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  • Margaret A. Robbins, Ph.D

Why the New Buffyverse Comics Are Worth a Read

I’ll admit that when I first heard that Boom! Studios was doing a reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel comics, I was a little bit skeptical. As a Xennial/”Elder Millennial” born in the early 1980s, I felt that the Buffyverse really spoke to my generation, from the representation of female characters as strong and empowered to the late 90s music to the love of musical numbers, as “Once More with Feeling” is one of my favorite go to panels at DragonCon the years they feature it. I was very worried that the narrative of my 90s teen and college years would be tainted.

So far, though, I have been pleasantly surprised. These comics do a wonderful job with representation, as more characters of color and queer characters are present from the beginning and have a steady, influential role in the storyline. Without giving too much away, some of the character relationships are different in the reboot, but I believe the changes are positive. The artwork is captivating and strikes a strong balance between being true to the original characters and giving them a fresh face. Lilith plays a key role in the new Angel comics, and her development as a character is intriguing, dark, and fascinating.

Additionally, the new Buffyverse comics are relevant to Generation Z. Cell phones are present, along with social media. These forms of technology inevitably affect the way the characters interact with each other and how the suspense aspects of the horror story are carried out. The Angel comics in particular address the darker side of social media use and how social media can lead to miscommunication and a flawed self-perception, issues that are relevant to people of all ages, but especially important for Generation Z youth to consider.

It can be difficult for hard core fans of any fandom to be accepting of reboots. However, I believe that to keep the Buffyverse narrative alive, we have to consider how to make it more relevant to Generation Z. That means creating a narrative that better addresses intersectionality of characters and technology use in a time where cell phones and internet apps are prevalent forms of communication. I was skeptical of the forthcoming vampire slayer television show as well, which is apparently going to be a story of a slayer twenty years later more so than a reboot. Over time, though, I am becoming more open to reboots and continuations, even for the stories I love the most and perhaps even more for the stories I love and want to bring into the lives of my students, my niece, and my nephew.

The new Boom! Studios comics include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Hellmouth, which combines the narratives of Buffy and Angel. On a related note, I am soon to read the second novel in Kiersten White’s Slayer Young Adult series, which gives a modern day take on slayers and the watcher’s council.

May we continue to slay the patriarchy through embracing our fandom stories past and present.

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