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 Post subject: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 09:24am
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http://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2012/09/10/buffy-comics-billy-first-gay-male-slayer?page=0,0

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EXCLUSIVE: Buffyverse Gets Its First Gay Male Slayer
9.10.2012
By Jerry Portwood
Dark Horse Comics announces the introduction of Billy in Buffy Season 9 #14

After Joss Whedon's cult favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air in 2003, that didn't mean the end for the "Buffyverse," as it's know. No, Season 8 took up with the Buffy comics, published by Dark Horse Comics, and a series of graphic novels and comics have explored the history of the Slayer line. Needless to say, it has had a healthy fanbase that has continued to follow the slayers as they battle vampires and all sorts of otherworldly creatures. Now, Season 9 has a new plot twist and character: Billy, the first male slayer. Oh, and he happens to like guys.

If you know the mythology of the Buffyverse, then you know only women can be "called" (chosen by fate) to be a Slayer, so how is it that a gay boy is getting a chance?

Jane Espenson, who has been involved with Buffyverse for quite some time—working as a writer and producer on the television show and co-writing several comic book stories for Tales of the Slayers, Tales of the Vampires, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight—has collaborated with Drew Greenberg on this project. With the news last week that she was also working on a digital comic based on Husbands, we wondered, Why Billy, and why now?

"Billy actually predated the idea of doing a Husbands comic," Espenson explains. "I already knew Cheeks, and he has a line in Season 1 of Husbands, that Brad [Bell] wrote, that really struck me about how Cheeks has an "exotic femininity" that's equated with weakness. 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 your’e 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."

But doesn't the mythology dictate that only young women can be a Slayer, you might wonder?

As Espenson explains: "Batman doesn’t have super powers. He wasn’t gifted with an exotic foreign birth. So we take the Batman route; Billy is earning the Slayer mantle."

Fans may recall that Espenson and Greenberg worked together on the Buffy television show from Season 6 through Season 7, but this is the first time they've collaborated on a comic together. 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.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #14 (variant cover by Georges Jeanty):



"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."

Greenberg admits that while working on Buffy together, they talked a lot about introducing a gay character to the television show.

"A typical conversation would go something like...

DREW: Maybe Buffy meets a gay demon hunter!

JANE: Why would anyone hunt gay demons??

(Long pause as I glare at her)

JANE: Have I used that one before?"

"But, yes, Jane and I certainly talked a lot about the metaphor of feeling powerless in a place overrun with people who, if you let them, could end up sucking the life out of you, and what it means to be someone who stands up and says, 'I want to make a difference in my life. And if I can make a difference in my life, maybe I'll be making a difference in others' lives, too.' "

Espenson is not overly concerned about the critics who have said that the inclusion of gay characters into comic books lately—namely Kevin Keller in Archie and the wedding of Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle in X-Men—is just a cheap ploy for new readers.

"We're hardly pandering when we make a comic book," Espenson says. "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."

Greenberg hopes that fans won't be confused by the introduction of a male Slayer—"It's a very honest, very sweet story (well, a sweet story with a fair amount of death and mayhem, but still sweet!) about a young man who wants to be a hero"—and thinks it's something that fans can relate to. Plus, Greenberg thinks it's a positive way of empowering 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."

It turns out that the story doesn't revolve around just one gay character but two. And, as Greenberg adds: "I hope people read this and, in the grand Buffy tradition of seeing archetypes in entirely new roles, realize what I've known for years: That nerds are totally hot."


I don't see how this is going to work, unless they're just calling him a slayer when he's in fact, just a demon hunter.



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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 11:15am
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Wel, it says he doesn't have any of their abilities, so I guess it's more of an honorary title for someone who is just really good at it. Not sure why they're making a big deal if he isn't really a Slayer and they've already had a male with Slayer abilities in one of the spin off comics.

I haven't really kept up with the comics, but didn't Angel destroy all magic at the end of Season 8? How would there still be vampires to slay?



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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 12:24pm
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Why would anyone hunt gay demons....




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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 04:45pm
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Losonti Tokash wrote:
Wel, it says he doesn't have any of their abilities, so I guess it's more of an honorary title for someone who is just really good at it. Not sure why they're making a big deal if he isn't really a Slayer and they've already had a male with Slayer abilities in one of the spin off comics.

I haven't really kept up with the comics, but didn't Angel destroy all magic at the end of Season 8? How would there still be vampires to slay?


Season 8's finale was kind of a cluster fuck (Tanks being used like a cavalry charge? I rest my case). But the end result being that all new magic died. So while demons and vampires still exist, magic spells can no longer be cast and dimensional portals cannot be opened.

When a new vampire is now made, the corpse still rises . . . somehow. Probably a lingering effect of the vampire's magic blood. But there's no demon to control the host, the brain is effectively dead. So it becomes a vampire-zombie hybrid they call a Vambie.

I'm not kidding.

Also, in Season 8, vampires were revealed to the world and instantly loved an adored even after one committed a homicide on national television (in self defence against a slayer--turning the world against Slayers for a time).

I can suspend my disbelief for a lot of things, but a public that stupid just crosses the line. Fuck, they make citizens in the Marvel Universe look like literate scholars!



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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 04:56pm
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Themightytom wrote:
Why would anyone hunt gay demons....

I'm assuming because they're demons and demons do bad things.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 05:14pm
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Tell that to Lorne.



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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 05:51pm
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I think the question would be more "Does the Slayer-spell consider Female to be Spiritual, Mental, or Physical?" I ask this because of all the trans-women who could in theory become Slayers if it goes by their Mental image of themselves. If you wish a Spiritual outlook, gays in many AmerIndian cultures (and maybe others) were seen as Dual-Souled, man and woman in one.



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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 08:41pm
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LadyTevar wrote:
I think the question would be more "Does the Slayer-spell consider Female to be Spiritual, Mental, or Physical?" I ask this because of all the trans-women who could in theory become Slayers if it goes by their Mental image of themselves. If you wish a Spiritual outlook, gays in many AmerIndian cultures (and maybe others) were seen as Dual-Souled, man and woman in one.


Yeah, my first thought on seeing the title was that making the character male-to-female transgendered with actual Slayer powers would've been much more consistent and interesting, but if he doesn't have powers and especially if they've already given out Slayer powers to a male-identifying male (I haven't been following the comic), I can't see how this is even news.




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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 09:45pm
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LadyTevar wrote:
I think the question would be more "Does the Slayer-spell consider Female to be Spiritual, Mental, or Physical?" I ask this because of all the trans-women who could in theory become Slayers if it goes by their Mental image of themselves. If you wish a Spiritual outlook, gays in many AmerIndian cultures (and maybe others) were seen as Dual-Souled, man and woman in one.
I don't know how many Slayers there are supposed to be, but unless there are a lot, you'd probably never see anyone like that. I'm pretty sure XX-chromosome women outnumber transwomen by thousands to one.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 10:07pm
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Officially, there were 2000 or so slayers at the start of Season 8. SInce then, they killed a lot of them off, almost like cannon fodder. How many are left?

As many as the plot needs, frankly. But at this point, there are probably more giant pandas than slayers.



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Reviewing movies is a lot like Paleontology: The Evidence is there...but no one seems to agree upon it.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 10:22pm
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I thought the whole Slayers = women thing was because of menstruation? And the menstrual cramps were a proximity alarm and detection system. Was that just the movie?
If that's the case, then unless you have the correct physiology, you can't be a Slayer, you are just someone that is good at killing vampires.



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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 10:38pm
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That was just the movie.

It is never mentioned in the series nor in the original script for the film (nor the comic adaptation of that script).



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Justice League- Molly Hayes: Respect Hats or Freakin' Else!
Browncoat
Supernatural Taisen - "[This Story] is essentially "Wouldn't it be awesome if this happened?" Followed by explosions."

Reviewing movies is a lot like Paleontology: The Evidence is there...but no one seems to agree upon it.

"God! Are you so bored that you enjoy seeing us humans suffer?! Why can't you let this poor man live happily with his son! What kind of God are you, crushing us like ants?!" - Kyoami, Ran

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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-11 10:55pm
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Majin Gojira wrote:
*Snip*


WTF?

Man, it sounds like that franchise has gone full retard. I mean I didn't like a single episode after season 3, but Angel was alright I guess. I've heard that the quality took a major decline post season-5, but that's a major drop.



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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-12 01:20am
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Context is pretty important. I liked the whole of both shows, but just running off a list of stuff that happened makes it sound pretty shitty. I can't speak for the comics, I've only read a few of the early ones.



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 Post subject: Re: Buffy comics to bring out gay male slayer PostPosted: 2012-09-12 11:14am
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The comics are pretty good, actually. It's just later on in the run (Volume 5 Trade Paperback wise), it goes through an extremely shitty arc to Season 8's wrapup.

Following that, Season 9 has been Okay so far, but that finale was just not well done.

The "Vampires Go Public, Slayers are bad to them" thing was really started the ball rolling in the bad direction. The climactic arcs and reasoning behind it are okay in theory, but part off the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

Short version: The Big Bad of the 8th Season is known as the Twilight. Yeah, no relation. It's actually a representative form of . . . the Universe's desire to kill itself. Buffy and Angel get Super-Powers (I mean, like Super-man Tier) from varying sources and the Universe manipulates them into consummating again, creating a new Universe which will then destroy the old one. They don't want to see their friends die and break out of the whammy the Universe put them in and fight back. Stopping it all together by destroying the Seed Of Wonder, which destroyed all magic/cut off access to alternate dimensions.

I could see how it works on paper in the overall plan, but some of the ways they got there were just hard to swallow. The Big Bad's plan was to push Buffy tot he edge so she'd get the power necessary to birth the new universe. It pushed her to that edge by trying to exterminate the Slayers as a front, using a rogue US military group at first before turning the world against her.

In universe wise, the condition must have driven many inhabitants of that universe insane--but that was not clearly evident and is only present in hindsight so . . . yeah, I don't really buy into it.

Season 9 starts with Buffy going back to basics, living a simple life but then weirdness gets even weirder. The theme of it so far appears to be owning up to your mistakes, which Buffy has yet to do so far, but the consequences are biting her in the ass repeatedly.

Metanarratively, compared to the early arcs, it came off a bit like this "Crap! We've gone to crazy and over the top with this idea, we need to bring everything back down to normal--in a fast and strong way!"

To give you an idea of how crazy things had gotten, in the prior arcs there was:
Buffy fighting an initiative-like organization.
Dawn being cursed to become first a Giant then a Centaur.
In the Japan arc, she fights a similarly giant Mecha-Godzilla with her face in effigy.
That arc also features a team up with Dracula because a bunch of vampires from Japan stole his secrets of powers and the like (by cheating at a (not a children's) card game).
A Time Travel story/crossover with "Fray", setting up the loss (and eventual return) of Magic in that season's conclusion.

There were also nice, simple stories too. Two rogue slayer stories (one having Faith try and stop one, the other is still building up), a story about Buffy's Decoys (one in particular, but another is mentioned as a continuity nod) and a throwback episode (Read: a script recycled from the proposed Buffy animated series (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnUvZP7-5LM) done as a dream sequence).

Then the Masquerade breaks and the logical problems begin.

That said, the sister series of comics in general have been a lot better. IDW's Angel: After the Fall was simply brilliant. The Dark Horse followup "Angel & Faith" is also better than the sister series of Season 9.

After the Fall gets special commendation for doing an entire issue describing the Movie of itself.

For those that don't know, the end of Season 5 of Angel had the gang battling Wolfram and Hart in a "Vs. an Army of Orcs, monsters, giants and a Dragon" sort of way.

After the Fall begins with all of LA sucked into a hell dimension. Time resets and things are brought back to normal of sorts 4 volumes later, with 2 dealing with the aftermath. Part of that aftermath is screenwriters. So a movie was bound to happen. It is the epitome of adaptation decay and it's hilarious. Not to give to much away, aside from being hilariously cliche, Angel is played by Nicholas Cage.

And it just gets sillier from there, complete with worthless movie license tie ins and action figure commercials.



ISARMA: Daikaiju Coordinator: Just Add Radiation
Justice League- Molly Hayes: Respect Hats or Freakin' Else!
Browncoat
Supernatural Taisen - "[This Story] is essentially "Wouldn't it be awesome if this happened?" Followed by explosions."

Reviewing movies is a lot like Paleontology: The Evidence is there...but no one seems to agree upon it.

"God! Are you so bored that you enjoy seeing us humans suffer?! Why can't you let this poor man live happily with his son! What kind of God are you, crushing us like ants?!" - Kyoami, Ran

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