In a hugely risky move, the writers of Dark Horse BTVS Season 9 have included a story about everyone’s favorite Slayer getting pregnant. For plot reasons, there is the question of who is the father but it seems likely it’ll be Spike. After considering how the pregnancy will affect her and the unborn child’s lives she seems to decide that an abortion may be the best idea.
This has already lead to much debate on the right and wrong of abortion in general, whether story-lines like these should appear in comics and if this will be the story were Buffy will finally Jump the Shark.
Creator and executive producer of the comics, Joss Whedon, had this to say on the storyline:
“It’s not something we would ever take lightly, because you can’t. You don’t. It’s not an easy thing for anyone..
Buffy was always about the arc of a life, and it wasn’t ever going to be one of those shows where they were perpetually in high school and never asked why. It was about change. So there’s never a time when Buffy’s life isn’t relevant.”
This should mean that the storyline will be handled with the skill, seriousness and sensitivity given to other Buffy story-lines and I think all fans of Buffy will know they handle these issues well, in both an entertaining and non-judgemental way. Willow and Tara’s lesbian relationship has lead to them being considered on of the best depictions of a gay couple shown on TV.
He also went on to say how the story-line is an issue and that it needs to be acknowledged:
“It’s not that women should be on one side or the other, but that people have to make this decision and talk about it. It offends me that people who purport to be discussing a decision that is as crucial and painful as any a young woman has to make won’t even say something that they think is going to make some people angry.”
Personally, I think if that issues of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Drug use can be tackled in comics (Which they all have been) then surely an abortion story-line isn’t out of the question. It’s a issue that affects alot of people. The fact that the decision seems to be based on her own personal choice, rather than being down to her responsibilities as a Slayer, means that readers can more easily relate to the effort, thought and indecision that surrounds the ultimate outcome.
Also, while comics usually include fantastical story-lines involving heroes saving the World, which Buffy has done on more than one occasion, I find that some of my favorite comic moments involve the emotional development of a character I like, whether through life changing events or quieter moments of introspection. It’s ludacris to say that real world issues shouldn’t be brought into comics but if they’re not, how will we ever be able to relate to our heroes? More importantly, how will they ever grow?
As comics become more contemporary and address issues that can have parallels to our own lives, I think this is a bold and risky move and I, for one, think it really says something about the continued maturity seen in not only the Buffy universe itself, but also comics as a whole, as they show that they are willing to address these volatile themes and issues even though they could divide their audience and, ultimately, be detrimental to their sales.
Tags: buffy the vampire slayer, dark horse, joss whedon, sexy, spike, tara, willow