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September 11 2012

(SPOILER) Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg talk more about yesterday's Buffy news. io9 were curious about it so they asked Drew and Jane some follow-up questions.

I remain unconvinced. And by that I mean "I am unconvinced why this man is a slayer and Gunn (and whoever else) isn't". If you're not part of the chain, you're not a slayer. That said, I'll buy the comics and let them convince me I'm wrong.
I'm convinced, it was kinda like an epihany for me yesterday ala "Oh. That makes sense". But we'll to wait another month. New Buffy tomorrow so that's something.
I think it must really have to do with wether he identifies himself as a slayer or not. If he says he's a slayer, he's a slayer.

If you really can't deal with the idea that he's a slayer because he says he is, then remember: Technically, if he focuses primarily on killing (slaying) vampires, then he is a slayer in the sense that a slayer is "one who slays" as well. Of course, Gunn, Wesley, etc. are slayers too if you consider this, I suppose. The difference is how they identify themselves.

(Edited for clarity)

[ edited by wasabi17 on 2012-09-11 21:50 ]
I'm sort of baffled as to why people keep bringing up Gunn, Xander, and all of our other male Buffyverse heroes. This boy is identifying himself as a Slayer to take up this hero's mantle. I get the impression this isn't about the Buffyverse recognizing him as an official Slayer. It's the self-empowerment of someone wanting to rise up and fight against evil. I feel like people think this is redefining notions we've had for years. It's not.
miroir_noir, exactly.
Guess I'm among the unconvinced. "I'm a slayer because I say I am." How's that again? What does self-identity have to do with anything? I can pull out my own tooth with a pair of pliers but it doesn't make me a dentist. But hey--as long as I believe I'm a dentist through heartfelt self-empowerment, no one dare say I'm not.
Yeah, I think it's a mixture of personal identification and the fact that no one else around him is doing anything. That way you've got him saying he's a Slayer and those he's protecting saying, "Yeah, he's a Slayer".
Instead of people getting so worked up about the "slayer" aspect, just wait until you read it, the writers are more than capable of telling a great story.

I have faith in them!
The Scoobies have already drastically changed what it is to be a slayer once. Why not again?

Anyone else think the "not a real slayer" idea could be explored within the comic? Might some "real" slayers be offended by Billy if he said he was a slayer? Would many slayers accept Billy as a slayer? Would Buffy?

[ edited by wasabi17 on 2012-09-11 22:05 ]
I forgot who said it in the other thread about this new character as to the "not a real slayer" thing, but I thought it was a great example. In Season 8 #40 when Buffy tells those Slayers looking to rough her up that they actually aren't Slayers because of their actions, she herself helped to redefine what being a "real Slayer" means in this new magicless world. Using your abilities for personal vendettas or gain means you are not included in the Slayer parade. You may have the strength, the speed, and the healing but the Chain is broken and that can't define Slayerness anymore.

I like this Buffyverse in transition and redefinition, it makes me excited for the future of these books.

[ edited by cazador on 2012-09-11 22:19 ]
miroir_noir Yes I agree with you completly!
Xander, Wes, Gunn, Robin, and all those others never said they were slayers. We didn't have a scene in which Xander calls himself a slayer and Buffy being offended by it. who said she would be.
Slayers might be a part of a mystical chain, but it's also just an action. if my nefew teaches himself to play the guitar, he might not be very good at it, but he can call himself a musician.
If the guy can slay vampires and does so then he's a slayer. you can say that Xander, Robin, Gunn and others are also slayers. No one is saying this Billy is a slayer and all those others aren't.

and like cazador said, there really isn't even a chain anymore.
Out of gas - and not in the good Firefly way. Who cares what he calls himself - why does that make him special and distinct from all the other males who we've seen slay vampires over the years.
None of them wanted to be a Slayer. That's the difference.
In the real world, self-identification has a lot to do with a lot, actually.
I feel like this is a metaphor for transgendered people but I haven't read the story so I can't say for sure. But if it is, what does it say about those of us(I'm including myself in this) disliking this character taking the slayer label without actually being a slayer. Gunn, Xander, Wesley, Robin Wood, Connor, and Holtz never identified as slayers as others have said but without reading the story I can't see whats so special about this new character that I should call him a slayer. Melaka's twin brother actually has slayer powers..is he a slayer?
What does self-identity have to do with anything?

It's pretty much one of the defining things of being human.


[ edited by viewingfigures on 2014-04-11 20:57 ]
Well, I will of course wait to see how the story line evolves. But I'm not sure what 'wanting to be a slayer' means. Gunn certainly wanted to kill vampires but if he didn't want a 'title' what does that mean? On a literal reading of slayer, nothing I would submit - both do the same thing. If it is a metaphor for something else (and I fail to see why it is more important than he is gay, than that he might be black, or have a disability, or be a 'representative' of any other 'outsider' group) then it may or may not be interesting. Having a character be gay (or 'other' in any way) doesn't necessarily make for good story-telling.
In the real world, self-identification has a lot to do with a lot, actually.

Believing you're one thing or another doesn't make it so. The real world requires a mechanism for validation. We haven't read Billy's story yet. We don't know what validates him as a slayer. But again, in the real world, it has to be more than him simply deciding he is. That's true for all of us.
So has anyone else suspected that this Billy may be the same from Season One? I was just rewatching Nightmares, and the young boy who caused all the nightmares was named Billy. He also has darker skin and dark hair, like the Billy in the comic. He'd be around 16 years old in Buffyverse time, I think. I think it would be an AWESOME connection to the show if it is him. It seems like such a perfect match.
I'd love if it was Billy from "Nightmares" because that would mean he's living up to his personal childhood hero, Buffy. Living by her example, being inspired by how she helped him when he was helpless.
I'm kind of surprised that a lot of people haven't grasped that the word "Slayer" in this work has been imbued with much more meaning than simply a woman who kills vampires. There has always been an allegorical structure to the show, one which has no problem shedding old symbolism for new if it suits what the writers are hoping to accomplish on a metaphorical level. "Slayer" may have meant simply one who kills vampires when the show began, but it very clearly became about more than that by the end of the whole shi-bang.

And yeah Billy the Vampire Slayer and "Nightmares" Billy being the same would be an amazing, cool, nifty continuity thing.

[ edited by cazador on 2012-09-12 05:17 ]
The thing is, Gunn and Holtz and etc, they never identified themselves as slayers. They were hunters. But Billy, he WANTS to be a Slayer. That's what he aspires to be. He doesn't have the powers, but he's modelling himself around them, molding himself to be like they are. A Slayer isn't JUST a girl with powers anymore. It's an ideal. He may not have the power, but that doesn't mean he can't stand up for the same ideals that a Slayer does.
I think some people are missing the thrust of the self-identification argument, but I'll just link to what I said about it in the other thread.
Buffy's whole arc was about becoming The Slayer. I get it.
It's interesting that we have this philosophical debate occurring between those who believe that there is validity and power in how we identify ourselves and those who hold the notion that we are what the world deems us and we are powerless to change that. For those who hold the second belief, I don't think you've taken some of the central ideas and themes of Buffy and Angel to heart.
You could just as easily interpret Buffy as a story about a girl who had to be a Slayer because that's what the world made her - she was powerless to stop it and she had to carry that cross. It's hardly a black and white issue and I think the fact that there is so much philosophising coming about from Jane and Drew's announcement is just a marker that everyone perceives Buffy differently and there's no correct reading, miroir_noir.
I like the idea of this Billy being the Billy from Nightmares. But it actually doesn't make sense that he would be 16. He was 12 in season 1 (it was mentioned) and it's been at least 8 years in the Buffyverse since then. So he should be 20 or more.

BTW there are more characters named Billy. There is Billy Fordham (Ford) from 'Lie To Me', and the Demonic Billy from the Angel episode 'Billy'.
Not to mention that Billy is short for William (Spike's real name) and another version of that name is Liam (Angel real name).

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