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?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Read full article

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

Read full article

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?

The first two cast members for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Lion King have been announced by director Jon Favreau.

James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the animated movie in the ’90s, is returning as the character in the live-action adaptation. Interesting!

Meanwhile, Donald Glover — who will co-star in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming for Disney and Marvel — will play Adult Simba.

Read full article

The first two cast members for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Lion King have been announced by director Jon Favreau.

James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa in the animated movie in the ’90s, is returning as the character in the live-action adaptation. Interesting!

Meanwhile, Donald Glover — who will co-star in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming for Disney and Marvel — will play Adult Simba.

Favreau tweeted the news Friday evening:

According to a statement from Disney, The Lion King “will build on the groundbreaking technology used in The Jungle Book to bring the story of Simba to photorealistic life.”

A release date for the film hasn’t been set. Favreau also helmed the live-action Jungle Book for the studio.

So far casting is off to a great start!