Twilight Falls Upon Buffy

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No, Edward Cullen isn’t about to be revealed as the big baddie Twilight in Buffy the Vampire slayer Season Eight. But who is being revealed is causing uproar from fans—and comic creators.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight is the highest selling, non-DC or Marvel book on the market, but its numbers are slipping. The title just slipped below 50,000 orders for the first time since the series started. But the expectations were high for the latest arc, which promised to reveal the identity of the main bad guy for the comic, which is considered in the Buffyverse as the in-canon eighth season of the TV series, and is written by best-selling author Brad Meltzer. Surely that would turn things around, right?

That effort to bolster sales on the series gained a bit more power several weeks ago as the unedited covers were “accidentally” leaked to the general public. The solicitations were a bit vague, as solicitations usually are, about the identity of the villain Twilight. These covers were not. They clearly revealed that the bad guy was Buffy’s former paramour, Angel.

Yes, that would be the same Angel who has his own series over at IDW. It’s one that was also supposed to be a canonical season six of the Angel TV series. And one where the character is the hero of the book and has made no reference that its main character was trying to eradicate all the slayers as Twilight over in Buffy.

To say this spoiler hitting the Internet was like throwing a lit match into a vat of gasoline would be an understatement. It would be like throwing lit matches into seven pails of gasoline in seven different parts of the room so a virtual firestorm engulfed the whole house.

Adding even more fuel to the fire was an interview Buffy’s editor Scott Allie gave Comic Book Resources. In it, he explained that the release of the images was a mistake, that Dark Horse would make some arrangements with IDW to line-up, or at the very least explain, the dichotomy between the two publisher’s Buffyverse titles, and the plan for Angel as Twilight was planned from the start of the Season Eight series.

Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool.com didn’t buy the fact that the cover images were released by mistake. He proposed that they were released on purpose to boost sales and reprinted an e-mail from Allie to retailers to back up his claim.

The paragraph about matching up the continuities between Buffy and Angel rose the ire of the latter’s writer, Bill Willingham. Willingham replied to Allie’s interview, essentially saying that he has never, is not now, nor will he ever coordinate with Dark Horse in regards to writing Angel, calling such an attempt by Dark Horse to take credit for his writing “repugnant.”

This was a pretty bold move by Willingham, as someone doing work-for-hire on a licensed property, a property whose creator is associated with the company you are taking a stand against. Whedon gave his own interview to Comic Book Resources where he defended Allie and took a swipe at Willingham:

“So I always did have the idea of Twilight as Angel, but I was always going to save it for as long as possible, which God willing, would have been three more months from now. Apparently, God not willing. Chris Ryall has been great. He was very accommodating to do whatever would work for me [in regards to involving me in "Angel"] but unfortunately, what didn't work for me was work and I wasn't able to communicate with him that much beyond outlining that initial story. And there's been some confusion about all that, but everybody that I've dealt with has been very businesslike, gentlemanly, creative and cool...and really not, what's the word I'm searching for? Repugnant.”

The confusion he mentions involves the IDW Angel series being Season Six of the series. Earlier in the same interview, Whedon states that he gave IDW his notes for a never aired season six, believing that it would be just the start of a new series, not an in-canon continuation of the TV show. This is despite the fact that Angel: After the Fall takes place directly after the series finale and deals with the repercussions from that episode.

Regardless, Angel is in Buffy as the bad guy and the legions of Buffy fans who remember their Romeo & Juliet-like relationship have been buzzing about the change. If sales do improve, then this whole thing will go to prove an important maxim—there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

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  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Feb 4, 2010 at 1:03pm

    Saw the latest issue today in the shop and it was the first I didn't pick up of the series. Spoiling the Twilight reveal so far in advance may well have done the deal in terms of sales but it kind of soured the series a little for me.

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