IDW explains why they're giving Angel back to the Buffy comics

It's been confusing in the Buffy-verse lately. In Angel's own comic, he's been a heroic champion, while in the Buffy comics, he's been... well... it's confusing. So it's good news that both Angel and Buffy will soon share a publisher.

Last week, IDW announced that they would be publishing the final story arc in their Angel comic this November. Then in 2011, Dark Horse, which already publishes the Buffy comics, would be taking over the Angel series. Which means IDW may have a few months to wrap up the often-fascinating Angel series they've built, and slowly turn him into the Big Bad that Dark Horse created. Or at least start to think about it.

If you've been following Dark Horse's comic, you realize that this could be a bit of a challenge. Buffy season eight has taken everything we knew about the Buffyverse, grabbed it by the ankles and spun it in a dizzying circle. So how will IDW weave in the gigantic character reveals and twists that have happened over at Buffy into the remaining issues of their Angel series? Or will they even attempt to at all? io9's Cyriaque Lamar asked Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of IDW Publishing Chris Ryall about the transition:

When was it determined that Angel would dovetail with what's occurring in the Buffy universe?

I've been having conversations for months with Scott Allie and Joss about this. It's something I've wanted to work toward for a long time.

In Dark Horse's Buffy title, it was hinted that Angel would be the Big Bad for a while. To what degree were your creative teams aware of this development?

I got a sense from the comics that that might be where it was headed, but I got confirmation when that image leaked online.

What role did Joss Whedon play in the transition?

You mean the moving of the ANGEL license from us to Dark Horse next year? You'd have to really ask Dark Horse. But both characters factor big into their [Buffy] Season 9 plans, so I think in Joss's mind, it was just easier to coordinate if both licenses were under one roof.

You mention that IDW has "big plans for ANGEL well into 2011." We know that Wolfram and Hart will be playing a major role in the comic's finale, but are there any other projects within the Whedonverse we'll see at IDW?

Well, you'll see things on three fronts: the ANGEL series itself deals with not only the current "big bad," James — the angel whose been in the series since issue 18 — but also the return of W&H in issue 39. That issue kicks off the final 6-part storyline.

Also, the SPIKE series launching in October sees Spike in Las Vegas and is full of many familiar faces from both past SPIKE series (Betta George, Beck, Tok) and from the larger Whedonverse as well (Willow!).

Finally, the 4-issue ILLYRIA series will delve closer into the changes she's been going through and will be going through in the main ANGEL series as well. So all three books tell separate stories that are nevertheless all part of the same big world that we've built with Angel and company.

Will there be any sort of coordination between IDW and Dark Horse in compiling both the Whedonverse series for trade paperback collections? It was mentioned that the upcoming Spike miniseries would explain his presence in Buffy, for instance.

One unique thing about this particular arrangement is that we can keep all of our ANGEL and SPIKE books in print for years to come, so we'll definitely be doing that, from our SPIKE and final ANGEL storylines all the way back. Beyond that, any future collections that include Dark Horse material will be up to Dark Horse.

And here are a few looks at the future collections from IDW, including the new Illyria and Spike miniseries covers.

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