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Dark Horse and IDW Coordinate ‘Angel’ Publishing Transition

After half a decade at IDW Publishing, Angel and his supporting cast (including Spike and Illyria) are headed back to original comic publisher Dark Horse Comics. Dark Horse teased the transition in its column at the end of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Riley” one-shot on Wednesday, before releasing an official press release along with IDW yesterday evening.
Dark Horse senior managing editor Scott Allie spelled out the new Buffy order in an official press release:

“I’ve always regretted letting Angel go in the first place,” Dark Horse senior managing editor Scott Allie said. “So we’re really excited about getting him back, as well as all his supporting cast. It’s necessary for how Joss wants to handle season nine, details of which will start spilling out in the months to come. Right now, we’ve got to wrap up season eight, and IDW still has a good long run of books before season nine starts.”

IDW’s Chief Creative Officer Chris Ryall came from a slightly different, but still positive angle in IDW’s own announcement:

“We’ve loved the half-decade of publishing the exploits of 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.”

Dark Horse’s reacquisition of Angel comes several months after a communication issue resulted in creator and fan controversy. Back in January, during the launch of its “Twilight” arc in the “Buffy” season eight storyline, Dark Horse made mention of coordinating Angel’s activities in its stories with IDW. Bill Willingham, who had just started a new “Angel” storyline at IDW, was made aware of those plans retroactively and responded to Comic Book Resources’ coverage of the matter with frustration regarding perceived discrepancies between his plans for the character and Dark Horse’s.

The two publishers have long since worked out that issue and are now working in tandem to make the transition easy for fans, with IDW planning a final storyline beginning in its “Spike” ongoing series. According to IDW, “Buffy” supporting character Willow will make an appearance in an issue of “Spike,” effectively helping bridge the two worlds. IDW’s “Illyria” series will also tie into storylines from both publishers this November. New Angel stories will begin at Dark Horse in 2011.

And finally, because I’m a terrible person, a totally YouTube way celebrate the transition:

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