OP/ED - Where Are the Twilight Comic Books?

Where Are the Twilight Comic Books?

Why isn't there a Twilight comic book series in my comic book shop right now?

As the entertainment industry turns inside-out waiting for Twilight to hit theaters on Friday, the expected success of the film already has insiders thinking about what comes next. While more movies and books are on the distant horizon, the author and filmmakers should consider the more immediate medium of comic books. Between movies, between books, as the writer takes a break after the film is released, it's the prime opportunity for a comic book series that explores the world of Twilight in a way that incorporates the visuals of the movie with the written word.

We've all seen the success of Joss Whedon's Buffy comics and Stephen King's Dark Tower series as well as The Stand . A similar comic set within the Twilight universe could be a boon for the industry and would only serve to benefit the author and her fans, allowing pockets of stories to be told that further the books' mythos and potentially grow the audience.

Obviously, the sales potential makes a comic enticing enough. But there are a lot of reasons the Twilight series in particular makes sense as a comic:

- A New Audience The best reason for bringing a Twilight story to comic books is that it will reach beyond the current, predominantly male comic book audience to attract not only new female readers to comics, but young readers as well. Word is that the movie tests just as well with young males as young females, so a fresh batch of teen fans are expected to leave the theaters wanting more. And a comic would be a quick fix for an eager, ready-made audience.

- Twilight Fans Are Readers It's one thing to tie a comic into a successful movie or TV show or toy line or video game. But Twilight fans have something those audiences don't -- they already read. And this isn't a passive audience of readers. There are podcasts about the Twilight books; there are message boards; there are displays at libraries. The fourth book sold 1.3 million copies in one day, and that was before the movie. A new comic book story about the main characters Edward and Bella will entice these youthful, hungry readers to visit comics shops for their next read. And it won't hurt the book's sales either, as the series might now attract existing comics readers to the novels.

- The Author's a Geek. Aside from the geek-cred she gets for creating a universe filled with superpowered horror creatures, Stephenie Meyer has also cited inspirations that would make comics fans proud. While her list of inspirations for Twilight includes epic love stories like Jane Eyre, the author also specifically cites the X-Men cartoons, admitting that the Cullen family in the Twilight books are a lot like the outcast mutants who bond with each other at Xavier's school. "I was always fascinated with the X-Men," she says. And if that's not enough to convince you, her list of inspirations also includes My Chemical Romace, with comic-writer Gerard Way at the lead, and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, because she says "that's how you should feel coming out of a movie."

- Vampires vs. Werewolves. Think about it. The hottest book series in the world right now just happens to be filled with blood-thirsty, superpowered vampires and rabid werewolves -- images that would make even Jim Lee salivate.

- Wildstorm! Speaking of Jim Lee, Twilight is a Warner Bros. film, and Warner Bros. owns DC Comics. It would make sense for Warner Bros. to capitalize on that association by encouraging the author to write (or at least plot) Twilight comic books, placing the universe under the Wildstorm imprint that's already done comics for franchises like Heroes, X-Files, World of Warcraft and many other videogame du jour.

- Readers, Readers Everywhere. Sure, there's the statistic of 17 million copies sold worldwide. But this thing is hot right now. It’s difficult to go anywhere without running into someone who has either just read Twilight or knows someone obsessed with the series -- and the readers are all ages and genders. I mention Twilight to my comic shop owner: "Oh, my nephew's read all the books and my mom's taking him to the midnight showing. She's on the second book." I mention it to my horseback riding trainer: "I have a student who raves about those books. It's all she talks about." My daughter reads the third book on an airplane trip and the businesswoman in front of me leans back to tell her: "The fourth book is the best one. You'll love it." I email one of my comic buddies to ask what he's reading: An Avengers trade and "this book called Twilight." Not convincing enough? How about the recent revelation that President-Elect Obama is a Twilight fan?

- Movies, plural. Although the first Twilight movie doesn't open until this weekend, the excitement for this movie is practically palpable, with fans mobbing the actors at appearances and media outlets scrambling to get exclusives for their Twilight-obsessed audiences. The soundtrack, featuring songs by bands like Linkin Park and Paramore, hit #1 the week it was released -- more than two weeks before the movie was set to open. So it's not surprising that the film's makers, Summit Entertainment, have acquired the rights to the next three books and already have a screenwriter working on scripts for the next two, with key actors already locked in for at least a trilogy. This isn't just a movie -- this is poised to be an ongoing film franchise, ripe for more stories in the comic book medium during the years of impatient fandom starving for the next movie.

- Untold Stories. The easy suggestion is to stage the comic stories between the books, which would work. But there is so much more to this universe. While readers saw most of Harry Potter's life during his book series, the Twilight books have barely scratched the surface of the long life of Edward Cullen. With vampire characters who have been alive hundreds of years before we meet them and will be alive for hundreds of years more, the story possibilities for comic books are practically limitless.

To coin some phrases that might have been popular back when Edward first walked as a mortal, the comic book industry should strike while the iron's hot and jump on the Twilight bandwagon. Or, as the series' young fans would say, "A Twilight comic book? Duh!!!"


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