Who is Morbius, the living vampire from Marvel Comics?

Before antihero / “good guy” vampires were all the rage, Marvel Comics beat almost everyone to the punch with Morbius, the living vampire, who is neither a true hero nor a villain. Dr Michael Morbius made his debut in The Incredible Spider-Man # 101, exactly fifty years ago. In 1971, the censorship rules of the comic book code were relaxed. This allowed vampires and other monsters to appear in the comics again.

So Stan Lee wasted no time, quickly jumping on these new allowances. He asked writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane to find a vampiric villain for Peter Parker to fight. The result was a character who will soon star in his own movie and may even join the MCU one day. Morbius will be played by Jared Leto in the next movie, and he’ll likely lean towards the weird. But the Morbius comic delivered the story is undoubtedly stranger than anything Hollywood can think of.

The tragic origins of the Morbius comic book, explained
Marvel comics

From a young age, Michael Morbius lived with a rare and debilitating blood disease. Raised mostly in isolation by his mother in Greece, he had only one true friend in the world, Emil. The couple became like brothers and both grew to be recognized scientists and biochemists. Their research to create a cure for Morbius disease even won a Nobel Prize. Michael and Emil decide to lead the second stage of their experience on the high seas in order to prevent anyone from getting injured.

A first appearance of the anti-hero Morbius in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.
Marvel comics

But how does Morbius become a vampire? Well, feeling this was his last chance, Dr. Morbius performed an experiment using electricity and vampire bat DNA. (We don’t know how it works, but we’ll make do with it). The results of these efforts turned him into a pseudo-vampire, then he killed his best friend and left the ship. But, because he had not acquired his abilities through supernatural means, it meant that he was not a true Nosferatu.

Morbius must drink blood to survive, just like an ordinary vampire would. And Morbius’ powers resemble those of typical vampires. Morbius can fly, he has super strength, and has psionic abilities, like hypnotism. But the similarities ended there. Morbius, the living vampire, can go in the sun, but with less power. It also has none of the usual vampire weaknesses, such as aversions to religious iconography or vulnerabilities to stakes through the heart. Morbius doesn’t turn into a bat either.

Morbius’ journey from villain to antihero
The cover of Vampire Tales, a 70s anthology magazine starring Morbius.
Marvel comics

Morbius began his comedic life as a villain. Morbius Marvel’s introduction was mostly like a villain for Spider Man combat. Peter Parker’s radioactive blood put Moribus disease in remission and was therefore enough delicious. Despite these battles with Peter, he quickly became the headliner of his own solo adventures in Vampire tales. And then, Adventure in fear. The two presented Morbius as a tragic Marvel antihero rather than an outright monster. But is Morbius a hero in these races? The answer is complicated.

Morbius often saved innocent people, while also giving in to his lust for blood and killing the wicked. (Although sometimes innocent people would die too.) As a living vampire, the “real” vampires of the Marvel Universe often came into conflict with Morbius. Specifically, Morbius’ enemies include Dracula and his daughter Lilith. He has also crossed Blade’s path several times.

A 1970s encounter between Morbius and Blade.
Marvel comics

After being in the background for much of the late ’70s and’ 80s, Morbius enjoyed a big revival in the early ’90s. It was truly Marvel riding a wave of gothic trends / vampires of the time. In the early 90, Vampire: The Masquerade was an RPG phenomenon, and Anne Rice Vampire chronicles flew off the shelves. Francis Ford Coppola’s point of view Bram Stoker’s Dracula was also a box office success. Marvel revived Morbius, The Living Vampire, as a trenchcoat-clad hero, brooding and some sort of sexy hero, headlining his own comic book series in 1992. The book ran for three years and thirty-two numbers. He also joined other “spooky” Marvel heroes in the Team Book. Midnight son.

The cover of the 90s series Morbius: The Living Vampire from Marvel Comics.  Morbius returned to Marvel Comics as a hero.
Marvel comics
cartoon leech
Morbius as he appears in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
Marvel Entertainment

The ’90s were also the time when a much larger audience first encountered Morbius, thanks to his debut on Spider-Man: The Animated Series. In this show, actor Nick Jameson gave him his thick, accentuated voice. Its origins have largely remained the same as its comic book counterpart, with one hilarious change. Because network standards and practices did not allow biting the neck and the word “blood” on a children’s program, instead. Morbius drained the “plasma.”And he did it with strange suction holes in his hands. If you ask us, it is path more disturbing than fangs. Morbius also came close to appearing in the film. Blade like a tease for Blade II, as seen in a deleted scene on the Blu-ray release of the film. But, for now, audiences will have to wait to see a Morbius vs. Blade showdown on the big screen.

Modern-Day Morbius: Morbius in the Comics, Morbius and Morbius in the MCU Movie
The modern version of Morbius, the living vampire, in his comic book story
Marvel comics

Over the past several decades, Morbius has appeared regularly in the Marvel Comics Universe. He fought the Punisher, Deadpool, Hulk, and his former nemesis Spider-Man. The Ultimate comic book line introduced us to an alternate version of Morbius, related to Dracula, who was a traditional vampire. He was given a new ongoing series in 2013, which lasted nine issues, and another title which came out in 2019. He continues to struggle to find a cure for his bloodlust while walking the line between hero and monster. .

It’s also worth noting that the Disney + MCU show Loki features Owen Wilson as Mobius. However, despite the similarity in name, Loki‘s Mobius has nothing to do with Morbius, the living vampire.

The next time we see The Vampire, it’ll be on the big screen. Jared Leto was chosen to embody this Morbius. Morbius will now release on April 1, 2022, another slight delay from its previous release date in January. The film will be an origin story for Morbius and bring his character to life in this new form. Additionally, the movie trailers suggest that this movie will have a lot to do with a possible Spider-Verse as well. Morbius is not yet in the MCU. But since Venom 2 bringing together the worlds of the MCU and Sony-Marvel, it might make sense for Morbius to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. Morbius mentions Venom in the Morbius trailer.

This possibility is made even more probable by the presence of Adrien Toomes, alias Le Vautour in Morbius’ trailers. Toomes suggests that he and Morbius should keep in touch. Could he try to recruit the vampire to join the MCU version of Sinister Six? Will we see a first glimpse of Morbius in Spider Man: No way home alongside Tom Holland Spider Man? And more importantly, will Morbius lean on his villainous side, or will he go the right way if he appears in any of these places… Only time will tell.

Lisa M. Horner