I don’t know what the dealy-o is with vampires right now, but it seems everyone’s going apeshit over them. It’s really fucking lame, and to put it bluntly, more than a little gay if you ask me, especially the Twilight kind of vampire – they sparkle in sunlight? Seriously? And people like this shit?
The Oatmeal’s take on How Twilight Works is probably the best summary of the entire franchise and makes me glad I haven’t wasted any time reading the books or watching the movies.
Maybe I’m missing out, maybe Twilight could have changed my life for the better. For the sake of at least having an informed opinion, I’ve often thought of reading the books or watching the movies, but right as I’m about to do it, this overwhelming feeling of ‘meh’ creeps up on me and I decide to do something else instead, like pluck my nose hairs or make a sammich.
I’ve read a couple of books dealing with Vampires, the most notable of which would probably be the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles (Interview With A Vampire, Lestat, Queen Of The Damned, Tale Of The Body Thief and Memnoch The Devil) and to be honest, always found the whole vampire genre to actually be a thinly disguised exploration of homosexuality and sexual deviance.
What a load.
BUT, there is one Vampire I really identified with because his story wasn’t a sordid, dressed up sexual fantasy, but rather an awesome exploration into the nature of addiction.
I’m talking about Cassidy from the best goddamn graphic novel series I ever read, The Preacher.
If you’re into really violent and gripping fiction, do yourself a favour and go and buy all of The Preacher series right now, it’s an awesome story about a Preacher from Texas (Jesse Custer) who gets possessed by an entity named Genesis which allows him to command the Word Of God.
It’s a badass superpower – his eyes light up all red and anything he says people obey without question, sometimes with hilarious consequences, like when an entire platoon of army guys are trying to gun Jesse and his girlfriend Tulip down and he turns to them, eyes blazing, and screams ‘Fuck off!’
They immediately drop their weapons and just start running in the opposite direction into the desert, at which point one of them looks nervously at his buddy and says, ‘For how long?’ The implication, of course, is forever.
So what does Mr Custer do with his newfound power? Well, he commands the heavenly host down from the ether and demands to know what has happened and subsequently finds out that the natural order is falling to pieces because God has left his throne and left his creation to go to shit.
Jesse’s mission after that is simple, track God down and kick his ass.
Jesse is a great character because he hardly ever uses his superpower, choosing rather to use his fists to solve the various problems he encounters on his journey. Right in the beginning of the series he meets and befriends Cassidy, who is intrigued by Jesse and decides to join him on his mission.
Cassidy is Irish and is a full-blown alcoholic. He’s an unshaven, charming rogue who never takes his sunglasses off and fucking loves nothing more than getting wasted, getting laid and partying like his life depends on it. He’s a happy-go-lucky kind of dude and from the moment he steps into the story, you can’t help but like him.
Him and Jesse form a close friendship really fast, even though Jesse finds it a little strange that Cassidy sleeps for most of the day under a heavy tarpaulin sheet in the back of Jesse’s truck and basically avoids the sun at all costs.
Then one night the two of them get into a fight with a bunch of rednecks, one of whom plunges a knife into Cassidy’s eye, right through his sunglasses. Instead of reacting, Cassidy just stands there calmly, pulls the knife out, tears the guy’s throat out with his teeth and starts drinking him dry.
I forget exactly what Jesse’s reaction is, but he says something like, ‘Holy shit! You’re a…’
At which point Cassidy lets the guy’s dead body fall to the floor, and, grinning from ear to ear, blood all over his face says, ‘That’s right. The “V” word…’
He’s one of the best characters I’ve ever read. He’s a lousy fighter, but because he’s a vampire, he has super human strength and can heal from any wound, so it doesn’t really matter. In fights he only needs to land one decent punch and his opponent’s bones shatter like glass.
He gets fucked up over and over and over again, but just keeps coming back for more, nothing can stop him. Also, he doesn’t need to drink blood to sustain himself, it just helps him heal faster if he’s been fucked up badly, otherwise he can eat normal food, drink booze, have sex and do everything a normal person does, he just can’t be in the sun too long or he starts to burn up.
However, about halfway through the series Jesse starts meeting characters that know Cassidy and they all start warning Jesse about him, telling Jesse he has no idea who Cassidy really is, what he’s done or what he’s capable of doing and they’re right.
Cassidy is a monster. He was turned back in 1916 and once he found out how powerful he was, he indulged every hedonistic whim that came his way. He dived headfirst into a life of drugs, alcohol, partying and lots of sex, and because he was such a loveable guy, he made a lot of friends and was really popular in the circles he moved in.
Before long, he discovered heroine and encourageed his friends and his lover to do it with him. Over time, it destroys his friends completely, their lives fall to pieces, they become heavily addicted, spurred on by Cassidy’s appetite for the stuff.
Eventually, his friends start dying around him, but he doesn’t give a fuck. He looks like total shit, and at his lowest point, lives in a derelict building, feeding off the rats he finds and prostituting himself on the streets to feed his habit.
He eventually manages to recover from his addiction, but by that time the lives of all the people that were close to him are completely ruined.
Cassidy ends up sleeping with Jesse’s girlfriend after Jesse is thrown from a plane and believed to be dead. Tulip is so distraught, she starts doing sleeping pills and tranquilisers with Cassidy and the two hole them selves up in a motel and live out their days like two junkies, trying to kill the pain of Jesse’s ‘death’.
Cassidy turns out to be the monster everyone said he was because he can’t control his vices and because he lives outside the rules that apply to everyone else. The story does actually have a happy ending, but you’re gonna have to read it yourself to find it out
I think it’s the most accurate depiction of what most people would do if they were ‘turned’. All this nancy Vampire bullshit that seems to be so damn popular in the media right now is a pile of wanky shit if you ask me.
Just read The Preacher. You can thank me later