About Me

My photo
Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
Hello, and welcome to my blog! I like to write about children's literature, fandom studies, video games, feminism, and pop culture in general. I've recently earned my Ph.D. in children's literature ( Fall 2012) at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I also teach English (composition, British literature, and women's literature) at Sowela Technical Community College. Oh, and I like cats! [Banner image artwork by Yuki Midorikawa]

Saturday, March 20, 2010

When I first saw Mallard Fillmore's comic in The Chronicle, pretty much the first thing I did was laugh. But to be honest, I was probably bringing my own dislike of the Twilight series to the experience rather than reacting purely to the comic itself. Doesn't hurt that Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books of all time.

Can we even try to understand the Twilight phenomenon? Is it really all about sex? Last October, Mark Morford wrote about the reasons behind his own disgust with the series: it's nothing new. Sure, vampires have been around for about 120 years (Morford refers back to Bram Stoker's Dracula), but so have most other fantasy and horror phenomena.

I have been told by at least one adult Twilight fan that she was surprised at how sexual the books are, being that they are written for "kids." I'm surprised that adult readers don't know what their teen-aged peers are reading -- that their books contain as much sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, so to speak, as most adult books. This particular age group of readers are classified as "young adults" for a reason, after all.

I haven't yet figured out the success behind the Twilight books. I never quite figured out the reason behind the success of the Harry Potter franchise, either. (But at least those were quite well-written.) I'm amazed by the number of academics (not to mention feminist academics) who profess to being enthusiastic fans of the novels. At the same time, I dislike "bashing" the books. In fact, I am far more comfortable with the thought of adult women, especially highly educated, empowered women, reading these books than I am of children -- sorry, young adults -- reading them.

As Morland pointed out, it seemed we were headed down the right path with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So what went wrong? No wonder those of us who grew up with Buffy look down on poor Bella Swan with such disdain.


  1. it's odd, when i saw the comic, instead of Twilight, i went to thoughts of Seth Grahame-Smith's success adding horror elements into classic lit. (i,.e.- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)

    I do applaud the spark that has been fanned by the Twilight, and even the Harry Potter series. The interest in reading and books has grown in teens, and even if i don't favor the not-so-subtle waves of "brooding sensuality" that are lapping at the shores of what was once a innocent island of awkward hormones, i do like the idea of my neices and nephews grabbing a book instead of a controller.

  2. Oh that's interesting! I hadn't even thought of that book, but you're right. I haven't read P&P and Zombies but a couple friends have. Neither has raved about it, but I understand is an enjoyable afternoon read (much like Twilight).

    Fillmore's comic is so bitter, though, that after laughing I almost feel a bit sad.

    I, too, am pleased that young folks are turning to books more and more these days. But as an avid gamer, I'm not totally against kids handling a controller every now and then ;) Bounds of reason, of course, although quite a few of today's games have pretty complex narrative qualities about them. Still, nothing beats a good, solid book, huh?