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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

I Call This One Bitey

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: July 2010

There are a lot of theories going around as to why vampires are such a popular subject these days. I’m not really sure where I stand with this vampire-mania, as my feelings on the subject are… convoluted. Three separate times in my life I’ve been approached by someone who accuses me of being a vampire. Two out of those three times it was strangers who approached me, and all three times took place before Twilight-fever had gripped the nation. I blame the crazy-white skin, but come on people! I can’t help it if my genes are primarily Eastern European.

Whether you’re getting a custom “Team Edward” shirt made, or you’re part of the minority who maintain disgust with the resurgence of these bitey bloodsuckers, I’ll bet you’re still shelling out your pocket change to see those sexy beasts go at it on the big screen. Underworld and True Blood have enjoyed massive popularity, but the real breadwinner here is undoubtedly Twilight. Oh Twilight… God damn you. Somehow Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have wormed their way into the hearts and minds of this country and judging by the constant looks of disgust on their faces, they were the last ones who expected such universal adoration.

If you’ve missed this snippet of information in past weeks, I work at a bar/movie theater that shows mostly independent films and documentaries, and caters to the Pearl District’s bourgeoisie crowd.  Recently we showed the film The Eclipse, a Conor McPherson film, a Horror/Drama that produced mixed reviews and meager ticket sales. Meager ticket sales until the day that a very large group of preteen girls showed up, many sporting “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” shirts and that unmistakable giddiness that only happens when you put hormone-ridden teens in a small enclosed space together. They purchased tickets for Eclipse, and sat through twenty minutes of the film before coming out to the bar and timidly asking if they were in the wrong theater. I was surprised to find that I took little joy in informing them that Twilight: Eclipse had not yet been released to theaters.

I was reminded of my brush with those angst-ridden Twilight enthusiasts when I stumbled upon American Vampire at Floating World Comics. The main draw for most comic enthusiasts was the idea of original (yep, I said it) Stephen King comic work. The story follows Pearl Jones, a budding actress trying to navigate her way through the seedy underbelly of the Hollywood scene in the 1920’s. With generous flashbacks and an inventive, rich storyline, writers King and Snyder have provided the perfect backbone for Rafael Albuquerque’s artwork. Every element works together cohesively in this series, and it is definitely worth checking out.  

Arielle Mullen