I featured the soundtrack for the first film based on this great character from Chris Claremont and Gene Colan's classic Marvel TOMB OF DRACULA series over at our sister site, Attack of the B-Movie Muzak, so we figured we'd offer up Blade's first appearance here...
Blade was introduced as a supporting character in Marvel Comics' Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973), written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by Gene Colan. The artist recalled in 2003, "Marv told me Blade was a black man, and we talked about how he should dress, and how he should look — very heroic looking. That was my input. [...] The bandoleer of blades — that was Marv's idea. But, I dressed him up. I put the leather jacket on him and so on". Colan based the character's features on "a composite of black actors" including NFL football star-turned-actor Jim Brown.
Blade appeared in most issues from #10-21, with additional appearances in #24 & #28 (altogether ranging from July 1973 - Sept. 1974). He then fought the scientifically created vampire Morbius in the latter's series in Adventure into Fear #24 (Oct. 1974), in a story written by Steve Gerber and penciled by P. Craig Russell.
Blade's first solo story came in Marvel's black-and-white horror-comics magazine Vampire Tales #8 (Dec. 1974), in an 11-page story by Wolfman and penciller-inker Tony DeZuniga. This feature continued in the following issue (Feb. 1975), with Wolfman and Chris Claremont co-scripting. Blade then appeared in a 56-page solo story in the black-and-white showcase magazine Marvel Preview #3 (Sept. 1975), written by Claremont, with two chapters each drawn by DeZuniga and by Rico Rival. A six-page backup story by Wolfman and Colan followed in Marvel Preview #8 (Fall 1976).
Blade next came into prominence in the 1990s, beginning with Ghost Rider #28 (Aug. 1992), in the Midnight Sons imprint that included issues of Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins, Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider / Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance, Midnight Sons Unlimited, Morbius, and Nightstalkers. Blade co-starred in the 18-issue Nightstalkers, and appeared with that team in a story in the anthology Midnight Sons Unlimited #1 (April 1993). He appeared in two solo stories in Midnight Sons Unlimited #2 & 7 (July 1993 & Oct. 1994).Following the cancellation of Nightstalkers, Blade debuted in his first color-comics series, Blade: The Vampire Hunter #1-10 (July 1994 - April 1995), written by Ian Edginton (with the last two issues by Terry Kavanagh) and penciled by Doug Wheatley. Blade next appeared in a 12-page inventory story in the one-shot anthology Marvel: Shadows and Light #1 (Feb. 1997). He then starred again in two solo one-shots: Blade: Crescent City Blues (March 1998), by writer Christopher Golden and penciller co-creator Colan, and Blade: Sins of the Father (Oct. 1998), by writer Marc Andreyko and penciller Bart Sears.
Marvel next announced a six-issue miniseries, Blade (storyline: "Blade: Blood Allies") by writer Don McGregor and penciller Brian Hagen, but only #1-3 (Nov. 1998 - Jan. 1999) were published. Marvel published a different six-issue miniseries later that year, Blade: Vampire Hunter (storyline: "Chaos (A)"; Dec. 1999 - May 2000), written and, except the last two issues, penciled by Bart Sears.
The next ongoing series, Blade vol. 2, by writer Christopher Hinz and artist Steve Pugh, ran six issues. Blade vol. 3, by writer Marc Guggenheim and penciller-inker Howard Chaykin, ran 12 issues (Sept. 2006 - Aug. 2007). The final two pages of the last issue were drawn by co-creator Colan.
Blade also starred in two promotional comic books: Blade ½ (1999) by writer-artist Sears and inker Bill Sienkiewicz, bundled with issues of Wizard: The Comic Magazine #2000; and Blade: Nightstalking (2005), a 22-page story by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and penciller Amanda Conner, based on New Line Cinema's Blade films, and bundled with the Blade Trinity Deluxe Edition DVD. Additionally, the second Blade movie was adapted as the Marvel comic Blade 2: Bloodhunt - The Official Comic Adaptation (April 2002) by writers Steve Gerber and David S. Goyer and penciller-inker Alberto Ponticelli.
Blade joined the cast of Captain Britain and MI: 13 beginning with issue #5 (Nov. 2008).
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