B L A D E
“I knew if I let him, Blade would eclipse the other characters so I pulled him back and let original supporting characters Rachel, Frank and Quincy shine. I also wasn't happy with my Blade dialogue, so I pulled him out of the book for awhile — I think almost a year — and when I brought him back I played him a bit straighter. The early Blade dialogue was cliche ‘Marvel Black' dialogue. Later on, I tried to make him more real. But it took growing up as a writer.” – Marv Wolfman Cocreator of Blade
B L A D E
Greetings from the desert fellow CBSI members. With the news of Blade returning to the MCU, and the brilliant Mahershala Ali attached to star, this sent ripples out into the comic community. Wesley Snipes in a sense is passing the torch to a new generation of pop culture geeks, in theory, I felt that it was no better time than the present to examine this character, his roots, and the key books / storylines. Alright, let’s get started shall we?!
Blade was introduced as a supporting character in Marvel Comics' The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973), written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by Gene Colan. The artist recalled in 2003, “Marv told me Blade was a black man, and we talked about how he should dress, and how he should look – very heroic looking. The bandolier of blades – that was Marv's idea. But, I dressed him up. I put the leather jacket on him and so on“. Colan based the character's features on “a composite of black actors” including NFL football star-turned-actor Jim Brown. He initially sported 1970s style afro hair and wielded teak bladed knives.
Eric Brooks (Blade’s birth name) was born in Soho, London, on the 24th October 1929. His father, Lucas Cross, a member of the secret society: The Order of Tyrana, sent his pregnant wife Tara to England before he was taken prisoner in Latveria. There she took the name “Vanessa Brooks” and found shelter with brothel owner Madame Vanity, another member of the Order of Tyrana. Experiencing labor complications, Tara was forced to seek a doctor's assistance. The doctor, Deacon Frost, was actually a ravenous vampire and feasted on the woman as she gave birth, passing on a series of enzymes that altered her baby. The enzymes entered the infant's bloodstream, transforming him into a being tainted by a vampire's kiss, but not converted. In other words half-human, half-vampire also called a Dhampir. Frost was driven away before he could slay the child, but Tara perished, leaving the orphaned Eric Brooks to be raised at Madame Vanity's brothel.
Alright, let’s get into the books!
Origin of Blade
**Distributed in the 3-DVD Blade Trilogy Box Set
Dam! Now that’s a lot of covers. There is some good stuff in there and great money to be made too.
Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet – Blade is a secondary character in this story but he really shines and it's just such a fun creative story. Marvel at its best.
Blade: Black & White Trade Paper Back – this does a great job of collecting Blade's stories from the 70s.
Nightstalkers – after Tomb of Dracula probably the most iconic Blade run of comic stories.
Captain Britain & The MI:13 – Blade joins the cast in issue #5. He's got a few spotlight issues but not really the main focus of this story.
Midnight Suns Unlimited – GR vs Blade?!
Crescent City Blue one-shot, but you need to read Tomb of Dracula otherwise it is confusing
*List courtesy of CBR
A private detective that was turned into a vampire by Deacon Frost while working on a case in London, England
Human vampire hunters
Blade has a bunch of fellow vampire hunters besides Abraham Whistler from the Tomb of Dracula comics, which include Rachel Van Helsing the granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing, Quincy Harker, and Taj Nital. There is also Jamal Afari, who also seemingly taught Blade about killing vampires.
The former millionaire human descendant of Count Dracula, is partly to blame for the resurrection of Dracula and becomes a vampire hunter himself.
Frank is a member of the Nightstalkers, Midnight Sons, and was a supporting character in the Tomb of Dracula comics.
A member of the Midnight Sons, Jennifer is a witch/sorceress who could be a bridge character between Blade and Doctor Strange allowing for more of the magic/supernatural elements of the horror side of the comics to inhabit the Blade franchise.
Jack Russell AKA Werewolf by night
He becomes a ranking member of SHIELD’s revamped monster roster on Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos, which had Blade as a team member in the cartoon incarnations.
*List courtesy of CBR
Blade’s most powerful villain has to be Marvel and pop culture’s most popular vampire, Dracula. The character made famous by author Bram Stoker, in Marvel Comics Dracula is by far the most powerful and prominent vampire to ever exist. While not the oldest or original vampire, he commands the largest legion of the undead and is a constant thorn in Blade’s side.
One of Blade’s most powerful villains has to be the very first vampire to ever walk the Earth, Varnae. An ancient Atlantean sorcerer, he turned himself into a vampire as the city of Atlantis was sinking to the ocean floor, allowing himself to survive and live on the surface world to continue his work.
One of Blade’s biggest foes has to be Deacon Frost, the vampire who slew Blade’s mother and inadvertently created Blade as we know him. A former scientist who injected himself with vampire blood to become one himself, he gained the ability to fully control any vampire he himself made.
Probably one of the most popular villains to ever face Blade has to be Lilith. She is the oldest child of the immortal vampire king Dracula with his first wife Zofia. He left Lilith in the care of a woman named Gretchen, and later slew the woman's sons.
A very popular villain for Blade in recent years is Xarus, the son of Dracula and an elder council member of the vampires serving under Dracula. Growing bored of his father’s rule, he organizes a coup and ends his father’s life, becoming the leader and uniting most of the vampire sects around the world.
One of the most interesting foes that Blade has in his rogues gallery has to be Morbius, the Living Vampire. Unlike other foes of his, Morbius is not only not undead, but started as a major Spider-Man foe. A young man with a rare blood disorder, Morbius was created in an experiment to try and cure his disease.
One more item of interest and that is the mystery surrounding Blade’s daughter Fallon Grey. In 2015, there were strong rumblings for a book titled
Blade: The Hunter written by Tim Seeley. This never hit the market even with rough sketches, a cover, etc all made public. The question then becomes will she pop up sometime in the future? Who knows, but it seems like a cool character, and a mystery that remains to be solved in terms of this comics whereabouts?!
Here is the solicit…
Fallon Grey is a sixteen year old girl from rural Oregon. Nominated for Prom Queen, Captain of the debate team, most popular girl in her class. But there is another side to Fallon. A feeling like there’s something more inside of her. When terror strikes her small town, she’ll find out just how right she was. As fearsome supernatural forces hunt Fallon, she’ll come face to face with something even more shocking than the monsters on her tail. Eric Brooks…Blade…her father?! And in each other, they’ll discover the purpose they’ve each been struggling to find.”
Well there you have it, a detailed look at all things Blade. Thanks for reading and trust me there’s a few from the list above that are waiting in cheap bins for you in your LCS. Have at it now, before the story announcement is made and all the books blow up!