On Angel

The Good Vampire

Spike and Angel
By Peter S. Beagle

I didn’t pay much mind to Angel at first, for a lot of reasons, the major one being that vampires bore the bejesus out of me. They do talk so, for one thing. Anne Rice’s bloodsuckers natter on endlessly–endlessly, you hear me?–in mournful self-justification, and Whitley Strieber fell in love with his Miriam Blaylock far too early to give her a chance to be anything but lusciously rapacious. Dracula himself is scariest offstage (where he actually spends the major part of Bram Stoker’s novel), but at all events, he spends no time in apologia pro vita sua. In Joss Whedon’s universe, humans are, in the words of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Spike, “Happy Meals on legs,” and that’s the end of it. Beats the hell out of whiny old Lestat.

The only vampire I’ve ever been able to enjoy on a regular basis is Spike himself, primarily because of his elegantly insolent humor and his complete lack of somber self-importance. Whatever Spike does, he doesn’t brood about it; and brooding is the word most often applied to Angel–lord knows how many times it’ll come up in this anthology. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to feel the same affection for him that I do for Spike. Brooders are black holes for affection.

Angel and Spike have exactly one thing in common, apart from being vampires: they both possess human souls. Since vampires are, by definition, soulless walking corpses–night horrors nourished by blood, rejoicing in evil for its own sake–and  …

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