Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Buffy Comic Project: "Halloween"

Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 2

(Volume 1) (Dark Horse, 1998-2003)

Creators: Andi Watson (writer), Joe Bennett (penciller), Rick Ketcham (inker)

Setting: Season Three

T.V. Characters Appearing: Buffy, Willow, Xander, Principal Skinner, Giles, Joyce, Oz, Willow's Parents (voices only)

Major Original Characters: Selke (vampire)

Summary: Halloween has rolled around again, and just like last year Principal Snyder forces the Scoobies to dress up and escort some kids trick-or-treating. The night before, however, Willow gets into a fight with her parents and storms out of the house. On her way to the Bronze, she's abducted by a posse of vampires who plan to have her for a Halloween midnight snack. The remaining Scoobies search desperately for their missing companion, until Buffy stumbles upon an abandoned house and notices Willow's jacket. Buffy does what Buffy does best, and stakes all the vampires except for one that runs away. Willow is found safe and sound, though her parents promise to ground her for the next decade.

Review: Kinda fun. Again, nothing particularly original here in the plot (a Scooby kidnapped by vampires) or the resolution (Buffy saves the day), but a pleasant enough way to spend a few minutes as long as expectations aren't high. There's some jokes that are pretty pathetic (Buffy staking a vampire with the line "Let's get to the point", Xander getting sick from eating too much Halloween candy), but characterization seems solid. I think it's unfortunately easy for Buffy writers to get into a formula--Buffy fights, Giles mentors, Cordelia snarks, Xander wisecracks, Willow researches--but breaking out of that formula is the only way to write really interesting and memorable stories.


* This story actually works as a continuity plug-in for what happened on Halloween in Season Three, since the show didn't produce a Halloween episode that season.

* The vampire that got away--a glamorous brunette in a mini-skirt named Selke--reappears in later issues, so here we have the first attempt to set up some internal comics continuity.

* Giles mentions he's planning some research on the Necronomicon--Don't do it!

* Halloween costumes this time around: Buffy as Jason from Friday the 13th; Oz as a shark; Xander as a vampire.

* My WTF? Moment: This guy is supposed to be the school principal, but he looks nothing like Snyder. Maybe the comic didn't have likeness rights from that actor?

* Editor Scott Allie presents a long (three page) account of his visit to the San Diego Comicon to host a signing with Joss Whedon and Buffy actors. This is at the point when fandom for the show was at its height, and it sounds like a near riot started when the celebrity guests appeared.

* The art cover, with Buffy chewing gum, was chosen for the cover of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Panel-to-Panel art book.

*  Apparently, this issue also had a "Dynamic Forces Bloodchrome Edition" cover.  That one's not part of my collection, alas.

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