In regards to black heroes in comics, I bring to the table the best black hero in all of comic history. Yeah I said it! BEST. BLACK. HERO. EVER. I present my choice, Blade, the half vampire slayer of all undead and pretty much a slayer of anything that gets in his frigging way.
With his first introduction in tomb of Dracula #10 in 1973, Blade is no newcomer to the world of comics, and movies for that matter. For those that don’t know, Blade aka Eric Brooks, is a half vampire half human vampire slayer. Although his staking antics are not only confined to the realm of the undead, he does not hesitate in dispatching of anything supernatural that threatens humanity. His powers and abilities include being a master of many forms of martial arts, superior skills with bladed weapons, being immune to vampire bites, superhuman strength and stamina, an increased healing factor, the ability to sense the supernatural, and being resistant to aging.
He began as a supporting character in the popular horror comic as a long time adversary to Dracula himself. He was the combined creation of Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, becoming a recurring character for a while before being pulled out of major story arcs for fear of him eclipsing the other main characters in the series. Blade went on to fight Morbius the scientifically created vampire in Adventure into Fear in 1974, but it was not until later that year that he got his first stand alone story in Vampire Tales #8. The following year’s saw Blade in a few stand alone’s and appearances alongside heroes such as Spider-Man, Punisher, and Ghost Rider in his team up with the Nighstalkers.
Finally in 1994 he has a stand alone that unfortunately ran for just a year and ran only 10 issues. The short lived stand alone’s and being blighted by only having mini series has continued to plague this creative and off the beaten path Marvel hero even to this day. Partially i believe this to be because of his attitude towards other heroes and major conflicts happening in the Marvel universe. Where there will be a large scale universe changing event, Blade tends to be absent. Usually the reason is the same, he does not give a shit because it doesn’t have anything to do with Vampires or the supernatural. Which is ok, and most definitely does not make him any less important in the scope of things when it comes to anything in the Marvel Universe.
When it comes down to it he gets the job done, even if it’s against his free will, such as when SHIELD forces him to be apart of larger events. Regardless of all of these things, without Blade, Marvel movies in my opinion wouldn’t have had such an opportunity to thrive as they have since the release of the film adaptation of Blade in 1998, where he was played by Wesley Snipes. The huge success of this movie paved the way for other heroes to shine on the big screen. Since the release and success of that first movie in the 3 movie series, regardless of the opinions regarding the quality of the 2nd and 3rd installments, Marvel movies have exploded in popularity. All of this is reasoning as to why he is my favorite black hero in comics. Along with him being a character who has real personality and is different within the Marvel universe. Him not being written as generic garbage like characters such as Luke Cage and Black Panther pleases me to no end because he retains his “Fuck you, I’ll do what -I-want” attitude no matter where he ends up.
Unlike those two clowns, both of them being characters who i feel are just written in as African american/African place holders because of the need to have some kind of diversity within the Marvel line up. Both having lack luster story lines and powers to boot. All of this and more has grabbed and firmly held my attention to the vampire slayer Blade since day 1 and always shall keep me reading as an avid fan of this often overlooked character, plus..who else can can you say has staked Santa Claus.