Slayer Lit Feature
Of course, for many fans, Buffy hadn’t really been gone at all since the conclusion of her seven seasons on the air, thanks to the steady stream of original novels being done by Simon & Schuster. But that’s where the bad news comes in, for it was in August of ’07 that S&S; published what was, to date, to be their final Buffy novel, DARK CONGRESS (fittingly, it was written by Christopher Golden, who had co-authored the very first Buffy novel, HALLOWEEN RAIN, with Nancy Holder, just months after Buffy’s WB network debut in 1997).
And while the publishing house giant never completely closed the door on bringing Buffy into paperbacks again, it seemed at best a longshot hope.
But then something interesting happened: Vampires got SERIOUSLY COOL. Mind you, ever since Bram Stoker brought Dracula into the mainstream, vamps have always been at the top of the monster mountain. But the explosion in popularity of various vampire-related literary series and accompanying films/TV series in the latter Aughts of the early 21st Century was an unprecedented game changer.
Couple that with the unexpected popularity of the new Buffy comic book, and someone at S&S; must have realized that there’s still a literate body of fans out there who might be intrigued by those (now mostly out-of-print) Buffy stories they had.
As Venessa Williams of the Simon Pulse and Aladdin imprints of Simon & Schuster explains, “We are releasing these collections with the recent popularity of vampire books, and to give a fresh look to a strong series.”
One question which many fans had when the first three collections was announced was, how were the stories included chosen? The publisher opted not to reprint the books in the chronological order of their original releases, but rather, as Venessa says, “We were looking specifically to bind-up titles in the same time frame, to follow the overall arc of the series.”
Thus, while the first volume gathers novels which were published individually over the stretch of many years (COYOTE MOON and NIGHT OF THE LIVING RERUN, both from 1998, and 2006‘s PORTAL THROUGH TIME), all three stories fit within the same relative timeframe of Buffy’s storyline.
Stylistically, the publisher is being bold. What readers will notice first are the covers; gone is the well-known stylized Buffy the Vampire Slayer logo, replaced instead with a somewhat similar, yet simpler font. Also missing on the cover are any photos of Buffy herself. Instead, S&S; has designed shots of various gothic-inspired items…a bejeweled necklace, candelabra, and hourglass, all ominously blood-splattered…that evokes the design styles made popular by certain other vampire literature of late. Undoubtedly, this was done to catch the eyes of readers of those series…specifically teenagers who were perhaps too young to remember much about Buffy herself when she was on the air…making it a smart decision if it’s successful.
Additionally, the books are a bit larger in size than the average paperback, sized at 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.7. And, of course, page counts are in the 550-800 page mark. Nonetheless, Simon & Schuster are keeping the collection comparatively budget priced at only $9.99 each.
And if readers are excited about Buffy’s return to print, so are many of the writers of those stories!
Nancy Holder, whose work is being collected in both Volumes 2 and 3, says, “I'm so excited about the beautiful new reissues of the Buffy books. I hope new fans find Buffy and old fans enjoy these wonderful collections. I'm so proud to be a part of the Buffyverse, however small. Joss will always be my master.”
Kirsten Beyer shares that sense of joy: “All I can say is that I'm excited that Buffy books continue to do well enough that the publisher sees fit to re-release them in this fashion. It's been how many years now since Buffy premiered? I guess when a universe of story telling is as rich and multi-layered as Buffy, it continues to resonate with old fans and hopefully pick up some new ones. ONE THING OR YOUR MOTHER was a joy to write. I hope the people who read it here for the first time enjoy reading it as much as I did creating it.”
And Diana G. Gallagher adds, “Writing novels in the Buffyverse was a creative delight and a professional thrill. BAD BARGAIN, which is set in early Season 2, is a particular favorite of mine. It's an honor to have it included in Simon & Schuster's new Buffy the Vampire Slayer book collections. Can't wait to add them to my bookshelves!”
As of yet, S&S; has not announced any further volume releases. Obviously, they’re waiting to gauge the sales success of these first three before deciding to commit to further omnibi. Being in the business of selling books, if these three collections do sell well, there can be no doubt that the publisher will do more (particularly since they already have the material paid for and available). And, we can dream, that if sales are really healthy enough, the publisher might even consider releasing brand new, all-original novels!
In the meantime though, it will be enough to just revisit these ‘old friends’ and enjoy them all over again…or, one hopes, many will discover them for the very first time.
What more needs to be said, except…welcome back, Buffy! We’ve missed you in the bookstores.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, VOLUME I
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, VOLUME II
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, VOLUME III