Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer has always been forward-thinking with its storylines and the wide variety of characters found in both the show and the comic series (which picked up where the show left off). It’s one of the many reasons the show, and now the comics, have had such a diverse fanbase. Buffy has never been about just vampire slaying, it’s about important life questions, big issues we all face, and the diversity around us. This week Dark Horse Comics grabbed attention by announcing that their “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9” would introduce the franchise’s first gay man – Billy the vampire slayer.
Out magazine reports that the new character, Billy, will be introduced in the Season 9 comics. Drew Greenberg, who collaborated with Buffy writer and producer Jane Espenson on the project, tells Out that Billy “is someone who sees a need in his hometown and steps up to fill the void, even at great personal risk.”
As all Buffy fans know, only women can be Slayers, so Greenberg added: “He may not have the actual powers of the Slayers, but he’s determined to be his own kind of hero, one who’s sort of modeled after those who do have the power, and he sets out to make due with what he has. In the process, I think he hopes to follow the lead of all the strong, powerful Slayers who came before him and live up to the standard they set.”
In true Buffy tradition, Billy will be much more than a Slayer, he will be a character with meaning a purpose, just as Willow and Tara were when they showed a happy lesbian couple in a positive light. Greenberg said that the character will “examine traditional gender roles” in addition to being a positive representation of a gay man.
“So much crap gets heaped upon us as gay men — crap from straight people and, frankly, crap from other gay people — about how it’s important to be masculine in this world, how your value is determined by your ability to fit into masculine norms prescribed by heterosexual society and, sadly, co-opted by gay society as a way to further disenfranchise and bully those who don’t meet those norms,” Greenberg is quoted by the magazine as saying. “And those attitudes are a reflection of not just our own internalized homophobia, but of our misogyny, too, and that’s something I’ve never understood.”
I am thrilled that Buffy the Vampire Slayer will feature a gay character in a positive light. Buffy is for everyone, it’s universal, and adding a gay character makes that even more true.
What do you think about Billy?