The continuing chronicle of Wesley's quest to be published; plus comments on popular culture, family life, and whatever else falls out of his head.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Pirates & Werewolves

There are certain stock characters that everybody seems to love. The hooker with a heart of gold, the adventurer, the playboy,the gum-snapping secretary/waitress.

The same is true of fantasy novels. Two--I'll call them classes--classes that seem to have a huge fanbase regardless of the situation: vampires & ninjas.

Everybody loves vampire. I think it's the bad-boy nature of the characters. Natural seducers, singulary gorgeous, undead, damned for eternity. What's not to love? You put a vampire as the the protagonist of any novel and you have instant anti-hero. Someone who is either trying to deny his basic nature, or someone who willfully wallows in his own nature. People like Anne Rice and Laurel K. Hamilton have elevated--or lowered, depending on your point of view--the vampire from a tragic hero to a romance novel staple.

Now, ninjas are a little different to get a handle on. When I say 'ninja,' most folks aren't going to think of a typical story hero. Ninjas are usually the cannon fodder for who come swarming over the hill only to be swatted away from our hero. But here's the thing: the hero is generally a ninja, too. Not necessarily in the stricted sense of the word, but when you talk about any proud, loner-type of hero who survives on his intellect first and his incredible physical aptitude second, you're talking about a ninja.

Me, I don't personally like vampires or ninjas. Vampires, like I said, have evolved into romantic heros, when I've never personally found anything remotely romantic about them. Human monsters in every sense of the word, and over-used besides. Ninjas are just kind of... there.

You know what I like?

Werewolves and pirates.

Pirates, to me are the perfect anti-hero. They live totally for the moment. Pirates think with their swords more than their brains, but they're not trying to save the world, they don't have any noble goals except to find the treasure and bed as many damsels as they can. They drink until they puke and then they drink some more. They live totally for the moment. How can you not like that?

Werewolves are cool because they're just more human that vampires. Where vampires are seducers, werewolves are animals. Where vampires are manipulators, werewolves are trapped. They never wanted to be werewolves, they can't control themselves whene their under the full moon. They are as scared of themselves and what they can become as others are of them. Of course, you can morph a werewolf as much as a vampire, until they can change every night, or at will, for that matter. But it will never change the fact that werewolves will always be second to vampires. They are the Christina Aguilera of the monster world.

Nope, there aren't enough werewolf or pirate stories out there. But you know what's even better than werewolves or pirates?

Werewolf pirates.

Why not? It worked for Johnny Depp.


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