Thursday, September 27, 2007

Trend Alert: From Buffy to Twilight

Interesting story from the CBC this week on Twilight, an enormously popular tween/YA book series written by a young Mormon woman named Stephanie Meyer - think Buffy the Vampire Slayer without a super-powered protagonist and even more relationship talk. From the CBC website:
Meyer’s saga — the third book was published recently — offers readers supernatural bodice rippers without much bodice ripping (more on that later). Since its 2005 debut, the series has sold upwards of 2 million books, and the latest installment, Eclipse, sold 150,000 copies on its first day alone. With a certain boy wizard in retirement, Twilight is the biggest young-adult phenom going.

Frothing with romance and gothic atmosphere, the books tell the story of Bella Swan, a regular jeans-and-T-shirts girl who moves from Phoenix, Ariz., to a drizzly corner of Washington state. It’s all doom and gloom — that is, until she encounters boy-vampire Edward Cullen on the first day of school. "He was glaring down at me," she narrates in the first book, Twilight, "his black eyes full of revulsion. As I flinched away from him, shrinking against my chair, the phrase if looks could kill suddenly ran through my mind."

The article goes on to describe the books' huge fan following, which includes swarms of vampire-attired girls showing up for book signings, and a healthy online component. The series has been optioned for film adaptations by Summit Entertainment, and two more installments are set for publication by 2009.

Disappointingly, the article doesn't make any mention of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, despite the obvious points of comparison...both in terms of themes and in terms of the substantial fan base. Ok, so Buffy was never at the same level ($$-wise or audience-wise) as Harry Potter, but still! It seems kind of likely that Twilight is tapping into some of the same audience, and at the very least extended an already established tradition of "vampire-romance" within girls' culture (from Anne Rice to Buffy and Angel to The Darkangel Trilogy).

By the way, for those of you who still miss it, Joss Whedon has been publishing a comic version of Buffy Season 8 through Dark Horse Comics. I suspect the book will eventually be made available as a graphic novel as well, so if you've missed the first few issues you might want to hold off until next spring and get the "complete season."

No comments: