February 6, 2010

Ye Olde School Cafe’: Blade: Black & White

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Written by: Billy
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Welcome back everyone to another exciting edition of Ye Olde School Cafe’. In this week’s column I’m going to talk about the TPB (trade paperback) Blade: Black & White. The first half of this book will be the focus because honestly, it’s way better than the second half. The second half consists of two issues from the late 90’s while the parts I’ll be talking about are from the mid 70’s. If you own this book or buy it eventually, you’ll notice the difference between the generations. Nobody does horror or more specifically, Blade and vampires, like Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. These two masters of their trades were the greatness behind The Tomb of Dracula and Werewolf by Night in the 1970’s. Those two great runs are the best ever in my opinion as far as the horror genre is concerned. This particular TPB contains 6 different issues but I’ll only be focusing on the first 4. Vampire Tales #8 & 9 (writers: Marv Wolfman & Chris Claremont, Artist: Tony De Zuniga) and Marvel Preview #3 & 8 (writers: Chris Claremont & Marv Wolfman, Artists: Tony De Zuniga, Rico Rival, & Gene Colan) . Now on to the story!

Our story begins on a quiet street in London, where we see a man being thrown out of a window. Billy Blue is the gentleman’s name and he has just been victimized by a group of vampires that call themselves the Legion of the Undead. We next see Safron; a beautiful woman who’s a dancer at a burlesque. She is heading back to her dressing room when she is abruptly grabbed by her man, Blade. They embrace and kiss but then after Blade smacks her on the derriere, he tells her they’ll catch up more back at the apartment. One of the other dancers at the show stumbles onto the corpse of Billy Blue outside the building. She sees the vampire bats flying away laughing at their deed and she promises to them that they’ll pay for this. She immediately goes to see Blade and warn him of this vampire infestation and their latest killing. The two get into Blade’s car and head over to the site of the murder. Blade explains to Neva that he has a personal stake in all this because of what happened to his mother years ago (Blade’s mother was killed during childbirth).

Blade talks about his origin and Deacon Frost!

After seeing the murder scene, Blade waits three nights for Billy Blue to rise as a vampire. Blade is ready for him to wake at the morgue and puts a knife to his throat. Blade demands he tell him where the coven is hiding and Billy does so but then he gets his throat slit for his trouble. Blade says, “I’ve learned the hard way that you just don’t make deals with scum.” Blade then heads over to the address Billy gave him and he sees a house full of vampires talking about their next move. Blade crashes through the window and starts killing these unholy creatures with reckless abandon. Blade kills quite a few of them but he didn’t realize how many were actually in the house and before too long he gets engulfed and then bitten by the head honcho, a guy named Lord Vierken. He acts like he’s in charge but really it’s a lady vampire named Marguerite that’s calling the shots.

Blade has a little secret he doesn’t tell too often; he isn’t affected by vampire bites. After learning about some of their plans, Blade takes off because he finally realizes he can’t handle all these bloodsuckers alone. He kills a couple more vamps on his way and then proceeds to call Quincy Harker to gain his team’s help in taking out this vampire infestation. The two have a lengthy conversation about this huge global network but the talk is interrupted by the Legion. They crash in through the window of the burlesque and start attacking the girls. Blade tries his best but there are just too many of them and he doesn’t have his weapons nearby. The Legion actually kills Vanity, the owner and Blades good friend, and also a few other girls as well. Blade swears that they’ll pay for this and he even calls Harker and tells him now it’s personal and to stay out of it. We then see Marguerite and Vierken talk about how they need to eliminate Blade because he poses a threat to even their vast organization.

We next see Blade stopping another vampire from killing an innocent girl but the cops show up right after he kills the beast and demand he comes downtown for questioning. Blade and the chief have a heated argument over Blade’s activities and then Blade actually punches the chief in the gut because he told him to take it easy. Meanwhile, Safron is walking down the street minding her own business when she gets abducted by The Legion. While Blade is hanging out at his favorite Jazz club, he gets an invitation to talk with Marguerite. She tells him that Vierken abducted Safron and that he wants to exchange the two of them. Blade agrees because he has no choice in the matter and goes with Marguerite to meet Vierken. Blade is then jumped by Vierken and his goons in an alley but Blade never comes unprepared; he starts to kill the undead but they have actually set him up! The Legion baits Blade into throwing one of his knives at what he thinks is a vampire in the fog, but it’s actually a twelve year old girl! Blade can’t believe it but it looks as if he’s murdered a little girl while trying to stop Vierken’s minions.

The police at this point have no choice but to put out a warrant for Blade to be brought in for questioning. Blade then goes back to the burlesque club to see if anyone there knows how or where to find this Marguerite and save Safron. Upon arriving there, he kills a vampire guard and says…” When ya get to Hell, tell ’em who sent ya!” Next we see a cop and a woman named Kate who helps them from time to time because of her natural ability to read minds. She finds out that Blade was framed by Vierken, but as they talk about the situation another cop who’s actually a member of The Legion calls Marguerite to tell her what’s going on. Unbeknownst to Vierken and Marguerite though, Blade is watching and hears how they plan to kill Kate. Kate and the cop go to the club looking for Safron but Kate is assaulted in the back hallway by a member of The Legion. She uses her cross to kill him but there are a dozen more waiting for their turn to bite her. Blade, who has been following them, jumps into the fight and helps Kate fend off the vampires. Blade and Kate make their way down into the subway where they are again confronted by more vamps. Kate is tackled by one but then judo slaps him and kicks him onto the electric powered tracks to get fried. Blade takes the fight to his opponent and gives him a boot to the face just as a train rolls by and runs right over the vampire.

After their fights with The Legion, Blade and Kate go back to the apartment to regroup. Kate asks Blade why he hates them so much and he tells her. He remembers how Dracula made one of his closest friends a vampire and he cannot forget the pain it caused him to kill his best friend. Blade and Kate then make a plan. They get into disguises and make their way into the house of Marguerite. They get in the door but soon after are discovered and the fight is on! Soon, Blade comes upon a room with a girl crying in it. It’s Safron, and to Blade’s dismay, she’s been turned into a vampire! Blade is about to deliver a knife to her heart but Kate’s intuition has told her that Safron hasn’t been totally changed yet… She stops Blade from killing her and they get out of there and head to police headquarters. They aren’t there very long though until The Legion smashes right through the window and grabs Safron again. A few dozen vampires start to get the better of Blade and the cops so they run to the car to try and get to Safron. The car gets knocked off the road by bats and then Kate is kidnapped by Vierken.

Blade makes a plan to stop them once and for all. He goes to their lair armed with explosives and starts to kill every vampire in his way by planting his fire-bombs. He and Vierken have a duel to the death that ends with Blade using one of his throwing knives to pierce the heart of Vierken. As Blade makes his way through the castle, he finds Safron and Kate with Marguerite. He tells Marguerite that she is going to die but Kate tells Blade he can’t kill her. Kate explains to a furious Blade that Marguerite is human and he would get prosecuted for murder. She also tells him that she has evidence of the set-up that has Blade framed for murder which will clear him in the eyes of the law. Blade reluctantly lets her go but is enraged to find out that she is employed by Dracula himself!

There is also a quick story about Blade getting a tip on a house that people think is inhabited by vampires. He goes into the house, talking to himself as usual about how he gets messed up in these things instead of searching for the vampire that killed his mother (Deacon Frost). He starts to check the house and is confronted by a bunch of vampires living there. The only problem is that they are children. Blade struggles to have the guts to kill them because of their youth, but in the end he knows what must be done,  and he slays every single one of them.

That’s all for this week and I hope to see you back next week for some more action and intrigue.

Billy Dunleavy



  1. I thumbed through this book at work, but wasn’t sure what to expect. Glad to hear it’s another homerun by Wolfman!

  2. billy

    @Andy-Wolfman and Colan can do no wrong in my opinion. Those two guys were pure genuis for horror in the 70’s. 🙂

  3. I so agree that the beginning of the book is way better than the latter half. Blade couldn’t have been in better hands than Colan and Wolfman…the only thing I never liked about early Blade was that ugly ass costume!

  4. @billy- guess who may be signing at my store soon?

    : D

  5. Billy

    @Speech-lol, yeah, Blades costume wasn’t very intimidating that’s for sure.
    @Andy-Which one? 🙂 You lucky dog!

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