As darker properties of Marvel Comic are brought to the forefront with Moon Knight on Disney+, Jared Leto’s Morbius movie, and the highly anticipated Midnight Sun’s RPG, the countdown has begun. Comic fans are tracking the minutes until their favorite dhampir slashes back onto the big screen and Mahershala Ali stakes his claim on the title of “Day Walker” in the MCU.
Created in 1973 by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, and based on pro football star Jim Brown, Eric Cross Brooks will become Blade the Vampire Hunter, forever vowing to rid the world of the vampire plague. The boogeymen’s boogeyman has been a member of the Mighty Avengers and Midnight Sons, representing one of Marvel Comics’ preeminent warriors versus the occult. Thoroughly researched, these stories most astutely capture and chronicle where Blade came from and his journey through Marvel Comics’.
10 Tomb Of Dracula #10 (1973)
Signifying the titular vampire hunter’s inaugural entry into the Marvel universe, Tomb of Dracula #10 presents the damsel in distress plot that permeated comics at the time. Blade’s first of countless meetings with the Lord of Vampires see Dracula seizing a cruise ship in hopes of feasting on all the humans’ aboard. Although Blade, showing his martial-arts prowess from him, wetsuit dives his way onto the boat, confronting Dracula, who ultimately escapes, swearing vengeance on Blade.
Representing Blade’s 1st appearance, co-creators Wolfman and Colan present an archetypal Bronze Age story. Wolfman’s knack for terrifying writing and Colan’s smokey miasmal art is on full display, marking this a best read for the Vampire Hunter.
9 Marvel Preview #3 (1975)
This fantastic read introduces Blade’s mentor, Jamal Afari while showingcasing two strong female leads in Lady Marguerite D’Alescio and Kate Fraser. Featuring an end of world, horror noir plot that harkens back to a bygone age of comic storytelling, preview #3 brings Blade’s first solo story to a satisfying conclusion.
More akin to a graphic novel in length, Chris Claremont’s purposeful dialogue touches on the abhorrent evil of racism and showcases one of Blade’s overarching character themes, tragedy. The tragedy that befell Madame Vanity drives his hatred for the leeches and vermin of the night, making this one of Blade’s best of him.
8 Blade The Vampire Hunter #1-10 (1994-1995)
Blade’s first self-titled series features most of his primary nemeses like Dracula, Deacon Frost, and Varnae, as they wage war for power in NYC However, a prophetic vision from a new ally, “Bible John” Carik, sets Blade against the vampires , where he is pushed to his limits in this quintessential Blade storyline.
Building on many of the great stories before him, Edginton scribe brings together all the elements critical to Blade’s story and wraps them up in true 90’s comic form. This story will impress, full of no-nonsense characters, physically jarring panels, and disintegrating vampires, cutting a Blade best.
7 Blade: Crescent City Blues (March 1998)
The most loathsome of Blade’s enemies, Deacon Frost, has taken control of the vampires in the Big Easy and allied himself with the Immortal Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau. Featuring appearances of Doctor Voodoo and his old flame from him Safron Caulder DeVille and the starting revelation that Hannibal King and Frank Drake are alive, Blues delivers in all the right areas.
Co-creator Colan lends his signature artwork, full of bright contrasting colors, and writer Golden adroitly uses the dialogue between Blade and some of his oldest allies to illustrate how Blade’s hatred of vampires trumps his love for humanity. An enjoyable read for any comic fan and a best for the Vampire Hunter.
6 Blade #1-5 (2006-2007)
This Blade best highlights superb gritty artwork and informative dialogue, providing everything wanted, from run-ins with a vampiric Spider-Man, Doctor Doom, Santa Claus, and Wolverine to a SHIELD helicarrier full of vampires in this excellent comic.
Artfully well done and offering excellent insight into specifics of Blades’s past via creative flashbacks woven throughout the story, the series establishes the importance of Lucas Cross, Blade’s father, and provides solid evidence of what Blade has shaped into the hardened killer that he has become.
5 Ultimate Avengers 3 #1-6 (2010-2011)
In an exciting story set apart from the main Earth-616 universe, ‘Blade versus the Avengers’ sees Blade working with Nick Fury and the Avengers to prevent a vampiric takeover. After infecting the new kid Daredevil, Stick, Captain America, and Nerd Hulk, they bring the fight to SHIELD, culminating in an epic showdown between Vamp superheroes and the Blade led Avengers at the Triskelion.
Writer Millar crafts an eccentric Ultimate universe story, bringing in Marvel’s premiere blood-sucking slayer to advertise an otherworldly Armageddon while giving comic readers food for thought concerning the various ways Blade can be utilized across Marvel. It proves to be one of Blade’s most atypical stories and one of his best from him.
4 Spirits Of Vengeance #1-5 (2017-2018)
In this Roy Thomas creator showcase, writer Gischler offers a cleverly devised plot radiating with cosmic significance, seeing Blade reluctantly team up with Daimon Hellstrom, Satana, and Ghost Rider to thwart the sorcerer Necrodamus and his bid to destroy the covenant, invoking some nostalgic Midnight You are vibes.
‘At the Gates of Hell’ features grandiose flowing panels, lending fluidity to the art and perfectly capturing Heaven and Hell’s imaginative visions. Critical for giving insight to the often-tenuous alliances Blade must make for the greater good and introducing Razan the Night Jackal, demigoddess daughter of Osiris, this five-issue story ranks amongst Blade’s best of him.
3 Wolverine Vs Blade Special #1 (2019)
Nosferatu and mutants abound in this fun, albeit macabre, soiree into Blade mythos. Heads will roll as Blade and Wolverine are set on a collision course, believing that each other is the incarnation of a vampire Messiah.
Combining two of the ‘best they are at what they do’ heroes, Guggenheim and Wilkins deliver on this over-the-top bordello of blood. Visceral art combined with subtle intricacies, like referencing their previous meeting, demonstrate the writer-artist duo did their homework, adding absolute continuity to one of Blades’s best stories.
two Strikeforce #1-9 (2019-2020)
Following the ‘War of the Realms’ event and the destruction of the Black Bifrost, fae shapeshifters from Svartalheim called the Vridai have come to Earth seeking to rule. After being framed by the Vridai, Blade teams with Angela, Daimon Hellstrom, Spectrum, Spider-Woman, Wiccan, and Winter Solider to form this cleverly great amalgam team that grows together through series.
Throughout the story, Howard and Peralta present a functional balance between Blade and Angela. Though he still possesses his edge from him, Blade has become a more trusting, mentor-type since first tangling with Dracula. Exhibiting great character maturity, the plots ebb and flow combined with the creativity of this team mark this must-read material on Blade.
1 Death Of Doctor Strange: Blade (2021)
Upon the demise of Doctor Strange, the barrier protecting Earth has failed. While defending the Vampire Nation from a coup from within, Blade must also deal with extra-dimensional invaders. Ultimately providing the victor, Blade pays fitting tribute to one of the few Blades would call a friend.
Death delivers, featuring stylishly vivid, colorful art with an outstanding balance of character and narrator dialogue. Lore and Burnett combine on a fabulous story as Blade has been recently anointed sheriff of V Nation by his longtime nemesis Dracula. Offering the perfect exhibition on the relationship between Blade and Dracula, mainly how it has morphed over the decades as Blade has matured, this comic certifies as a Blade best.
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