It depends if you’re talking specifically about True Blood or not.
In True Blood, the vampires are sexier. In everything else, the werewolves are cooler.
Is sexy better than cool? That’s perhaps a trickier dividing line, but the average vampire is at best smouldering, rather than genuine sexy. The fine line between creepy and romantic that is perpetuated by our romantic comedy (Or stalkcoms, as they could feasibly be called) industry is bought right back into your house with the sexy vampire lurking in the shadows and gazing balefully at pretty people’s backs (read ‘arses’).
Now, this is possibly just because vampires so often fit into the relatively chaste young adult market. Sure there’s sex eventually, but only after at least a three years of anticipation and handwringing, and then it usually results in somebody turning evil. (I always wondered whether Angel would’ve lost his soul and turned back into Angelus if they’d practiced safe sex? It would’ve actually made the whole thing much less moralistic, despite turning into an obvious sex ed moment).
True Blood, by actually portraying people having sex and falling in love, manages to avoid a lot of the clichés (though it does have it’s own problems).
Werewolves are generally something different. The lunar led beastliness gives rooms for some interesting discussion about humanity (as long as one doesn’t just leave it as a cheap nasty joke about the menstrual cycle, though I do wonder whether the myth arose out of that at all).
Metaphorically, vampires are good for talk of infectious diseases, addiction and so forth (and True Blood does an excellent job of making it also about discrimination and civil rights). Werewolves on the other hand, are about emotions. It’s that hidden rage underneath the surface. The restraint of animal instincts (and the way it occasionally lets go). Vampires contrast with humanity, werewolves seem much more like it a real part of it.
We all know a few people whose character changes entirely in a given circumstance. From depression to drunkeness, people can stop being themselves for a period of time, uncontrollably so. It’s an oddly accurate representation of that sort of mental state. The complete submission, unintentionally, to a different set of rules.
It’s something that’s within us all. So, from a narrative standpoint, I side with the werewolves.
What makes monsters interesting is the humanity they represent. That’s worth not letting go of. For me, werewolves make better humans. Or at least more interesting.
In a fight, I reckon it depends on your mythos. Vampires tend to be smart and strong enough to outdo werewolves, but then, if it’s a team, vampires are worse at working together than the pack instincts of the wolves.
At rugby, the wolves would win, at cricket, the vampires. Football could go either way, but there’d definitely be a lot of fouling. Curling would probably go to the vampires.
And of course, it would always go werewolf if the match was in the daytime.
Illustration by Lucy.