With Morbius Releasing on April 1st, audiences will be introduced to the next engaging antihero from the Sony side of masterful Marvel. Played by Jared Leto, Doctor Michael Morbius is a man forever torn between his Nobel Prize-winning humanity and the primal malice within him, presenting fans with yet another of the darker heroes in marvel comics.
The brilliant creation of Hall of Famers Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Morbius first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (1971). A wholly unique ‘Living Vampire,’ Morbius deviates from traditional vampire lore by having contracted vampirism neither from being bitten nor being born a vampire but through scientific experimentation. Detailing Morbius’s journey over the years, some stories highlight crucial character development, others visually striking and indelible artwork; all are essential reads on the Living Vampire Morbius.
Marvel Team-Up #3-4 (1972)
In Morbius’s first story since his debut, legend Gerry Conway thought a foundational entry for the character, revealing that Morbius has survived the events of his previous clash with Spider-Man and the Lizard. It is necessary for establishing connections between Morbius and the Fantastic Four and explicitly speaks to Morbius’s intellect of him as a noted theorist who corresponds with Reed Richards, arguably the most intelligent person in all of Marvel.
Continuing the story in And Then…The X-Men, Morbius battles with the original mutant super-team roster attempting to save Spider-Man’s life, introducing Morbius to an even broader swath of comic readers and presenting him as capable of hanging with two of the most recognizable superhero ensembles in comics.
Marvel Two-In-One #15 (1974)
Marvel builds on previously established connections between Morbius and Fantastic Four, this time through a story showing the Living Vampire and the Thing as they must team up to fight the Living Eraser. Using Grimm and Morbius, Bill Mantlo and Arvell Jones present a prototypical Bronze Age comic, full of vibrant art and catchphrase-laced dialogue, definitely depicting how varied the interpretations of monsters can be.
The Return of the Living Eraser continues to establish the core parts of Morbius’s internal maelstrom, exploring his struggle against his thirst and hunger while also highlighting his burgeoning hope that he may one day transcend his condition. A certifiable best read amongst Morbius comics.
Adventures Into Fear #20-26 (1974)
After being given a handful of guest appearances, Adventures Into Fear signals Morbius’s first self-titled story arc. This seven-issue tale sees Morbius embroiled in a conflict between the Caretakers and the arcane sorcerer Daemond, with the future of humanity at stake.
Signifying the first meeting between Morbius and Blade the Vampire Hunter, a character who has had a horror movie based on a comic book series, and establishing Martine Bancroft as a consistent plot element, Adventures sees Morbius continue his transformation into an antihero. Abound with Bronze Age art bursting with color and writing that encapsulates the tragedy of Morbius’s affliction, Adventures unequivocally transforms Morbius from a monstrous villain to a tragic hero, providing a top Morbius tale.
Morbius: The Living Vampire #1 (1992)
The Morbius tie-in issue to one of the most beloved fan stories of all time, the Rise of the Midnight Sons crossover saw Doctor Strange uniting the Sons versus a common enemy in Lilith, the Mother of Demons. Again, a genuinely distinct read into the true dichotomy of the psyche of Morbius, brilliant doctor against that of living vampire, with his humanity caught perfectly in the center.
Perfectly encompassing the tragedy of his condition, when faced with the love of his life dead, Morbius weeps, only to feed on her, becoming wracked with guilt. Ultimately, this act leads Morbius to vow only to drink the blood of the guilty, representing one of the most candid Morbius moments and an impactful read for anyone looking for one of Morbius’s best.
Legion Of Monsters: Morbius #1 (2007)
This short but lasting tale poignantly articulates the way Morbius’s psyche has developed over the years to cope with his affliction while still attempting to keep the threads of his humanity intact. It represents a foundational Morbius theme that compels the reader to realize monsters can come in many forms, thus always challenging them to look deeper.
The duo of Cahill and Gaydos powerfully draws clear parallels between the devastation brought about by and the ramifications in the lives of the person living with addiction and those they love. The proverbial cherry on the cake is the magnificent coloring, successfully marking this Morbius gem as a mandatory read.
Amazing Spider-Man #688-691 (2012)
In no turning back, writer Dan Slott presents an essential Morbius story, bringing the heroes from Morbius’ first appearance back together with a wonderfully concocted plot. Features like expertly highlighting the distrust Spider-Man and the public harbored with Morbius and the ability of others to manipulate such skepticism give this story a realness hard to ignore.
Adeptly using the similarities between Connors, another powerful character in Spider-Man comics, and Morbius, both as doctors and animalistic predatory incarnations, Slott sheds light on the duality from which many heroes and villains inextricably suffer and the thin line separating them, making it one of Morbius’s best.
Amazing Spider-Man #699.1 (2012)
Presenting a modernized origin story, Morbius painfully recounts his triumphant life and the tragedy it has become via a conversation between the Lizard and himself during a Raft breakout. Cleverly weaving in critical core components to Morbius’s backstory, writer Slott spins a vital Morbius tale.
Vividly displaying the tragedy Morbius has endured his entire existence, this story fully realizes the impact of Emil Nikos in Morbius’s life. From wonderful childhood memories to his murder of him at his hands of him, Emil stands as perhaps the primary driving force behind Morbius’s commitment to humanity.
Morbius: The Living Vampire #1-9 (2013)
the Midnight Sonstory arc shows a desperate Morbius attempting to evade capture after escaping the Raft. Settling in Brownsville, Morbius eventually befriends the residents and draws the attention of unsavory sorts, being manipulated in a conflict between factions with competing interests for the city.
The team of Keatinge and Elson crafts an excellent study on the fine line Morbius straddles, seemingly moment to moment, between hero and monster while also providing further insight on Morbius’s father, Makarioa, and the reason(s) he was notably absent from Morbius’s life . The arc contains perhaps some of the best Morbius comic book issues and is a mandatory read before the movie, no doubt.
Dominoes #7-8 (2018)
in the Soldier of Fortune story arc, the trio of mercenaries Domino, Diamondback, and Outlaw are contracted to retrieve a captive Morbius. This tale presents a predatory and practical Morbius, who only teams up with the mercenaries to keep him from disrupting the sanguine essence essential to his survival.
The Lady Luck of Marvel Comics’ inner monologue lends great nobility to the story, ultimately appealing to the “living” part of Morbius. Thoroughly well written and presented with thematically pinpoint art, Simone and Baldeon offer a fantastical portrayal and one of Morbius’s best stories.
Morbius: Bond Of Blood #1 (2021)
Bond of Blood continues adding backstory, as Morbius seeks to atone for his most heinous offense by saving Christos Nikos, Emil Nikos’s son, from impending death. Again, driven by unending guilt and seeking respite, he seeks out Calvin Zabo for the cure, only to be played and ultimately fail to achieve the redemption he so covets.
Stirringly, Macchio and Reilly reveal how the ramifications of one choice can last generations and how the subsequent guilt can influence future decisions, creating a seemingly unending loop of tragedy, marking this tale as one of Morbius’s best.
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