“Clueless” fans, rejoice! The cult ’90s film will get new life as a comic book published by BOOM! Studios.
Half ’90s time capsule and half endearing romantic comedy, “Clueless” follows three girls — Cherilyn “Cher” Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash) and Tai Frasier (Brittany Murphy) — as they navigate the minefield that is teenage love, angst and blocky cellphones. The film helped launch the careers Silverstone, Murphy and Paul Rudd, who plays the film’s love interest, and is remembered fondly as a witty coming-of-age story that gained a cult following and launched a spinoff television series as well as several books. But is it possible that the film’s characters, as prescient as they were back in 1995, could fall flat with readers in 2017? To quote Silverstone’s Cher: “As if.”
According to the series synopsis,
It’s senior year at Bronson Alcott High School, and Cher, Dionne, and Tai find themselves in a bit of an existential crisis: Where are they meant to go, and what are they meant to DO after high school? Luckily they have all year — and each other’s help — to figure it out!
The comic book will be penned by Amber Benson (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Sarah Kuhn (“Heroine Complex”). Artist Siobhan Keenan will illustrate the comic and Natacha Bustos will provide the cover art. Benson and Kuhn recently sat down with Vanity Fair to talk about updating the quintessentially ’90s story for modern audiences. As it turns out, the writing duo — who were both coming of age when the film debuted — have had a little help decoding the language of the past.
“The hardest part of working on the project for me has been trying to make everybody sound authentic without being trite,” said Benson. “And we’re really, really lucky — we have an amazing editor in Shannon [Watters], who sent us this U.C.L.A. slang book that has all of this amazing ’90s slang in it. I use that like a bible, and I can recite it verbatim now. I think Sarah and I had some sort of struggle with this, trying to make it sound real and not like a cartoonish version of the ’90s.”
According to Kuhn, one of “Clueless’s” biggest achievements is its distinctive voice. While it’s tempting to just write the same five catchphrases that “Clueless” fans remember, the writing duo are looking to expand their horizons. Kuhn said the slang book Benson mentioned is actually from U.C.L.A.’s linguistics department, and that it not only offers phrases and words used by kids in the ‘90s, but also traces their origins, allowing for a deeper understanding of the language.
BOOM! Studios tapped into a previously neglected comic book-reading audience in 2014 when it first published the ongoing girl-focused “Lumberjanes,” created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen and Noelle Stevenson. According to Benson and Kuhn, the comic publisher has been carving out a niche for marginalized voices ever since and is intent on making “Clueless” a continuation of the legacy Heckerling created, not just a cartoony version of the original film.
BOOM!’s “Clueless” followup does not yet have a release date.