'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', 'Smallville', 'Xena': All successfully jump from TV to comic books

Saturday, 21 September 2013 - 7:48pm IST Updated: Saturday, 21 September 2013 - 7:05pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

Many cult shows branch out into different mediums to take advantage of their popularity. There are several tie-in products and various ways to gain new ground on platforms not explored before. One of the latest trends is to continue a cancelled/ended TV show in comic book form. Now, this may not appeal to most people, as watching a program on TV is different than buying a comic book online or in stores, but the fact of the matter is that it happens and it works. Sci-fi and supernatural based shows are generally the ones that form huge cult followings whether they've been on the air for ten seasons or as short as one season. When these shows are cancelled by the network or ended because it's run its course, the fans more often than not, want more. They sign in petitions and letters asking for some form of continuation of their favourite shows. And with the use of comic book continuations, their requests can be answered. Lots of TV shows already have comic book adaptations running along side their TV counterparts (Arrow, Dexter, Supernatural). But those are generally side stories and prequels and are mostly considered non-canon and continuation in comic book form after the show ends is a way of still getting your daily dose of all your favourites. A number of hit TV shows have made a successful transition into comic book form and continue to engage a wide, if not wider fan following.


Smallville which ended it's impressive ten year run in 2011, continued right where it left off as DC Comics' released weekly digital issue comic books, with three digital issues combining to form a print issue comic book which released monthly. Entitled season 11, it used all the main characters from the show, and was a success, allowing fans to continue to experience the origin story of the Man Of Steel.


Joss Whedon, reigning king of all things geek, has successfully brought a number of shows into the panels including Dollhouse, Angel and of course his pride and joy, cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show that has one of the biggest cult followings in the world. Buffy the Vampire Slayer already had a number of tie-in books and comics when the show was on the air (Most of them non-canon). However after it ended its seven year run on WB/UPN, Dark Horse Comics published 40 issues under the banner Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight, from 2007-2011 releasing one issue per month. The raging success of Season Eight, prompted the release of Season Nine in 2011 with 25 issues.Spin-offs focusing on Angel, Faith, Willow and Spike were also released, with Angel getting its Season Six and another spin-off entitled, Angel and Faith which had 25 issues and released in 2011 along side Buffy Season Nine.


Rumours have recently surfaced of another one of Joss Whedon's cult classics, Firefly re-entering into the comic book medium. The show lasted only fourteen episodes, which created outrage among fans, and sparked a wide number of petitions to renew the show in some medium or the other. These requests were heard when Serenity, a movie about the central cast was made in 2005. Although there have been some comics released on the show, over the past couple of months, Dark Horse Comics have been releasing teaser images with the hashtag #WheresSerenity all over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, to promote what looks like a new series following Mal, Zoe, Jayne and the rest of the Serenity crew.


Other popular TV shows like Xena: The Warrior Princess, Dollhouse, Battlestar Galactica, Charmed and Jerico have also release continuations of their now ended/cancelled TV shows.


NBC's Heroes and Fox's The X-Files are the latest shows that are trying to enjoy their cult status by venturing into the comic book forum.

It's interesting to note that most of the TV shows that do continue through the print medium already have a large cult following and are of the sci-fi/supernatural variety. With the explosion of social media and of course the easy access to computers and the Internet, most of the comics release online as digital copies, which make them extremely easy to download through online stores and just as easy to read on your phone, computers or as most people do nowadays on your tablets. It seems it's just a matter of time before Supernatural, Fringe, Dexter and other popular shows enter into this absolutely booming platform to continue telling their stories.

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