BOOM! Studios' Buffy the Vampire Slayer line is expanding with a surprise, new Angel ongoing title launching in just 8 days. On April 17, participating comic book stores and digital platforms will debut Angel #0 by writer Bryan Edward Hill and artist Gleb Melnikov.
"In an increasingly digital world, it’s harder than ever to create true surprises at a brick & mortar level," BOOM!'s VP of Marketing Arune Singh told Newsarama. "And in that world, it’s even more imperative that we create that excitement at comic book stores because they’re the lifeblood of this industry - so we wanted to do something with a giant global brand that would drive new readers to comic shops, much in the way Beyonce drives even casual music fans to pick up her new albums when they surprise drop. That’s all because we don’t believe that independent stores or print are dying – in fact, we’ve seen year over year growth in our print sales because of increasing support from our comic shop partners."
Angel #0 will debut concurrently with Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4, where Angel will debut, and Hill says he hopes to surprise ardent fans while staying true to the mythos.
"For fans of the television series, for fans of the character I’m not going to step on and turn what they love upside down. What we are really doing is honoring that work, updating it for 2019, and putting more meat on the bone," Hill said. "What I think will be surprising for long time fans of Angel is the way we are exploring his past, mythology, and layers. We are doing some really interesting world building stuff there that will have effect on Angel the book and perhaps Buffy the book as well."
Hill goes on to tease there would be "love stories" (as in plural) ahead for Angel in this series. But don't worry, Buffy's in the mix somewhere.
"Without giving away the way we are going to approach [their relationship], it’s kind of bitter sweet – the tragedy of it, love and its boundaries," Hill said. "All of that stuff will be considered. I love, love stories. People don’t really know this about me. Mainly because of the nature of my work, it tends to be confrontational and dark and all of that, but the enduring power of love is something that is important to me as a creator."
As for relationships from the Buffy and Angel TV shows and how they might be presented or adapted in the Angel comic book, Hill said he wants to respect everyone's favorites.
"Everyone has their favorite characters, and they want to see when they are going to come. I’m going to deal with all of them as well," said the writer. "We are going to keep moving forward through the narrative and moving people in as the narrative speaks to that."
That being said, Hill is also excited to explore new characters and their relationship with Angel.
"I want to explore Angel’s relationships both human and inhuman. The ones you can imagine have existed, but weren’t really alluded to in Buffy or in the Angel series," said Hill. "When you’ve lived that long you’ve made a lot of friends and you’ve made a lot of enemies. You’ve lost people, and you’ve gained people."
So just how is BOOM! getting Angel #0 out to retailers without them even knowing to order it? The publisher previously advised retailers that an unspecified "promotional item" would be coming with Buffy #4, in quantities equal to their orders for Buffy #3.
"We’re already seeing that the excitement around Angel is going to exceed that print run so we have a second print available now to order," Singh said. "We’re thankful to our partners at Diamond Distributors for helping us keep this book a secret under the codename 'Tooth Fairy' (a nod to Angel’s fangs and to his love of hockey) and we’re excited for retailers to see a new group of customers seeking out this comic, who then return each month for new issues of Bryan Hill’s exciting reimagining of the character."
Angel #0 comes out April 17.