Blade (Eric Brooks) is a fictional character, a superhero vampire hunter in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by writer Marv Wolfman and penciller Gene Colan, his first appearance was in the comic book The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973) as a supporting character.
The character went on to star or co-star in several comic-book series as well as a film and television series. Actor Wesley Snipes portrayed the vampire hunter throughout the film series while Kirk Jones took on the role for the television series.
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. That was my input. [...] The bandoleer 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.
Blade appeared in most issues from #10-21, with additional appearances in #24 & #28 (altogether ranging from July 1973 - Sept. 1974). He then fought the scientifically created vampire Morbius in the latter's series in Adventure into Fear #24 (Oct. 1974), in a story written by Steve Gerber and penciled by P. Craig Russell.
Blade's first solo story came in Marvel's black-and-white horror-comics magazine Vampire Tales #8 (Dec. 1974), in an 11-page story by Wolfman and penciller-inker Tony DeZuniga. This feature continued in the following issue (Feb. 1975), with Wolfman and Chris Claremont co-scripting. Blade then appeared in a 56-page solo story in the black-and-white showcase magazine Marvel Preview #3 (Sept. 1975), written by Claremont, with two chapters each drawn by DeZuniga and by Rico Rival. A six-page backup story by Wolfman and Colan followed in Marvel Preview #8 (Fall 1976).
Blade next came into prominence in the 1990s, beginning with Ghost Rider #28 (Aug. 1992), in the Midnight Sons imprint that included issues of Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins, Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider / Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance, Midnight Sons Unlimited, Morbius, and Nightstalkers. Blade co-starred in the 18-issue Nightstalkers, and appeared with that team in a story in the anthology Midnight Sons Unlimited #1 (April 1993). He appeared in two solo stories in Midnight Sons Unlimited #2 & 7 (July 1993 & Oct. 1994).
Following the cancellation of Nightstalkers, Blade debuted in his first color-comics series, Blade: The Vampire Hunter #1-10 (July 1994 - April 1995), written by Ian Edginton (with the last two issues by Terry Kavanagh) and penciled by Doug Wheatley. Blade next appeared in a 12-page inventory story in issue #1 (Feb. 1997) of the short-lived black & white anthology series Marvel: Shadows and Light. He then starred again in two solo one-shots: Blade: Crescent City Blues (March 1998), by writer Christopher Golden and penciller co-creator Colan, and Blade: Sins of the Father (Oct. 1998), by writer Marc Andreyko and penciller Bart Sears.
Marvel next announced a six-issue miniseries, Blade (storyline: "Blade: Blood Allies") by writer Don McGregor and penciller Brian Hagen, but only #1-3 (Nov. 1998 - Jan. 1999) were published. Marvel published a different six-issue miniseries later that year, Blade: Vampire Hunter (storyline: "Chaos (A)"; Dec. 1999 - May 2000), written and, except the last two issues, penciled by Bart Sears.
The next ongoing series, Blade vol. 2, by writer Christopher Hinz and artist Steve Pugh, ran six issues. Blade vol. 3, by writer Marc Guggenheim and penciller-inker Howard Chaykin, ran 12 issues (Sept. 2006 - Aug. 2007). The final two pages of the last issue were drawn by co-creator Colan.
Blade also starred in two promotional comic books: Blade ½ (1999) by writer-artist Sears and inker Bill Sienkiewicz, bundled with issues of Wizard: The Comic Magazine #2000; and Blade: Nightstalking (2005), a 22-page story by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and penciller Amanda Conner, based on New Line Cinema's Blade films, and bundled with the Blade Trinity Deluxe Edition DVD. Additionally, the second Blade movie was adapted as the Marvel comic Blade 2: Bloodhunt - The Official Comic Adaptation (April 2002) by writers Steve Gerber and David S. Goyer and penciller-inker Alberto Ponticelli.
Blade joined the cast of Captain Britain and MI: 13 beginning with issue #5 (Nov. 2008).
Fictional character biographyEdit
Early life and careerEdit
Blade was born in a whorehouse in the Soho neighborhood of London, England at some time in the late nineteenth century. Blade's mother, Tara Brooks, was a prostitute at Madame Vanity's Brothel. When his mother experienced severe labor complications, a doctor was summoned who was in actuality Deacon Frost, a vampire who feasted on her during Blade's birth and killed her. However, this inadvertently passed along certain enzymes in his own blood to the infant. This resulted in Blade's quasi-vampiric abilities, including a greatly prolonged lifespan and the ability to sense supernatural creatures, as well as an immunity to complete vampirism. Brooks' fellow prostitutes drove off Frost before he could kill the infant as well.
Blade grew up living at Madame Vanity's, and at age nine, returning home from school one December, he saw an old man being attacked by three vampires. Blade helped the old man, who used a silver cane to kill the vampires and fight off the attackers. The man was Jamal Afari, a jazz trumpeter and vampire-hunter who then moved into Madame Vanity's and trained the young Blade in both music and combat. Blade was soon able to defeat many of the weak, younger vampires that he and Afari found in abundance. Blade became an Olympic-level athlete and a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, with an expertise in edged weapons such as knives and daggers.
However, Blade's victories made him cocky. He joined a street gang, the Bloodshadows, headed by a much older and more powerful vampire than any Blade had met before, named Lamia. Blade barely defeated Lamia, and, in doing so, lost his girlfriend Glory.
Afari himself later fell prey to Dracula, the first occurrence in an ongoing battle between Dracula and Blade. Blade slew the vampire Afari and tracked Dracula back to Europe, Asia Minor, and Asia, staking him many times, but never completely destroying him. In China, Blade joined Ogun Strong's vampire hunters,Template:Fact which included Azu, Orji, and Musenda. Together, they staked Dracula again. Dracula survived, and killed all the hunters except Blade and Musenda (who eventually retired from vampire hunting). Orji had created a lasting impression on Blade with his use of wooden daggers to combat vampires, leading to Blade adopting that weapon as his preferred arms. Consumed by grief for his fallen comrades, Blade resumed his quest alone.
Quincy Harker's vampire-huntersEdit
Blade eventually located Dracula in Paris, where he first encountered the vampire hunter Quincy Harker (son of Jonathan Harker), whom he knew by reputation, and Harker's vampire hunters: Rachel van Helsing (great-granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing), Taj Nital, and Frank Drake. Because of his mercurial temperament, Blade had a strained but steady relationship with the group, allying himself with them on several occasions.
Later, after an unsuccessful battle with Dracula, Blade realized he was immune to turning from a vampire's bite. Armed with this knowledge, he parted company with Harker and went after Deacon Frost alone. Blade later battled Dracula in London, as well as Morbius, and the Legion of the Dead, who framed him for murder.  Blade also destroyed a band of vampire children.
Blade's hunt for his mother's killer led him to Boston, Massachusetts, where he again encountered Harker's crew,Template:Fact now temporarily allied with Dracula against a larger threat, Doctor Sun. Following this battle, Dracula withdrew, and Blade again set out on his own.
He eventually encountered Hannibal King, a private detective whom Deacon Frost had turned into a vampire. While initially distrusting King, Blade teamed up with him to hunt Frost. Blade and King fought together against Blade's evil doppelgänger, who absorbed the real Blade. King enlisted the help of Daimon Hellstrom, the so-called Son of Satan, who exorcised Blade from the doppelgänger and killed it with King's help. Blade and King eventually caught up with Frost, who had created an army of vampiric doppelgängers, one for each of his victims. Together, they shut down Frost for good, destroying Frost, and forging a lasting friendship.
- Main article: Nightstalkers (comics)
In later years, Blade, along with King and Drake, became a frequent ally of the sorcerer Doctor Strange, and the three assisted Strange in battles with Dracula and the Darkholders and assisted in the casting of the Montesi Formula, which for a time destroyed all vampires on Earth. Blade, King, and Drake then formed the private detective agency Borderline Investigations Inc., to combat supernatural threats. Alongside Doctor Strange, the three detectives battled the Darkholders again. Blade also rescued his close friend Safron Caulder from the Darkholders.
The agency discontinued after Drake left and Blade was committed to a psychiatric hospital following a battle with a temporarily resurrected Dracula. Doctor Strange later arranged the release of Blade so that he could join Drake and King in reforming Borderline Inc. as the Nightstalkers. Blade, King, and Drake were hired by the demonic Lilith to kill the second Ghost Rider and the non-powered John Blaze. The three Nightstalkers battled Meatmarket. The Nightstalkers then teamed with Ghost Rider, Blaze, Morbius, Doctor Strange, and the Darkhold Redeemers to battle Lilith and her Lilin. The Nightstalkers also battled other threats, such as HYDRA's DOA.
Upon the eventual weakening of the Montesi Formula, and the return of vampires, Blade encountered and staked a former ally, a now-vampiric Taj Nital, and survived a battle with the vampire lord Varnae in which Drake and King appeared to have been killed.
A solo vampire-hunter once again, Blade briefly joined forces with the mystic Bible John Carik, and encountered a vampire impersonating Deacon Frost and a once-again resurrected Dracula. Later, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Blade discovered that Hannibal King had survived, and the two joined forces to defeat a genuinely resurrected Frost. Blade remained active in New Orleans, defeating the vampire Ulysses Sojourner and his own former ally, Morbius, the Living Vampire, who was under Sojourner's mental thrall. Blade followed Morbius to New York, where, while teamed with Spider-Man, Blade was bitten by Morbius. Blade's blood enzymes reacted unexpectedly with Morbius's unique form of vampirism to grant Blade many vampire strengths while eliminating weaknesses inherent to a vampire, most notably the weakness to sunlight. It was at this time that Blade assumed the unofficial title of "Daywalker" among his prey.
The United Nations-sanctioned espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. sought to use Blade's blood for Project: Silvereye, an attempt at cloning vampire operatives. Blade and the vampire-hunting twins Mosha and Mikado shut down the project. Blade later joined Noah Van Helsing (actually Noah Tremayne, Rachel Van Helsing's adopted cousin) and several vampire hunters worldwide to stop Dracula from becoming a genuinely god-like vampire lord. Blade then returned to New Orleans.
Blade reencountered Dracula, and appeared to fully destroy the vampire once again, aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier Pericles V. Unbeknownst to Blade, his wealthy father, Lucas Cross, had been responsible for Dracula's most recent resurrection. Cross later kidnapped Blade and attempted to force Blade to feed on a virgin girl; in an attempt to fulfill a prophecy. Blade escaped after biting through his own hand. Later, Blade would feed on a virgin after biting an evil vampire priest, Draconis.
In exchange for undertaking a time travel adventure for the supervillain Doctor Doom, Blade received from Doom an elixir that would purportedly cure a vampire of thirst for human blood but would also remove the bloodlust vampire hunters get for killing the undead. At the end of the series, Blade gave Hannibal King the elixir. During this time travel mission, Blade fulfilled another part of the prophecy by freeing his imprisoned father.
Civil War and beyondEdit
During the events of the "Civil War" over the registration of super-powered individuals, Blade registers and begins cooperating with S.H.I.E.L.D. This alliance allowed Blade access to S.H.I.E.L.D. tech, gaining himself a "gun hand" to replace his missing one. Blade completes a prophecy he believes would give all extant vampires back their souls, but which instead returns to existence every vampire that had ever been killed.
Blade next leads a group of superhuman black-ops agents funded secretly by the U.S. government, called the Vanguard, of which even the president is unaware. During his time with this squad, Blade receives a cybernetic replacement hand. The squad disbands after their cover is compromised, and Blade returns home to the UK to join MI: 13 in its fight against supernatural evil. However, he soon afterward stakes his new teammate, the vampire hero Spitfire. Soon after Blade and Spitfire clashed again with each other in a fierce battle, but the two were forced to work together and seemed to have formed a unlikely friendship. Upon completing their first mission together Blade attempts to aplogize to Spitfire for trying to kill her but before he could finish she kisses him.Template:Issue
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Due to an enzyme in his blood stream resultant from his mother's being bitten by a vampire while giving birth to him, Blade is immune to the bites of typical, supernatural vampires. At certain instances he also appeared immune to vampire hypnosis as well. He lacked superhuman physical attributes, however, and relied solely on his skill and determination until Morbius, an atypical, scientifically created vampire, bit him and Blade was turned into something resembling a dhampir. Blade possesses superhuman strength, stamina, speed, agility, heightened senses, and a rapid healing factor comparable to Morbius' but is unaffected by daylight and most other traditional vampire weaknesses. He also ages very slowly and can preternaturally sense supernatural activity.
Blade is an extraordinary martial artist, swordsman, and marksman. He is a skilled street-fighter and adept in the usage of throwing knives. He is highly knowledgeable about vampire lore. He is also an accomplished jazz trumpeter.
Film and televisionEdit
In the films and the TV series, Blade's origin is set out of Detroit Michigan. Blade is depicted as having all of a vampire's strengths and none of the weaknesses except for blood-thirst. Blade has superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes, and senses. He also has a healing factor. He can walk in sunlight, as well. It is also mentioned that he still ages like a normal human. He is a master of martial arts and weaponry ranging from his acid-etched titanium sword and glaive to a MAC-10 automatic pistol. Blade can speak Czech, Russian, and to a degree the Vampire language, and he has a great deal of knowledge about hunting vampires.
According to his earliest appearances in the original Tomb of Dracula comics, Blade relied on teakwood daggers which he used to impale opponents, and a variety of mahogany stakes. He was an excellent hand-to-hand combatant and knife-fighter. Later comics upgraded his arsenal significantly over the years, including a variety of different bladed weapons ranging from long swords to katanas, as well as guns, flamethrowers, and UV and silver-based weapons. He has also had some success with improvised weapons such as stakes made from snapped brooms and, after losing his hand, a replacement appendage made from duct tape and a pointed stick. He would replace this with a new machine gun-esque firearm used in in place of his missing hand, which responds to different muscle twitches as an indication of reloading and firing, among other functions (including a grappling hook, which Blade describes as his 'favorite feature'). It also uses three different kinds of ammo. This weapon was created by S.H.I.E.L.D. Blade also had an arsenal of EMP grenades.
An alternate universe Blade of the Ultimate Marvel imprint appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man #95, and had a cameo in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up Super Special. This version, called "The Daywalker" by the Bugle, has numerous small scars across his eyes and cheeks.
In other mediaEdit
In 1998, the New Line Cinema film Blade starred Wesley Snipes in the title role; Kris Kristofferson as Abraham Whistler, Blade's mentor; and Stephen Dorff as Deacon Frost. The film was written by David S. Goyer and directed by Stephen Norrington. The film diverges slightly from the comic Blade in the demeanor of the character. Traditionally, Blade was often presented as loquacious and boastful, yet in the film he is stoic and nearly silent. The nature of his abilities is based more on his later titles rather than his original appearances, with him having vampiric powers but none of the inherent weaknesses. The movies Blade is portrayed as an African American born in Detroit, Michigan. In the Blade TV series, his activities take place in Detroit, Michigan.
Written by Goyer and directed by Guillermo del Toro, a sequel followed in 2002: Blade II. Blade joins forces with his vampire nemesis Eli Damaskinos to defeat a powerful new breed of vampire called Reapers. The 2004 film Blade: Trinity, written and directed by Goyer, introduced heavily modified versions of Hannibal King (played by Ryan Reynolds) and the Nightstalkers. Blade reluctantly joins forces with the group of vampire hunters (led by Abigail Whistler (played by Jessica Biel), the estranged daughter of his old mentor) to finally destroy the first vampire, Dracula ("Drake" (played By Dominic Purcell)).
Blade: The SeriesEdit
Main article: Blade: The Series A television series, based on the films, aired on Spike TV and stared rapper/actor Kirk Jones as Blade. The series dealt with Blade fighting an evil vampire named Marcus Van Sciver in Detroit, which is also Blade's birthplace (in the series). As seen in the movies, Blade's birth name is Eric Brooks and his mother was named Vanessa. It is revealed that Blade's father is named Robert Brooks, and that he raised Blade until he was twelve and elements of his vampiric nature such as his "thirst" for human blood became more apparent.Template:Fact
Conflicts often come up between Whistler's explanation of Blade's origin in the movie and the explanation of Blade's origin in the television series.Template:Fact
Spider-Man: The Animated SeriesEdit
Blade appeared in a 1996 episode of the Spider-Man animated series, "Neogenic Nightmare: Chapter 9: Blade the Vampire Hunter". This episode also introduced Whistler, a character (who would later be introduced into the New Line Cinema movies) not previously seen in the Blade mythos. Here Blade hunts Morbius, and in this version of his origin, he was the son of a vampire man and a human woman, whose mother left him in foster care after she was bitten by a vampire. Blade and Morbius both also appear in the following episode, "The Immortal Vampire". Blade is also shown to have a slight love interest in Terri Lee, a detective who frequently works with Spider Man, though he usually abandons this out of his need for the hunt.Template:Fact
In the season four episode "Partners in Danger, Chapter 7: The Vampire Queen", Blade hunts the Vampire Queen, who he then learns is his mother. Blade made his final appearance in the show in the season five episode "Secret Wars, Chapter 2: Gauntlet of the Red Skull", where he teams with Morbius and the Black Cat against the Vampire Queen.Template:Fact
- Blade is an unlockable character in action role-playing game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Khary Payton. He is playable once saved from a toy machine in Arcade's Murderworld. His costumes include the Classic, Ultimate, Nightstalker, and Daywalker variations. He has special dialogue with Mandarin (when Mandarin is defeated) and Volla. A simulation disk has Blade defending Storm from Dark Spider-Man in Mephisto's Realm.
- Blade is an unlockable character in the movie-based Ghost Rider video game voiced by Fred Tatasciore. He is unlocked after the game is beaten on the "forgiving" difficulty level.
- Khary Payton reprises his role of Blade in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe. He is seen in a costume similar to that in the live-action Blade TV series. Spider-Man encounters him in Transylvania decimating the P.H.A.N.T.O.M. troops. Upon joining up with Spider-Man, Blade tells Spider-Man that Venom is guarding the Meteor Shard.
- Blade briefly appears in the Anno Dracula series story "Andy Warhol's Dracula: Anno Dracula 1978-1979".
- Blade at the Marvel Universe
- Blade at the Internet Movie Database
- Comicmonsters.com: Blade Timeline
- Crossbow at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
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