Night Force DC Vampires have been two-toothed aristocrats, feral beasts, and a mainstay of the horror and fantasy genre since 1897. For as long as these creatures have been roaming the fictional night, so too has their nemesis: Abraham Van Helsing, star of many a novel, television series, and film going right back through to Bram Stoker and his iconic Dracula villain. Now an icon of popular culture, Helsing remains where others do not. We’ve had vampire overload in the past few years (thanks in part to Stephanie Meyers 'Twilight') and yet the hunter stands tall, with as new a release as Syfy’s 2016 television series and a whole host of comics under his toolbelt. But what’s next for our rugged hero and his many relations? And, for that matter, the vampire trope as a whole?

Origins and Mystique

Part of what makes Helsing so unique is his historical appeal. His name alone gives a vampire story a certain level of gravitas, for instance, in the manga and anime series from Dark Horse Comics, Hellsing (please take note of the extra 'L'), we see his modern-day descendants, Integra, and her father and uncle, leading a strike force against the supernatural hoard invading Britain. Then in Marvel’s Earth 616, we see the man himself appear to provide his legendary knowledge of certain vampiric ways. And in DC’s Night Force, his granddaughter appears as a member of the paranormal fighting squad. It’s clear that the vampire hunter is young, old, male, and female, but most importantly, they are Van Helsing, hero of the 19th century. Anything less is subpar. Given that, it’s hard to believe that the name will disappear over time, even if vampiric popularity spikes and wanes with the cultural tide. The man and his name are bound to the genre as much as garlic cloves, wooden stakes, and gothic coffins.

Van Helsing
The Future of the Hunt

Vampires are everywhere, that much is pretty clear to anyone who can see. There’s a Blood Suckers online casino game complete with counts and countesses alike. There’s the dramatic True Blood, taking a southern drawl twist on the traditional story; the timeless Buffy and her 90s antics; and there’s also t-shirts, hats, and Halloween plastic dentures. Their weaknesses are common knowledge and their strengths predictable. So going forward, what can we expect to see that’s much different? Well, writers and creators have already been playing with the tropes of the genre over the years. Heck, we see it with satire again and again: What We Do in the Shadows, Vampires Suck, so on and so forth. By maintaining the core of the vampiric character, angles of approach are aplenty for anyone looking to take a fresh shot at the franchise. Mocumentary, comedy, love stories, and in-depth personal drama are all viable options. Dumbed-down violence for child and teen series, especially books and after-school shows, are a keen opportunity too. Creepy gothic horror has certainly been done. It’ll be interesting to see what follows in its footsteps, to say the least. Strong female leads (as in Hellsing and Night Force) are one example. As the genre as a whole evolves, so too must its components - Van Helsing included.

Vampires vs Zombies vs WerewolvesVampires vs Zombies vs Werewolves

As much as producers battle for new takes on vampirism to keep their audiences interested, so too does the issue appear with other fantastical genres. The zombie horde has truly overwhelmed the media in the past few decades, whereas werewolves have made their furry mark known. In what appears to be a kind of rotating carousel of customer interest, there’s certainly something for everyone. Van Helsing is sure to return frequently in the future, but in what incarnation and what setting remains to be seen. After all, the specifics are up to the creative machinations of the writers. 

They should be aware, however, that there is a legacy to be lived up to, and fans of the crossbow-toting, brim-hatted figure are unlikely to take kindly to disappointing content. We can only hope that the comics and media to come are as strong as their predecessors.


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