Feeding a Fandom: How Graphic Novels are keeping a Show/Movie alive?

Firefly was an American space western drama that aired from 2002-2003 and only lasted for 14 episodes. The show takes place during the year 2517 and is primarily set on Serenity, a “Firefly-class” spaceship, which is owned and captained by Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds. The show focuses on nine main characters: Mal, Zoe, Wash, Inara, Jayne, Kaylee, Simon, River, and Book. Following the show, Joss Whedon, the producer of Firefly, directed a movie in 2005 called Serenity as a continuation after the events of the last episode of Firefly.

Although the show lasted for less than a year, it gained a multitude of fans and is still loved by many. However, unlike many other fandoms, people who love Firefly do not have as much content to view. In 2005, everything changed. Serenity hit theaters, and the fans loved it. On the other hand, Whedon did not just stop with a movie. He began the creation of Serenity, a series of comic books that were published between 2005 and 2017 by Dark Horse Comics. The series is confirmed as a canonical continuation of both the television series and the film.

The books in the Serenity series are stand-alone. They can be read independent of each other. A few of the comics provide new content that was not seen in the television series or the film. While some of the comics expand on topics brought up during the show and movie’s story line. The fans are now able to find out more information about the universe that was taken so quickly from them. The graphic novels have been a way for the fans to gain answers to an assortment of questions they have had since the series began and ended.

Samnee, Chris. “The Shepherd’s Tale.” Goodreads, Dave Stewart, Steve Morris. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8596384-the-shepherd-s-tale

Book 3 is called The Shepherd’s Tale, and it answers one of the most asked questions the fans have about the series. Who is Shepherd Derrial Book? The fans have been questioning this from the beginning of the show, and we have finally gotten an answer. The third book in the series picks up with the attack that left Book severely injured. After this initial illustration, we learn more about who Book is through flashbacks to different events that have led to where he is today. We even get flashbacks from when he was a young boy. These flashbacks can be seen on the torn scraps of paper floating out of Book’s hand on the cover of the graphic novel.

Conrad, Will. “Those Left Behind.” Goodreads, Adam Hughes. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/133765.Those_Left_Behind

Those Left Behind is the first book in the Serenity series. The story line for this book takes place after the events of the last episode of the show but is a prequel to the film. The first book provides additional content on what happened to some of the crew at the end of the show, such as deciding to leave the ship. The graphic novel also introduces characters that are important to the movie’s story line. Yet again, the book resolves some unanswered questions from the show as well.

Overall, it may be said that a series does not have to have been cut short for there to be a graphic novel. There are many movies and shows that have graphic novel adaptations. The use of the graphic novel as a format for adaptations or continuations of shows and movies is just another way to keep ‘feeding’ a fandom and keep it alive. 

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I hope you enjoyed this post and are now interested in reading the graphic novels or watching either the show or movie! ~ Alex

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