Buffy's Romp: Marketing Ploy or Part of the Plot?

Buffy Summers has now done it all.

After spending nearly a decade slaying vampires and demons and carefully juggling her schoolwork with her budding teen romances, Buffy of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" now also knows what it's like to have a one-night stand -- with a woman.

In the latest installment of the comic book series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight" -- which continues the saga that began in a 1993 film and then continued during seven seasons of a hit television series -- Buffy takes a break from her vampire duties to jump into bed with Satsu, a fellow slayer.

"Wow," says Buffy in the comic, hand on sweaty brow, naked body wrapped in tangled bed sheets. "That was ... that was ... Wow."

"'That was wow' pretty much covers it," responds Satsu, who, also dripping with sweat, clutches Buffy's 20-something body.

The comic's illustrators -- seemingly inspired by the sexy narrative -- litter the bedside with discarded bras and panties.

While the scene, which was first reported by The New York Times, may initially come across as a little too sexy and a little too soft porn, Joss Whedon, executive producer of the strip, told ABCNEWS.com that the story line flowed naturally and is nothing to gape at.

"We had already established that there was this character, Satsu, was in love with Buffy and that Buffy was kind of lonesome," said Whedon. "[We decided] it would be fun if they just went ahead and did it, rather than have it be a 'will they won't they' situation."

Despite Whedon's assertion that Buffy's adventurous sexuality is nothing new -- after all, her best friend on the show, Willow, came out in Season 4 -- industry insiders still aren't convinced that the latest plot twist isn't anything more than a marketing ploy.

Buffy's Lesbian Encounter: Groundbreaking or Marketing Ploy?

Having gay characters in comic books is not a new concept, according to comic guru Matthew McAllister, but central characters who stray from heterosexuality may be.

"We've definitely seen gay characters in mainstream comics over the past 10 to 15 years," said McAllister, who co-edited the book "Film and Comics." "But usually those tend to be secondary characters, not leads."

Dark Horse Comics, the publisher of Buffy's comic strip, estimates that since the comic's inception in March 2007, more than 1 million issues have been sold, approximately 120,000 each month.

While according to the publisher the audience includes "lovers of television and comics of all ages," McAllister says that Dark Horse is known for aiming its material more toward older teens and readers in their mid-20s.

Because the comic was the spawn of a popular movie and television series, McAllister bears on the side of Whedon, who asserts that Buffy's gay romp was more about character development than revenue.

"It's not like Buffy hasn't explored these issues before, so in a way it goes with the basic sensibility of the characters and the universe of Buffy," McAllister said. "'Buffy' is a metaphor for teenage life, and one of the issues teenagers face is the questioning of sexuality. Now [Dark Horse] is trying to explore it a little bit more."

A representative from The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation familiar with the comic welcomed the plot twist, lauding it as yet another example of the "Buffy" enterprise including "multidimensional lesbian characters in the Buffy universe."

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