So Comic Con is going on as I type this, and I really wish I could be there, but I just couldn't afford to go and it sucks, but whatever. Anywho, I've been seeing several stories pop up about the presence of Twilight at SDCC and whether or not it's a good thing. I imagine that if the Twi-hards incite a riot and somebody gets maimed or killed, we can all agree that it's bad, but if they're just there being annoying and screaming, how do you decide?
After some pondering at my desk while I have nothing to do, I've come to the conclusion that it's a bad thing. And here's why:
As best I can tell, comic conventions began as a means to unite kids who were into stuff that generally made them an outsider/geek/loser/whatever. You got to meet up with all these other people who liked the same stuff you did and understood where you were coming from. And if you look at most of the content that brought people together at these gatherings, it's all very positive. Superhero books are, for the most part, basically the classic tale of good vs. evil and rooting for the good guy to win; genre TV and movies, which have played a part in the nerd collective consciousness since at least Star Trek, most often promote themes of peace and acceptance (Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Star Wars). Combine these two aspects together, and you have a group of people, who are normally outsiders, being brought together by things they love which promote good, positive ideals. So far, so good, right?
However, for good and for ill, companies have begun to catch on to the fact that there's this huge fan base with disposable income, so conventions are becoming more and more about product placement and selling people crap they don't need (you know, like everything else in this society). And so, enter the Twilight crowd. On the one hand, I hate to criticize anything that has encouraged so many young people to read. On the other hand, it seems like it's a terrible, terrible chunk of literary crap (for those of you who read the books as a guilty pleasure and understand that they're not the cream of the crop, you're fine by me). I haven't read the books, but I've seen the first movie, and had the books described to me in great detail, so I think I get the gist. And while other geek-related media tend to have overall positive themes, I'm having a hard time finding the good in Twilight. It seems to be promoting both the 'prince charming' ideal of men, which I think is really unhealthy for developing minds, as well as a very strange take on the misogynistic idea of the submissive female who just does whatever a man wants her to do and constantly needs to be rescued, which also seems not so healthy. The books also reflect individualism in that these characters make rash decisions based on their own feelings, and seem to really only care about themselves and a few others, as opposed to other pieces of geek media which often revolve around the idea of the greater good.
As a more direct comparison, let’s look at Buffy vs. Twilight (I hear people say the two have nothing in common, but shut up, they do). Buffy, which is and probably always will be a staple of geek TV, is about a young girl who has great power and can defend herself as well as having to defend many others. She does have troubled relationships, but she actually experiences them and thinks them through rather than just doing the ‘I love you so much I can’t be apart from you and now nothing else in my life matters’ deal (most of the time). She and many of the other characters as well, often make sacrifices in an effort to save all of humanity, and so even though they have their own little problems, the theme of the greater good shows up again. Buffy shows that you can have a story about vampires and love and teen troubles that exists in the geek realm, and it can be positive and uniting and not just a sci-fi themed romance novel.
So I guess my main problem is that I don’t think Twilight belongs at Comic-Con, because it’s not really a geek thing. Just because it’s about vampires and the fans have that whole ‘I’m a geek’ thing going on, doesn’t mean it fits. I’m fine with the fact that conventions are branching out to incorporate other media and products, but it seems that the only intrinsic value that this particular phenomenon has to offer is financial gain. Yes, if you have a Twilight panel at SDCC, thousands of girls are going to come and spend money to see it. And while a lot of people say that maybe these kids will be introduced to new books at the convention, which is good for both them and the retailers and creators, will they? I’m sure some fans will wonder out and find Death Note or Sandman and lose their shit and then start reading all kinds of other books, but I’d be willing to bet that most of these kids only care about the Twilight books, and nothing else will faze them from a reading standpoint until the next big phenomenon happens.
So in short, I vote no on letting Twilight into my world of geekiness. Am I wrong? Thoughts?