Author: Rupert Giles (though we suspect that he may have had some help from Nancy Holder)
Publisher: Titan Books
Published: OUT NOW
So, 12 years after the show finished, how can publishers still find new ideas for books about Buffy The Vampire Slayer? More to the point how can Nancy Holder find anything new to say about Buffy The Vampire Slayer? She’s not only written an entire library of Buffy and Angel fiction, she’s also authored and co-authored numerous Buffyverse non-fiction books too, including a couple of Watcher’s Guides, and The Making Of A Slayer.
The answer is: you don’t actually say anything new. You just say it in a new way.
The conceit behind Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Demons Of The Hellmouth is that it’s Rupert Giles’s collected observations on all the supernatural beings the Scooby Gang encountered in Sunnydale: a demon and vampire bestiary, as it were. The really fun part is that it’s copiously annotated with margin notes and doodles by Buffy, Willow, Xander and Faith. At one point, Faith even sticky tapes in an entire confessional about how she felt after killing a human by mistake.
It’s all great fun, if you get all the references. You really do need a degree in Buffyology to get the most out the book but then… who other than a Buffy nut would want to but it in the first place?
Holder captures the characters perfectly, as you’d expect from somebody associated with the franchise for so long, and even adds some poignant reflection amongst all the snark. For example, the original entry on Drusilla is full of sneaking admiration from the (then) Watcher, but he later updates it after Drusilla has killed Kendra.
Mostly, though, the emphasis is on fun, a lot of it provided by Xander, of course (“Running away? Also a time-honoured battle technique”). Occasionally the annotations feel a little forced, inserted purely because that’s this book’s “thing” but mostly they’re good value
The main problem with a book published this far after the event, though, is the visual material. There’s an obvious reliance on over-familiar publicity shots (which don’t even really work within the context of the book – would Drusilla really pose for a portrait?). To balance this the book uses some gimmicky design to make it look like a scrapbook and there are loads of new sketches throughout.
This is, undeniably, a milking exercise. But, hey, if the milk still makes good shakes, why not? Come Christmas it’ll make a gratefully received stocking filler for any potential Slayer.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Demons Of The Hellmouth is available now from Titan Books.