Sep 11th 2012 By: Matt D. Wilson
Anyone who's watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer
knows that only a young woman can become the chosen protector of mankind - after all, the first 34 episodes of the show feature a voiceover intro establishing this lore. If there's anything Dark Horse Comics has taught us with Buffy Season 9
, however, it's that it can be a blast to read as old rules get broken. Fans have already seen an explosion of Slayers in the series, but the latest addition is perhaps the most surprising. Debuting in October's Buffy Season 9 #14 is Billy, a young gay hero who just so happens to be the first Slayer with a Y chromosome
. But how does a male become a superpowered Slayer, exactly? According to writers Jane Espenson and Drew Greenberg, Billy is going to Batman it.
"Batman doesn't have super powers," Espenson told Out
. "He wasn't gifted with an exotic foreign birth. So we take the Batman route; Billy is earning the Slayer mantle."
According to Greenberg, Billy's going to learn how to define himself by exploding vampires -- a likely metaphor for confronting bullies -- with his stake-punches.
The introduction of Billy follows in the footsteps of other mainstream comic book franchises shining the spotlight on their gay heroes of late. Archie gave its first gay character Kevin Keller
his own miniseries this year, DC Comics rebooted Alan Scott
as a gay man in its "New 52" continuity and Marvel showcased the high-profile wedding of Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle
in Astonishing X-Men
#50. Espenson assures readers the introduction of Billy isn't bandwagon-jumping, however.
"There's always growing pains when making progress, but I think cynicism in the face of inclusion may not be a profitable route in making progress," she told Out.
Greenberg added that Billy has "a very sweet story," which should be interesting to watch unfold considering the tale will see a young man defy fate and struggle against the forces of Hell to become a hero.