He was the start of the superhero movie resurgence. He keeps the streets safe for folks from blood suckers. He’s not quite human but not in a mutant or inhuman way. Who is he? Blade! The vampire hunter! So how did be come to be? Let’s find out!
Eric Brooks was born in a London brothel run by a member of Order of Tyrana, an order who fought monsters but mainly vampires, back in 1923. His father Lucas Cross was also a member of the Order but imprisoned in Latveria, meanwhile his wife Tara took on the name Vanessa Brooks and went to her husband’s known ally. While she was giving birth to young Eric, a vampire named Deacon Frost attacked her, killing her but not before she gave birth to Eric. The attack mixed his mother’s blood with the vampire’s and caused Eric to be born a dhampyr, a half-human/half-vampire.
Forced to grow up on the streets, Eric struggled with his vampire half as he grew. Eric would find salvation with the first time he’d rescue someone from a vampire attack. He’d meet Jamal Afari, an American vampire hunter, Jamal would take in and train Eric to become a vampire hunter like him. Now a teenager, Eric would take on the most teenager designed name for a vampire hunter, Blade. His abilities as a dhampyr made him a natural fit but his youthful inexperience had him mistakenly kill an innocent human that Jamal took the fall for to keep Eric in the fight against the real threat.
Eric would fight alone for decades, his aging slowed greatly due to his dhampyr nature, until 1968 when he’d team up with a crew of vampire hunters to stop Dracula once and for all. For the first time, anyway. Dracula’s minions constantly resurrect him and he’d eventually kill most of Blade’s team. By the time of the 70s, he would find a new team to be a part of, a proto-Mighty Avengers that would include Luke Cage’s father. They would fight a group of immortals from destroying the world.
The 70s were a time where Blade and Dracula fought often with Dracula losing but then being resurrected by his followers. This would have Blade joining all manner of agencies and making allies with folks like Hannibal King, the vampire detective, and forming the Nightstalkers. He’d continue this all the way to the raise of heroes where he find just as many new battles as he did allies.
Blade became the guy that heroes came to when the threat involved vampires. He’d work with the Avengers, the X-Men, and others to deal with vampires and other supernatural menaces. In fact, he’d be kidnapped by the alien Mojoverse television station to be a part of their reality show of an Avengers team built for fighting such threats, they’d break out but Blade didn’t lose his luster for fighting the things that go bump in the night.
His return had him join the new Mighty Avengers, now headed by the son of his former teammate, Luke Cage. Together they’d fight strange extra dimensional entities, firebreathing werechickens and the return of the old set of immortals from his last stint with the Mighty Avengers from the 70s. Even when the team broke up, Blade still went on to fight all the vampire’s he could get his wooden daggers on.
There you have it! Blade has been a part of pop culture since Wesley Snipes donned the shades and helped revitalize the superhero movie genre. Blade is super important to the world of Marvel films we have today and superhero movies in general. He grabbed hold of that vampire love of the 90s and put a sword through its heart to bring about a new age that would begin to boil the minute he stepped onto the silver screen. If you’ve enjoyed any of superheroes movies since the start of this century, you have Blade to thank for that. Hope he gets to be reborn in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and join the world he’s technically responsible for. See you next time!
Tomb of Dracula #10
Marvel Preview #3
X-Men, Vol. 3
Mighty Avengers, Vol. 2