The Major Vampires of the Marvel Universe
Meet Blade, Bloodline, Dracula, Morbius, and more bloodsuckers in this breakdown of the Marvel Universe's major vampires!
In addition to its high-flying heroes and world-ending threats, the Marvel Universe is home to a wide variety of vampires. With a history that predates the sinking of Atlantis, vampires are one of Marvel’s oldest races, and they’ve counted both terrifying villains and active members of the X-Men and the Avengers among their ranks.
With Bloodline, the daughter of Blade, set to make her mark in CRYPT OF SHADOWS (2022) #1 and her upcoming solo series BLOODLINE: DAUGHTER OF BLADE (2023), we’re taking a closer look at some of the spookiest and most surprising vampire heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe.
Marvel’s most famous vampire slayer, Blade, debuted in TOMB OF DRACULA (1972) #10 by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. During Eric Brooks’ birth in 1929, his mother was bitten by a vampire, and Blade was subsequently born as a half-vampire.
After Blade spent years hunting vampires like Dracula, Morbius transformed Blade into the Daywalker, a vampire without weakness to normal sunlight. After primarily working with monster hunters like the Nightstalkers, Blade became an Avenger in MIGHTY AVENGERS (2013) #1 by Al Ewing and Greg Land and briefly operated as the new Ronin. Since joining the main Avengers team in 2019, Blade has played a critical role in keeping Dracula and his resurgent Vampire Nation in line as the fledgling country’s sheriff. He also took the lead in the HEROES REBORN (2021) crossover event.
Earlier this year, Bloodline, the daughter of Blade and Safron Caulder, debuted in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2022: AVENGERS/X-MEN (2022) #1. As that story revealed, Bloodline’s civilian name is Brielle, and she lives a seemingly normal life with her mother.
In her first adventure, Brielle protected her friend Jayden from Eturnal, a vampire who lost a video game tournament. Thanks to her quick thinking, fighting skills, and a pair of silver bracelets, Brielle made short work of the vampire before running home to her concerned mother. CRYPT OF SHADOWS (2022) #1 will feature the return of Bloodline in a new story by creators Danny Lore and Karen S. Darboe, before she launches into her own series BLOODLINE: DAUGHTER OF BLADE in February 2023.
Within the Marvel Universe, Dracula is the most powerful vampire on Earth and currently serves as the leader of the world’s vampires. Previously, he enjoyed a violent reign as Transylvanian nobleman Vlad the Impaler; after he was injured, he became a vampire and quickly grew his power and status among his kind.
Since making his modern Marvel debut in TOMB OF DRACULA (1972) #1 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, Dracula has faced dozens of monster hunters and Super Heroes. After the “War of the Vampires” started in AVENGERS (2018) #14, Dracula united many of the world’s strongest vampires as the leader of the Vampire Nation. He has also gained new powers thanks to an infusion of Wolverine’s blood.
Sometime after Doctor Strange became Sorcerer Supreme, his brother Victor was fatally wounded in a car wreck. In his ill-fated efforts to save his brother, Strange inadvertently turned Victor into a vampire with the Vampiric Verse.
After debuting in DOCTOR STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME (1988) #10 by Roy Thomas and Jackson Guice, Victor fell under the thrall of the witch Marie Laveau, adopted the Baron Blood identity, and struggled to contain his bloodlust before impaling himself with a wooden stake. As recently revealed in STRANGE TALES: VICTOR STRANGE INFINITY COMIC (2022) #1, Victor Strange is currently watching the Marvel Universe from a mirror world and is set to make his next appearance in CRYPT OF SHADOWS (2022) #1 for a story by Al Ewing and Ramon Bachs.
In UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #159 by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, Storm was turned into a vampire, but she rejected the thrall of Dracula and returned to normal. However, some variants of Ororo Munroe weren’t so lucky. In the alternate reality of MUTANT X (1998), Ororo became Bloodstorm, one of her chaotic world’s mutant heroes.
Another Bloodstorm debuted in X-MEN: BLUE (2017) #10 by Cullen Bunn and Giovanni Valletta. After killing her world’s Professor X and Beast, this Bloodstorm was stranded in the Marvel Universe, where she joined a time-displaced team of the original teenage X-Men. She briefly dated young Cyclops, only to be killed by the time-traveling Ahab in the EXTERMINATION (2018) event.
After learning he had a rare blood disease, Doctor Michael Morbius – who debuted in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #101 by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane – tried to treat himself with DNA from a vampire bat. However, this treatment gave him a monstrous appearance, superhuman abilities, and a craving for blood.
Although the scientific nature of his origins made Morbius a “living vampire,” he has consistently struggled to control his bloodlust and restore his humanity. Outside of the occasional rampage, Morbius has evolved into a frequent ally to heroes like Spider-Man and Blade. He also joined the supernatural antiheroes of the Midnight Sons and the Legion of Monsters, then fought the Multiversal undead in MARVEL ZOMBIES 3 (2008).
Baron Blood has menaced Captain America and his allies with his vampiric powers for decades. Created by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins in INVADERS (1975) #7, Lord John Falsworth was turned into a vampire by Dracula shortly before World War I. Despite his English heritage, Blood worked as a German agent in both World Wars and fought his brother James – better known as the hero Union Jack – as well as the Invaders.
Following the war, Baron Blood resurfaced to fight Steve Rogers a few times. He also joined Baron Zemo’s Hydra to fight Sam Wilson’s Captain America. When Falsworth was out of commission, the Baron Blood mantle was briefly held by Victor Strange and passed down to Kenneth Crichton, Falsworth’s vampiric descendant.
Although Dracula has several children, his son Xarus has recently become one of his fiercest competitors and closest allies – but that wasn’t always the case. In THE DEATH OF DRACULA (2010) #1 by Victor Gischler and Giuseppe Camuncoli, Xarus debuted as the leader of a vampire uprising that resulted in his father’s demise. After Xarus failed to turn the X-Men to his side, the mutants resurrected Dracula, who killed Xarus.
More recently, Xarus reappeared as the heavily armored Shadow Colonel alongside the Legion of the Unliving. Xarus helped his father fight the Avengers and build the Vampire Nation by wiping out weak vampires during the “War of the Vampires.”
While plenty of heroes have temporarily been transformed into vampires, few have spent as much time among the undead as the X-Men’s Jubilee. During “The Curse of the Mutants,” Jubilee was infected by a vampire’s blood and fully turned by Xarus in X-MEN (2010) #2 by Victor Gischler and Paco Medina.
With technology that let her operate in indirect sunlight, Jubilee spent several years as a vampire, all while she befriended X-23, adopted the infant Shogo, and served on several X-Men teams. Jubilee’s mutant powers were restored and her vampirism was wiped out by the last of Quentin Quire’s Phoenix Force power in GENERATION X (2017) #86 by Christina Strain and Amilcar Pinna.
Even though Hannibal King is a vampire, he has been one of Blade’s closest allies in his war against the creatures of the night. Created by Gene Colan and Marv Wolfman, King is a private investigator who debuted in TOMB OF DRACULA (1972) #25. After being bitten by a vampire, King vowed to never feed on a living human, relying on blood banks and animals instead.
While fighting Dracula, King eventually met Blade, and the pair formed the Nighstalkers with vampire hunter Frank Drake. With the Nightsalkers and later the Midnight Sons, Hannibal battled supernatural threats while keeping his thirst for blood in check. After a tense encounter with Blade, Hannibal was ultimately given a serum that removed his need to consume blood.
Jacqueline Falsworth debuted in INVADERS (1975) #7 by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins as the daughter of the original Union Jack. After being abducted and bitten by Baron Blood, she was transformed into the vampire, but went on to become the hero Spitfire thanks to a transfusion of the android Human Torch’s artificial blood.
With a range of abilities including her signature super-speed, Spitfire joined the Invaders throughout World War II. When Spitfire’s abilities started to wane, another blood transfusion from the Human Torch restored them and dramatically de-aged her. Beyond joining several reincarnations of the Invaders, Spitfire briefly dated Blade when both served with the British organization MI-13.
While searching for the key to immortality, Deacon Frost accidentally injected himself with a vampire’s blood, which turned him into one of Marvel’s most dangerous vampiric villains. As his debut revealed in TOMB OF DRACULA (1972) #13 by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, he also had the unusual power to create doppelgängers of those he turned. He bit Blade’s mother and Hannibal King before unsuccessfully trying to usurp Dracula as Lord of the Vampires. After his apparent demise, Frost resurfaced as an agent of Mephisto and targeted Sam Wilson’s Falcon and Misty Knight before being slayed by Redwing, Wilson’s partially vampiric bird.
After years in the shadows, the vampire heroes of the Forgiven are about to take some major steps into the wider Marvel Universe. Under their leader Raizo Kodo, this vampire team – which primarily subsists on animal blood – was first assembled in FEAR ITSELF: HULK VS. DRACULA (2011) #1 by Victor Gischler and Ryan Stegman, where they helped Dracula turn the tide against an Asgardian-enthralled Hulk.
Later on, the team briefly took in Jubilee and tried to help her control her thirst for blood. Next year, the Forgiven are set to team up with Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers to take on a powerful new vampire threat, starting with SPIDER-MAN: UNFORGIVEN (2023) #1 by Tim Seeley and Sid Kotian.
Interested in reading more supernatural mayhem? Don't miss our spooky anthology issue CRYPT OF SHADOWS (2022) #1, on sale October 19!
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