The human sorcerer Varnae becomes the singular source of every vampire and worshiped as a god by the bloodsucking creatures he sires.


BLADE: VAMPIRE NATION (2022) #1 cover by Valerio Giangiordano


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As the original vampire, Varnae becomes the Lord of The Vampires and holds the title for centuries.


Out for Blood

Dwelling on pre-Cataclysmic Atlantis, the human Varnae extensively studies the necromantic arts and becomes a sorcerer. He apparently schemes to usurp the role of the benevolent Vishanti mystic trinity’s Agamotto, who serves as Earth’s supreme mystic protector (later referred to the Sorcerer Supreme). 

Circa 19,000 BC, conflicts break out again between the surviving Elder Gods—Chthon, Gaea, Oshtur and Set—and Agamotto gathers the era’s greatest sorcerers in Atlantis. Varnae attends the summit of the Elder Gods’ avatars, one of several representing Chthon, though the summit resolves very little. Five hundred years go by, and Varnae is gravely wounded by Atlantis’ King Kull. The king’s war against wizards also brings about the mortal death of necromantic sorcerer Thulsa Doom, one of the last of the Elder Race, all of this preceding humanity in dominion over Earth. Varnae and other Thulsa Doom followers, having obtained the powerful Chthon Scrolls (which would later become the Darkhold tome), vengefully plot to transform some of their number into supernatural creatures to destroy Kull. The dying Varnae is the first to volunteer to be transformed, and the “Darkholders” perform the incantations as he perishes, though several follow soon after, such as Lamia, Verdelet, and allegedly Boy, Maracen, and Saracen. Three days later, these subjects arise anew as what would become known as vampires. When one of the wizards attempts to command him, Varnae consumes him and then Varnae and the other vampires feed on the sorcerers’ blood, with all those slain by vampires becoming vampires in turn. These subsequent vampires generally prove to be the less willful creatures than the sorcerers had intended, and Varnae reveles in their worship as lord of the vampires for centuries.


A Rush of Blood

Varnae possesses far greater powers than most vampires. He has superhuman strength, lifting 7 tons, though he can further enhance himself to uncertain levels by growing in size or by direct mystical augmentation. He also has superhuman speed, stamina, agility and reflexes, and is immune to aging, conventional disease and most forms of injury. He ignores most assaults and regenerates damaged tissue rapidly. He must drink blood regularly to survive, and is vulnerable to silver, garlic, sunlight, or a wooden or silver stake through the heart. Religious symbols of the pre-Cataclysmic era can harm him (such as spells involving the Vishanti, Gaea, Chthon, Set, Valka, etc.), but he is generally immune to more recent religious icons, such as a crucifix or Star of David, though those with extraordinary faith (such as Paolo Montesi) can pain him with such symbols. Varnae can be harmed by the Montesi Formula, though it is uncertain whether that spell can be repeated since its previous use was nullified. 

A powerful sorcerer, Varnae has knowledge of and can perform a number of unspecified spells. He can survive his body’s destruction and inhabit new host bodies, transforming them into duplicates of his original form. If Varnae fatally drains a victim, that person will arise in three days as a vampire. Varnae can command animals, such as rats, bats and wolves, and can control people with a glance or by drinking their blood. He can further control virtually all other vampires, though those with extraordinary will power, such as Vlad Dracula, AKA Dracula, can resist him. 

Varnae can transform into a bat (normal or human size), wolf or mist (partially or fully), increase his size to a height of 25’, and summon thunderstorms. Varnae does not cast reflections, and he usually cannot enter a house uninvited. He is an excellent swordsman. The vampire Carl Blake, AKA Night Terror, whom Varnae possessed, can drink someone’s memories as he drank their blood.


Bad Blood

Varnae faces such foes as Conan, Red Sonja, and Zula. He goes up against the Asgardian thunder god Thor Odinson, AKA Thor, in battle when a Viking worshiper calls on Thor for aid, and is forced to flee while his fellow vampires perish.

As Catholics become more involved in fighting the vampire hoard, the faithful Paolo Montesi gathers the Chthon Scrolls, putting them into the Book of Sins, AKA the Darkhold. Though Varnae kills Paolo, his line lives on, picking up the torch to torment Varnae. The Montesi family adds the missing vampire destruction spell, AKA the Montesi Formula, to the Darkhold, which results in Varnae’s undoing.

Varnae becomes interested in the vampire hunter Eric Brooks, AKA Blade, specifically possessing his body, though due to Blade’s resistance and allies, his attempt fails.

The Lord of Vampires finds a worthy foe in Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Stephen Strange, AKA Doctor Strange when he uses the Montesi Formula to rid the world of vampires.


Flesh and Blood

With an ability to sire new vampires and control them, Varnae creates an army of thralls, making him Lord of the Vampires for many centuries. He also finds an ambitious young mystic named Kaluu, giving him a taste of his arcane knowledge and creating a conqueror. When weary of a long life, he finds a successor in Dracula.

Though at first rejecting an alliance with mystic Marie Laveau, she resurrects him after his demise and finds her to be an important ally later against the vampire hunter Blade.


Blood in the Streets

In 18,000 BC, when the Great Cataclysm sank Atlantis, Varnae preserved himself in suspended animation in his sarcophagus amid a viscid human stew. During this time, he revived occasionally—such as when he established an island base in what would later be the Greek Isles to hold a centennial gathering of the world’s vampires—and also received visions of the world around him. 

Circa 10,000 BC, Varnae awakened and sensed the Afterlings, magically created humanoid bats that had served the adepts Morophla and Uathacht, who were Darkhold-created vampiric precursors. Mentally binding the Afterlings to his will, Varnae had them free him from his sarcophagus and established a base in the Flaming Mountains of Khrosha. Later sensing one of the Chthon Scrolls’ parchments’ approach, Varnae realized it possessed spells to destroy vampires. Varnae psychically drew the parchment’s holders, mercenaries serving Amalric of Nemedia, AKA Malthom, intending to obtain the scroll to prevent its use as well as to perform a massive blood sacrifice on the mercenaries to transform the Afterlings into true vampires. After the Afterlings captured adventurers Conan, Red Sonja, and Zula, however, the trio escaped and aided Malthom’s forces against the Afterlings. Zula obtained the scroll and used its spell against Varnae, forcing him to flee. 

Around 2000 BC, Varnae coerced the Sumerian sorceress Aamshed into creating the Ritual of Ascendance, which would exponentially amplify the vampire lord’s power; however, Aamshed made the ritual only able to be performed every 2000 years and on the vampire’s native soil. Aamshed further twice thwarted Varnae’s efforts to raise Atlantis to perform the ritual on his native soil. Circa 1000 AD, Varnae led vampires to overrun Viking settlements in what would become North America, earning aliases such as Baal, Tsathoggua and Croatoan. A settler prayed to the Asgardian thunder god Thor for aid, and Thor battled Varnae to a stalemate before using his hammer, Mjolnir, to open a space portal to let sunlight through. Varnae fled the light, though the other vampires perished. 

In 1150 AD, the Catholic Church’s strong-willed and faithful Paolo Montesi bound many of the Chthon Scrolls into the Book of Sins; Montesi was given dispensation to marry, such that his line would continue his role. Learning of this threat, in 1190, Varnae led a vampire army to assault the Vatican and slew Paolo after using a ruse to force Paolo to drop his crucifix. Unbeknownst to Varnae, Paolo’s son, Giacomo, was born that night. Gifted with extended life via the Book of Sins’ power, Giacomo learned of and tracked the missing vampire destruction spell and other pages to Tibet’s city Kamar-Taj’s Nine Wise Men in 1350, but one of Varnae’s human agents murdered Giacomo. When his son, Marcello Montesi, re-established ties with Kamar-Taj circa 1410, Varnae trained young Kamar-Taj mystic Kaluu, who eventually conquered Kamar-Taj and severed contact with Marcello. Kaluu was defeated by the young mystic Yao (later the Ancient One), restoring communication with Marcello, who at last added the long-sought pages to the Book of Sins; the vampire destruction spell becoming known as the Montesi Formula.

Weary and frustrated by this failure, Varnae sought an heir to succeed him as lord of Earth’s vampires. In 1459, Varnae chose Wallachian prince Vlad Dracula, sending vampiric dreams, followed by a dream that incorrectly showed Vlad’s enemies attacking from the east. Unprepared for the real assault from the west, Vlad was captured and brought to be healed by Lianda, actually another vampire serving Varnae, and she vampirized Dracula. To test Dracula’s worthiness, Varnae empowered his minion Nimrod the First to pose as vampire lord; by defeating Nimrod, Dracula won Varnae’s regard. Overpowering and murdering Marcello Montesi as a final act of vengeance, Varnae finally confronted Dracula that same night, revealed his manipulations, and bequeathed the vampire lord title to him. After Dracula spent most of the night consuming Varnae’s blood, Varnae walked into direct sunlight, destroying himself. Approximately 150 years later, the last vampirized Viking settler allegedly ended America’s Roanoke colony by turning its population into vampires.

Over 500 years after Varnae’s destruction, the Ancient One’s successor as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, recited Darkhold’s Montesi Formula, destroying all of Earth’s vampires. The mystic Marie Laveau subsequently sought to restore Earth’s vampires, as vampire blood was a necessary ingredient in her youth formula. After Strange banished the Vampiric Verses spell from Earth, Laveau used a spell from the Darkhold that could revive the Lord of the Vampires. Varnae’s spirit took the body of Jericho Drumm, AKA Brother Voodoo’s servant Bambu as his host, transforming it into a reborn Varnae. Rejecting an alliance with Laveau, Varnae found new purpose in life with a worthy foe in Doctor Strange, departing after Strange’s Incantation of Oblivion made him relive his five centuries of nonexistence. Following a trip to England, Varnae attempted to force supernatural adventurer Johnny Blaze, AKA Ghost Rider, into drinking a formula made from Varnae’s blood that would turn Blaze into a vampire, but Blaze fought him off via the religious power of a Midnight Son’s icon, which pre-dated Varnae’s vampirization. 

Varnae eventually broke the weakened Montesi Formula’s spell, allowing vampires to be revived and created. Varnae vampirized Aaron Thorne and made him leader of the Bad Seed organization, designed to spread vampirism. Bad Seed created the drug Aceldama, a highly addictive substance containing vampire blood, which turned its users into vampire slaves. Learning of Bloodstorm—a Hydra-engineered vampire created from Dracula’s DNA—Varnae vampirized Dracula’s old foe Taj Nital, forced Taj to kidnap Dracula’s son Janus and use him to control Bloodstorm. Varnae had Bloodstorm steal the Exorcist gun, which could destroy supernatural material on a molecular level, and kidnap vampire hunter Eric Brooks, AKA Blade, but Bloodstorm was tracked by Blade’s Nightstalkers allies, Hannibal King and Frank Drake (the Exorcist’s wielder), and Salomé, an evil former Sorceress Supreme who temporarily and unofficially regained the role after defeating a weakened Strange. Rejecting an alliance with Salomé, Varnae’s body was destroyed when Drake overloaded and exploded the Exorcist as the battle escalated out of control. 

After Blade twice battled Aaron Thorne, Varnae’s surviving spirit allied with Marie Laveau (whom he had previously rejected). Laveau had vampires capture Blade and attempted to enable Varnae to possess Blade’s body, but Blade disrupted the ritual, and Varnae possessed Laveau’s vampire agent Night Terror instead. Varnae nearly overpowered the still-weakened Blade until Blade sparked a gas explosion, and Varnae fled underground from the approaching sunlight. It is unrevealed how Varnae and his possession of Night Terror were affected by the mystic ritual/prophecy fulfillment that revived all Earth’s vampires. Varnae apparently remains the disputed lord of the vampires.



10' (variable)


475 lbs. (variable)




Red (variable)


Green (mostly bald, variable)

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