Great television shows come and go, some with more untimely cancellations than others. And while we always have the option of watching reruns and Blu-Ray collections to re-visit our favorite series, there's nothing quite like seeing these familiar characters in all-new stories within their respective worlds.
Thankfully, there are many television shows who have since been taken off the air, but continue today within the pages of comic books. Easily accessible and often helmed by the very creative teams who handled the show during its airing, these provide an opportunity to experience all-new adventures--even if it isn't available in a televised format. Here are some of the very best television shows who have found new life within comics.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer turned twenty years old this year and has been off the air for some time, but her story has continued via comics in this ongoing Dark Horse series. Even going so far as to be labeled "seasons" instead of volumes, these stories are all canon and have the same charm, wit, and life of the timeless television show, all the way down to drama within the Scooby gang and good old-fashioned vampire killing. And, as a bonus, Joss Whedon has overseen the storytelling himself, giving it a dash of genuine credibility.
A continuation of the Nickelodeon series, creator Jhonen Vasquez is at the helm of the Invader Zim comics and keeps it grounded in its familiar absurdist comedic style. Zim returns, hell bent and on a mission to enslave the human race, yet often foiled by Dib the paranormal investigator. It's been many years since Zim was one of Nickelodeon's hit shows, but Zim continues to repeatedly remind us why we became so fond of the little intergalactic psychopath in the first place.
Scully and Mulder have more or less returned via the recent limited series reboot and ordering of more episodes, but their absence from television since the early 2000s has been bridged with a large backlog of comic adaptation stories exploring the weird, paranormal, unknown, and unexplainable as only they could. Much like the others on this list, these comics retain a similar tone, feel, and thematic quality as the original show, providing a much-needed quench for fans.
The Power Rangers have experienced a bit of a rebirth recently in the cinema and have had multiple series iterations over the years, but these comics take things back to the basics again by returning to the early years of Angel Grove and the original Rangers: Billy, Kimberly, Trini, Zack, Jason, and Tommy.
As a bonus, there have been a handful of crossovers and off-shoots recently starring these same Power Rangers in a number of situations, ranging from the Kimberly-focused story found in Power Rangers: Pink, the Aftershock comic picking up directly after the events of the recent film, and in the more recent Power Rangers/Justice League crossover series. Hopefully the new film's success means we'll see the Power Rangers continue to fight evil within the pages of comic books.
Firefly's legacy is one cut tragically short, but its dedicated and passionate fan base has allowed it to subsist despite having been off the air for years. Cosplay, fan animations and art, fan fiction, and collectibles keep the dream of Firefly alive, but it's the comics where we've seen more development take place. In Serenity, the story of Captain Mal Reynolds and his crew continues in a comic series that has been deemed canon and overseen by Joss Whedon himself.
A modern re-imagining of the original 1980s TV show, Jem and the Holograms gives modern context to the challenges of secret rock star Jerrica Benton, her holographic technology, band members, and rivals. It offers a fresh look for an otherwise dated premise, leaning heavily on ideas of relationships, competition, fashion, creativity, and the dynamic nature of friendship to fuel its highly entertaining scenarios.
The adventures of Jake the dog and Finn the human continue in the Adventure Time comics, which sends the iconic heroes back to the Land of Ooo to fight against new threats and team up with familiar characters like Marceline the Vampire Queen, Princess Bubblegum, and Lumpy Space Princess. Much like its television counterpart, the Adventure Time comic series offers a great deal of bizarre whimsy and heartfelt interactions between the characters, coupled with dashes of the show's delightfully absurdist sense of humor.
A companion comic to Buffy, Angel has many of the same trappings as its counterpart. It stars Angel, the ex-lover of Buffy and ally to humanity in the fight against vampires as he continues to fight demonic threats. Even better, he's often aided by the likes of Cordelia, Faith, and others from the Buffy and Angel TV shows, all of which--like the Buffy comics--have been overseen by Joss Whedon himself.
Scooby Apocalypse is part of DC's recent re-imagining of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons in a modern context, taking the characters of yesteryear and dropping them in situations relevant in the 21st century.
One of the most bizarrely entertaining is Scooby Apocalypse, in which Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma, and Daphne all find themselves in the midst of the apocalypse and having to deal with zombies and finding a cure to restore humanity. There are no masks to rip off in here; these zombies are real, and the Mystery Machine crew have to figure out how to save the world.
Picking up almost immediately after the end of the Legend of Korra television show, this series continues the exploits of the intrepid avatar as she continues to maintain balance within the world. It's not released yet--the series is set to debut in June of this year--but the comic has already been praised for its bold exploration of the relationship between Korra and Asami Sato, two characters who had long been friends during the show's run on television, but who realized their feelings for each other in the series finale. It's equal parts a diversity win and a chance to see more of the tragically short-lived show, which has us more than excited to finally read it within the next few weeks.