The creative team behind Dark Horse’s Buffy comic shows that they intend to continue upping the buzz-worthy controversy in season nine, which already contained the abortion chapter of Buffy’s life. Announced yesterday as an exclusive with Out Magazine, writers Jane Espenson and Drew Greenberg are introducing a brand new Slayer to the Buffy-verse. His name is Billy and he happens to be gay. Billy will enter “Season 9″ this December with issue #14.
Writer Jane Espenson said about the move, “I thought, Gee, all the work we’ve done with Buffy is about being female, and how that doesn’t mean that you are lesser. It suddenly struck me: 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.”
Espenson also noted that the new Slayer will not be trained by Buffy, but rather he would learn on his own, which in turn reveals more of his character.
Drew Greenberg said, “Billy is someone who sees a need in his hometown and steps up to fill the void, even at great personal risk. 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.”
The move aligns itself with other gay character announcements from Marvel and DC earlier this year, but rather than simply following the leaders, it seems like more of a sign that diversity is finally starting to make its way into comics.
For more details on Billy and a nice look at the issue, head to Out Magazine.