Day 10 of 28 Days of Black Super Heroes, today’s hero is the Marvel Comics’ character Blade.
I’m not talking about the Wesley Snipes movie version here, or even the post-Snipes comic version seen in print in the last couple of years.
I’m talking about the old 1970’s style Blade that used to use the old wooden (sharpened teak) knives, and usually handed out beat-downs to Dracula and other assorted vamps.
WHO IS HE?
Hey, what is Blade’s real name? Milton? Jeeves? Ephram?
It says on the Blade entry at the Marvel Wiki that it’s Eric Brooks.
Really? Never knew that.
Jeez. Some Blade fan. I looked in the Blade Wikipedia link and it doesn’t look like it’s in there. Oh well, I suppose it’s not too important. Blade is a way cooler name, anyway.
I never picked up the actual Blade origin story. I just knew from the context of some of the later stories that his mother was a prostitute who was bitten by a vampire when she was pregnant, resulting in Blade becoming immune from vampirism.
When it comes down to it, I wasn’t a Blade fan, per se. Honestly I was always more into super heroes than some of the more non-spandex wearing stuff.
Blade used to sometimes cross over into some of the super hero comics I read, usually concerning Dracula. I mean, Blade was always tracking down Dracula and stakin’ that mofo. It never took, though. Dracula always came back. Aw, shucks.
BACK IN THE DAY
I used to always pick up these old comics from garage sales and such, and it would always be something like Tomb of Dracula, and there would be Blade, mouth open wide in a scream of rage, with a stake in his hands.
As a kid, this stuff would fool me all the time. “Oh crap! This is the end of Dracula!!” But it never was.
That’s why I usually would read those first and get them out of the way, so I could move on to Spider-man or the X-Men comics my mother was also forced to buy.
I mean, Blade did have skills.
At first, when I was reading about Blade, he wasn’t actually half-vampire as far as I knew. He was just a pretty bad-ass dude who hated vampires. Seriously, this guy is out there looking for Dracula, looking for a fight. Extremely bad-ass.
Later on, I’m not sure if this happened in the comics before or after the movies, but he then became “the Daywalker”.
He was like half-vampire, but of course without the weakness to sunlight. That’s pretty powerful. He’s not just some punk taking on vampires with a bag full of sticks.
What I also liked about Blade was that he was relentless. I used to think “this brotha will NOT give up trying to kill Dracula!” He’s been alternately staking Dracula and getting his ass kicked trying to do this thing for years.
Moral of the story: Never give up, people.
I had forgotten all about him until I got ahold of a couple of issues of Dr. Strange (also off the beaten path of traditional super-hero stuff). In this particular story, Dr. Strange had pretty much had it up to here with Dracula and the rest of the vampires, and was about to enact a spell to rid the entire world of them.
In order to keep Dracula off his ass for awhile he called in some backup, and there was Blade! KICK ASS!!
Except he didn’t. He got his ass kicked. Damn.
Well, it was a Dr. Strange comic, so you can’t expect Blade to be the hero there.
I loved the first Blade movie, I don’t really remember the second, and the third was kinda crazy and “off”. Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel kind of ruined it for me.
That first one I’ll still watch to this day. Snipes has a lot of presence and the action in that one was awesome.
My chief complaint about the movie series is that they kind of ruined the character for the comics. I don’t think the Snipes version translated very well back to the comics. Now when I see the character I barely recognize him. He’s not quite the character that I remember.
I think he had a failed series just last year. I’m not sure how many issues it ran to but I would see it on the stands and I would think “if it looked like they were going back to the old Blade I’d probably pick this up.”
THE TV SHOW
Here’s something that really surprised me. The (now cancelled) Blade TV series was AWESOME.
I loved it. Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones didn’t quite have the presence of Snipes, but there were only a few times I really missed it.
“Mercury Girl” Jill Wagner was hot, and so was the evil blonde chick. The asian guy who was Blade’s partner was cool. Even though he had the “tech guy” stereotype, he was still able to handle business and kick ass when necessary (and NOT with martial arts). I looked forward to that show every week.
It was really too bad that they cancelled it. They had something good there, they should have given it another chance.
If you haven’t seen it, and you like that sort of action, with vampires, too, then you should definitely check it out (check this (affiliate) link: Blade The Series – The Complete Series). Be warned though, it kind of ends on a cliffhanger and there’s no more to be seen. Curses!
I’m not sure what comics exactly this happened in, though. Also I see that Blade showed up in the recent X-Men Curse of the Mutants event where vampires were fighting the mutants. I think I remember a comic where Blade was shown fighting Wolverine.
Being in X-Men these days virtually guarantees that I won’t be seeing a character. I don’t have much to do with X-Men these days because that shit is wack.
THE WRAP UP
I have some extremely fond memories of this character, but I think some of Blade’s mystique has been lost.
There’s an opportunity here for a writer who can write this sort of thing to take Blade away from the costumes and super powers and also to shake off some of the Snipes movie makeover stuff and get back to the root of this character.
I’d like to just see a Blade “horror” comic, similar to how Marvel did The Punisher with Garth Ennis. No super-heroes, just the Punisher in his element. Someone could do that for Blade. It would be a such a bad-ass comic!
Right now I’m not sure if there’s enough demand for Marvel to even consider something like this, though. Hey someone who has some pull there tell them to get on this. Let’s have a Blade “mature themed” comic. Could be cool, y’all.
Anyway, I’ll close out here with this pencil drawing I did for Blade. Check back tomorrow for the next hero!