Welcome to the Hellmouth! By which I mean, welcome to the realisation that Buffy the Vampire Slayer first premiered twenty years ago this month. In order the celebrate the unstoppable passage of time that renders all our lives essentially meaningless in the end, the fine folks at Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products are releasing a line of commemorative merch. There’s apparently going to be all sorts of tat released throughout the year, but below you’ll find (almost) everything we know about so far. Some of it looks good, some of it looks bad, and I’m here to tell you what’s which.
There’s a bunch of t-shirts, which I’ll get to in a minute, but most exciting is Hot Topic’s line of replica costumes. It’s not launching till summer, but they’ve released previews of three items and they are giving me life.
Buffy’’s ‘Graduation Day’ Trench Coat (Hot Topic, Summer)
When I first saw this, my heart was filled with joy. “You have to own this,” it told me, “International shipping be damned.” It’s probably the most iconic look of all Buffy looks; imagine the adoring looks you’d get from fellow Buffy fans as you walk to the shops. But then my brain took over. Think of everyone in the world that hasn’t seen Buffy. To them, you’re just walking to the shops in the kind of brown leather monstrosity we didn’t let escape the nineties for a reason. In fact, it looks exactly like something Trinny and/or Susannah thought you should be wearing. Maybe it’s best to save this one for convention season.
10/10 if you’re a cosplayer, otherwise 7/10
Willow’s ‘Doppelgangland’ Sweater (Hot Topic, Summer)
This is clearly the greatest thing humankind has ever produced. If Willow’s jumpers are legendary, this is the kind of legend that sends men to their graves. In a good way. It has so much going for it, most obviously that it allows you to live your dreams of being not just Willow, but gay evil vampire Willow too. For pulling double duty, I award double points.
Faith’s Season 3 Jacket (Hot Topic, Summer)
This has the opposite problem to Buffy’s coat, in that it’s kind of… just a leather jacket, and not even a particularly great one. It probably wouldn’t even merit a mention on Kate Leth’s Buffy Fashion Watch, which isn’t what I want from a replica Buffy costume. On the other hand, every time you wore it you’d be reminded of season three – objectively the best season of Buffy – and can you really put a price on that?
T-shirts (Ripple Junction, March 10th)
There are a lot of t-shirts out this year, and they generally range from ‘meh’ to ‘okay’. I’ve chucked two of my favourites above; I could see myself wearing that Sunnydale Slayers t-shirt to roller derby practice, if I hadn’t broken my arm in my first ever session and sworn off the sport for life. None of them jumped out at me, but you can see the full line-up on Yahoo, and buy any you like from Box Lunch from March 10th.
Been There, Killed That Mug (Surreal Entertainment, May)
This looks so uncomfortable? I get what they’re going for, but this is not how human hands work. And surely that stake isn’t dishwasher safe.
Heart & Stake Mug (Surreal Entertainment, May)
This is pretty cute, actually! It’s shaped like a regular human mug and having the heart as a reveal at the bottom is fun and presumably the stake in this one is intended for stirring your drink? I’m down for that.
B Necklace (SG@NYC, ‘Available Soon’)
Kinda gross. Sorry.
Keychain (SG@NYC, ‘Available Soon’)
I had to go to a hardware store near my work a few months ago to get a key cut and they had a display of keychains by the till. For some unknowable reason, they were advertising them with the tagline ‘Keychains! The next big thing!’ I now can’t look at a keychain without thinking of that story and laughing.
I Slay Bracelet (SG@NYC, ‘Available Soon’)
If Buffy wore one of those medical allergy bracelets, it would look like this. I think that’s a compliment?
Sunnydale High School Graduation Pin (SG@NYC, ‘Available Soon’)
Do you remember about half a dozen items ago where I mentioned my fondness for Sunnydale High School merchandise? I also have a penchant for pin badges, so this is right up my alley. It looks subtle and well-made and I’d be proud to wear it on my denim jacket.
Okay, there are a lot of books coming out. Given that we literally have a whole idiom about how judging books by their cover is a bad thing, I’m going to skip over most of them. I would, however, like to sneak in a shout-out for the third volume of Buffy: the High School Years, which is out in July and looks like it’s going to be as fun as the first two. Anyway, here’s some other stuff:
Adult Colouring Books (Dark Horse, Now/Autumn)
Am I the only one who never got on board with the adult colouring book trend? Sure, I get why people like them, but I even found colouring in tedious as a kid. If you’re not a colouring book Scrooge like me, there are two on offer for you to scribble your way through. The first is out now and looks like your fairly standard nerdy colouring book; I’m more excited about the Big Bads and Monsters book, out in Autumn, because I find the idea of lovingly colouring in the Master’s gross little mouth hilarious.
Stationery Set (Insights Journals, August)
How cool does this look? It includes a blank journal, wax stamp and a couple of wax sticks, letter-writing paper, envelopes, and a paperweight. This isn’t out till August but as soon as I can get my hands on it I’m going to take Giles as my inspiration, throw away my computer and spend the rest of the summer writing letters to everyone I know. Until then, I’ll have to settle for pre-ordering it. Using my computer.
Board Games (Upper Deck, August / Jasco, Out Now)
There are also two board games coming out! The first is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer version of Legendary, the deck-building game that started off as a tie-in to the Marvel universe and has since expanded to include everything from Alien to Big Trouble in Little China. I’ve never played any of the series myself, but I sure hope the art is better than it was in the Firefly edition of the game. The second is a more traditional board game that actually came out last month. You play as one of the Scoobies and fight monsters of the week around Sunnydale until you work your way up to defeating the Big Bad. It honestly looks pretty cool, and there’s a play-through up on YouTube but it’s forty minutes long, pretty confusing and I zoned out under three minutes in. Anyway, if you have the room full of Buffy fans required to play either of these, why not play Monsterhearts instead? It’s a super accessible indie tabletop RPG where you play as queer monster teens. If you want to check it out, you can either pre-order Monsterhearts 2 for expected release in June or download resources for the original game for free.
Play Monsterhearts Instead/10