The Buffyverse has gone through its share of changes since it moved from television and into comics: dealing with hundreds of Slayers in the world, the aftermath of the Twilight events. But its focus has remained on female monster hunters. Soon, though, the comics will feature a teenaged boy who has decided that superpowered ladies aren't the only ones who can battle the undead.
Out Magazine spoke to Jane Espenson and Drew Greenberg, who will be introducing their fledgling vampire slayer Billy in Buffy: Season Nine issue 14. They aren't changing the rules of the Slayer lineage, at least not any more than it's already been changed. Billy is going to be a vampire slayer with a lowercase "s," a character who battles vampires despite having no ancient superpowers.
On the face of it, Billy isn't much different from Buffyverse characters like Xander, Principal Wood, Gunn, or Wesley — all male characters who have bravely fought vamps and demons sans superpowers (unless you count Gunn's demonically gifted lawyering powers). But the pair explain that Billy is choosing to earn the mantle of "slayer" and Espenson notes that the character is specifically meant to empower young gay men:
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.
During the Dark Horse panel at last year's San Diego Comic-Con, Joss Whedon mentioned that he would like to write a strong, openly gay male character. He said he had a book idea on the back burner featuring a strong, gay male charater, but at least for now, we'll see a gay male character running around Whedon's sandbox. And, after all the ambiguity surrounding Andrew's sexual orientation, it would be nice if Billy at some point got a boyfriend.