Welcome David Doub back to the hotseat! He's got an awesome comic series, Dusk, that you can preview at his website. Without further ado, here's David...
Okay there's one thing I don't get. Who would really want to be a vampire? Sure I understand allure of immortality, power and all that sensuality, but in the end aren't you suppose to be damned for all eternity?
Yes, I know we're talking about fiction here, but I'm trying to think in the context of the fictional world of vampires. Now there are some takes on vampires to where they make the "change" less evil or even more medical, like it's a disease, but I think that takes some of the "bite" out of the vampire.
The Darkness is what helps define and shape a good vampire story and it's that same darkness that makes it ultimately unappealing to actually become vampire. There's plenty of temptation and seduction involved with vampirism, but that's the what give it's edge, but if you get too close you'll get cut. Sanitizing that "danger" technically removes the tension from the danger and again you loose that "bite."
Maybe it's the modern Hollywood sensibility infecting horror and vampires by forcing on happy ends that causes this. I think this is a disservice because life is about choices and consequences and a person should be aware of that. I can accept a vampire story where the person willing knows what will happen if they become a creature of the night. But I would think that such a person who would make such a choice would have had such a rough life that they lost their faith in humanity.
In Dusk, the lead, Eve, so wants to be vampire, but that's only to be close to the vampire Ash. Also by becoming a vampire, she would be leaving all the abuse of her human life behind and give herself the illusion of empowerment. But all she would ultimately be doing is changing one set of hardships for another. Throughout Dusk, Ash makes it very clear that being a vampire is not cool. Ash has to fight constantly to keep the "fury" in check and make some sort of order out of the chaos. It's somewhat clear, that if Ash ever took a moment's break, he would very likely succumb to his baser instincts like so many of his brethren have.
Some would argue that vampires are just humans who give into their dark side and do things they never would have in life. But I think this hurts the contrast of humans being of the light and vampires are of the dark. Sure humans have some darkness in them, and vampires can prey and manipulate that, but people are ultimately good. And of course in reverse a Vampire can have some light in them, and can try to struggle to regain that light of humanity. That sort of classic struggle of redemption is still a entertaining piece of character.
I forget though that Vampire fiction is a pretty strong bit of escapism and maybe that's where the whole desire to turn into a vampire comes from. Maybe readers have gotten tired of just the temptation of damnation and want to read about actually fully crossing over into evil. There is definitely something about the allure of being "evil" and some would want a stronger taste of that. Personally I think that kills the "sexual" tension of being seduced by the dark. Once that "dark pact" is consummated, where does the excitement come from?
Sure, everyday people get married and live happily ever after, but that doesn't make good drama. There's no longer a chase, emotions running over reason, the battle of wills between two people. And things like frustration and turmoil over unrequited desires is very relatable to a lot of readers.
So while it may be great to have a fleeting moment of peril with a vampire, something to really get the heart pumping, but in the end it's not good to become a vampire. They're ethereal creatures that should never be caught or caged. Just yet another thing to fear in the darkness.
Also, VampirePhile did an interview with Jerry Gonzales, who is an illustrator on the Dusk Comics, and you can read that here.
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