Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My review of The Buffyverse Catalog

This is a review of the Buffyverse Catalog: A Complete Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel in Print, Film, Television, Comics, Games and Other Media, 1992-2010, by Don Macnaughtan. 326 pages.

Amazon description of the book:
This bibliographic guide covers the "Buffyverse"--the fictional worlds of the acclaimed television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) and its spinoff Angel (1999-2004), as well as the original Buffy feature film of 1992. It is the largest and most inclusive work of its kind. The author organizes and describes both the original texts of the Buffyverse (episodes, DVDs, novels, comic books, games, and more) and the secondary materials created about the shows, including books, essays, articles, documentaries, dissertations, fan production and websites. This vast and diverse collection of information about these two seminal shows and their feature-film forebear provides an accessible, authoritative and comprehensive survey of the subject."
I was excited as soon as I heard Don working on this and I’m very happy Don sent me this book to review (I mean who doesn’t love free stuff?). He also helped me by answering a few questions, since this is the first bibliographic catalog like this I’ve read.

Now, what this is, is a catalog (duh!) that in it’s first half aims to list everything officially licensed by FOX, such as episodes, comics, scripts etc etc, also including licensed print media such as posters, trading cards, etc etc. However, non-print collectibles, for example, action figures, plates, are not included(I’d love for there to be a complete catalog of those one day).

The second half of the book has unlicensed material listed, such a fan art, fanfiction, essays, articles, etc etc, but doesn’t aim to be complete.

For example, all Buffy & Angel episodes are listed, while the official trailers for these episodes are summarized (if that’s the appropriate word to use) where Macnaughtan speaks of the trailers that exist (that they can often be found online, that TV spots were “produced in 12, 22 and 32 seconds versions”(p.31) ).

As mentioned above, it’s divided in two parts, licensed and unlicensed. Have a look at the table of contents.
Page 1 http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i198/Skytteflickan88/toc1a.jpg
Page 2 http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i198/Skytteflickan88/toc2.jpg

Section 1-14, 17, 19, and 23 are complete, while section 15, 16, 18, 20-22 have selections and summarizations.

Now, I didn’t read all sections religiously, I skimmed through some and didn't double-check. For example, I didn’t check that he had all the names of the writers and directors right in the episode section. However, I did go through section 2c, 2d, 7b-d, 11b, 21, 22 more thoroughly.

I did see some errors, or things I personally would have written differently (re-named some titles to clarify which lists were meant to be complete and which just showed selections of materials). But what troubles me more is that he didn’t write that there was a difference between trade paperbacks and hardcovers in the comics section (he just wrote trade paperbacks) since some arc/mini-series/series, for example Angel after the fall vol. 1-4, were released in both trade paperbacks and hardcovers editions. He also admits he slipped up with the main Angel IDW series of 44 issues, since he didn’t write down the individual names, he just wrote that issue 18-44 were named Aftermath. I’d like to point out that otherwise the IDW sub-sections seems complete, (unless the IDW artist Elena Casagrande's sketch book came out before 2011 and should be in there with the other sketch books as well) and those were the biggest errors I found in the book.

To sum up, this is a book that lists the official materials and summarizes the unofficial ones, from 1992-2010(some comics released in 2011 were also mentioned). You might need to take out a pen and doodle in the side margin on some pages, but mostly, you’ll be like me, itching to take out your wallet and spend it on magazines, fanzines, board games and books you didn’t know existed.


  1. I also bought this book, like you I will mostly use it as a shopping list. :-D
    I personally never collected the IDW comic series, so I cannot comment on the mistakes. I find that you gave an honest and fair opinion.