‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘The Dust Waltz’ (1998) and ‘Ring of Fire’ (2000)

Dark Horse didn't have much doubt about how well its "Buffy" comics would sell. Rather than tiptoeing into the waters, the company released its first graphic novel when the regular title was only up to its second issue. Throughout the "BTVS Classic" period, it released two single-story graphic novels (which I'll review here), plus tons of other miniseries, one-shots and short stories (but those are for another post), in addition to the ongoing "Buffy" and "Angel" series.

[More]

‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘BTVS Classic’ Issues 21-27 (2000)

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic" finds its groove with Issues 21-27 (May-November 2000), ironically a time period when it doesn't have a regular writer (Andi Watson bowed out in Issue 19, and Fassbender/Pascoe start their run in Issue 28). As I noted in my review of the previous batch, novel writer Christopher Golden didn't hit a home run in his first couple efforts, but he shows he's a fast learner on the five-part "Blood of Carthage" (21-25), which has all the best traits of his "Buffy" books along with art by Cliff Richards and Joe Pimental that is growing on me.

[More]

‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘BTVS Classic’ Issues 12-20 (1999-2000)

Issues 12-20 (August 1999-April 2000) of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic" consist mostly of further "Buffy"-lite stylings from main writer Andi Watson. But this batch is also notable for bringing novels writer Christopher Golden and TV show writer Douglas Petrie into the fold.

[More]

‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘BTVS Classic’ Issues 1-11 (1998-99)

Today, comics are the home for the further adventures of Buffy, but the Slayer and her friends got off to an inauspicious start in the medium with writer Andi Watson's Issues 1-11 (September 1998-July 1999) of the original series, now often called "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic." Whereas the novels expand the mythology as much as possible within the constraints of TV show continuity, the early comics contract the scope.

[More]

‘Buffy’ flashback: ‘The Origin’ (1999)

Dark Horse's "Buffy" comics have been canonical for the past decade, but the first story that is officially part of the canon came out much earlier: "The Origin" (January-March 1999) takes Joss Whedon's script for the 1992 movie, translates it into a three-issue comic series and gives it the necessary tweaks to fit with the universe and timeline of the TV show.

[More]

‘Batman’ flashback: ‘The Long Halloween’ (1996-97)

(Note to readers: This is part of a series where I look back at various works of "Batman" lore from the perspective of a casual "Batman" fan who enjoys the current TV series, "Gotham.")

In addition to its titular tie-in to the holiday, I found "The Long Halloween" (1996-97) to be a good "Batman" story to read now because it gives us comic-book portrayals of most of the rogues' gallery to contrast with what we know from "Gotham." At 13 issues, it's not a one-sitting read, but it's much less decompressed than the four-issue "Dark Knight Returns." Writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale use big panels and colorist Gregory Wright favors black-and-white (even though it's a color comic) to create a noir-soaked collection that flows like "Year One," at least when read today. When it came out, this story was released over a 13-month span, so it must've felt like a very slow-burn yarn.

[More]

‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (1980) and ‘Return of the Jedi’ (1983) comics

My look back at the "Star Wars" saga comic adaptations concludes with the best and the most disappointing entries, both from the legendary duo of Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson ("Classic Star Wars"), along with background artist Carlos Garzon: "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) and "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" (1983). "Empire" is exactly what we want from an adaptation – the spirit of film, without being a mere copy – while "Jedi" fails mostly because it's too short.

[More]

‘Star Wars’ flashback: The ‘A New Hope’ original (1977) and Special Edition (1997) comic adaptations

"Star Wars' " comic book history naturally started with "Episode IV: A New Hope" (1977), and the adaptation by writer Roy Thomas and artist Howard Chaykin is still a fun read today for its vibrant energy. Plus, it gains serious kitsch value for its odd departures from what we now understand to be the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Thomas and Chaykin were getting to know "Star Wars" at the same time as everyone else. While they were bumped from the Marvel comics after Issue 10 in part because George Lucas didn't like their work, their six-issue "A New Hope" adaptation is still widely loved for both quality and nostalgia.

[More]

‘Star Wars’ flashback: The prequel trilogy comic adaptations (1999-2005)

I feel the "Star Wars" prequel films get a little more stagey and theatrical – or to be harsher, a little sloppier -- as they go along, but the comic adaptations are the opposite: They get progressively better. "Episode I: The Phantom Menace" (1999) is a flat retelling, "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" (2002) has vibrant art but can't overcome another bland script, and "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" (2005) is poetic and beautiful.

[More]

‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Clone Wars Adventures’ digests (2004-07)

The Genndy Tartakovsky "Clone Wars" TV microseries (2003-05) delivered bite-size kinetic tales that served as a testing ground for "The Clone Wars" (2008-14). Its comic-book parallel was the "Clone Wars Adventures" digests (2004-07), in which artists – most often the Fillbach Brothers – and colorists mimic Tartakovsky's work and the microseries' energy.

[More]

More Entries