Since you're reading this on Airlock Alpha, you already know the joys of being a scifi fan needn't end when an episode's final credits roll.
From visiting Web sites like this one, to collecting books, figurines, and DVDs, individuals and companies offer us seemingly endless tie-in opportunities.
On one level, the chance to read some celebrity interviews or collect various geegaws offers a chance to express our affection for our favorite show or movie. On another, it serves only to deepen our personal connections to the work in question, to link us more closely with the characters we follow and the overall world they inhabit.
That's especially true for an ongoing TV series, which we invite into our homes week in, week out. These collectables and such make us feel more a part of these worlds.
And when, sooner or later, that dread day comes when our favorite show goes off the air for the last time, continuing on with its related merchandise may be the only thing that salves the loss, makes us feel that, somehow, the universe of that series and everything that made it special has a chance to live on.
It may be ancient history now, but the last time Star Trek disappeared, the only way fans could continue to follow Captain Kirk and the crew through new adventures in the dark, empty days of the 1970s was through the mass-market paperbacks published by Bantam and later Pocket Books. (True, there was fan fiction, but laying your hands on it was a bit more difficult in the days before the World Wide Web let you punch it up in an instant.)
And so it has been for the last year or two for we fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its wonderful spinoff, "Angel," since those shows took their bows.
Some of the most colorful and ubiquitous links to scifi series are the tie-in magazines that line the racks of your local Barnes&Noble or Borders superstores. I've never been a huge consumer of those tie-in magazines, but in the months since the "Angel" finale, "Not Fade Away," well, actually did fade away, I've periodically gotten a little cheer from catching Titan Magazines' "Angel" tie-in.
In a way, it helped me perpetuate my own fiction that somehow "Angel" and his Fang Gang weren't really gone.
After the series finale came and went in May 2004, the magazine kept coming, and I would see it and occasionally wonder, "Hmmm, how long can a magazine about a defunct series go on?"
Since "Angel" is now in reruns on cable on TNT, I thought maybe that was sufficient to breathe enough life into the franchise to justify keeping the magazine going. Or, maybe, the editors knew something I didn't and were just waiting for the series to come back in some new way ... .
But, no, and now I have the answer to my question. This is it.
The current issue, which screams the headline, "Angel Reborn!," is apparently the last.
There's no big fanfare at the end, just a little note at the top of an interview with former "Angel" executive producer Jeff Bell.
"So we're talking about the last issue of Angel Magazine, huh?" Bell says. "How many shows have magazines about them, and how many shows have magazines that last even a few months after the show is over? So, it's amazing, Angel Magazine. Good-bye and God bless."
I was surprised the magazine didn't give itself at least a little bit bigger send-off.
The big "Angel reborn" news on the cover is a feature on comic books, which is great, but comic books are such a niche market that somebody is publishing books based on Ã¢â‚¬Å“AngelÃ¢â‚¬Â aren't really big news.
The issue, though, also features interviews with stars David Boreanaz, James Marsters and Andy Hallett, which are all pretty neat.
But, then, this really is the end of the road. No further chance to collect free glossy posters of the likes of Juliet "Dru" Landau or Julie "Darla" Benz. Truly, it's the end of an era.
Before I got too morose about this sad little milestone, I logged onto Titan Magazines' Web site.
I was curious to find they also publish a "Battlestar Galactica" tie-in and clicked on the link.
"COMING SOON," they promise. "Pre-order now."
Well, as always in capitalism, one door closes, and other opens ... .
A former entertainment journalist, Scott Nance is a member of the USS Chesapeake, an independent science-fiction and Star Trek club in the Washington, D.C., area. He is a columnist for Airlock Alpha, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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