Buffy died twice; this journal has now been re-born three times. Its newest name and different incarnation is as Slayage: The International Journal of Buffy+. As some of you will recognize, the title harks back to the original journal title of 2001 (Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies) as well as the text that started us. The name Buffy recalls the significance of scholarly examinations of feminism, but Slayage is much more. The “plus” is meant to be a sign of inclusivity, both for scholars and texts.
The “plus” specifically alludes to LGBTQIA+, too, one of the important touchstones of the original series. The complexities of queerness are part of the intriguingly nuanced nature of many of these texts. The Tara/Willow storyline was both groundbreaking and, with Tara’s death, ultimately controversial. Scholarship explored this subject from many angles; the response to this LGBTQIA+ storyline is an illustration that our analyses should be scholarly critiques, not just hagiography. The journal was established to provide a venue for writing about good work, but good works are not perfect, and scholarship should strive to see clearly. This journal will not publish articles about texts that would be a waste of viewers’ or readers’ time; on the other hand, it will continue to not only praise but also problematize those texts about which it does publish. LGBTQIA+ texts and scholars have been an important part of this clear-sighted assessment, and Slayage would be strengthened by further contributions in light of contemporary scholarship. How do we now see Dru and Darla? Does Felicia Day’s Mag of Dollhouse connect at all with her Charlie in Supernatural? Is asexuality visible anywhere in these texts? How might current scholars address the presentation of J. August Richards’ Gunn in the light of his coming out as a gay man? Intersectional scholarship should be encouraged.
That last example leads to another point. Importantly, the “plus” is meant to refer to the need to counteract a “minus”—that is, the scarcity of Latinx and Black, Indigenous, Person of Color representations in Buffy (the Original Sin of the Buffy text) as well as problematic representations in that and related texts. Since Kent Ono’s 2000 essay “To Be a Vampire on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” scholars have been examining these matters. (See the Oxford University Press Online Bibliographies on Buffy and on Whedon.) However, a great deal remains to be done—again, not just on Buffy but also on related texts. We can revive Kendra in our scholarly discussions, but we should not stop there. What can we say about Monica Owusu-Breen? What about the multiple roles of Maurissa Tancharoen? What about Gina Torres and Harry Lennix? And who will speak about these matters? Will you?
Back in 2001, David Lavery wrote that the journal would continue “for as long as interest warrants.” With this new name and new focus, we reiterate that pledge.
Slayage (ISSN 1546-9212) is an open-access, blind peer-reviewed, MLA-indexed publication and a member of the Directory of Open Access Journals.