The Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic series, for those keeping score, is halfway through season 9. And to shake things up, Jane Espenson is bringing in Billy, a gay male Slayer!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer concluded its seventh and final television season almost 10 years ago, but luckily Joss Whedon and his writing team weren’t done with Buffy and the Scoobies, and Dark Horse offered them a chance to continue their story in comic book form. After training an army of Slayers and bringing about the obliteration of magic in season 8, season 9 sees Buffy, Dawn and Xander trying to rebuild their lives in San Francisco.

This year we have parted ways with Spike and Willow (who are each getting their own spin-off series), but a new character will be arriving shortly to help fill the void: a male Vampire Slayer named Billy. Yeah, we were shocked, too!

Seeing as how Joss Whedon’s number one reason for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer was to turn the defenseless girl stereotype on its head by making the slight blonde cheerleader the thing monsters had nightmares about, what business does a male have being a Slayer?!

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The Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic series, for those keeping score, is halfway through season 9. And to shake things up, Jane Espenson is bringing in Billy, a gay male Slayer!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer concluded its seventh and final television season almost 10 years ago, but luckily Joss Whedon and his writing team weren’t done with Buffy and the Scoobies, and Dark Horse offered them a chance to continue their story in comic book form. After training an army of Slayers and bringing about the obliteration of magic in season 8, season 9 sees Buffy, Dawn and Xander trying to rebuild their lives in San Francisco.

This year we have parted ways with Spike and Willow (who are each getting their own spin-off series), but a new character will be arriving shortly to help fill the void: a male Vampire Slayer named Billy. Yeah, we were shocked, too!

Seeing as how Joss Whedon’s number one reason for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer was to turn the defenseless girl stereotype on its head by making the slight blonde cheerleader the thing monsters had nightmares about, what business does a male have being a Slayer?!

Buffy comics Billy Vampire Slayer season 9 gay male

Initially, fans were upset by the news, not only because having a male Slayer lessened the girl power message of the entire Slayer concept, but also because it seemed like he could only be a Slayer because he was gay, and therefore considered effeminate.

But speaking to Out Magazine, Buffy writer (and creator of the online comedy Husbands) Jane Espenson clarifies that this is not the case. Billy, who will make his debut in issue #14, is not an actual part of the Slayer lineage. He is brought into the series as a fan of Buffy’s work, who decides that he can be a Slayer despite being male.

Espenson further explains that Billy represents a different kind of femininity which the TV show didn’t get the chance to explore. “Billy actually predated the idea of doing a Husbands comic,” she says, referring to the recently announced spin-off comic of the online comedy which Dark Horse will also publish. “[There was] a line in season 1 of Husbands that really struck me about how Cheeks has an ‘exotic femininity’ that’s equated with weakness. 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.'”

To combat this, Espenson explains, she wants to offer Buffy fans another example of feminine empowerment: that of the effeminate male who is also physically dominant. “If being feminine doesn’t mean that you’re lesser, then liking guys also doesn’t mean you’re lesser,” she says. “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?”

As any Buffy fan knows, of course, Billy can’t be an actual Slayer no matter his sexuality or personality, because Slayers must always be female. And don’t worry, Espenson recognises this fact. Speaking to io9 following the shocking reveal, she confirms that he will not possess actual Slayer powers. “He is a hero, Batman-style, who has taken up this mantle on his own,” she clarifies.

Fellow writer Drew Z. Greenberg adds that by writing in this male Slayer character, they are not saying that gay men are necessarily feminine, but they are making a point that some are. He says, “We find it so easy to make the leap from this comic-book story to ‘gay men are necessarily feminine.’ I have to be honest, I wish we could all try to remember that some gay men ARE feminine, and, by the way, what’s wrong with being feminine? Why is that ‘less than’?”

Essentially, then, Billy is a character similar to that of Xander or Wesley: a human demon hunter fighting to keep the forces of evil at bay, inspired by Buffy and other Slayers. The fact that he is not actually a part of the Slayer line should quell some fans’ fears, but there has still been an uproar in the Buffy community about even the suggestion that a Slayer could be male.

Check out a sneak peek from the issue introducing Billy, courtesy of Out Magazine:

Buffy male gay slayer comics Billy Buffy male gay slayer comics Billy

What do you think, Buffy fans? Are you relieved that a man won’t possess actual Slayer powers, and are you intrigued to learn more about Billy the Vampire Slayer?

Legion M president Jeff Annison introduces the first fan-owned entertainment company

"Opening the gates to Hollywood" with fandom-powered entertainment production.

2:12 pm EDT, August 24, 2016

Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

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Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

The full interview is available to download here or via iTunes, or you can stream it below:

In the interview, Annison explains the mission of Legion M, which is to bring fans directly into the production process. Says Annison, “For the first time in history, we are architected to be built from the ground up to be owned by fans.”

With a ‘Legion’ of fan investors behind them, Annison believes that Legion M’s approach to selecting and developing projects will be very different from anything else we’ve seen in Hollywood.

Where usually creators will struggle to make their content stand out from the crowd, “bringing the audience into the process [of creating entertainment], we’ve already got a built-in audience,” Annison explains. “If you can have the audience of content be invested in content, it gives that content a competitive advantage.”

One of the key ways in which Legion M hopes to influence the creative industry is by opening the door for more diverse projects.

As Hollywood is so revenue-driven, oftentimes the ‘risk’ of letting a movie’s lead character be a woman, a person of color and/or a member of the LGBT community is simply considered too great. But Legion M, being owned by fans, has the opportunity to tip the scales. Because if the investors want more diversity and new kinds of stories, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

“The reason that there are so many superhero movies and reboots and remakes… Hollywood’s figured out the formula. You pick something with an established fanbase, and if you make the movie you know it’s less risky because you know those people are gonna come see the next Superman movie,” says Annison. “Whereas if it’s an unknown story, you just don’t know. So we believe when you make the audience part of the process, these fans that are part of our studio … if you’ve got an audience that’s baked into it, that gives you so much more creative leeway.”

In practice, this means that Legion M, “could come up with a completely new and novel story that’s never been tried before, and know that it’s gonna have some success” — which means that it’d actually get produced, unlike many original ideas that come to Hollywood to die.

Further, fan owners of Legion M can experience unprecedented involvement with the creative process. Not only are they involved with selecting and developing projects, but, “our promise to our investors is that we’re gonna take you along for the ride. When we film a movie, we wanna live-stream from the set. When we have project opportunities, we wanna put them in front of you. We give the Legion a voice.”

To start with, Legion M is partnering with Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which created Robot Chicken. Annison explains that they still have “dozens” of projects that networks have rejected, and Legion M is working on bringing some of them to life.

In terms of representation, Legion M doesn’t necessarily want to commit to a quota of diversity. Instead, where they expect to be able to influence Hollywood is at the “table” where these decisions are made — and, “because we’re owned by such a broad, diverse group of people, we’ve got a better shot than anybody else at being able to affect that change.”

As Annison explains: “Fans have the ultimate power. Our money is what makes this whole thing spin around. When we combine and come together, we’ve got all the power.”

Read more about Legion M and how to get involved on their website.

As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

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As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

Watch below:

The movie’s airport scene was easily one of the most delightful moments of the film, so we’re loving this extra dose of Stucky brilliance.

Need more? The Captain America Blu-ray, with a release date set for September 13, includes the following special features:

  1. United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Making of Captain America: Civil War Part 1 & Part 2 – As the tension mounts, sides are chosen and lines drawn. Learn more about the characters on each side—from Captain America and Iron Man to the latest recruits. In this complete behind-the-scenes look at a landmark in the Marvel saga, we’ll examine their stories through exclusive footage and interviews and discover just what went into selecting the Super Hero teams, filming the epic action sequences and introducing Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU.
  2. Captain America: The Road to Civil War – Explore the First Avenger’s fascinating evolution from loyal soldier to seasoned, conflicted hero who questions authority.
  3. Iron Man: The Road to Civil War – From Gulmira to Sokovia, delve into the development and evolution of one of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  4. Gag Reel – Break the tension of this high-stakes conflict with some hilarious outtakes featuring the lighter side of your favorite Super Heroes.
  5. Deleted & Extended Scenes – Check out never-before-seen footage that didn’t make the final cut of Captain America: Civil War.
  6. Audio Commentary – Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely deliver scene-by-scene insight and explain the storytelling challenges they faced creating the third installment of the Captain America franchise.
  7. Open Your Mind: Marvel’s Doctor Strange – Exclusive Sneak Peek – Go behind and beyond the scenes as Doctor Strange makes his journey to the big screen.

The Digital HD version of Civil War will be released on September 2.

Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

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Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-concept-art

In his replies, he names the creature and states that, no, they aren’t fighting in space.

Then taking to Facebook, Gunn replied to fans who had questions about the image.

An updated synopsis for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reads:

“Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.”

So it looks like for those who were lucky enough to see GotG 2 footage at San Diego Comic-Con this year, you’ve already seen this guy in action.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ lands in theatres on May 5, 2017