this viewer isn’t interested in continuing stories in this manner. I’d much rather there be full-length novels rather than comics.

  • ewanspotter

    I think whether or not it can work depends on the show (or genre), but if the medium of comics compliments a show, I think it can be a fun chance to keep a universe alive. Would I rather see the actors on TV? Yeah. But if we can’t get that, and the stories are well written, I’m game. Buffy’s been great so far. (Probably because Joss is actually involved.)

    I think our big worry should be shows that are still on getting comics. I’ve been terribly let down by “Supernatural: Origins” because of its crappy artwork (why does everyone have eye patches?) and the way it fracks with canon.

  • Adam

    I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m just not a fan of comic books. I’d much rather the stories continued as novels, or even a series of short stories. I’d rather read a page of text than 3 sentences on a page filled with crazy artwork that doesn’t really look like the characters anyway.

    And I agree with one of the other posters who said that VM wouldn’t be the same. I loved the conversations between V and her father, and I don’t think it can be captured quite the same in print. Especially the way that V sometimes told the whole story with just a look.

  • Ashley

    The BTVS comics are FANTASTIC! The characters are funny and witty and the storylines are amazing. It’s defintely a season 8. It has surprises and jokes only true Buffy fans would recognize. I HIGHLY recommend it.

  • Dana

    Buffy Season 8 has been awsome so far. I love having the characters I love doing new things and finding out what they have been up to. I think it is the perfect way to continue a show we love without rating, actors wanting to leave, or anything else getting in the way. My only complaint is that they do not come out enough. I always feel like I am waiting forever for the next one.

  • skyroom80

    The Buffy season 8 comic works very well. But then Buffy has always been similar to a comic book (hey, rocket launchers and flaming arrows!). With Veronica Mars, however, the show depended heavily on the deilivery of that famous biting wit. I just don’t see that transferring well to comic book format. Also, while the mysteries could be done — and done well — in comic book form, what about the relationships? I can’t see those transferring well to comics, either, and that was another driving force behind Veronica Mars.

    This is one cancelled show that needs a few TV movies or ongoing TV movies (like Columbo) to go one with the mysteries; keep the wit, snarkiness, and biting dialogue coming; and let the major character relationships evolve.