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January 01 2008

Fans will buy the comics if the stories matter. Marc-Oliver Frisch over at The Beat analyses the impressive sales figures for Buffy #8 and Angel: After The Fall #1.

You have to scroll way down to read what he says about the Buffy and Angel comic books.

I can't say anything other that I am not surprised with Buffy and Angel's success. Other than being cult hits, as the author of the articles states, Joss is a well established favorite. For me the name Whedon is a like a shiny magnet, I cannot help but being drawn in.
So far, both comics have met all of my expectations. And whoever came up with the idea of variant covers is a genius. I feel like a Pokemon master, gotta catch 'em all! Even though they are somewhat redundant, I buy them to support the franchise, if nothing else.
Not surprising, really. Both series have several factors in their favor: The TV-show is no longer on, and this is the official continuation.

First off that leaves all the fans wicked curious as to what happens next(I believe Angel has a leg up on that one), and it also means that the comics are allowed to actually matter. As for the comics while the shows were still on air, they were just filler, nothing more. You knew the story wouldn't be advanced in any way.

Second, you've got the name Joss Whedon. It's got a great pull both with sci-fi/fantasy fans in general, as well as he's allready dipped his toe in comics more than once allready, so he's likely a draw there as well. Not to mention comics is the only Joss fix we're getting at the moment.

Third, damned good writing. There, I said it ;)
Can't say that I'm a big enough comic fan to be buying the variant covers, Valentyn, although they are more than worth the money for those who are more serious collectors than I am. I buy the main cover version and the trade paperback and that's my limit, I'm afraid.

Certainly can't disagree on your reasoning behind the success of the Buffy and Angel comics. Having the Whedon name as a stamp of quality definitely helps.
Well speaking as someone who bought all of Fray and other comics by Joss Whedon, I'm not sure the TV show tie in is the entire attraction. Knowing that it will be a good story by a great writer really is. But if it is a series connected to a TV show, then I do want to feel that the creator is directly involved and that the characters will actually have a story arc that can involve some actual character growth. I'm not as interested in some 'filler' story where everything ends up exactly where it was before.

Of course, having said that, I realize that the next 'Serenity' comic 'Better Days' will be set during the TV show. But the fact is that there is so much we don't know about these characters, I'm hoping we'll learn more about each of them.
Happy as I am that Buffy is continuing to sell well, it's sales have still declined by over 14%. I know that's actually quite good, but it does seem like a worrying sign for the future, say a year or two from now. It's hard enough for newbies to join in as is, what with seven years of tv history to cause them confusion. Once this comic story arc gets far enough along, its length and complexity becomes another barrier for someone who casually picks up an issue to try out.
My local comic shop owner is just gleeful at the popularity of the new Buffy comics. No matter how many he orders, he's selling out of each print run and getting additional copies from other stores or the distributor. He's particularly happy to see non-comic buying customers like me coming into his store. When we've talked about Buffy's popularity, he freely admits that many folks like me are coming to comics or coming back to them after decades, giving him a new customer group to entice with other products. And it is working...
shambleau wrote - "Once this comic story arc gets far enough along, its length and complexity becomes another barrier for someone who casually picks up an issue to try out."

Isn't that the case for any ongoing comic book series that has been running for a few years? Surely picking up the plot of a story like Buffy that ran for seven seasons on television and however many issues of the comic is no more difficult than following the story of Batman, Spider-Man or any other comic book, is it? Many comics have been around for decades and still continue to get new readers so I think it will be a good while before the Buffy story gets too complex for newbie readers, especially with trade paperbacks available to help catch up.
Shambleau- there's always the mini arcs and one-offs to entice people to buy at random. And with back issues readily available on ebay, it's easier than it has ever been to catch up on the story.

But the numbers it's pulling, especially when compared to more established comics? HOLY COW!

In my world, you'd have to have been living under a rock to NOT know about the new Buffy and Angel comics. But I imagine that, somewhere out there, there are a bunch of fans who have no idea that there are now canonical continuations of the Buffy and Angel verses. (I use my BFF as an example, she has a baby and has no time to really 'do' TV, web or magazines.)
Not to mention those that haven't yet discovered the shows but who will eventually work their way through the DVD's and crave more!

I was bit put out by the author's assertion that mainstream comics and fantasy shows have a crossover audience. I've never bought a comic in my life until S8 came along, and dang it, now I just can't stop!
Many, many moons ago I collected comics, this was before the B&W comics implosion. S8 was the first title I'd picked up in almost 20 years and now I'm buying Angel too. I didn't think there was anything that could pull me back into the genre, can't say how happy I am to be wrong. :)

Yes, I'd rather have a new Buffyverse show on the tube, but these are the next best thing.
I'm going to be a bit of a wet blanket.

I honestly can't say that the stories matter all that much to me so far. I am still buying them solely based on the fact that they are the continuation of something I love. However, because of the slowness and lack of content I am just keeping myself apathetic about what is going on until there is actually a resolution of something. That fact that that might not be for years just pulls the excitement right out of me.

I know people will say they are still doing exposition and explaining where people are, but I would much rather have some stories about a few people than a parade of every character we have ever seen. I do understand that that would make other people itchy because so many have their favorite characters and they want that particular story to be told immediately. I feel like there is so much pressure to deal with every character right away ("or I won't buy it") that it is more about giving us snippets of characters rather than stories.

I was talking to my friend again the other night. She was using some old comic books to express her frustration. She was pointing out that each one had a full story. They were not as pretty or as interestingly laid out, but the story was between the covers, even if it connected with other stories that came before or after. I pointed out that the Faith arc had some resolution to it, and more content. Quite honestly it still did wow either one of us, though.

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