Blade thirsts for blood in the comics, and he has, on rare occasions and in very special circumstances, drank blood from people.
This is just one example of a factoid about the comics version of Blade that many people might not be familiar with. But don’t worry – we’re bringing you this explainer to shed new light on Blade’s comics history, as well as provide answers to questions you might have about the famous vampire hunter from Marvel.
Why Does Blade Need A Serum?
Blade needs a serum to control his thirst for human blood. To explain why he has bloodthirst in the first place, we’re gonna have to take a deep dive into Blade’s history.
It's common knowledge (thanks in large part to the popularity of the three Blade films in the late 1990s through the mid-2000s, starring bad-ass Wesley Snipes) that Blade’s mom was bitten by a vampire while she was pregnant with him.
But after he was born, Blade (his real name is Eric Cross Brooks) didn’t have supernatural abilities growing up as a kid. What he did have was a natural immunity to vampirism, which meant that no vampire could turn him into a blood-sucking ghoul who has to avoid sunlight at all costs. Other than this gift, he was mostly a regular guy, albeit one who had training from a legitimate vampire hunter mentor and had heightened senses when it comes to sensing vampires.
But all that changed when he got bitten by Morbius. This guy is no traditional vampire. In fact, Dr. Morbius got his vampire powers by experimenting with vampire bat DNA in his laboratory. So when Morbius sinks his fangs into the Blade’s skin, the vampire hunter soon realizes that his natural immunity to vampirism doesn’t work against Morbius.
After Morbius’ bite, Blade soon acquires the supernatural abilities of regular vampires. These include enhanced strength, super senses (vision, smell, and hearing), speed and agility, durability, stamina, resistance to aging, and a healing factor. Unfortunately, he also gains bloodthirst.
He gets by with a little help from a blood serum he designed. This substance can provide better nourishment than human blood. If he doesn’t ingest or inject this serum, his bloodthirst will get the better of him.
Still, Blade employs special meditation techniques to overcome his thirst for human blood. On top of that, he always keeps a ready and adequate supply of blood-serum to counter the thirst.
As we mentioned earlier, there are extremely rare instances wherein Blade had to take full advantage of his fangs. For instance, he once fought against Draconis, a vampire that can’t be killed by conventional vampire hunting methods. So Blade proceeds to give the vampire a taste of its own medicine – the Daywalker grabs Draconis from behind and bites the bad guy’s neck.
Can Blade Make Vampires?
Theoretically speaking, the version of Blade in the comic books should be able to make vampires. After all, his vampirism came from Morbius. Although Morbius isn’t a traditional vampire but a lab-created one, he’s been shown in the comics to be able to create vampires by biting them. That logic should also apply to Blade.
But Blade is no ordinary guy. He is a Daywalker. A dhampir. A half-vampire, half-human hybrid. If he bites somebody, can he turn that person into a Daywalker like himself?
As far as we know, there’s no definitive answer for this based on the comics. Or perhaps we haven’t seen Marvel’s writers explore this scenario fully.
Perhaps the best way to answer this question is: It will depend on what Marvel’s writers will decide in future Blade stories. So for now, anything goes.
Can Blade Regenerate Limbs?
No, Blade can’t seem to regenerate limbs in the comics. And there appears to be proof in Marvel comics that he doesn’t possess this ability.
The vampire hunter was once kidnapped by his own father Lucas Cross (but Blade didn’t know it at that time). The purpose of the kidnapping was to fulfill a prophecy in which Blade will feed on a virgin’s blood.
So Cross had his own son imprisoned with a virgin girl to force Blade to give in to his thirst for human blood.
Unfortunately for Cross, his plan failed. That’s because Blade proceeded to bite his own hand and free himself from the manacles that bound him and then make a successful escape. A dastardly clever ploy if ever there was one.
But Blade’s healing factor wasn’t clever or powerful enough for him to regenerate his lost limb. He can recover from minor injuries, yes – but regrowing a hand is an entirely different story altogether.
Thankfully, he registers as a superhero under the Superhuman Registration Act during the Civil War saga. In the process, S.H.I.E.L.D., quite literally, lends him a hand by replacing his lost hand with a small machine gun (you read that right). So if Rose McGowan has a gun foot in Planet Terror to fight zombies, Blade gets a gun hand in Marvel comics to fight vampires. He would later get a robotic replacement hand courtesy of the United States government.
Can Blade Die?
Yes, Blade can die. Vampires and dhampirs may live longer than the average human, but they can die.
Still, Blade is very hard to kill, as many villains and characters have found out in comics history.
For instance, Dracula once subdued Blade and sucked the vampire hunter’s blood before leaving him to rot. And yet Blade still lives to tell the tale.
There are many secrets to Blade’s toughness. For one, his body has enhanced durability. It can take powerful blows (even blasts from projected energy) and withstand extremely high and low temperatures.
On top of that, he has a natural immunity not only to the virus that causes vampirism, but also to most poisons, toxins, and diseases. This is made possible through his healing factor, which can sometimes equal that of Wolverine’s in terms of effectiveness, albeit lacking the ability to regenerate lost organs or limbs.
And we haven’t gotten to his fighting prowess yet. He’s a martial arts expert – boxing, Brazilian capoeira, Filipino stick fighting (Eskrima), Korean Hapkido, Jeet Kune Do, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Israeli Krav Maga, Kung Fu, and Ninjutsu, you name it, he's mastered it.
He's also an elite marksman and swordsman. This proficiency is greatly aided by the diversity of weapons, bladed instruments, and explosives he has in his arsenal.
But if you’re assigned the not-too-enviable task of slaying an experienced and prolific vampire slayer, you might as well study up on Blade’s weaknesses, of which there are few.
One is red sunlight. Unlike vampires, the Daywalker is not afraid of normal sunlight (i.e., yellow sunlight) on account of his half-vampire half-human genetics. But prolonged exposure to red sunlight can cause burns on his skin. Extended exposures might even kill him outright.
And because of his bloodthirst, Blade is constantly reeling in his vampiric nature. If you find a way to steal all his serum, you may force him to give in to his monstrous side. But just make sure he won’t find you after doing that. A Blade with reason and self-control is already fearsome enough. Now imagine a loose-cannon version of that guy at large.
Has Blade Ever Fought Morbius?
Yes, Blade has fought Morbius multiple times. And as we mentioned earlier, one of those encounters led to the famous vampire hunter becoming a full-fledged vampire himself.
But just to be clear – Morbius is far from being an all-out Marvel villain. He’s more of an anti-hero who might get into trouble sometimes, but you can often find him teaming up with various superheroes, including Spider-Man and yes, even Blade, a man who might not mind turning Morbius into dust.
Interestingly, Blade actually had successfully killed Morbius in the comics. That happened in 1993 in the Morbius: The Living Vampire comics. Granted, Blade was possessed by a demon at that time (and officially became Switchblade), and didn’t actually intend to kill Morbius. But he did so, although the vampire was resurrected after Blade regained his wits and got rid of the demon.
The past few decades saw many other hostile encounters between Blade and Morbius. But with both characters already familiar with each other, they’re more likely to be allies now than enemies.
In fact, the two would go on to team up, along with Ghost Rider, to form the group called the Midnight Sons to fight against malevolent supernatural forces.