By Steve Morris

More Jane Espenson! Dark Horse Comics have today been discussing Espenson’s upcoming issue #14 of their Buffy Season 9 comic, in which she introduces a new character to the series. Called Billy, this character is notable for being the first gay male vampire slayer, taking the basic idea that Buffy is about female empowerment and extending it to include gay males too. Here’s Georges Jeanty’s cover:

Billy won’t be a powered character, but will instead build himself the gear to give him a somewhat equal footing to the undead. Espenson likens the character to Nightwing – a self-reliant hero who makes his own way. Instead of feeling powerless about his situation, Billy is going to fight his demons oh hello metaphor. Now, this may draw attention to the idea that gay men and women are being grouped together somewhat here, as a fairly lazy generalisation. When asked about this possibility in’s interview, fellow Buffy alum and collaborator for this story Drew Z. Greenberg says:

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…. 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.

Where all this leaves poor old closet-trapped Andrew, nobody knows. Here’s two preview pages of the Billy-debuting issue, out October #10: