What Is the Next Vampire/Pirate/Ninja/Zombie Pop-Culture Figure?

Houston has a zombie bar crawl at least every other weekend, with the ghastly undead walking amongst us, running up monstrous tabs. Teen girls are now just finally putting down their Twilight books. Wizards and warlocks were Potter-ed to death the past decade, leaving just the withered husks of Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint.

Each Halloween thousands of faux-pirates in poorly applied eyeliner descend onto your house parties dressed in raggedy, puffy shirts or cleavage-baring corsets that they will only wear once and throw away. Ninjas are an ever-present topic of Internet discussion. And, you never know, one could be right behind your chair.

Damn, you just missed him.

But who or what could be the next big thing when it comes to go-to pop-culture characters? They don't even have to be real. I mean, it could be argued that zombies are real, since the brain-starved LMFAO is so popular, and pirates are still roaming the high seas, albeit with machine guns in much smaller boats and with less bling in their hair and teeth.

Even Saturday Night Live lampooned the vampire craze with a sketch ("Firelight") about Twilight-style sexy Frankenteens, with Taylor Swift in the role originated by Kristen Stewart.


Hey, you don't have to keep them all wrapped up -- wink wink -- when instead you can have them emerge from their fabrics youthful, sexy and oh so Egyptian. Let's start out with a series of young-adult novels about a girl accompanying her archaeologist father to work at a museum, only to have a prince appear out of his eternal shrouds to teach her about a love that knows no time period. The only thing that sucks is that his brain has long since been scooped out through his nose holes. But if Channing Tatum can be a millionaire...


Clown families have to exist, right? There can be clowns with hearts of gold who help sick kids in wheelchairs and stuff who are shunned by society, born with their makeup permanently applied. Maybe youthful, brooding teen clowns who were birthed into shoes that they can't fill? What about killer clowns? From outer space? The whole world is basically scared of clowns, so why not make them really scary by making them blood-thirsty and racist?


Yes, that cooler-than-the-other-side-of-the-pillow hero from television's Happy Days is ripe for a renewal. Maybe Fonzie was strapped for cash in the '60s and sold his body to the government for medical experiments à la Universal Soldier and the Army makes a super-race of Fonzies that won't die. All hell breaks loose as the Fonzies, held in captivity for decades, escape into Middle America. A zombie hungry for your brains is one thing, a legion of superhuman Fonzies marauding the land on motorcycles is another. A Fonzocalypse, if you will.


Vikings are surely just as scary as pirates or any of those other ghouls that you'd see on a show like True Blood. They are known in pop culture as huge, redheaded, credit card-carrying, rape-happy, violence-prone monster people. In reality, it is said that Norse warriors were actually clean, kind and fond of modular furnishings. The character/god Thor in this year's mammoth hit The Avengers could open the doors for a gentler image of Vikings. Why not a girl Viking? What about Viking sitcoms?


Imagine being blessed with ravishing good looks, the ability to fly and a generally decent relationship with God him or herself. You can't even exploit the spoils of being an angel. You have to judge people, protect dumb wiener kids from getting hit by a car so they can grow up to be presidents, and we haven't even mentioned that you may not have genitals to speak of. Angels could be very conflicted characters, and if you have seen Kevin Smith's Dogma, you know they can also be deadly. You know, God does seem to have a thing for bad boys.

Garbagemen and Custodians

Why not? Custodians are shadowy figures, coming into your office after you have long gone home, and they can be privy to very sensitive information, like the fact you are hoarding pens at your desk. As for garbagemen, haven't you seen Men At Work? They lead some interesting lives, like solving crimes and looking through your trash. They know more than you think, and that should scare the hell out of you. It's time someone made a Mad Men-style show about these people.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty