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Dark Horse Introduces Billy the Vampire Slayer To Their Buffy Season 9 Comic


You know how it goes: ”Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer.” Operative words there being “girl” and “she,” so what’s the story with Dark Horse Comics’ new gay male slayer? Hit the jump to find out! 

Dark Horse gave the exclusive to Out.com today (how novel, a comic company making a smart PR choice!), revealing a brand new slayer on the scene for Season 9, named Billy. Longtime Buffy pal Jane Espenson explains Billy is going the Batman route, or the Nightwing route, as it were.

“Batman doesn’t have super powers. He wasn’t gifted with an exotic foreign birth,” Espenson told Out. “So we take the Batman route; Billy is earning the Slayer mantle.”

Espenson (she recently announced a digital comic based on her web comedy, Husbands) is collaborating with Drew Greenberg (who also worked with her on the television series) on Billy the Vampire Slayer. “For very good reason, we’ve focused on the female empowerment part of Buffy,” she said, “but I wondered, Did we leave something out? What if someone in high school is looking up to Buffy as a role model, and we’re saying: ‘You can’t be a Slayer.’”

Out writes, “Greenberg says that Billy is about a young man who finds strength by standing up to vampires (a metaphor for bullies?) and defining who he is going to be rather than letting others tell him who he should be.”

And what about the naysayers who will inevitably call adding a gay, male slayer, a ploy to sell more comics (let’s not forget they are a business, people)?

“We’re hardly pandering when we make a comic book,” said Espenson. “There’s always growing pains when making progress, but I think cycnicism in the face of inclusion may not be a profitable route in making progress.”

“I have no problem telling a story about a boy who’s always felt more comfortable identifying with what society tells him is more of a feminine role. 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 says. “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. So if this is a story that causes people to examine traditional gender roles and think of them as something more fluid, I’m thrilled.”

Read more of what Espenson and Greenberg had to say, plus check out some preview pages from the issue, at Out.

You can pick up Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9, #14, with a cool variant cover by regular artist Georges Jeanty (you can see the full cover on Out.com), in your local comic shops or through the Dark Horse digital comics app, on October 10th.

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  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I could not give less of a shit whether a new character in Buffy is gay, though I would actually be impressed if any of the original canon Buffy characters actually took a stand and decided whether they were straight instead of the constant flip-flop (which DOES seem like a ploy). Aside from Willow. Obviously, Willow.

  • Terence Ng

    Actually, this story made me think about people who are intersex. Do they get called? Partially called? Technically, Melaka Fray’s twin brother, Harth, has some Slayer powers (their collective memories), so it’s definitely not the first time a male or character in special circumstance has received Slayer mojo.

    Clearly, that’s not the case here, but just a thought…

  • http://twitter.com/MarySueTwiteth Mary Sue

    Dangit, I was hoping it would be a FTM trans slayer.

  • http://twitter.com/ReallyOnlyErin Erin Treat

    Males are already empowered, that’s what the Buffy series was a reaction to.
    I guess we should have expected Espenson’s efforts to ruin the Buffy series would extend to the comic as well.

  • http://twitter.com/MarySueTwiteth Mary Sue

    It’s called “bisexual”. Not flip-flopping, not indecisive.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Except in cases where someone is flip-flopping or indecisive. Don’t make broad generalizations. There isn’t a single character (except Willow, er, and Oz, and Tara…but damn close to everyone else) that has definitely confirmed their sexual identity and the constant shift back and forth or jokes or reveals at the expense of the character weaken them in my eyes. The reveal that Buffy had slept with a woman was promoted like crazy, especially the particular shot of them together, naked, in bed. It’s almost as blatant to me as Jay Sherman repeating, “Buy My Book! Buy My Book!”

    And it’s unrealistic. Make that a relatively minor pet peeve since this a world in which vampires mingle freely with bug aliens. Not everyone is bisexual. Not everyone flip-flops. Not everyone is indecisive.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I don’t see why the powers couldn’t transfer. They were artificially introduced to begin with and the the show and comic have shown before that spells, prophecies, and so on, can change.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Yes, men already have super powers. It just isn’t fair.

  • Terence Ng

    How heteronormative. I would state that only straight men or gay men who pass heteronormative definitions of masculinity are empowered.

    And frankly, among women, heterosexual, cis-genderd women clearly reap the privilege of heteronormativity…

  • Terence Ng

    Wow, that’d actually be kind of interesting…thought I wonder about the load of complex conversations that would bring. Cool because a there’s a male slayer? Offensive because being called suggests he isn’t a “real man”?

  • http://twitter.com/thebravestheart thebravestheart

    I’d love to say this is the stupidest thing I’ve heard, but I’ve read about the other Buffy comic book story lines, so I can’t. Angel is a not a vampire slayer, neither are Xander, Wesley, or Gunn. Billy is also not a vampire slayer. This is just mis-labeling, and in that respect definitely smells like pandering. In the Buffyverse, men and women can both fight vampires. The people who do it without slayer-specific powers are called vampire hunters. It’s that simple. Being a gay man doesn’t exempt you from a system of privilege associated with being a man, any more than being a white woman exempts you from a system of privilege associated with being white. Vampire slayers are a metaphorical reaction to a certain brand of oppression, and lumping all brands of oppression together in a big pile has never done anything but reduce the complexity and visibility of issues within those oppressed groups. Espenson would know that if she ever decided to pick up a book.

  • http://twitter.com/thebravestheart thebravestheart

    There’s absolutely nothing heteronormative about wanting to keep gender issues separate from sexuality issues. Personally, I find gay men who refuse to own their privilege as problematic as white lesbians who refuse to own their white privilege.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/13/1064148/-Gay-men-male-privilege-and-intersectionality-A-reponse-to-On-Slut-shaming-and-Gay-Men

  • http://twitter.com/ReallyOnlyErin Erin Treat

    I didn’t realize that we now live in a post sexist society.

  • Terence Ng

    You would be the only one to draw that conclusion from my statement.

    Shall I ask the obvious question, then? You think we live in a post-gay society?

    I didn’t argue that women are in a post-sexist society, but you seem to be suggesting that a narrative where a gay male confronts homophobia in the context of the feminist narrative is somehow demeaning to the notion of disempowerment and privilege. You know “ruining Buffy” and all that lovely language.

    And frankly, a story where a boy decides to fight vampires WITHOUT receiving feminist Slayer mojo, viewing the empowerment of women around him as an inspiration to confront homophobia and finding his own empowerment in a heterosexist society doesn’t really ruin anything to me. What it tells me is that the lessons of the struggle for female empowerment in a sexist society can be beneficial to other oppressed minorities.

    Unless, of course, you’re of the mindset that Oppression Olympics are worth playing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kateahays Kate A Hays

    I wish they’d gone the route of having a trans* MTF character. Violence against transwomen is so high, it would be a fitting turn of the Slayer mythology to include someone who has to face the greatest victimization in expressing their womanhood in their female-empowered, anti-victim ranks.

  • Terence Ng

    Except a statement like “Men are already empowered” IS heteronormative, because it ignores the myriad of intersectionalities of identities that contribute to disenfranchisement and empowerment. It ignores the racial disempowerment of men of color, it ignores heteronormativity and homophobia, it ignores transphobia and reduces the idea of being empowered or not to being a sexism issue. If the OP was more specific and suggested that “many men” already have privilege, or that Buffy is supposed to be a narrative about the specific empowerment issues facing cis-gendered, white women (you know, not the women of color who get marginalized or refrigerator-ed), then I wouldn’t be concerned with pointing out the flaws in her statement.

    Nor do I argue in my original response that the character here is totally disenfranchised as a gay male. Clearly as a male in a sexist society, he has privilege, but maleness confers greater privileges provided that you don’t transgress gender issues, including behaviors and sexualities. Ignoring that is as problematic as gay men ignoring their male privilege, and white women ignoring their white privilege. Erasing disempowerment by only focusing on one aspect of identity is problematic, and in this case, ignores heterosexual privilege.

    I find your initial statement quite interesting, and perhaps naive, provided you actually did mean gender instead of “sex”. Gender IS constructed, and the issue of sexuality is embedded in gender norms. People are privileged by their sex, and they’re privileged by their adherence to dominant and preferred gender norms. “Masculinity” in women is either praised or denigrated depending on which aspect of masculinity gender norms it plays to (“one-of-the-guys” girl, or “disgusting, too-manly” girl), and “femininity” in men is disparaged most of the time, including the sexual proclivity toward one’s own sex.

    The character would be privileged by his sex, but would not be privileged because of his gender/non-gender conformity which is tied to his sexuality.

  • Terence Ng

    I agree with most of your argument here, though I don’t think Espenson is saying they are exactly the same, only that they have some similarities in struggle. And considering how closely sex and gender are connected, possibly closer than other oppressed groups.

    But I have a separate question: What was Harth when he was human and if he started hunting vampires? He has half of a Slayer’s powers.

  • http://twitter.com/allxthatxpunk Shannon S.

    I like the concept. After reading the article, I’m glad they didn’t actually give him Slayer powers. He takes it upon himself to fight the evil that plagues his town. He’s a self-made Slayer.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I personally find phrasing such as “own their privilege” to be best represented by the College Liberal meme.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.bownes Danielle Michelle Bownes

    Agreed. It is mislabelling. It looks like Billy here is just a vampire hunter, like Xander, Gunn, and co. Nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Can I somehow make this conversation about how Massachusetts just screwed its residents by allowing a court judge to agree to pay (with taxpayer money) for a prisoner’s selective surgery, sex change operation?

  • Anonymous

    Man, I love this! I like the concept and can’t wait to see how they handle it. The Buffy franchise always has the best LGBT characters and I’m really intrigued by the angle this one might be taking. Of course its still early to tell anything other then optimistic hope. But still, awesome!

    As a gay teenage boy myself, I really don’t care whether this its pandering or not. If it is, its working cause I absolutely love it!

  • TKS

    Whoever voted this down is a terrible person.

  • Anonymous

    So was I.

  • TKS

    I disagree with you that most the characters have sexual confusion. Honestly, the only one I can think of is Buffy, and that was in the comics. (I haven’t read all of season 8, though.)

    I do agree that with Buffy it seemed to be a ploy. It had never been established anywhere else that Buffy was questioning, and to throw that in suddenly seemed to be disingenuous.

    (I also agree with Mary Sue that bisexuality isn’t flip-flopping or indecisive.) I agree with your point, but not your phrasing.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I agree with the both of you that bisexuality isn’t flip-flopping or indecisiveness, nor do I see the three as being interchangeable labels. That was kind of my point…although, humorous exchanges, flirtations, the odd look here and there…a lot of what I see in the show and the comic could be interpreted many ways, so I won’t argue whether it is the case that those things are done deliberately or else I’m reading too deeply into them.

  • Anonymous

    Dude thanks, :D
    But you don’t need to jump to my aid.
    I really appreciate the defense but I understand how some might take a slight dislike of my comment and I don’t take offense. In fact, thinking a bit more on it, I see how it could be a bit misconstrued. Perhaps I should elaborate a bit further.

    I like this idea for the obvious reasons. But its really great to see comics introducing more LGBT characters. Billy could even turn out to be a positive role model, I appreciate that.

    As for the pandering thing:
    Is it pandering? I don’t know.
    I’m inclined to say no, given that they’ve specifically stated that he isn’t really a slayer. He doesn’t have any supernatural abilities. He’s just a kid who wants to kill some demons. Also, given that Buffy has always been about subverting traditional gender roles.
    Then again, they’ve actually bothered to name him “slayer” while other similar ass-kicking straight vampire killers were never afforded that title. its a bit incriminating.
    I really can’t decide wether its empty pandering to grab at some sales or not.

    Either way, the reason I don’t care is that most comic book publishers already bend over backwards to make many of their female characters- well, bend over backwards to pander specifically to straight male comic fans. I really don’t think one comic’s pseudo-pandering to gay teenagers could be a threat to that delicate equilibrium.

    There, elaborated!

  • TKS

    Sorry about that. I didn’t mean for it to be “jumping to your aid” as much expressing my being consistently disappointed that any sort of excitement or optimism always seems to be hunted down. Sorry it seems that way.

    IMO, whether or not it’s pandering doesn’t really matter. As long as they are presenting a character from an underrepresented group in a way that gives respect to that character and their story, I am okay with it.

    Can I make a reading suggestion? Check out Young Avengers If you are interested in well written LGBT characters. Particularly the trades Sidekicks, Family Matters, and Children’s Crusade. (The last one might not make sense if you haven’t read Avengers Disassembled or House of M. They go over the plot, but reading a summary and reading the book isn’t the same.)

  • TKS

    Now I see your point on vocabulary. Good call.

  • Not Impressed

    Q: Why couldn’t this character be a lesbian?

    A: Male privilege.

  • JW

    Harth only had the visions though. Doesn’t that just make him a “seer”?

    Also, it just occurred to me how delightfully reversed those roles are; Fray, the girl, has the tough-guy powers like super strength and rapid-healing… it’s the boy who has psychic visions.

    That is like literally the exact opposite of how those kinds of roles traditionally play out, either in mythology (the oracle at Delphi anyone?) or in genre fiction (non-physical mental roles, such The Empath, more often than not a female role). That’s kind of neat, and almost certainly deliberate on Whedon’s part.

    In regards to this actual topic at hand: if they just randomly gave him Slayer powers, I would be offended (because the whole point is FEMALE empowerment)… but the way they’ve described this, if you actually read their statements, makes it sound fine to me. Two reasons for this, I feel.

    For one, this dude is not getting “Slayer Powers” – he’s a vampire slayer only by virtue of slaying a vampire with a stake – but he’s reportedly taking inspiration from the actual capitol-S Slayers, much like say, Batwoman and Batgirl and Nightwing take inspiration from Batman. That to me is actually kind of a neat idea – not just because of the “guy taking inspiration from strong women” bit, but because in fact in-universe the Slayers at this point are known about by the general public, but often vilified (in part because of one rogue Slayer going after Harmony – the very face of Friendly Neighborhood Vampirism – when cameras were rolling). So, it’s going to be interesting to see how that is handled. I wonder if it’s going to be kind of like DC’s current Batwoman – with the person in question meeting the hero they later model themselves after. Any case, the “not gifting him with supernatural powers” thing still allows it to fit with established canon and not undermine the symbolic power of the Slayer role.

    Here’s the second reason I’m okay with it: part of the point being made is that it’s okay for men to take on female roles, something our gender-norm-obsessed culture frowns upon actually even more so than it does females taking on “masculine” roles… and frankly, is even more offensive. Why? Because it implies that “male” roles are better, of course girls can aspire to them now! But you know, those female roles, not so much… boys shouldn’t aspire to those, ew, there’s something wrong with that somehow. Greenberg is right to point out that it’s only misogyny that allows for that kind of double standard.

    This is a message I’m frankly kind of cool with, and have actually considered writing my own stories about, precisely because it is indeed an ignored theme in modern fiction.

    Granted, it’s possibly a bit muddled by the fact that the Slayer role itself is a gendered role-reversal. But otherwise, it’s a fair point ;)

  • Anonymous

    No, don’t think I’m not touched by your support. Really, I really appreciate it and I didn’t mean to come off as ungrateful. I just thought my comment might have been a bit vague and I understand how some might take it the wrong way.

    I’ve heard from others about Young Avengers, isn’t it Avengers Academy now? Either way, I’ve read House of M but I’ve yet to read Disassembled, right after I correct that I’m definitely getting into it. Looking forward to it :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindsey.stock.7 Lindsey Stock

    I’ve watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer since before I knew what the word gay meant, and the depictions of lgbt characters on the show was a big comfort to me when I was figuring out my sexuality in my early teens (even though the show had ended by that point and I was watching re-runs).. No one in the show ever made a real big deal about Willow and Tara’s relationship, it just seemed like a normal, ordinary thing, and that early influence made it easier for me to recognize and accept that I liked other girls before I was influenced by all the really negative opinions of others. And I’m loving the comic continuations as well, even Season 8 despite all the criticisms it’s overall plot received (Giant Dawn and mecha-Dawn fighting through Tokyo was my favorite scene ever, I don’t care what anyone says!).. I’m looking forward to the Willow mini-series too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindsey.stock.7 Lindsey Stock

    There are already strong depictions of lesbians in BTVS, why shouldn’t gay males be included too? Remember Willow and Tara? They started their relationship in a time where gay relationships weren’t as openly depicted on television, especially not kissing and love-making. And it seems a little silly to accuse a comic where 9 out of 10 characters are women who spend their lives kicking the asses of demons (demons that are more often than not male) of pandering to male privilege.

  • Bryan Gillis

    Because there are already lesbian vampire slayers, perhaps? Though I can’t say I blame you for denying the existence of Kennedy.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Ugh, it is a bit anal of me to pick at wordplay, isn’t it? I’m sorry. I realize that there may not be much to distinguish each of the words for some people.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I am really curious why my comment was voted down, haha…it wasn’t exactly a hard debate opinion.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I wonder if it will lead to them somehow granting him slayer powers, though.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I LOVED the wild turns in Season 8 and assumed that it was all stuff Joss would have loved to have put into the show if only their budget had been astronomical, and so the backlash surprised me…you’re absolutely right, and especially about the gay characters. I’m right now thinking of Dawn’s reaction to Willow and Tara reconciling, just sheer glee.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Goddammit, that just made it interesting to me too.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I wanted to jump in and disagree wholeheartedly but with a giant butt, as well…I absolutely disagree that pandering with the addition of an underrepresented minority is ALWAYS good, since I find it highly exploitative and insulting sometimes…BUTT (with two T’s!), just for example, the introduction of the new Ultimate Spider-Man has been a fantastic story line so far and has rejuvenated a run that had grown quite stale over the last twenty or so issues. The character stands on his own merit and is different enough from Peter Parker that I’m no longer of the opinion that he’s a black Spider-Man for the sake of creating a black Spider-Man.

    So, I would say this depends largely on the skill of the creative team. Am I too cynical not to think most additions such as the above are done for the PR and marketing departments? Yes. But a skilled team of writers can usually pull it off, regardless of the character’s origins.

    Thus, I’m cynically optimistic about the new slayer. Honestly, like the slummy humdrum stories that were cropping up in Ultimate Spider-Man, season 9 could use a kick in the ass.

  • Not Impressed

    Blah, blah. Reverse sexism. Blah, blah. Men are so underrepresented in comics. Zzzz.

  • JW

    Actually, that would make it really interesting… and it’s plausible! There’s a bit of a suggestion in past canon that the “Shadow Men” who created the Slayer Line were quite literal in lot of their spellwork… the reason Faith had Slayer powers before the other Potentials were activated by Willow’s spell was because Buffy “died” at the end of the first season…

    …except it wasn’t brain death. It was clinical death – her heart and respiration stopped, but she was resuscitated. Yet that heart having stopped was enough to trigger the activation of the next Slayer.

    Somehow, I feel pretty certain that the Shadow Men, being from an ancient cult and all, probably defined “female” the old-fashioned way: by “has female reproductive organs”. More to the point, we’re not sure exactly when a girl (or should I say “girl” in quotes here?) becomes defined as a Potential – someone could even have transitioned by the time this part of the story comes around, for all we know.

    So a female-to-male transgendered individual as a Slayer is totally plausible given the canon and, let’s be frank, it allows for a brilliant examination of the unfairness of judging a person based on their biology. Imagine how hard it would sting to get a “girl’s” superpowers when you don’t consider yourself a “girl”… granted, with nothing being terribly wrong with said superpowers, but still.

    Somebody should suggest it to the writers; it’s a pretty cool idea that leaves a lot of room for interesting character exploration, which sounds like it’s right up their alley.

    Also, it would nice, frankly, because you so rarely seem to see FTMs in fiction – it’s rare you see ANY transfolk, but especially FTMs. Granted, MTFs are statistically more common, but still… even those are rare in fiction.

  • Not Impressed

    Yes, of course. I keep forgetting how important the male perspective is. Society does such a poor job of reminding me. Thank you for stepping in.

  • JW

    Yes since you just temporarily did, but since you’re a douchebag for doing it, no one’s going to appreciate it.

    Way to ignore the actual point of that post.

  • JW

    It’s also possible that since the Slayer Line’s own definition of “death” is so physically-based and so out of date from modern understanding of biology (i.e. heart and respiration stop, but no brain death), that someone with even a single ovary (and yes, there have been intersex individuals who had one of each type of gamete-producing organ) or “ambiguous genitalia”, could indeed be considered “female” by the spell that forms the Slayer Line, and could therefore have been a Potential, and therefore now have Slayer powers.

    That would be an interesting concept, as would a FTM transgender Slayer character (which would need even less stretching to apply the Slayer Line logic to, since that’s a fully female body outside of the brain and maybe some hormone balances – at least, at birth it is).

    I do like when creators use established canon in interesting ways like that, and both FTM and intersex individuals aren’t terribly well-represented in fiction. It could be nice to see.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I figured it was only fair since the article isn’t about trans-anything, but some people can’t help but bring their agenda along with them for every ride.

  • JW

    Wait… did you just say you want somebody to come out as STRAIGHT?

    Exactly how often does someone “come out as straight” in the real world? Considering that’s the (admittedly silly) default assumption of our society, it’d be pointless.

    Speaking as a woman who did NOT mind the actual comic arc where Buffy sleeps with a woman… I think you need to keep some things in mind.

    First, when you say “not everyone is bi” – well, sorry to break this to you, but while no, not literally “everyone” is bi, a number of studies in both primatology and human sexology indicate a majority of us are (I believe I saw one chart that literally indicated that human sexuality as depicted by the Kinsey scale falls along a bell curve distribution – tiny minority totally gay, tiny minority totally straight, almost everybody actually somewhere in between the two extremes)! And, get this: it really IS more common amongst women, particularly when you get into the emotional stuff and not just the physical, and particularly when you are looking at older women (who’ve led longer lives, obviously), who are much less likely than the young to identify as “heterosexual” or indeed, less likely to apply any kind of label to their sexual orientation. So yes, actually, quite FEW people, and quite a few women, are in fact bisexual.

    The second thing I’d like you to take into account: while I agree that coverage of it was indeed a bit sensationalistic, I disagree that the actual comic arc was. Buffy had, at the time, spent over a year and a half (heck, year and a half at the BEGINNING of the Season Eight continuity, so, well over a year and a half by this point) being at the top of the Slayer organization. She was basically a general, and did not have time for relationships outside of “work” – and honestly, none of her past relationships have been terribly great in the end anyway (oh, shut up shippers. This is an ongoing theme with her, and you know it). She was dealing with a heck of a lot of stress…

    …and then, there comes the reveal that when she was under that “sleeping beauty” type spell, the one who woke her… was Satsu. Satsu, who she really does like as a person. Satsu, who is brave, and capable, and has cute fashion sense and is admittedly kind of cute and it turns out, completely in love with Buffy.

    And they’re just discussing how you know, it’s totally not going to happen, it would totally be a bad idea…

    …and then they get attacked by Twilight (the villain, not the book; the latter wouldn’t be much of a threat).

    And even though it’s not explicitly spelled out, even though it happens in the space between the two issues, the implication is clear as day to me:

    Buffy, who is already under massive amounts of stress, already not really living a normal, socially-active life outside of battle, already losing her closeness to some of her loved ones and, yes, definitely not getting any, just nearly died there (again), and here’s this really cool person, this REALLY cool person, who is totally head over heels for her, who actually loves her, and wants her, and they’re awfully lucky to both still be alive and…

    …and, well, it just kind of happens. It’s not something that was planned by Buffy or Satsu; it just happened. Something just kind of broke loose, needs needed to be fulfilled, and well, Satsu was the most endearing target for those needs.

    This is honestly ALMOST spelled out explicitly; Satsu seems to understand that this was just a one-time thing, that it was special circumstances, and is honestly okay with that, because it was a nice time with someone she really loves and admires.

    Granted, they go for the cheap “people walk in on it” joke after that scene, but the heartfelt bits were still heartfelt enough to justify the actual act to me. So Buffy isn’t a 0 on the Kinsey scale – so what? She’s not spontaneously a 6 either, and most people, as I mentioned, are not zeroes on the scale.

    And for what it’s worth, they DID treat it with appropriate post-breakup awkwardness after that issue. My only problem with it, in fact, is that we haven’t really seen Satsu’s character that I can think of since then. I miss her. She was my favorite out of the Slayerettes. I hope they bring her back for Season Nine issues.

  • JW

    First: GAY males are still victims of a lot of gender-normative oppression, especially ones that don’t fit “masculinity” standards. A lot of the “empowerment” males normally get, doesn’t get distributed to such individuals, just like it gets full away from trans individuals, blacks, etc. other “males” who don’t fit the perfect mold of privilege.

    Second: I like the idea of a male being empowered not literally with magic, but by the strength of a woman’s character being an inspiration (which is the case here). That’s actually kind of cool – women doing the influencing for a change. The fact that it’s a male who already struggles with not being “male enough” for society makes it hypothetically work, too; in both cases, it’s an answer to misogynistic tendencies in our culture.

    Third: Jane Espenson is AWESOME. She’s written some of the best and most memorable stories in the Buffyverse, including on the original show (“Earshot” for instance, one of my favorite season 3 episodes, was written by her). The fact that she’s one of the writers on this arc actually gives me hope it will be a good one.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    All I’m saying is that I see a lot of coyness in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it comes to sexuality and it’s gotten harder to ignore since Buffy/Satsu. I’m not saying that anyone needs to come out as gay or straight, I just don’t believe that absolutely everyone Buffy runs into will flirt with the possibility of a sexual encounter of either sex but I see it more often than not between the lines.

    Funnily enough, I don’t have the same issue with Doctor Who. Way off topic, obviously, but Harkness is established early as a lover of any kind of flesh he can get his hands on since he doesn’t all that often (prior to Torchwood, anyway) run into viable flesh. Since returning to Earth (Torchwood), he identifies MOSTLY gay, but he’s obviously open to other encounters.

    I just don’t see that same kind of structure in Buffy. It feels, more often than not, like a ploy.

    Lastly, while I appreciate that you felt the spark and need to write an essay, since you already called me a d-bag and are and have been immediately hostile and defensive over the POSSIBLE (not even established or canon but fucking possible) sexual lives of FICTIONAL characters, I’m probably not going to respond to you again without an explanation by way of apology over the whole d-bag thing. You turd.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I wish you could throw up .jpgs on here, because I’m seeing the need for that Liberal College Student meme all over the place tonight.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Shit, I forgot about Kennedy.

  • TKS

    Maybe I wasn’t entirely clear, you are agreeing with me wholeheartedly. And you gave a wonderful example. (Ultimate Spider-Man.)

    I didn’t mean that bringing in an underrepresented minority is always a good thing. If the writing doesn’t respect the character (treats them as a stereotype, barely features them, etc.) than I’d say that’s not helpful to anyone.

  • http://twitter.com/Loerwyn Kathryn

    And me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindsey.stock.7 Lindsey Stock

    When did I say anything about reverse sexism or the representation of men in comics? My point was that it isn’t male privilege just because they’re adding a new character that isn’t a woman. It’s not like BTVS is short on strong female characters. And gay men ARE underrepresented in comics, especially characters that are actually good representations. Admitting that isn’t the same as claiming that gay women and women in general aren’t also underrepresented in comics (well, there are lots of women in comics, but few of them are good depictions). Most people who aren’t heterosexual white men are pretty damn underrepresented in comics, and all of them deserve to be included, Why does it have to be some pissing contest about who is more oppressed than who? I don’t know what your ethnicity is, but if you are a white woman, than you still have more privilege in this society than a woman of color. So using your logic:
    Q: Why couldn’t this character be a lesbian of color?
    A: White privilege.
    Male privilege and white privilege are all real and serious problems, and so are the challenges that gay males face. A gay man does have some extra privilege just for being a man, also suffers oppression for being gay, just like a white woman gets extra privileges just for being white while suffering oppression for being female.

  • Jared Campbell

    This has got a Poe’s law feeling to me…

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    “Not Impressed” has got to be a troll or someone running a secondary account they can use to be as obnoxious as they desire.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Oh my god, you’re right. Apologies! I’m not sure how I managed to blot out half the words from your sentence on the subject but I did. My mind plays tricks…

  • http://twitter.com/nellydreadful Nelly Dreadful

    Or MTF. That would mean the magic involved with making a slayer was somehow directly connected to female identity rather than to XX biology… but either way would be hella fascinating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kateahays Kate A Hays

    Oh gosh what a slipup! In considering the sort of women who are currently not represented within the Slayer’s female empowerment mythology while reading an artical falsely labeling a gay male under that mythological label, it completely slipped my mind that it’s never okay to bring up transwomen unless I’m going to be hating on them in the process! Man, what would I do without guys like you to remind me that it’s never okay to talk about opportunities in the media to positively and proactively represent trans* people?

    I wouldn’t have said I had an agenda about trans* representation in the media before now, but kneejerk transphobia like this sure is encouraging me to get one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Travis.K.Fischer Travis Kyle Fischer

    I, for one, thing it’s refreshing to see a male in the role of what is traditionally considered to be the female dominated area of… vampire hunting…

    At first I thought this was going to be interesting. Like Billy actually getting the same Slayer Mojo that Buffy has. Now THAT would spark an interesting discussion.

    But this… so he does what Buffy does… but he doesn’t need superpowers to do it? Oh yeah… that’s gonna go over well…

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I don’t agree with you, so my opinion must be phobic. I’d retaliate against your sarcasm with more of the same but it seems like a waste of time…yet I can’t help pointing out that “the greatest victimization” is an awfully naive phrase.

  • Anonymous

    its been a minute since i read “fray”, but wasnt her twin brother also a slayer before he got vamped? does that count as precedent since that story is set in the future?

  • http://tigerpetals.wordpress.com/ Tigerpetals

    Except that female role he’s taking is a traditionally masculine one, which was part of the point of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Gender reversing a gender reversal doesn’t really work.
    I’m also just unclear, because are they trying to associate gay men with femininity? That’s an inaccurate stereotype, and not subversive.

  • logandempsey32

    It would be interesting to have a trans character, but wouldn’t the character have to be biologically female and then transition into a male later on? I think potential slayers are born with the potential, but lose it some point after adolescence. Which I think is why there didn’t seem to be any middle-aged, elderly slayers.

    It would set up an interesting conflict in that he would feel that the slayer part represents his pre-trans femininity, like a poster above me mentioned, and how he tries to reconcile that with his male gender identification.

    The type of masculine strength and physical superiority that society associates with males, Billy would come to associate it with females. Or maybe the slayer part (i.e. the strength) is what ensured him that he was really a guy trapped in a girl’s body, but upon discovering the slayers are girls, it creates a sort of identity crisis for him.

    An external force (slayer mythos; representative of society) is telling him he’s a girl and an internal force is telling him he’s a boy. Patriarchal society told women they’re helpless damsels in distress and the slayer is a way of subverting that system; in Billy’s case, the slayer mythos is the established system (all slayers are girls) and his gender identification is a subversion of said system. In short, he’s further subverting the already subversive system of vampire slayers.

  • logandempsey32

    Or the character’s transition could just add more complexity and depth to the series. A biologically female character who identifies as a male could just be another way of subverting an already subversive system. The slayer concept undermines the established patriarchal system; when Buffy and Willow activated all the other slayers, a sort of slayer society developed.

    A FTM trans character would be seen as an attempt to “gender reverse a gender reversal”, thus creating friction between the character and other slayers. The trans character may associate the slayer part with his pre-trans femininity and further distance himself from his slayer calling.

    Ultimately, it’s a conflict regarding the desires of society and the individual. Humans, by nature, are contradictory; there will always be parts of ourselves that we cannot change, things we just have to accept. I think a slayer in transition would make for a good metaphor detailing our internal conflicts. It’s a matter of external forces trying to tell him who he is, but that is only something he himself can truly decipher, and no one else.