The producers of the popular comic, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, are to introduce a new, gay, male, vampire slayer named Billy, and have spoken about the issues around creating such a character.

Out Magazine reported that Dark Horse Comics, who also produce Hellboy, and Star Wars comics, announced that the new character will appear in the next issue, in October this year.

Drew Z. Greenberg, the comic’s producer said: “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”

Jane Esperson, who wrote the newest issue, titled, Billy the Vampire Slayer: Part 1, said:

“We’re hardly pandering when we make a comic book,”

“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.”

Mr Greenberg went further to discuss the introduction of a male vampire slayer, in the series which features mainly female protagonists, saying that he hopes it will empower 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,”

“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.”

Reports also suggest that Billy will not be alone, and that a second gay male character will also be introduced.

Not for the first time this year has the inclusion of a gay comic character caused a stir, Marvel announced that the comic-strip, X-Men, was to feature its first same-sex wedding, as an openly gay superhero proposed to his boyfriend in an issue that went on sale in May

One of the oldest and most established characters from DC Comics, Green Lantern, was also to be revealed as gay, it was confirmed back in June.