The latest “Buffy” comic issue is without lesbian content, but full of powerful women

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I waste a lot of time playing games on Facebook — mostly spelling games because that’s who I am. But my favorite game is testing my retroactive gaydar. The tomboyish girl I was friends with in junior high? Check. The sporty girl I played softball with in high school? Check. The boy whom everyone thought for years was my boyfriend? Check.

Some of the who’s-gay-now revelations are more surprising. There’s the nice but seemingly straight, sorority girl who, unbeknownst to me, viewed me as a role model when we worked together in college. And my favorite revelation lately is learning that a sweet, dorky, funny guy I knew in college not only came out, but also became a television writer who, among other things, wrote the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which Tara and Willow reunited.

Drew Greenberg is the type of guy I would have dated had I still been dating boys when I met him. (I was decidedly not still dating boys when I met him … but I did accidentally go on a date with a straight-guy friend of his.) And I love that he’s grown up to write stories about kick-ass women. (Did I mention that I was a formative lesbian role model for him? I’m just saying.) His latest kick-ass women offering is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Issue #23 — available today wherever comic books are sold.

I went to UCLA, so I know a bunch of people in the entertainment industry. But I particularly love Drew’s success because he’s always been a guy who likes and respects women. And more importantly, he’s a gay man who likes lesbians. So I like him. And, although I’m mildly chagrined to admit that the only show of his that I’ve watched is Queer as Folk, I have felt compelled to discuss Buffy with him a bit as we’ve reminisced.

Not surprisingly, he’s loved working with Joss Whedon and described what he thinks is so great about the show:

The whole premise of Buffy as Joss formulated it is that the girl you think is going to be weak, the girl you think is going to get killed, the girl you think can’t take care of herself … THAT’S the girl who’s going to stand up, kick ass, save YOUR life … and, by the way, be incredibly hot not in spite of it, but because of it.

It does seem odd to me that I never watched this show.

And he gave me the rundown on the new comic. (Possible SPOILER ALERT.)

Following recent events, the world now sees vampires as cool and slayers as the bad guys, and it’s made life tougher for Buffy and her army of newly-empowered slayers. With rogue slayer Simone and her band of followers out causing havoc in the world, Buffy’s job is even harder. So when Andrew thinks he has a way to stop Simone and her gang, Buffy rushes at the chance to get a win, unaware that there are surprises waiting for her along the way.

I asked him whether there’s any lesbian content in this issue, and he lamented that there was not. But he did emphasize that it was chock-full of strong women:

Personally, I love the idea that every one of these women in my issue is empowered. Each has realized her potential strength and has taken control of her own life. Unfortunately for Buffy, some of those women are tired of playing by other people’s rules, and they want to use their new-found power for less-than-noble gains.

And although he’s more sympathetic to Buffy’s message about doing good in the world, he does — in light of Prop. 8 — empathize with Simone’s fatigue at always having to play by other people’s rules.

So I’m ready to head out and buy my first ever Buffy comic — and perhaps begin watching the Buffy DVDs I’ve had in my possession for months. Although I’m late to the game, I hope that being an old friend of one of the writers earns me a little street cred in the Buffyverse. (And, of course, I’ll casually mention that I was a formative strong-woman role model for him.)

What about the established Buffy fans among you? Have you been looking forward to the new issue? And do you have any sympathy for Simone?

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