Something to get your teeth into

Dear Johnny Fanboy,

After reading the excellent vampire-based graphic novel Bite Club, I noticed something that I thought you may be able to explain. It's something about vampires I've never fully understood.

The Del Toros are a huge vampire clan that control Miami. As is the norm, all of the vampires are extremely good-looking and most are young-looking. While this makes sense for the vampires that were created by other vampires (obviously when you are young you want to be an immortal being at your peak) what about the other vampires?

The graphic novel explains that there are three types of vampire: those that were originally transformed by vampire bats (the pure-bred), those that were turned into vamps by other vamps, and those that were born of a vampire. How come the first two kinds seem to stay at the age that they were when transformed, and yet baby vamps born of vamps grow up?


Lauren Vertue

Johnny Fanboy replies:

It would seem that, in this version of vampire lore, those who are made into vampires by bats or other vamps remain at the physical age they were at when they were transformed. Those born of vampires probably reach physical maturity and then stop ageing at that point. Alternatively, maybe the vampire-born need to be bitten by a fellow vamp in order to halt the ageing process and stay young-looking - because they're worth it!

Bear in mind that different writers have adapted and reinvented the "rules" of vampirism for their own storytelling purposes. In most versions of the myth it is not even possible for vampires to bear children in the conventional way.

Another example of the mythology being tailored is that in the TV series Buffy and Angel vampires staked through the heart immediately crumble to dust (in order to make the violence more fantastical and therefore less gruesome). In most versions of vampire lore, vamps are rendered inactive by a stake through the heart, but are revived if ever the stake is pulled out, and only exposure to sunlight turns them to dust.

So don't be too concerned that different vampire stories and series don't always tally with one another. Fangs for asking!

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