IDW Clarifies Angel Comic Rights

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After an editorial in Wednesday’s Dark Horse’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Riley let slip that they would be publishing a series based on spin-off Angel next year, fans have been vocal in their confusion and upset about what this means for IDW Publishing’s ongoing Angel franchise. Now, the San Diego-based publisher has released a statement explaining their plans.

While Dark Horse will pick up the Angel license next year – with the final six issues of IDW’s Angel series setting up what’s being described as a “seamless transition” to bring their series into the continuity of Dark Horse’s Joss Whedon-led Buffy Season 8 series, where Angel has been playing a role since the start – IDW will retain the rights to the Spike character, and publish an ongoing Spike series that will also tie into Whedon’s Dark Horse plans, cementing an official post-TV series Buffy/Angel canon between the two publishers.

Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer, gives a classy goodbye to the series:

We’ve loved the half-decade of publishing the exploits of both ANGEL, and the fan support has been truly inspiring and appreciated. The fact that steps are being taken by both companies to tie the books more closely together is something I’ve long wanted to do. This will not only ensure a smooth hand-off back to Dark Horse, it will also give the fans a cohesive storyline and explain some of the lingering questions they might have. While I hate to see Angel go, I know Joss has a vision for where things are headed and I’m excited to be a part of that… “I know change is hard for fans – and us publishers, too, but I want to remind everyone that we’re still going strong and have big plans for ANGEL well into 2011. Another point in our favor here is that the reversion nevertheless allows us to keep all of our Angel books in print long after we’ve stopped releasing new ANGEL comics. So the news might be surprising but the fact is, the stories you’ve loved aren’t going away any time soon. We’ve still got one last, big year to come, and we’ll fight the good fight until the end. Angel wouldn’t have it any other way.

Interestingly, the statement also includes an apology from Dark Horse’s Scott Allie, who says, “Dark Horse really regrets that this news was released before a joint statement from both companies was issued… Behind the scenes, we’d been working closely with IDW to ensure that the hand-off went smoothly. It was never our intent to catch Angel or IDW readers unaware.”

Angel #39, beginning the storyline that brings the series into Buffy continuity, is released in November.

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