It’s been quite a bit since I last made a character deep dive, but since I got a bit more time on my hands, here we are! Today’s Character Analysis is about Levana from Vampire Girl by Marie Kerns and J_Scarbrough!
So, first things first! Vampire Girl is the story of a young woman called Levana. It is a comedy adventure revolving around Levana’s trials and tribulations in her quest to shed her vampiric nature and become a regular, mortal human.
Though the presentation of the story is definitely comedic, with a lot of gags, comedic timing, and jokes in the dialogue, the subject matter is quite dramatic- as one could argue is necessary for comedy to be actually funny. Levana’s situation is very dire and her motivation to become human very high. Being a vampire in Vampire Girl’s world is not fun. As I’ll talk about in a bit, it has the tone of a cult that is also biologically binding. Truly the stuff of nightmares!
And yet, Vampire Girl made me chuckle quite a few times as I read through it. So make sure to give it a read. Go ahead right now, I’ll wait! There are spoilers in my analysis, so you’ve been warned!
Basic Character Design
Levana is a young adult. Though we don’t get an actual age for her (that I saw at least) I estimate she’s in her mid-twenties. She is a hospital orderly that is often tasked with spending time with sick kids and generally offering attention to patients- that is, when she’s not a vampire (more on that in a bit).
She has dark hair and a pale complexion.
While her hobbies or interests aren’t clear, she looks to be happy to engage in every kind of human socializing, is pretty good at communicating her wants and needs, and despite her vampiric affliction, she has a solid best friend in Laura, the hospital’s CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant).
Personality-wise, Levana comes across as an extrovert forced in isolation due to the limitations of her nature (she can’t go out in the sun, she has bloodlust, and needs to avoid a wide range of foods and activities that can potentially kill her). She also balances an ease with communication of her feelings with a near-stoic level of low-key emoting of said feelings.
What I mean by that is that beyond her talking about what she feels and one episode of blood withdrawal, she has no real outbursts or big emotional episodes stemming from her general situation. While this can be because the comic has a certain format that leans heavily into the comedic aspect and might be using a type of shorthand to imply that she does manifest her feelings behaviorally, I choose to take her stoicism as part of her personality for this analysis.
Levana’s psych scan
From the get-go, we get hit with big speeches of Levana talking about her predicament, even breaking the 4th wall to do it. For the psych scan, I’ll take these instances as her inward thoughts that she doesn’t manifest to anyone within her setting (since the audience isn’t part of that).
The entire plot revolves around Levana’s struggle with her vampiric nature. She rejects her existence as a vampire and wishes to become a mortal. All her actions are consistently geared towards her achieving that goal. I will now go into spoiler territory. You can skip it without problems for the purposes of this analysis!
Thankfully, there is a way for a vampire to be turned into a human in the world of Vampire Girl! It takes a combination of magic and medicine and is extremely risky. However, Levana undergoes the procedure and does indeed, become mortal!
So we have an excellent comparison between Levana’s psychological state as a vampire and Levana’s matching psychological state as a mortal to further the psych scan’s analysis. I’ll go right ahead here in the spoiler and say that when Levana is mortal, she is happy.
She is well-adjusted, has a job, her mental state and emotional state are positive, she experiences calm and happiness and displays none of the behavioral symptoms I will list of her as a vampire. This tells me that the staggering majority of any issues she might have and/or manifest stems solely from her discontent of her vampiric nature. That’s why for the rest of the psych scan, I will only focus on Levana as a vampire.
END OF SPOILER
As a vampire, Levana displays pretty much the sum of the symptoms for dysphoria. Dysphoria is not quite a diagnosis, but it is an underlying factor for them. To have dysphoria means to be in a constant state of dissatisfaction and unease with something constant in your environment or yourself. This dissatisfaction and unease are pervasive and disruptive. This means they will cause any or all of the following:
• Low life satisfaction
• Frequent (and usually negative) thoughts about the future.
Dysphoria can be caused by a medical or health condition, by medication, or be extreme stress caused by one’s environment. In Levana’s case, her dysphoria is caused by her vampiric nature, which entails a slew of dangerous medical conditions (such as fatal garlic and sun allergies).
Apathy also syncs up with Levana’s general lack of big behavioral or emotional reactions that would match her feelings of discontent and various frustrations as she struggles to find a solution to her problem.
Levana would also potentially qualify for a dysthymia diagnosis.
Dysthymia is a milder form of depression (also called Persistent Depressive Disorder) where a person experiences a range of depressive symptoms for more than 2 years, but doesn’t get a major depressive episode. People with dysthymia are generally expected to be more functional within society than people with Clinical Depression (aka Major Depression).
For Levana, dysthymia manifests in depressed mood (she doesn’t quite emote), prolonged sadness and/or anxiety (when she’s thinking about the things she can’t have due to her vampiric nature) and low energy interchanged with a sense of hopelessness and low self esteem on occasion.
If Levana manages to become (and stay) mortal, all of these issues will go away! So let’s hope that happens for her!
2D vs 3D
While Vampire Girl follows the comedic format, Levana is quite layered and has the potential to be even more so in future pages.
On the 2D level, she is your deadpan (somewhat) snarker that offers fodder for comedy exactly because of her struggle with her vampiric nature.
On the 3D level, she displays a stark example of how to feels to be a person not comfortable in their own skin. This can potentially resonate with a lot of people as dysphoria is a multi-faceted condition that has many types and many different manifestations. It is rarely is addressed in adaptive ways, free from the influence of political situations or societal presumptions that have no place in the therapeutic process.
Levana is fortunate enough in that she has a support network in her struggles. Laura is pivotal in helping and supporting her, giving her ways to handle her dysphoria (from bloody mary cocktails to access to a dreamy doctor that can help her situation) and then adapt. Beyond Laura, she finds acceptance in most of the characters she interacts with, from pure innocent curiosity to a genuine will to help.
I think that this environment is what helps her dysthymia not spiral into full blown clinical depression, and her dysphoria to remain in check enough that she still remains adaptive and functional in her environment while she is a vampire. Were she to be surrounded by toxic individuals that reject her, rather than aid her, I’m quite certain that her behaviors and approach to things would be drastically different.
I enjoyed my time with Levana, Marie and Joseph! Thank you for creating an original vampiric design for her and giving her such interesting parameters to consider and analyze!
Please read Vampire Girl and give Levana the love she deserves!
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Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, May 27, 2023
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