By RazzaTazz 27 Comments
I have another semi-regular blog feature which I am planning on doing. It will be based on two separate creative endeavours. The first is a book called “Zombies, Vampires and Philosophy” which follows on a few other such books that I have read dealing with pop culture and philosophy. The second is the series I, Vampire. I had been reading this through the early stages of the new 52 and I dropped it, but I got the impulse to read it again, only to find out a day or two later that it was being canceled. I thought to give the series a better perspective then that I might frame it within the philosophical concepts of this book and that I would roughly read one chapter of the book and compare it to every issue that I read (though to do so I am skipping the zombie chapters.)
The first chapter of the book is titled “The Badness of Undeath.” As with any philosophical discussion there are a lot of different points brought forward here, some quite relevant and others not. In short though it makes the following claims - that the undead is inherently evil (though it is sometimes portrayed as good), but that being undead is not inherently bad. It is only bad because we have comparison of what it is to be human. Our human instincts tell us that it would be bad to kill others and as this is a state of being for the undead that it is not desirable for us.
I should first of all set the stage a little. I, Vampire #8 is the last issue in a story arc called Rise of the Vampires where Andrew Bennett has returned from post undeath death and is given new vampiric powers beyond those which he previously had. The first problem with the application of these philosophical concepts to this series is that Andrew has been shown as a good vampire. As the author notes, it would not really be well accepted if someone rewrote To Kill a Mockingbird with Atticus Finch as a bigot, so it is strange to recast vampires in modern years as something more than blood thirsty terrors. This being the case there are a lot of vampires that are shown to be not so evil, and Andrew Bennett to this point has been one. After his return he has evidently become evil, but to celebrate his return instead of going to feast on some humans, the first thing which he does is to kiss Mary passionately. This desire for love is another thing unknown to most interpretations of vampires (but this is getting beside the point, as I have made this point, although not everyone will agree with it.).
The second and more compelling aspect of the argument deals with the actual badness of being a vampire. Not evil, but actually whether it is bad to be a vampire. Of course as Andrew has decided to take control of the vampire army and to later unleash them on mankind, this would be something evil, but the perception of bad is only inherent to us as humans. None of us are vampires and so we cannot accurately say whether this is in itself bad. We can only frame this from our perceptions as humans. The sensation of unleashing an undead army on the world might be a better feeling than anything we can feel as humans and from a natural standpoint we as humans think we have a well-earned right at the top of the food chain which these vampires are challenging.
Inherently though, I don’t find myself agreeing with this standpoint. I can understand the vantage of a non-human based philosophy where our interests are not the basis for the worth of other events, but as we are the only creature that we know of that can determine right from wrong, in an otherwise vacuum of morality, ours trumps everything and everyone else’s morality and especially fictional creatures created by us. Because of this I think I can say that it is still absolutely bad to be a vampire and something which we should not aspire to ever become, except in the happy fictionalized version (I call Count Chocula).