A Vampire Hunter who debuted in The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July, 1973). Blade grudgingly ended up working with the vampire detective Hannibal King against their common enemy, Deacon Frost and eventually joined up with the other surviving hunters in the book and Dracula, to defeat Doctor Sun. From there, Blade made occasional appearances in similarly themed Marvel comics such as Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider and Morbius or in books like Spider-Man whenever writers remembered him and had an excuse to use a vampire hunter. King became his best friend while Dracula remains one of his most hated foes.
Blade made regular appearances again during the Midnight Sons story arc in the 1990s, which led to the character being featured on the then running Spider-Man cartoon, which gave Blade new powers. That led to a mildly successful trilogy of movies based off the cartoon, best known for building enough confidence for Marvel to launch films of better named properties like X-Men and Spider-Man. Attempts to reproduce that success for Blade in the comics failed but the adaptations did permanently change how the character would be used.
Initially he was tainted but mostly human, having a few of the vampire perks with drawbacks so few and negligible they were rarely mentioned at all. He's since gained more of the undead's strengths but has to deal with the issue of blood thirst. Mentally, his detachment from other people was traditionally presented as troubling and something he'd have to overcome. Now it's kind of accepted as who he is. After Marvel's Civil War crossover event the character has also been prone to show up in stories dealing with government organizations, such as the Vanguard in Marvel Comics Presents and MI13 that followed in the wake of Secret Invasion.
The Marvel Comics character of Blade has had four self-titled comic books so far:
Blade Vol 1 (1998) was a one-shot written by Christopher Golden, with art by Gene Colan. It concerned Blade fighting against Deacon Frost, who was trying to take over as Lord of the Vampires from Dracula. It also includes Hannibal King, Safron Caulder, and Brother Voodoo.
Blade Vol 2 (19981999) was a three-issue mini-series written by Don McGregor, with art by Brian Hagen. It concerns Dominique Levant, a woman living in New Orleans who hires Blade to do a job. Things get complicated with the addition of Morbius the Living Vampire.
Blade Vol 3 (2002) was a six-issue Marvel MAX mini-series written by Christopher Hinz, with art by Steve Pugh. It concerns the Tryk, a new kind of vampiric creature that Blade encounters. The Tryk are fearless of vampires and actively hunt them, as well as the Seven, the Ancient Conspiracy that keeps the Tryk's numbers low.
Blade Vol 4 (20062007) was a twelve-issue series written by Marc Guggenheim, with art by Howard Chaykin. It follows a more case of the week structure, but it has the recurring antagonist of Lucas Cross, Blade's long-lost father, who is attempting to use his son to fulfill a prophecy.
See Blade for the character himself.
- Actually A Doom Bot: Blade's fought the trope namer, Doctor Doom, but in that case the story didn't try to present the broken Doom bots as legit and he wasn't able to stop the real Doom.
- Asteroids Monster: The white worm summoned by Deacon Frost. The solution? Kill It with Fire. The End... Or Is It?
- Badass Biker: Ghost Rider, the vampire hunter twins Mikado and Mosha.
- Blessed with Suck: Elliot Flanders's unsuccessful vampire turn left him an amnesiac wild man who ate animals and at times appeared to be brain dead, leading Blade to give him a Mercy Kill. Rank, a man who helped Blade for many years of his vampire hunting career, had to deal with his body literally rotting away as a result of not fully turning.
- Celestial Body: Plokta has one.
- Costume Copycat: Patriot, a super-soldier Mikado and Mosha brainwashed into believing he was Blade, they were trying to free the real thing from Silver Eye at the time and thought they were simply undoing "Blade's" reprogramming.
- Dodge the Bullet: Most of the monsters can be shot but most likely will not be hit if just shot at once. Even Blade gets tagged occasionally, but it is rare.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Taker Of Heads, a demonic entity that tries to do exactly that when he is summoned
- Evil Versus Evil
- Dracula's daughter Lilith wants to kill her dad more than Blade does, as killing Dracula will also lead to her death. As detached from people as Blade is, Lilith is even more so, to the point he has to interfere with plans since she really doesn't care about the consequences beyond the end goal.
- Cyclops's reasoning in bringing back Dracula is that he won't approve of the current vampire lord Xarus and will make dealing with him easier. Blade is clearly not a fan of this, especially since he's seen it play out before with Dr. Sun.
- Food Chain of Evil: There are many types of vampires and "Tryks" use other "species" to reproduce. Naturally, a colony targets Blade at one point and mostly regrets it.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Varnae's preferred method of assault. Whether he actually can or not depends on the situation but if left to his own devices he will be in the nude. This serves to contrast him to his Sharp-Dressed Man "successor" Dracula.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: As usual for Marvel, Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau does not get a very sympathetic depiction in Blade and Nightstalkers comics, where her attempts to extend her lifespan or kill rivals(nothing the historical figure nor the rumored daughter who took up her name her were ever noted for) often have nasty collateral damage they have to clean up.
- Humanity Is Infectious: The reason that Blade doesn't try to keep vampires from getting the Sun Walker Formula and the reason why most vampires would rather risk burning to death or use more complicated alternatives. It restores the natural human aversion to cannibalism but retains the vampire's insatiable thirst anyway. Lucas's plan is to give all vampires their humanity back.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Apparently most vampires cannot, since after the success of sun walker serum Henry Sage said he would not be able to stop killing people until Blade "did what he needed to do".
- Immortality Immorality: Draconis wanted to live forever, so he joined the church. Everlasting paradise wasn't good enough for him though, he wanted to live in this life forever, so he gave up being a good Christian and volunteered for a vampire's experiments. Marie Laveau also qualifies, as she abuses her talents to retain her youth.
- Joker Immunity: In-Universe. Dracula's died a few times, Blade was involved in at least two cases but since the guy's such a popular figure with cultists, evil religions, demons, vampires and such he keeps being resurrected. One time the X-Men were the guilty party (then again, it was an Enemy Mine situation).
- Mithridatism: Draconis was exposed to several vampire weakness in small amounts for a very long time until he became immune to them all and was effectively a day walker. He was also twice as strong and fast as Blade, as he was "created" to kill him.
- Monster Progenitor
- Varnae to vampires, at least those of Dracula's line. As Blade mellows out he doesn't hold a personal grudge against him anymore. He'll still kill him on sight of course.
- Lilith to Lilim demons. She has the potential to become a Mother of a Thousand Young but is never allowed to operate long enough to reach that point.
- One Steve Limit: Lilith, Daughter of Dracula is distinct from Lilith, Mother of Demons. The latter being much more powerful and evil than the former.
- Physical God
- Lilith, Mother of Demons, was rumored to be a goddess who degenerated into a demon herself due to spawning so many.
- Deacon Frost tries to create one, and was wise to use a clone as a test subject because the experiment failed twice and wound up with said clone being eaten by the real thing.
- The demogorge was the Elder God responsible for killing off or chasing away all the others because they had become corrupt. Blade starts to become a second demogorge when he takes a page out of the Darkhold and set out to kill everything related to magic in the Marvel Universe. The Midnight Sons are eventually able to reverse this, and they had to since the Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance, would have been his first victim. The demogorge was that powerful.
- Psychic Powers: Some people get them when they become vampires. Eric Guy psychically tormented the wife of a vampire hunter into getting blood for him while he slept, giving Blade extra motivation to track him down. Freak was used by Silver Eye to help them brainwash their operatives. When Blade destroyed Jared Amundson in Midnight Sonss Unlimited, he temporarily sent Blade's mind into the past as a parting shot.
- Religious Vampire: Draconis, a vampire priest that had been immunized against all vampire weaknesses including religious artifacts, is unique in that he is genuinely devout; he is introduced praying in front of an altar before being hired to kill Blade.
- Reverse Grip: How Hrolf, a vampire turned by Deacon Frost, holds his weapon. It looked pretty cool until Blade started cutting him up.
- Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Night Terror was originally a Ghost Rider villain.
- Scary Black Man: In the comic, Blade's Mentor, Jamal, was a Jazz musician from Harlem (a far cry from Whistler), which is why someone from Britain like Blade would use American slang, that and the gang he joined was made up of New Yorkers. Orji Jones's and his vampire hunters were a group of them, especially Ogun Strong, who was big and strong enough to restrain Dracula! Also, the vampires Steppin' Razor and Night Terror count.
- Stout Strength: Varnae is not the ideal picture of fitness but is stronger and faster than Dracula unless he is artificially powered up by something. Steppin' Razor too, if not to the same degree.
- Summon Bigger Fish: The Reaper was a legendary creature summoned by ancient vampires Maracen and Saracen to deal with Blade's new superpowers, but proved difficult to control. If Blade hadn't defeated it, it could have easily displaced him as their problem.
- Sunglasses at Night: Night Terror because of light sensitivity, even though he didn't even go through the "not full vampire" stage.
- Super Speed: Draconis and Spitfire are possibly even faster.
- The Fairfolk: Dark Elves are one of the main antagonistic groups during the Strikeforce arc, and the ones doing the most to actively hinder the heroes since the Savage Land monsters are mostly just territorial or hungry animals. Not just any Dark Elves either, but illusion specialists whom can voluntarily shape shift. The hope is that Spider-Woman can be of some use to the force, due to here experience with similar inflitrators.
- The Needs of the Many : When Daimon Hellstrom, one of the few members of his Strikeforce whom Blade thinks of as more than an asset, is killed in action, he tells the surviving members to both get over it and stop worrying about the sister Daimon left behind because they have a lot more people in more immediate need of aide.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: When Rotwrap of Hydra's D.O.A. sends a swarm of stinging insects at Blade, he quickly cuts them to pieces with two knives, but laments that he really had nothing against those bugs and that he was sorry for them. He had no problem cutting Rotwrap herself to pieces though. Pyre had to save her before he could do too much damage. When 'god' Frost covers him in a swarm of insects he doesn't even attack them, stating worse things have bitten him.
- Youkai: "The snow vampires of Nippon" are based on Yuki-onna, except they are not all female.
- The Big Easy: Takes place in New Orleans.
- Evil Power Vacuum: Since Dracula is no longer Lord of the Vampires, Deacon Frost is trying to expand his own role, from minor vampire mob boss to vampire king.
- Historical Domain Character: Deacon Frost teams up with Marie Laveau.
- Vampire Monarch: Deacon Frost is trying become this, since Dracula isn't the Lord of the Vampires anymore.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Seven.
- Hive Queen: How the Tryks operate — every female Tryk is a queen, while the male Tryks fight to become her King (which she then devours after mating).
- Merlin Sickness: Sir Percival of the Seven suffered from reversed aging, so now he looks like a baby. Same thing happened to the leader of the Seven, Tomothy, except he still only looks like a teenager.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The Tryks are different from normal vampires: they don't feed on humans, but prefer to feed on other vampires. They are also much stronger than normal vampires and don't have the same weakness.
- Archnemesis Dad: Lucas Cross, who wants to use Blade to fulfill a dangerous prophecy.
- Body Surf: Animus, a non-corporeal demon, can do this. He liked possessing mall Santas.
- Continuity Nod: There's several flashbacks showing the Bloodshadows, a gang of occult hunters from Blade: The Vampire Hunter.
- The Prophecy: Lucas Cross is trying to get Blade to help him fulfill a prophecy that would restore the souls to all vampires — the only wrinkle is that it would also take away their vulnerabilities. Blade, of course, refused, not wanting to see vampires suddenly becoming invulnerable.