In the upcoming Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Issue #14 a new slayer emerges to help quell the growing zompire numbers. His name is Billy. And he’s a guy who happens to like guys.
How can there be a male vampire slayer, considering that there can only be female slayers? According to writing team Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg, who you may remember as writers of the Buffy TV show on Seasons 6-7 , Billy will be more like Batman in that he doesn’t really have slayer powers he just wants to join in on the fight.
“Billy is someone who sees a need in his hometown and steps up to fill the void, even at great personal risk,” says Greenberg. “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.”
Espenson commented to Out.com that the reason to include a gay male slayer into the Buffy mythos was quite clear:
“If being feminine doesn’t mean that you’re lesser, then liking guys also doesn’t mean you’re lesser. For very good reason, we’ve focused on the female empowerment part of Buffy, 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.”
Greenberg hopes that the Billy The Vampire Slayer storyline will empower young gay men.
“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.”
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 9, Issue #14 (featuring Billy) is available October 10th.