Blade: Where Do I Start?

He’s black, he’s a vampire, and he doesn’t wear a cape, cowl or costume. That’s made it hard for Blade to blend in with the superheroic world of the Marvel U, but it’s also been his biggest asset. Born of a mother bitten by a vampire, he’s been gifted (and sometimes cursed) with the powers of the vampire and also the blood-thirst to kill the creatures that took his family from him.

Created in the early 70s by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan for an issue of Tomb of Dracula, Blade wasn’t a vampire at first but a human vampire hunter with a resistance to being turned. He had abilities from a vampire, but he was in effect a vampire/human hybrid. At first part of an ensemble cast fighting the titular character in Tomb of Dracula, he went on to star in his own stories in various 70s Marvel anthologies at the time. It wasn’t until twenty years later that he got his first series of his own, although that and the two subsequent ongoing series were short-lived. Marvel recently put the character in the mix of a vampire vs. mutant face-off, and he also had a short-lived stint in Captain Britain & The MI:13. Blade sits in the amophous purgatory of comic characters that have significant mainstream recognition (like his flaming friend Ghost Rider), but that’s never been able to translate into a healthy solo series of his own.

For this challenging edition of iFanboy’s Where Do I Start?, I discovered that this comic character’s best and most essential story is one that isn’t even in comics, but in his first feature film. That’s joined in my list by several notable collections of stories from the character’s near 40 year history, but even then it seems like Blade’s best stories are still waiting to be told.

Blade: Although born in comics, I reluctantly admit that the best take on the character has been in the movies. 1998’s Blade film by director Stephen Norrington and veteran comic-to-film screenwriter David S. Goyer succinctly pulls the character’s origin over to film and adds some neat elaborations that were quickly pulled back into comics. In many ways this is an “Ultimate” version of Blade to borrow Marvel’s comic line format, and Wesley Snipes really gives the character a concrete personality and drive. The film has its detractors, but I think it best sums up the character and what he could be. And Marvel’s comics publishing has been trying ever since to copy that.

Blade MAX (Vol. 2): A real rarity, but worth tracking down in the back issue bins. This 2004 miniseries by Christopher  Hinz and Animal Man artist Steve Pugh shows the Daywalker facing off facing off against mutant vampires and a secret society out to kill all vampires, including vampire-killing-vampires like Blade. This doesn’t add much to Blade’s overall mythos, but it’s a fun little story and for Blade that’s , well, hard to find.

Blade: Undead Again: If there’s one artist I’d never imagine drawing Blade it’d be Howard Chaykin, but Marvel did it back in 2006 with a twelve issue series written by Marc Guggenheim. This story takes a second look at Blade’s origin not to dissimilarly than Wolverine’s Origin, giving some new revelations like some Latverian roots and the truth about Blade’s father. While this collection is relatively low on the action quotient you’d expect from a vampire-stabbing action hero, it covers some new ground and gives you some surprising face-offs. Blade vs. Doctor Doom? Blade vs. Spider-Man? Blade vs. Santa Claus?

Blade: Black & White TPB:Blade is a hard  man to track down, especially in his early appearances, but this collection does the best job so far with stories pulled from a variety of ’70s Marvel anthologies that housed the character’s first solo stories.The main story is a 3-parter  showing Blade going after a vampire cult in jolly old England, but the real gem of this is the forgotten one-shot story “Into The Tomb” by James Felder and Jose Ladronn which takes Blade to Transylvania on the hunt for his mother’s kidnapped corpse.


  1. Blade: Black & White is a great collection. And you cannot go wrong with Blade Chaykin.

  2. the MAX run was ok, i was just recently looking at it again. It had a lot of potential but ultimately failed to capture what the movie’s caught.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed the movies but I don’t go out of my way to read a Blade comic.

  4. It is shocking to me that there hasn’t been more Blade comics of good quality

  5. Love the blade films they are some of my fave comic films. But a real gem you missed is the current blade anime that was on g4 TV. Written by comic legend Warren Ellis IT is perhaps the best take on blade in recent memory. I want a Warren Ellis

  6. It literally blows my mind that to this day, we would not be getting ANY of these comic book films if it wasn’t for Blade. He was somehow the key to start this madness.

  7. Don’t forget the Bart Sears mini-series way back in the the late 90s that got canned a few issues into it.

    Love the first two Blade films. Good lord, his comics are…. well… y’know. Maybe it’s that Marvel won’t fully commit to just making the film characterization the official comic version. Or, maybe Blade only works with Wesley Snipes (did you see the tv show)? Or maybe there’s nothing to Blade like most horror/vampire stories which almost always gets bogged down on the how-to-kill-the-pro/antagonist mythology,

    I’d love to read a Blade comic. Though, my personal taste would be to avoid Howard Chaykin on art. I can only take so much Photoshop patterns and Sharpie inks.

  8. I would also Recommend Captain Britain and the MI:13 Vol. 1-2-3

  9. The anime currently on Netflix isn’t half bad (unlike that Wolverine one…)

  10. So….no love for Ultimate Comics Avengers 3 with Blade? I thought that that was the best & most fun appearance by Blade. It even has his origin all set up for new readers. I would definitely recommend just for the fact that Millar does Blade right IMO.

  11. Haven’t read much of Blade in comics..I read a guest appearance of Blade in the Spider books somewhere around 99-2000, it kinda read awkward, Blade and Spiderman together with Morbius and some mobs thrown in there for some sort of leverage I guess.
    Got to go with the line in the first paragraph about Blade…fitting in the MU with the other heroes.
    The movie(s) were good tho.