December 11-12, 2021
For better or worse, vampires have always been, and still are, a staple of popular culture, from comics to novels to film and so much more. Now maybe oversaturation in the market has desensitized you, and maybe you’re not really feeling vampires anymore, but we at Supanova are of the mindset that they are definitely around for better.
Just take a look at our latest upcoming “Supa-Star” guests; Ian Somerhalder and Julie Benz! Two iconic modern vampires; Damon from The Vampire Diaries and Darla from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. So, in order to argue in favour of the vampires today, let’s look at what makes them such interesting characters.
In 1897, the world was introduced to the original vampire, the one and only Count Dracula. The tale of a fanged man who moved from Transylvania to England, dragging crates of Transylvanian dirt with him to expand his world of the undead, captivated readers. The novel, written by Bram Stoker, opened people’s eyes and spawned a love for Dracula that would outlast many of his contemporary monsters.
For one thing, the versatility of the humble vampire sets them apart from other characters. Vampires come in any human form, and in many cases, depending on the universe you’re into, they’re almost indistinguishable from humans (maybe with sparkly skin and supernatural amounts of hair-gel).
For example, Damon is pretty much the perfect human – tall, handsome and a winning smile hiding those sharp fangs, giving him a perfect cover from his enemies and a head start on his victims. Vampire heroes like Blade don’t need cool costumes or items to give them their strength, their power, like them, hides in plain sight, beneath the surface. But their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness.
Much has been said about the physical weaknesses of vampires; garlic, holy water, sunlight, wooden stakes (but that would kill anyone so…), but much more interesting than that is the psychological weaknesses of these characters. Their longevity and invulnerability make for lonely existences, which of course conflict with their human desires; to love, to form a life with someone, hold down a job, make friends, etc.
A character whose blessing of power is more of a curse makes for a far more interesting dynamic than say, The Flash, who gets to have his human and superhero cakes and eat them too. Vampires subsist off killing other beings; it’s an irreconcilable part of their nature. Add to this the fact that vampire characters can be unwilling recipients of the power, and you have the potential for a plethora of great stories about the conflict between a character’s will as a human, versus their nature as a creature of darkness.
Lots of superheroes are unwilling recipients of their power, but while many can choose to ignore the call to action that their powers present to them, if vampires ignore their calling, well, they’re dead.
Stack all these things on top of each other and you’re dealing with some multi-faceted monsters, and that’s without even mentioning the billion-and-one ways that vampires have been recontextualised in different texts (see the differences between Twilight and Hotel Transylvania). With so much depth and complexity, it’s no wonder that vampires have sunk their teeth into the collective consciousness of people everywhere.