Same Story, Different Day
By Seth Love
Comic-Con opened this Thursday and with it a craze of Twilight fandom. And while fans waited for gates to open and for the availability of last-minute tickets, a horrible traffic accident killed an elderly fan, Giselda Gagliardi of New York.
Yet even among tragedy, Twilight fans frenzied as introductions were made: those for the actors of the box-office hit movies based upon the Twilight Saga and even Stephanie Meyer herself, the author of the profusely read young adult novels. There are perhaps just as many, if not more, fans of other Comic-Con arrivals: Superman, Batman and The Incredible Hulk are just a few of the well-known American names. Yet one would not normally expect a heroine-driven story such as the Twilight Saga to make such an appearance at a notoriously avant garde event like Comic-Con, where heroes like The Avengers and The X-men are staid arrivals every year.
So this seemingly preteen high-school crush story to an immortal being has reshaped Comic-Con… or has it? Twilight has modernized the story of Romeo & Juliet, and who does not enjoy a good love story, especially one that teaches us to accept those different than us, to love unconditionally? However, a good love story is not usually what attracts fantasy-comic enthusiasts to Comic-Con although benevolence is a common attribute from those heroes already mentioned. Moreover, although Superman has his Lois, The Hulk his Betty and Spiderman his MJ, we do not continue with these stories because of just romance. We continue to be entertained because these stories talk about what it means to be human, even though most of these characters never were or only used to be Homo sapiens.
Just as The Hulk battles his rage, so too do the wolves and vegetarian-vampires battle their gluttony—so too do we all, with the modern concerns of eating right and the fears of obesity. And like Superman and The Hulk, the humans, vampires, and werewolves of Twilight deal with cases of questioned identity (am I making the right choice?), of personal control (was I too harsh?), and even of imperviousness and the ubiquitous fear of death. This is then the characters, the authors of these stories including Stephanie Meyer, and even us essentially asking: “What would it be like to if a human could live forever? What would happen if baser human instincts were allowed to reign free? What should those who have immense power do with such supremacy?” How are the aforementioned questions any different than what Superman plays out in all his adventures? Than Spiderman? Than of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn? Than any of us, when we step behind the wheel of a car? Any of us could more easily hurt than heal—just as the Cullen family of Twilight could do. As community members we could more easily walk away than help someone lift a heavy box into their car…let alone hold a door open for fifteen seconds longer for a fellow citizen to enter.
All these characters fight for or against is what we, as humane persons, stand-for. Thus, whether or not we are talking about a green giant, a man from Mars, a demon’s heir, or even a sparkly, immortal-vegetarian vampire, remember: we are only reflecting on our own individual fears of death, life, power, and the in-between.