Marvel’s iconic vampire human hybrid Blade started the modern comic book movie boom in 1998’s smash hit R-Rated action horror classic. With Kevin Feige sparking the flames of fan theories everywhere with his recent comments about Blade “One Day” returning to the MCU, per his conversation with Joblo, we thought we’d look back at the badass bloodsucker slayer’s past, collecting some deep cut dives from his comic book history. So here are some things you might not know about Blade!
He’s Actually British
Born Eric Brooks in a London brothel in Soho’s famous red light district in 1929, the Blade of the comic books is a far cry from Wesley Snipes’ modern half-vamp half-human hybrid. When Eric’s mother had troubles during his birth, a doctor was called. But that doctor just happened to be Deacon Frost, an evil vampire who feasted on Blade’s mother and killed her. Through some kind of classic comics symbiotic-in-utero-transference, Blade received his vampiric powers.
He Was Raised in a Brothel
Frost would’ve killed Blade too, but his mother’s fellow sex workers fought off the evil vampire. They then raised Eric in Madame Vanity’s, the brothel where he was born. It’s rare to find a male comic book character who was raised by women, but then again Blade is a pretty unique comic book creation.
He Was Trained by a Jazz Musician
Whilst walking home from school one evening, Eric came across a man being attacked by a group of vampires. Eric ran to help and, together, the two defeated and killed the bloodsuckers. The man Blade saved was Jamal Afari, a jazz trumpeter with a silver headed cane who moved into Madame Vanity’s and trained Eric in the ways of vampire hunting and, of course, music. It was his training with Afari that gained him his name Blade due to his proficiency with knives and daggers.
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He Was Introduced by Another Famous Vampire
Blade’s first appearance was in the Marvel monsters title The Tomb of Dracula #10 in 1973, created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. He was envisioned as a heroic counterpoint to the king of vampires, and this introduction would set up Blade’s ongoing battle with Dracula. Blade appeared as a side character in these books for around a year until his first solo story in the black-and-white horror comics magazine Vampire Tales #8. His bloodsucker centric adventures continued with a 56-page solo story written by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont.
He Only Exists Because the Comics Code Was Relaxed in the ’70s
The Comics Code defined much of the post-1954 American comics landscape, having been created after the notorious Senate hearings where Frederic Wertham, the author of The Seduction of The Innocent, made the case that comics were obscene. This landmark ruling led to the Comics Code Authority, which was a set of restrictions comic publishers had to follow to be widely distributed. The CCA was finally relaxed in 1971, allowing comics publishers to reintroduce some of the monsters who’d once been so popular, including vampires.
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His Creator Sued Marvel
When the smash hit movie Blade was released under the now defunct “Marvel Dark Knights” studio imprint, everyone from fans to Marvel execs were incredibly happy with the outcome. Everyone except perhaps Blade’s co-creator Marv Wolfman. Wolfman sued Marvel over ownership to the rights to the Blade character, stating that he never signed a “work for hire” contract, which meant the character technically belonged to him. In 2006 a judge found in Marvel’s favor, citing that the film version was different enough from Wolfman’s vision to separate it from its comic book origin. Maybe that’s why we never saw an early century Blade with a London accent?
He Almost Had a Daughter
Blade: The Hunter was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, a brand new Marvel title which would focus on Blade’s daughter, a new incarnation of the daywalker. Though fans were excited about the concept, there were questions as to why Marvel–who’ve notoriously struggled with representation on and off the page–hired a white male writer to bring this new character to life. Writer Tim Seeley left the book after stating that he’d listened to the criticism and thought the book should have a black woman as the writer. Rumors abound as to why the book is still delayed, with said conversations accentuating Marvel’s across-the-board resistence to hire black women to write their books (there have only been three in the history of the company and the first, Nilah Magruder, wrote her story in 2016.) But there have been rumblings that the company have decided to introduce Blade’s daughter into their movies or TV shows, hence the book’s delay.
Images: Marvel Comics, Marv Wolfman