Whedon Comics

Billy the Vampire Slayer – In Terms of Story

As reported earlier last week in an article by out.com, the Buffyverse will be getting a new gay male character named Billy – and he will be a vampire slayer. The story, titled Billy the Vampire Slayer, will take place in the upcoming Buffy #14 and #15, and will be written by Drew Greenberg and Jane Espenson. Recently there have been many articles online reporting that another gay character will be introduced in mainstream comics, which is no doubt a great thing. As Greenberg puts it, “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.” I couldn’t agree more that gender roles and diverse characters should be more prominent in mainstream media. However, as an avid reader of the Buffy comics, I’d like to take a step back and examine what this means for the story.

So far in Season 9, we’ve spent the majority of the time focusing on Buffy. She’s undergone some changes, namely being a robot for a while. We’ve seen her try to be a “normal girl” and then decide that being the Slayer is more important. We’ve had some time to see her life in San Francisco unfold, and we’ve gotten a chance to know her a little better. And its been great.

Now, it seems we’ll be taking a break from that for two issues to see Billy in his small town instead. And I can’t help but worry. Is this really what the story should be focusing on right now? Doesn’t this seem like it would fit better in a “Tales of the Slayers” one-off? Of course, I am intrigued to see how this character will become a slayer. As Espenson puts it, “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.”

In a world without magic, I’m very curious to see how they will justify giving Billy the powers of a slayer. Unless…he is only a vampire slayer in title, and does not posses the abilities of a true slayer. But if that were the case, I feel as if its a story that doesn’t really even need to be told at all.

Of course, I normally have a lot of faith in the Buffy writing team. However, after reading Jane Espenson’s arc titled “Retreat” in Buffy Season 8, I’m a little nervous. This poorly crafted story arc was when Season 8 really started to go downhill. Even in the TV series, Espenson’s work has always been very hit or miss and often too over the top.

Of course, all my doubts aside, I can’t wait to see what issue #14 has to offer.

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