Comic book Spotlight: Morbius The Living Vampire

A living Vampire WEIRD right but still true in the 1950s when the comic code was introduced one of the things the code said was

Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.

This seems like a bull shit thing considering the amount of HORROR comics that exsist today but it was a sad time for the industry and a lot of companies died because of this. Now I was introduced to Morbius in Marvel Tales #251-253 ( a reprint of his debut in Amazing 101 as part of the 6 arm Spider-man story) and Spider-Man #13 and it was Todd McFarlane who drew that issues that made me really think about how badass this Living Vampire was.

Morbius debut

Morbius debut

Morbius debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (cover-dated Oct. 1971) following the February 1971 updating of the comic-book industry’s self-censorship board, the Comics Code Authority, that lifted a ban on vampires and certain other supernatural characters. It was the first issue of Marvel Comics’ flagship Spider-Man series written by someone other than character co-creator and editor-in-chief Stan Lee. Lee, busy writing a screenplay for an unproduced science fiction movie,bequeathed the series to his right-hand editor, Roy Thomas. “We were talking about doing Dracula, but Stan wanted a costumed villain. Other than that, he didn’t specify what we should do,” Thomas said in 2009, adding that part of the character conception came from an unspecified science-fiction film of Thomas’ youth, depicting a man turned into a vampire by radiation rather than magic. Thomas said the name “Morbius” was not deliberately taken from the antagonist Doctor Morbius in the movie Forbidden Planet.

Thomas and penciler co-creator Gil Kane created the character as a man who is given vampiric abilities and traits via scientific rather than supernatural means. Kane based the character’s look on that of actor Jack Palance.

Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Dr. Michael Morbius discovered he was dying, a rare disorder dissolving his blood cells. Not wanting to distress his fiancée Martine, Morbius began secretly working on a cure. With the aid of his partner Emil Nikos, Morbius attempted using distilled fluids from bats to stay his disease. While experimenting with such serums on board his yacht, Morbius had Nikos run an electrical shock through his system. The combination profoundly changed Michael’s body, transforming him into something resembling a vampire. Now driven by a blinding hunger for blood, Morbius slew Nikos, but stopped short of draining his friend’s body. Fearful that he would strike at Martine next, Michael tried ending his life by jumping into the sea, but self-preservation led him to escape the water’s embrace. He ran into a six arm Spider-Man who was waiting for Curt Connors (aka The Lizard) to come help him find a cure. They got it when they figured out Morbius blood had the enzyme needed to get rid of Spideys four extra arms. (Peter was trying to cure himself of his spider powers as they brought him nothing but pain following the death of George Stacy and Harry Osburnes drug addiction)

He ran around in Vampire Tales 1-11 for awhile stopping a death cult and being a Punisher style vigilante. It was a Dark and gothic comic book that was really trying to make use of the recent lift on the banning of dead characters in comics. These Comics can be found in Vampire Tales vol 1-3. Adventure into Fear #21-31 also featured him in main story arcs along with other Horror characters in the Marvel Universe

Morbius fought Spider-man in Marvel Team up #4 and then in Spectacular Spider-man #8 Spider-man being a constant thorn in his side till he was struck by lighting and cured of his Vampirism in issue 38. HOW?? Not sure it’s Science Marvel style. He was struck by a bolt of lightning while draining Spider-Man’s blood, catalyzing its radioactive elements and reversing much of his vampiric condition. He no longer required the blood of others to survive, but he retained a physiological need to drink it. Fleeing to Los Angeles, Morbius found work in a neuroradiology lab at the University of California. While working on a serum to cure himself of his continued craving for blood, Morbius met Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk. Morbius gave Walters his serum, curing her of a degenerative disease and allowing her to control her transformations into She-Hulk. Walters later served as Morbius’ defense attorney during his trial for the murders he’d committed as a pseudo-vampire. The jury, convinced that Morbius had been unable to control his urges, convicted him only of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced him to five years in prison, to be served after completing his cure.

The cure for Vampirism??

The cure for Vampirism??

He remained human for many years and it seems Marvel killed off all their supernatural characters as around this time, the Montesi Formula was read in Doctor Strange #62 by the Doctor himself.

He eventually regressed back to his Vampire state and seeked the help of Doctor Strange in issue #11 of his title, but he was unable to cure him. Morbius hung out with some homeless people untill he found out they were stealing above ground homeless and feeding them to him as Spider-Man found out in Spider-Man #13&14.
Morbius was then contacted by Doctor Strange as well as other Supernatural Beings to form the Midnight Sons so they could help him fight the increasing battle against the force of Evil in the Midnight Sons story line, which crossed over with Ghost Rider, Darkholm, and Spirits of Vengeance.

New Comic by Ron Garney

New Comic by Ron Garney

Morbius would have his own title for 33 issues after that, out lasting most of the MS who had their titles cancelled. Morbius and Spider-Man had a truce of sorts, and even helped him during the Maximum Carnage storyline, which ran thru all the Summer Spider-Man titles in 1994.

Maximum Carnage crossover

Maximum Carnage crossover

His fiance who died defending him came back as a Sudo Vampire and had to be put down by Michael. He helped defeat the villain Crown who was a secret Hydra weapon but was later captured and when Crown became the Vampire Hunger Morbius was used as his tool.

Blade, Kingpin, and Spider-Man face Crown

Blade, Kingpin, and Spider-Man face Crown

It was later revealed that Morbius had signed the Superhuman Registration Act and was cooperating with S.H.I.E.L.D. in an effort to capture Blade. He had also presumably survived his genetic manipulation, as Blade was able to distinguish him as the same Morbius who ‘Took a Bite out of him in their previous encounter.

Morbius was next seen as a member of A.R.M.O.R. held captive by the Morbius from the Marvel Zombies universe. In Marvel Zombies 4 #1-5 He survived the invasion, killing his zombified counterpart in the process.Shortly after, he formed a new Midnight Sons with Jennifer Kale, Daimon Hellstrom, Jack Russell, and Man-Thing to contain a zombie outbreak on an isolated island, briefly running afoul of the Hood in the process. He would live underground in monster city off and On as depicted in the Legion of Monsters Mini Series #1-4.

Morbius later helped the Man-Thing reassemble a decapitated Punisher into a Frankenstein-like monster called FrankenCastle. Frankencastle #11-22

During The Gauntlet storyline, Morbius was behind the theft of a vial of Spider-Man’s blood. Spider-Man, learning that Morbius is planning to use the blood samples to create a cure for Jack Russell. agreed to help Morbius by giving him more blood.
During the Origin of the Species storyline, Morbius was among the supervillains recruited by Doctor Octopus to secure some item for him.

During the events of Spider-Island it was revealed to the reader that Morbius was the mysterious Number Six working at Horizon Labs. He assisted, in a hazmat suit to protect his identity, in preparing the cure to the spider-powers virus.

Prelude to Morbius #1

Prelude to Morbius #1

He went nuts in Amazing Spider-Man #688 and attacked one of Spider-Man’s fellow scientist and tried to help the Lizard cure him self only doing it for his own self interest, Spider-Man got tired of his pity parade and had his incarcerated. In Amazing Spider-Man #699, when Peter Parker trapped in Doc Ocks body broke out Morbius went along in secret despite Morbius being told off by Peter.

Morbius lived in Browsnstone NY with some homeless people and helped save their neighborhood by being their really fucked up guardian against The Rose. In Morbius vol 2 1-9 the book was cancelled due to poor sales and possibly a over saturation of Vampire Books on the market most people passed it up.

Morbius appeared in the Spider-Man animated series on Fox in the 90s, as well as the Maximum Carnage video Game.

New Ongoing series

New Ongoing series

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