For months, BOOM! Studios and writer Bryan Edward Hill have been keeping a secret about Buffy The Vampire Slayer. And unlike a common bit of unannounced comic publishing news, this secret isn't rolling out as a cover tease or solicitation announcement. It's a fully fledged series arriving in stores far sooner than you'd expect.
As of next week, Angel is back -- and in more ways than one.
Not only will the brooding, heroic vampire to appear in BOOM!'s new Buffy relaunch series with its fourth issue, Angel is also making his way into a solo series that will blaze all-new ground for the franchise thanks to the creative team of Bryan Edward Hill and Gleb Melnikov. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the first issue, Angel #0, has never been solicited, and yet will hits the stands exclusively in print next Wednesday alongside the fan-favorite character's reappearance in Buffy #4.
As BOOM! VP of Marketing Arune Singh explained to CBR, Buffy executive editor Jeanine Schaefer and her team took Jordie Bellaire's grand design for the main Buffy series and saw Angel's first appearance in issue #4 not just as a milestone for the new continuity, but an opportunity to draw fans further into what BOOM! can do with Whedon's beloved cast. "It's part of that really cool Joss Whedon tradition where you don't just have a cliffhanger, but have one last surprise waiting for you," he explained.
In particular, the move is meant to help drive interest to comic shops in an era where everything is immediately disseminated and dissected online. "We looked at this as a natural story point where we could launch an Angel series from Buffy #4, so let's create that excitement purely as a comic book store event," he added, noting that these stories would not be available via digital channels until May 1.
For his part, Hill laughed at the thought that he has an entirely new comic launching without saying anything about it until the week before it went on sale. "When you write screenplays and television shows and comic books, you learn how to keep a secret. So I haven't been teasing anything. My lips are sealed," the writer said. He also spoke with CBR about how this take on Angel will explore new territory never before seen in the Whedonverse, what old familiar faces may be on tap for his Los Angeles-based adventures, and why the horrors of being young are even more powerful in 2019.
CBR: Bryan, the BOOM! line of Buffy comics is a reboot in the strictest sense, but it's meant to evoke the classic series. In the latest issue, we're seeing Angel's introduction to the series ahead of his own new series, and I don't think it's spoiling too much to say this version of the fallen vampire calls back to his introduction in the first episode of Buffy in that he's a sullen, skulking presence on the scene. What was the baseline you wanted to work from as you put this important character back on the board?
Bryan Edward Hill: In Buffy, when we see Angel we're experiencing that through Buffy's point of view because we experience the show that way. So those aspects of his character emerge because of that dynamic. When you're telling a story about Angel, you're telling it from his point of view, and you're much more aware of his intentions. So some of that lurking quality recedes because you understand why this person is putting himself where he wants to be.
And one of the things we've been talking about is that if you're a character like Angel – who's life is as long as its been or that he's been dead this long, depending on how you want to look at it – then suburbia might be the last place you'd want to be. I got really fascinated by the idea of this guy with all his dynamism and wisdom and experience dealing with the climate of suburbia. It's like I feel when I go to Santa Monica. I live downtown [in Los Angeles], and when I go to Santa Monica, I can't empathize with people who think tofu is that important. But there's something to learn for Angel – the small things for people can be just as important as the big ones.
When we meet Angel in issue #0, we see a character who's thinking about the breadth of what he wants to accomplish and not necessarily the individual wins and losses along the way. Angel will always be about the largess of the overall mission of redemption while also dealing with the slings and arrows of being a young person in 2019.