EXCLUSIVE: Buffyverse Gets Its First Gay Male Slayer
By Jerry Portwood
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."
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