Robot 6

The Fifth Color | Feeding From a World That Hates and Fears Them

Jubilee is with Team Edward

Jubilee is with Team Edward

Neil Gaiman thinks modern vampires suck.

And not in a good way, but in a weak, namby-pamby embarrassing kind of way. They have sullied the good name of Dracula and horror antagonists everywhere!

Okay, maybe he didn’t say that, maybe it was better put and far more eloquent or politely than I would have said, but a gist could be taken. From the interview in The Independent:

He said he hoped that mainstream culture would lose its interest in the undead so that vampire fiction could regain its potency. “Maybe it’s time for this to play out and go away. It’s good sometimes to leave the field fallow. I think some of this stuff is being over-farmed,” he said.

He also said far more damningly:

“My next big novel was going to have a vampire. Now, I’m probably not. They are everywhere, they’re like cockroaches.”

Yikes, cockroaches? Really? I’d say that’s a bit iffy on the eloquent and probably not polite. I certainly know enough Gaiman fans who feel a little more than put out by the shelving of what could be another incredible story from an unbelievably popular writer because of Stephanie Meyer’s work. Should we put the vampire genre, like Gaiman says, “back underground for another 20 years or another 25 years.” Will a whole new generation have to discover the fascination of the alluring and inhuman, the forces of will, the metaphor of sexual awakening and the ancient mythology of human hunters in the night because of the Cullens?

Let’s read X-Men #1 and find out!

(WARNING: Surprise! There are spoilers for X-Men #1 ahead. No, not the one from 1991. Certainly not the one from 1963! No, these would be the new X-Men… wait. No. Let me come in again…)

Okay, for those of you living under a very small rock, there’s a new ‘adjective-less’ X-Men in town with an all-new, mostly different #1 issue. Not only can you snag an alternate cover or four, but this is a jumping-on point for those of you who might have heard the X-Men moved and got an all-new look, but lost track of a “Second Coming” chapter. This will be your standard X-Men book, with a roster of popular mutants both young and old, and a cool new story that appeals to an immensely popular demographic. Just as popular as Deadpool alternate covers are vampire fans, what with Twilight’s latest film Eclipse getting close to 200 million dollars in domestic box office cash. I know, let that sink in a bit.

xmenannual6So yeah, Marvel’s going to grab some of that hot vampire action! The X-Men even have a history with vampires, facing Dracula himself first in Uncanny X-Men #159, then again in a personal favorite, Uncanny X-Men Annual #6.   The House of Ideas have dabbled and danced with the supernatural, so saying this is a quick hook for a popular fad would be possibly true, but more than surface deep. Just ask Mark Millar. Last year, Captain Britain and MI:13 gave us one of the most fascinating vampire stories in a long time, adding superstition and space to create a threat that loomed over us from the moon itself. Vampires were bound by rituals, created from ancient Atlantis by demonic Elder Gods. Doctor Strange has banished them with ancient texts, Hannibal King was cured of his blood-sucking curse, and I don’t think I need to mention Blade. Vampires have loomed and lurked and struck out from the darkest depths of the House of Ideas so a new story using that rich background in this prime market of vampire heat is a great idea.

Maybe we shouldn’t wait for the vampire craze to die down before we see the predatory undead stalk us in our fiction again. If vampires need to terrorize us once more rather than dazzle us with their hair gel, then maybe we should face front and write some spooky vampire stories. Hiding the myth under the bed until it looks new and fresh to readers again might save Neil Gaiman from being lumped into a genre he’s not fond of, but it shouldn’t stop him from telling a story because of what people might think of him. There are probably writers out there who wouldn’t touch comics because they’re ‘kids’ stuff’ who are missing out on the medium, so let’s not judge a book by its cover this time.

Let’s read it! This week’s X-Men #1 is written by award-winning novelist Victor Gischler and penciled by Deadpool artist Paco Medina. The story centers around a “Dracula problem” as a vampire blood bomber explodes in public, catching former mutant Jubilee in the blast. Maybe she got some in her mouth, maybe she scraped her knee in the blast, maybe it got in her nose, all of these are possibilities from Dr. Kavita Rao as she explains to Cyclops that Jubilee is infected with vampirism. Where as Storm was enthralled to Dracula, unable to resist in Bela Lugosi-mesmerism fashion, Jubilee risks transformation. Other San Franciscans who were caught in the same blast have been lured in by a big scary monster, who rose up out of the ocean, and his well-dressed vampire buddies, so the X-Men have gotten the hint. Wolverine takes off his cowboy hat and goes tracking with Angel and Pixie, finding a blood bank of thralls (I assume from the hangings on the wall and the big leather straps) and a low-level vamp who is no match for ol’ Canucklehead. As Logan gives his report to Cyclops, Jubilee looks at what may be her last sunset.

X-Men Annual #6 & current X-Men #1

X-Men Annual #6 & current X-Men #1

A start, a smidgen of a storyline, backed up by back matter in the form of ads for an upcoming onslaught of mini-series, as well as Uncanny’s “The Five Lights” storyline and the “Fall of the New Mutants.” Also, a preview of Shadowland. This issue is highly designed for the current vampire craze: there are two sympathetic teenage characters in the form of Pixie and Jubilee, fight scenes are short and flashy, vampire motives are easy to recognize and ads, ads, ads! It’s a Marvel comics intro book, and I have no problem with those. I like new customers and if there’s a way to hook new readers, I tend to jump on board. That said, this issue is kind of dull. The rules of vampirism seem changed from previous Marvel comics, nothing of importance happens outside of Jubilee’s infection and it’s got 14 pages worth of preview material. Since the penultimate chapter of “Second Coming” came out at the same time, I’m not sure how far ahead of that this storyline is. Also, I can never tell when Warren Worthington is going to be Angel or Archangel, it just seems to be when thematically appropriate. Is Jubilee the same age as Pixie? Why’d they let her go on the mission to hunt down vampires? Why did Cyclops totally shut down a friend, former team leader and freakin’ queen? All in all, not much for your $3.99 price tag and the discerning Marvel zombie.

But this book isn’t for us. It’s for new readers. It’s for the Twilight market and comic market speculators. These are Gaiman’s cockroach ‘modern vampires’, where you’re infected and inconvenienced by your transformation instead of terrified. Trapped in a world they did not choose, an uncomfortable monster amongst other people, given otherworldly freedoms and strict rules, both beautiful and troubled. And isn’t that what being a mutant is all about?

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22 Comments

Jubilee as a vampire, huh? Hmmm. It’s not a … terrible idea, but isn’t Jubilee basically the opposite of dark and brooding? She was pretty much the sunniest of the X-Men and Generation X, who were all a very dark and brooding bunch.

evidently, we are not allowed anything other than dark and brooding in the X-Verse… or most comics, really

So:

Synch’s dead.

Skin’s dead.

Chamber’s Apocalypse-lite and M.I.A.

Husk rarely appears.

M just made a deal that might strip her of her powers.

And Jubilee’s turning into a vampire.

Man, the Generation X kids always get the shaft.

“Man, the Generation X kids always get the shaft.”

They’re Marvel’s Justice League International.

Generation X was an abysmal book from an abysmal time for Marvel. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Scott Lobdell is right up there with Bob Harras (Craptastic Avengers run) and Tom DeFalco (His FF and Thor runs were easily the worst runs for either book) in nearly destroying Marvel. A pox on all their houses.

Anyway, if you read the Death of Dracula, I must say these vamps are not toothless like the sparkly happy rainbow vamps of Twilight. There’s some vicious backstabbing fanged mofos closer to the True Blood style vampires, all blood and death and sex, not mincing and sexless pseudo vamps of Twilight. I mean, c’mon, they SPARKLE. WTF?

Also, the vamp suicide bomber, neat touch.

This just in – aging hipsters who used to be cool and trendsetting are now behind the times and instead of trying to understand things, just “don’t get kids these days.”

In other astonishing news, the sky is above our heads and appears to be blue.

I recently was rereading the introduction of Jubilee, way back in Uncanny X-men. It’s a really clear presentation of her character — she’s this very fun, upbeat loose cannon, a kid on the streets who’s made the best of things. (A happy Surge, if you will.) I wish there were some way to get her back to there. Dark, broody vampire — seems a bad fit. Why can’t she be like Rictor or Dani, an X-person regardless of her lack of powers, I wonder.

Sparkles are purdy! Sparkly-girl becoming a vampire is purdy cool! Team Jubilee is purdy awesome! Ack! Kill me now!

Oh how sad.

I guess Marvel is completely out of ideas other than to attack its own creative contributors (Terrance Howard, Edward Norton, Wesley Snipes, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, etc.) and now all it has left is to blame is Twilight.

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.

No, the house of ideas isn’t bankrupt.

No, the house of ideas didn’t fail to captivate a new generation of moviegoers with it’s own tails about vampires.

No, it was a good idea to send it’s flagship title of to take on Stephanie Meyers minions and tell another tired story from the same perspective that already lost them money in the past.

Marvel needs to seriously invigorate its titles by possibly doing every thing they did in the past. Respect its creative contributors. Reinvigorate the genre by out creating DC comics. By infusing it’s titles with human emotion and pathos that both sexes can perceive. And helping its audience to feel included while setting new standards for quality in this industry.

Blaming or trying to steal Twilight’s thunder will make no difference.

DrunkJack: Sorry to burst YOUR bubble, but opinions being what they are and all, others have their own. “Generation X” was an extremely fun book that hit at the perfect time for a lot of young comic fans (like myself back then) and helped keep interest going when the main X-Books became far too bogged-down by crossover storylines or whathaveyou. Also, saying “a pox on all their houses” to people whose only “sin” that you know of is making comic books you don’t like? Well, I guess it’s just good to see the obsessive, entitled fanboys are still out there buying the product…

comic relief: Bet “X-Men #1″ outsells your favorite book. And by the way, it’s SO GOOD seeing your take on a single issue review and throw-in yet another TIRED rant about how Marvel craps on those that “help”, and then you crush any and all credibility by putting Terrence Howard and Wesley Snipes in the same sentence as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. Howard and Snipes are two actors who could give a damn about Marvel, they just want more money and more attention to serve their massive Hollywood egos. And I don’t know about Edward Norton in this case, but he’s more likely in the same boat as the previous two. Saying Marvel is bankrupt of ideas just because they wisely jumped on a very, very hot trend is foolish, espeically considering they’re using their worldwide-known group of characters (X-Men) to do so. Did you yourself realize that Marvel outputs a long, long list of books covering basically every genre, with creators matching almost every kind of taste or interest? Indeed, if you’re a so-called “Marvel Fan” and can’t seem to enjoy anything the company is selling, perhaps it’s not THEM that’s bankrupt, it’s your self-jaded outlook, trying too hard to find negatives when the positives are staring you right in the face.

Marvel comics have turned to crap ever since they tried these tried to make the avengers line fake happy and the x-men line into a teen soap opera.

I am tired of this crap, vampires are not cool, they have never been cool and they never will be cool.

DC comics at least are trying to give their characters some depth with brightest day and they respect what fans liked with comics like generation lost(a giant homage to JLI)

I want to read comics that I can tell were written with at least some emotion rather than a blatant tool to take my money.

“Generation X was an abysmal book from an abysmal time for Marvel.”
Abysmal time? Yes. Compared to almost any book from the 80s or 00s, Generation X sucks—but compared to other books of its time, its great! Chris Bachalo rocks and the character were solid. Pretty good and not so horribly “decompressed” as many titles are today.

The One and Only

July 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I don’t know about TWILIGHT being the source of inspiration for Vampire Jubilee, it seems like Marvel’s more ripping off Chaos Comics own perky vamp, Chasity Marks.

@Leroy Hart,

I’m sorry I offended you. You obviously think one more tour around the vampire tank is interesting. O.K. then I apologize.

You see actors playing your favorite Marvel characters yet you do not consider them creative contributors to the Marvel franchise. Thank God you are not my employer. Do you only consider them viable when they are popular? I guess you agree with Marvel’s recent response to Edward Norton even though you said otherwise?

You seemed to understand me, I don’t want any more tired and tacky vampire knockoffs, Twilight inspired or otherwise. I don’t hear anymore Cullen criticism, when Marvel does good books people will forget about sparkly vampires.

DetectiveDupin

July 11, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Marvel’s had Vampires way before Twilight, and the premise of this story actually sounds quite interesting to me. I love the Horror part of Marvel, so it’s nice to see it get some more love.

it doesn’t matter that they had vampires before now, Marvel openly admitted that the goal of the current even is the cash in on the new popularity of vampires and to create new vampire comics. there is no depth to this event or long term narrative goal other than to create a cash-in for a fad. their comic book version of ABC’s the gates, something that is clearly derivative with not even a the most basic attempt at originality behind it.

Compare X-men 1 to the MI-13 vampire story which was written before vampire fiction took over the media. X-men 1 is purely mechanical, designed to force in a concept that is currently popular while Mi-13 had a story where the writer clearly thought vampires being in the narrative added to the drama.

This issue reads a lot better if you read Death of Dracula first, though it was still entertaining on its own ( and thankfully not mired in crossover hell, as the X-Men have so often been ). The parallels between mutants and vampires are being made very clear– not just because of the youth appeal, but because both are superhuman offshoots that threaten to replace homo sapiens. Since Cyclops united the mutant race over the course of the DeciMation, they’re now seen as a threat to another superhuman race looking to dictate the course of evolution.

Also, I want to remind people that this story JUST STARTED, and conclusions shouldn’t be jumped to.

Personally I thought the story was a little lame. I am tired of every hero or set of heroes constantly going through giant world-ending events. Seems like the X-Men have done nothing but almost get destroyed for the last two years. I love downtime books where we get to know the characters we are reading. Love to see a book where they deal with all the loss from Second Coming before we jump into the next giant event.
As far as the vampire thing, I have never seen the Twilight books as real vampires, just something horrid that vaguely resembles something cool. Like those knock off shoes that look like Nikes that you can buy at Wal-Mart. Anyway, Marvel has a cool vampire mythos that I don’t see a problem with them exploiting to bring in new readers.
My major problem with this book was the way Pixie was drawn. Did Cyclops buy her implants as a reward for going to limbo? Isn’t she like 15 or 16? It’s sort of gross that she is better endowed that every other female character in the book. Seriously, if you want to complain about a cheap way to exploit something, complain about how they glued personal flotation devices on the chest of what used to be a cute teen fairy.

I am not giving this story a break because it just started, there have previews and solicitations for this entire vampire arc available for months. its very clear that this story is designed to create new vampire characters that can be marketed into a marvel vampire line of books.

That would be fine if marvel was doing anything at all unique or interesting with vampires. all they have done so far is kill Dracula(like that will last) and use a plot device to allow vampires to walk around in the day. Right there I have a problem with the story, if all it took was a machine to make them protected from sunlight, why don’t they make another machine that allows them drink water instead of blood. Why not? its science fiction anything can happen!

its such an arbitrary plot device that is only given a flippant explanation that it shows how little thought was given into this story. Its an event that marvel is telling the reader is important and because the characters in the comic are saying the vampires are dangerous so that marvel can reinforce the idea that the story is important, its a giant circle of idiocy.

I don’t know about your last point there, Carla.

The only X-Men stories I’ve read were Essential X-Men Vol. 1, the “Vulcan trilogy”, and Essential Wolverine Vol. 1. Other than that, I know little about them.

That being said, I read the preview of this and I was genuinely intrigued. It’s a clean hook that doesn’t really require anything other than a passing knowledge of the X-books, and I think we’re all the better for it, don’t you?

Of course they’re jumping onto a popular fad. It’s the easiest way to bring in new readers. X-men fans are going to buy a new X-book no matter what. Who cares that vampires are the in-thing right now? I think someone mentioned this already, but these vampires don’t turn sparkly in the sunlight, they explode into a rain of blood that turns people into vampires. That alone distinguishes it from other hangers-on to the vampire fad.

Wait so Jubilee is a Vampire? Did she ever get her powers back after House of M?

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