Thursday, August 22, 2013


I've been corresponding with Duncan McGeary, a writer from Bend, OR, and during a back-and-forth on how I would have written this or that, I offered an observation. Much like the ones wherein the villain does things that will result in the hero kicking his ass, or the post on mystery heuristics, in which I offer my take on those rules-of-thumb, this one is a hit on the vampire tale.


"Why, when a cop finds a body drained of blood with two holes in the corpse's neck, isn't the first thought–the first thought–in his mind, "Oh, shit, a vampire!" Or, at the very least, "Oh, shit, some psycho who thinks he's a vampire!" I mean, it's all over our entertainment culture, you can't miss it, and for the cops not to have that thought strikes me as totally unbelievable; it kills my suspension of disbelief. Really? Has the cop never seen a TV show, a movie, a comic book, a novel? He doesn't have to believe in real vampires, but if he doesn't acknowledge it? Right away, the cop is a dunce, albeit the writer is making him such for a plot device that, for me, doesn't play any more. 

Stop any ten people on the street and posit this scenario: The cops find a body in a motel, it's been drained of blood, and there are two puncture marks on the neck, over the big blood vessel. Who you think might have done it?

How many do you reckon won't say "Its a vampire!" 

I haven't written a vampire story in twenty-odd years, and that one was a short and comic tale. In it, I had the vampire wearing sunblock and a Kevlar vest; at the time, these were still relatively-novel concepts. Both have been exploited a lot since, and again, it makes me wonder. If one of the few ways you can kill a vampire is with a stake through the heart, why wouldn't one with half a brain have a trauma plate over his heart to turn away stakes, arrows, or wooden bullets? A fireproof gun safe for a coffin, only able to be opened from inside? A really good watch or an iPhone app  that warns them dawn is coming? Wouldn't you take such precautions? I would.

Not, nowever, if the plot device needs to have them kinda stupid. If they are that stupid or arrogant, we need to know that ..."


Jim said...

Kinda like I've never understood why various superheros like Superman or Spiderman never seem to have taken a martial arts class. Yes, they have advantages... But wouldn't it make sense (especially if you're as smart as they're supposed to be...) to learn how to make the most of those advantages?

And it'd make a cool scene...

Ed said...

ooh ooh - spetsdod wooden spike shooter on a Darkworld!

William Adams said...

Spiderman does study martials from Captain America during the time he was in the Avengers right before the Marvel Civil War story arc, and apparently, he recently lost his ``Spider Sense(TM)'', so studied Kung Fu w/ Shang Chi:

and wasn't there a bit about Superman learning boxing from Muhammad Ali?

Problem of course, is these comics have been going on so long, pretty much everything has happened -- I really miss DC's system for just restarting the (numbered) Earth (Earth 1, 2, S), and wish Marvel would do more w/ their multiverse to keep things fresh / consistent.

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

Last summer or the summer before-- I forget which-- there was a rash of folks high on this or that substance, behaving like zombies (shambling, trying to eat people, etc.) It got to the point that CDC issued a news release stating that there WAS NO zombie virus on the loose.

People absorb enough zombie pop culture, that's how they'll crack when they crack. I'm only surprised we haven't seen more psycho-who-thinks-he's-a-vampire cases.

Steve Perry said...

In Batman: The Animated Series, I wrote a two-episode story that deals with Bruce Wayne in Japan, studying the arts as a young man.