“Not like other men?” The vampire body in Joss Whedon’s Angel

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This paper explores the male body in the television show Angel (the spin-off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), focusing on the character of Angel. I argue that Angel’s (vampire) body becomes a powerful vehicle for transmitting his subjectivity. Angel is ‘Not like other men’ (‘Carpe Noctum’ 3.4). Rather, he is simultaneously one of the guys and always already more than a man because he is a vampire. Furthermore, as a vampire with a soul, Angel is defined by ambivalence. His vampire body functions to highlight difference that is both physical and sexual, inflecting his role as a superhero in particular ways. Many characters on Angel display both ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ traits or balance a demon heritage with life in human LA, but no other character is as clearly conflicted as Angel, or as defined by the struggle between different parts of his identity. This struggle is traced across the five seasons of the show and a lessening of this ambivalence is suggested in the concluding season.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-51
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Popular Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


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