Morbius, the Living Vampire

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Morbius, the Living Vampire
Morbius The Living Vampire Vol 2 1.png
Promotional art for Morbius: The Living Vampire (vol. 2) #1 (March 2013) by Gabriele Dell'Otto.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Amazing Spider-Man #101 (October 1971)
Created byRoy Thomas
Gil Kane
In-story information
Alter egoDr. Michael Alexander Morbius
SpeciesLiving Vampire
Team affiliationsMidnight Sons
A.R.M.O.R.
Legion of Monsters
S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of Wakanda
Notable aliasesMorbie, Dr. Morgan Michaels, Nikos Michaels, Number Six, Mike
Abilities

Morbius, the Living Vampire, real name Dr. Michael Morbius, Ph.D.,[1] M.D.,[2] is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Roy Thomas and originally designed by penciler Gil Kane, he debuted as a sympathetic enemy of the superhero Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (October 1971).[3] After recurring stories as a Spider-Man villain, Morbius was one of several horror-themed characters who was retooled in the via the 1990s Marvel Comics "Midnight Sons" event. Morbius was given a self-titled series and now presented as a lethal vigilante who swore only to feed on killers and truly evil villains. Following the cancellation of this series, stories have shifted back and forth between portraying Morbius as a conflicted and brutal anti-hero or as a tragic, maddened villain.[4]

In the Marvel Comics canon, Dr. Morbius is a famous biochemist who contracts a rare blood disease that he then tries to cure via an experiment involving vampire bats. The experiment makes him a "living vampire", mutating him into a life form with superhuman abilities and physical traits resembling but not identical to those of true undead vampires (creatures that exist in the Marvel Universe). Like supernatural vampires, Morbius must regularly feed on fresh blood or face illness followed by death via starvation. Initially, Morbius's mutation and bloodlust lead him to villainy, though he regrets his vampiric state and the harm he causes. In his first self-titled series in the 1990s, Morbius is injected with a mixture of poison and genuine demon blood, which alters his abilities slightly while restoring his sanity.[4] To satisfy his need for blood without compromising his morals, he decides to feed only on "the blood of the guilty," becoming a lethal vigilante. Despite this oath, Morbius has occasionally fallen to villainy again either due to outside corruption or his own bloodlust.

The character has appeared in several media adaptations outside of comics including animated shows and video games. In the 1990s animated series Spider-Man, Morbius is a recurring character voiced by Nick Jameson. In contrast to the comics, the cartoon depicted Morbius both as a regular ally of the character Blade and as a being who feeds on human plasma through his hands rather than with his fangs. Jared Leto portrayed Michael Morbius in the Sony's Spider-Man Universe live-action film Morbius (2022). IGN ranked the character as Spider-Man's 19th-greatest villain of all time.[5]

Publication history[edit]

Morbius debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (cover-dated October 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.[6] 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,[7] 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.[7] Thomas said that the name "Morbius" was not deliberately taken from the antagonist Doctor Morbius in the movie Forbidden Planet.[7]

Thomas and penciller co-creator Gil Kane created the character as a man who is given pseudo-vampiric abilities and traits via scientific rather than supernatural means.[8] Kane based the character's look on that of actor Jack Palance.[9]

A tragic and sympathetic antagonist in his initial two-issue story arc, having acquired his pseudo-vampiric addiction while researching a cure for his own rare, but fatal blood disease, Morbius collided again with Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up #3–4 (July – September 1972) and the one-shot Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1 (June 1974). Morbius went on to star in Vampire Tales, a black-and-white horror comics magazine published by Marvel's sister company, Curtis Magazines, appearing in all but two of the mature audience title's 11 issues (August 1973 – June 1975).[10] All but the first and last of these were written by Don McGregor, with penciling by Rich Buckler and by Tom Sutton, primarily.

The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (October 1971), the first appearance of Morbius, cover art by Gil Kane and John Romita Sr.
Adventure into Fear #20 (February 1974), Morbius's first starring feature in comics, cover art by Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia

After his first two Vampire Tales stories, Morbius concurrently became the star of his own feature in Marvel's bimonthly Adventure into Fear anthology series, beginning with issue #20 (February 1974) and continuing through issue #31 (December 1975), the last issue of the series.[11] These were written, successively, by Mike Friedrich, Steve Gerber (who had written the first Morbius solo story in Vampire Tales #1), Doug Moench and Bill Mantlo, working with a wide variety of pencillers.

Following sporadic guest appearances throughout the next 16 years, Morbius was revived in the 1992 series Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2), launched as part of the "Rise of the Midnight Sons" crossover story arc in Marvel's supernatural / horror comics. It ran for 32 issues (September 1992 – April 1995). Despite being cast as a villain since his creation, this series of Marvel Comics saw Morbius's status become more heroic.[4] He would also be cast as a member of the Ghost Rider's superhero organization the Midnight Sons.[4] These later stories added to his repertoire of powers the ability to hypnotize others and describe his ability to fly as psionic in nature. A one-shot special issue, tentatively titled Spider-Man / Venom / Morbius by Morbius writer Len Kaminski, was scheduled for 1993, but never published due to the writer's departure from the series out of disgust with Morbius penciller Ron Wagner. Wagner felt that Kaminski's stories were too character-driven and Kaminski claimed that Wagner complained about the stories to the editorial staff and left "snide margin notes in which he made his personal opinion of my plots clear" (Kaminski would see these notes because he and Wagner worked under the Marvel method), but ignored Kaminski's attempts to get in touch with him so that they could discuss how the series should be done.[12] Series colorist Gregory Wright stepped in as writer with issue #9 and delivered the bloodshed-heavy stories that Wagner wanted.[12] Despite this, Wagner lasted just six issues longer than Kaminski on the series; Wright stayed with Morbius through issue #23.

In the 1993 Marvel Comics publication Maximum Carnage, he would team up with his longtime adversary Spider-Man to free New York City from Carnage, though the two would immediately part ways and resume being enemies.[13] But in the 1997 Peter Parker: Spider-Man #77-80, he would again team up with Spider-Man to stop HYDRA agent Loxias Crown.[13] The period during the late 1990s and early 2000s also saw him team up with longtime nemesis Blade the Vampire-Slayer and Dr. Strange.[4]

Alongside the core series Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2), a reprint series, Morbius Revisited, was published from 1992 to 1993, and featured material originally published in Adventure into Fear #27–31. Solo stories starring Morbius also appeared in Marvel Comics Presents #144 (late December 1993), several issues of the Midnight Sons Unlimited series (1993–1995), the one-shot Strange Tales: Dark Corners #1 (May 1998), Amazing Fantasy (vol. 2) #17 (March 2006), and the one-shot issue Legion of Monsters: Morbius (September 2007)

On October 17, 2012, Marvel announced that Morbius would appear in a new comic book series by writer Joe Keatinge and artist Richard Elson, beginning in January 2013.[14]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Michael Morbius is born and raised in Greece by his single mother, and experiences an isolated childhood due to his rare and fatal blood condition which contributes to his ugly and unpleasant-looking appearance. Despite his looks, he is an intellectually gifted young man who spends his time reading. In time, he becomes a highly respected and Nobel Prize-winning chemist specializing in the field of human and animal biology with a medical degree in hematology. In order to cure himself of the disease that is killing him, he attempts a cure using a mixture of vampire bat DNA and electroshock therapy. This instead afflicts him with "pseudo-vampirism" that mimics some of the powers and the bloodlust of a supernatural vampire. Morbius now has to drink blood in order to survive and has a strong aversion to light. His bones become hollow and he gains the ability to fly, as well as gaining superhuman strength, super-speed, and accelerated healing. His appearance becomes more hideous — his upper canine teeth extend into fangs, his nose flattens to appear more bat-like, and his skin becomes chalk-white. He also gains the ability to infect others by biting them and turning them into similar "living vampires". His first victim is his friend Emil Nikos.[15] Leaving his home country for New York due to his vampiric condition, he begins work to find a cure and to protect his fiancé Martine Bancroft. He comes to the attention of the Lizard and Peter Parker / Spider-Man, who team up against him to obtain a sample of blood in order to cure their own mutated physical conditions. People whom Morbius infects with the disease of pseudo-vampirism do not truly die and can be cured through an antidote derived from his blood that Morbius and Martine had created. This antidote, however, cannot work on Morbius himself. They also do not acquire his ability to fly or his healing factor and any mortal wound can kill them.[16]

Morbius later rescues Amanda Saint from a Satanic cult known as Demon-Fire and aids her in her quest to find her missing parents.[17] He causes John Jameson to again become the Man-Wolf. Alongside the Man-Wolf, he battles Spider-Man again in another attempt at a cure.[18] He then fights against Reverend Daemond and finds the Caretakers of Arcturus IV. At the same time, he visits both the Land Within, the home of the Cat People, and the planet Arcturus IV, the home world of the Caretakers. During this time, he first battles Blade the Vampire-Slayer and Tara the Girlchild.[19] He then first fights Jack Russell / the Werewolf.[20] He then meets rogue CIA agent Simon Stroud and battles the extra-dimensional demon known as Helleyes.[21] He and Stroud then fight against a large group of other pseudo-vampires that were created by Morbius, destroying them all. One of them, however, who was taken into police custody, turns Martine into a pseudo-vampire before being destroyed by Morbius. Martine turns on Morbius, but Stroud cures her with the antidote. Morbius then turns on Martine and makes her a pseudo-vampire again due to his bloodlust overcoming him, but he and Stroud cure Martine by using the antidote on her a second time, after which Morbius flees.[16] He then meets desperate landowner Alicia Twain, and tries to help her keep her land. She later dies at the hands of the men trying to steal her land, forcing Morbius to kill her murderers.[22] Next, he meets Morgana St. Clair, an enigmatic woman in England who aids him and seems to know all about vampires. This leads to Morbius battling - and destroying - the Brotherhood of Judas, another Satanic cult, this time made up of true vampires, of which St. Clair was a member.[23] Morbius then visits his old friend Ronson Slade, a scientist, again hoping to find a cure. Slade, however, becomes a werewolf and Morbius is forced to kill him.[24] Alongside the Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), the Man-Thing (Ted Sallis) and the Werewolf, he then meets the Starseed.[25] Morbius first battles the Thing, then teams up with him to battle the Living Eraser and escapes to Dimension Z.[26] He later returns to Earth and battles Spider-Man again, this time briefly controlled both physically and mentally by the Empathoid, an extra-dimensional humanoid android which feeds on emotions to survive. Spider-Man destroys the Empathoid by causing it to overdose on emotions during an exposure to the crowd at a baseball game in a stadium where they took their battle. Morbius then flees and Spider-Man leaves the Empathoid's body with the Fantastic Four for safekeeping.[27]

Morbius once again fights Spider-Man and tries to drink his radioactive blood, but then he is hit by a lightning bolt at the same time, which cures him of his pseudo-vampirism and makes him human again (but still retaining a thirst for blood).[28] While he is cured, he is charged with the crimes he had committed in his past life, but is allowed access to a fully equipped laboratory while in custody to continue his research. He is represented by Jennifer Walters, whose alter ego, the She-Hulk, is not publicly known at the time. Morbius selflessly saves Walters' life and stabilizes her erratic transformations into the She-Hulk with a serum that he created to cure the remnants of his own condition. This allows her to change forms at will with some effort. Subsequently, Walters defends Morbius in court and manages to reduce the conviction to involuntary manslaughter due to his medical condition.[29] He eventually regains his pseudo-vampiric state and meets Doctor Strange.[30] Alongside Doctor Strange and Brother Voodoo, he battles Marie Laveau and witnesses the return of true vampires.[31] Morbius later battles Spider-Man in the New York sewers.[32]

The Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch) and Johnny Blaze search for Morbius to form the Midnight Sons and stop Lilith the Mother of All Demons and her group from taking over the world. When Morbius is found, the pseudo-vampire believes that they came to kill him, but the Ghost Rider successfully captures him. Dr. David Langford (who is supposedly trying to heal Morbius's wounds) is the one who is actually trying to kill him, making an unknown mutagenic serum that can prove fatal to Morbius. But unknown to Langford, the Lilin Fang is also trying to kill Morbius by adding his own demonic blood to the serum. When Langford injects the serum into Morbius, it does not kill him, but mutates him further instead. Martine discovers that Langford is trying to kill him, and is shot. Morbius is enraged to learn of her murder and later avenges her death by killing Langford and taking the beaker which contains the serum. Ketch and Blaze later find out about Morbius's various acts of destruction, causing a confrontation in which Ketch warns Morbius of not tolerating him drinking innocent blood. Morbius makes a vow to only drink the blood of the guilty, which the Ghost Rider accepts, warning him not to stray from his vow. Morbius soon becomes part of the Midnight Sons.[33] He goes under the alias Dr. Morgan Michaels while his colleague Jacob Weisenthal provides medical support, and confronts several foes: Doctor Paine,[34] the Basilisk II (Wayne Gifford),[35] Vic Slaughter,[36][37] Nightmare,[38] and Bloodthirst.[39][40]

During the Maximum Carnage event, Morbius assists Spider-Man, Venom, the Black Cat and other superheroes against a gang of supervillains led by Carnage and Shriek.[41]

Morbius later attacks Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson before being captured by Loxias Crown for Don Fortunato. He then assists both Spider-Man and S.H.O.C. against the terrorist organization HYDRA and drains his torturer dry while disappearing in the process.[42] A new faction of vampires try to destroy Morbius because he had been genetically manipulated to be the perfect weapon. The chest in which he is to be delivered is intercepted by the Kingpin, Blade the Vampire-Slayer and Spider-Man and he attacks all three. Whatever unknown party manipulated him fails; he collapses after one fight, possibly dying. With his last breath, he warns Spider-Man to beware of Senator Stewart Ward.[43]

It is later revealed that Morbius signed the Superhuman Registration Act and is cooperating with S.H.I.E.L.D. in an effort to capture Blade.[44] He also presumably survives his genetic manipulation, as Blade is able to distinguish him as the same Morbius who "took a bite out of [him]" in their previous encounter.[45]

Morbius is next seen as a member of A.R.M.O.R., held captive by the zombie Morbius from the Marvel Zombies universe of Earth-2149.[46] He survives the invasion, killing his zombie counterpart in the process.[47] Shortly afterward, he forms a new version of the Midnight Sons with Jennifer Kale, Daimon Hellstrom, Jack Russell and the Man-Thing to contain a zombie outbreak on an isolated island, briefly running afoul of the Hood in the process.[48]

Morbius later helps the Man-Thing re-assemble the Punisher (Frank Castle) into a Frankensteinian monster called Franken-Castle.[49]

During The Gauntlet storyline, Morbius is behind the theft of a vial of Spider-Man's blood. After learning that Morbius plans to use the blood samples to create a cure for Jack Russell, Spider-Man agrees to help Morbius out by giving him more of his blood.[50]

Morbius is among the supervillains recruited by Doctor Octopus during the Origin of the Species story line to secure some items for the supervillain.[51]

It is revealed to the reader during the Spider-Island storyline that Morbius is known as Number Six, a mysterious employee working at Horizon Labs. Wearing a hazmat suit to conceal his identity, he assists in preparing the cure to the spider-virus via Anti-Venom.[52] Parker later tries to investigate Number Six's identity, but Morbius — who was using the cure to try to develop a basis for a cure for his own condition — was accidentally provoked into a frenzy, prompting Horizon Labs' staff to step up building security (making it harder for Parker to enter and exit the building as Spider-Man in the future) and also forcing Morbius to leave, where it is revealed that he was working with the Lizard, presumably trying to find a cure for both of their conditions. It is also revealed that Morbius was a college friend of Max Modell.[53] Using DNA samples from Billy Connors' corpse, Morbius is able to create a cure that can restore the Lizard to human form, but he fails to recognize that the Lizard completely destroyed Dr. Curt Connors' human persona.[54] The Lizard is left alone in Morbius's lab, allowing the release of blood into the lab's air supply to provoke the injured Morbius into attacking Horizon's other scientists. This prompts Morbius to flee the lab, with Spider-Man in pursuit.[55] Morbius is captured by Spider-Man and locked up in a cell in the Raft.[56] Morbius offers to help when Spider-Man (in Doctor Octopus' dying body) needs some supervillains' assistance, but he is rejected.[57] Morbius eventually escapes from the Raft.[58]

Having fled, Morbius acts as a protector of Brownsville after killing Noah St. Germain. This results in confrontations with the Rose (Phillip Hayes), Nikoleta Harrow, and the Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus' mind in Spider-Man's body) and gaining a friendship with Bucky Barnes, while ultimately being manipulated by his long-lost father Makarioa Morbius.[59]

After some time, he tries to stop some vampires in Barcelona, but is captured by them and locked in a coffin. The vampires try to mix their blood with that of Morbius until he gets unintentionally saved by Domino, Diamondback and Outlaw. He tells the three about the vampires' plan and they help him kill the King (a true vampire infected with Morbius's blood). A vampire hunter then tries to kill him, but he escapes thanks to Domino.[60]

Morbius is later rescued by the Wasp from Dracula's Disciples, with assistance from Broo and the Man-Wolf. He later informes the Wasp and Okoye about the Vampire Civil War.[61]

During the "Beyond" story line, Morbius is seen biting someone when he is confronted by Ben Reilly / Spider-Man. Morbius briefly fights him before fleeing. When Spider-Man investigates the victims, he is bitten by Morbius, who claims that his radioactive blood is not working any more and he is trying to cure himself. Morbius chases Spider-Man to Beyond Tower, where he is attacked by the security personnel. One of them blasts one of Morbius's arms off. As Spider-Man faints due to the bite, Morbius is immobilized by Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, the Daughters of the Dragon.[62] Upon being taken to Beyond Corporation's secret facility on Staten Island, his genetic template is used with the genetic template of the Lizard's Isotope Genome Accelerator duplicate to create a binary clone called Creature Z, which looks like a white version of the Lizard with the fangs and wings of a vampire bat. As Creature Z tries to escape from the facility, Morbius helps Misty Knight and Colleen Wing fight it. He tricks Creature Z into sucking out some of his blood, causing Creature Z's regenerative abilities to go out of control enough for it to explode. After the facility is destroyed by Monica Rambeau and the Machine Man Impostor, the Lizard's Isotope Genome Accelerator duplicate is rescued by Morbius. As Morbius plans to work with him in curing their conditions, he is unaware that the Lizard he rescued is actually an Isotope Genome Accelerator duplicate.[63]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Michael Morbius experienced a transformation by electrical shock treatment and chemical ingestion into a pseudo-vampire. As a pseudo-vampire, Morbius does not possess all the powers of a supernatural vampire, nor is he subject to all the traditional limitations and weaknesses thereof. He possesses a variety of superhuman powers, some of which are similar to supernatural vampires within the Marvel Universe, such as superhuman strength and speed, as well as heightened senses including night vision and echolocation. Due to his pseudo-vampiric condition, Morbius is forced to ingest fresh blood on a regular basis to sustain his life and vitality. How much blood he requires and how often he has to feed has not been specified in the comics. However, Morbius does not possess any of the mystical vulnerabilities that supernatural vampires are subject to, such as crucifixes, holy water, garlic, or silver. Morbius has a strong aversion to sunlight, thanks to his photo-sensitive skin which allows some protection from major sunburn, in contrast to "true" vampires that are incinerated by it, with the result that he can move about in daylight, but his powers are diminished and he will stick to the shade if circumstances demand him to be active during the day. Morbius also lacks the shapeshifting and weather-control powers of supernatural vampires and the ability to control the minds of certain animals, such as bats, wolves, dogs, rats and mice. Like supernatural vampires, Morbius does possess the ability to hypnotize beings of lesser willpower and bring them under his control, which can only be resisted by those possessing an extremely strong will. While briefly possessed by the demon Bloodthirst, Morbius gained the ability to liquidize his body, moving through small spaces and stretching his limbs as needed; he lost this ability when he and Bloodthirst were split apart.[40]

Morbius possesses accelerated healing and can recover from mild to moderate injuries at a rate beyond that of ordinary humans. While not nearly as efficient as the healing factor possessed by Wolverine, Morbius has proven to be able to heal from multiple gunshot wounds in less than one hour. More severe injuries, such as broken bones or severe burns, might take several days to heal, but once it was shown to take minutes, even though it left him as a near-mindless creature who had to feed on blood to replenish the energy that was used to do so. He is unable to regenerate missing limbs or organs.

Most of Morbius's victims die or are severely injured by his bite. Unlike supernatural vampires, Morbius's victims do not necessarily become pseudo-vampires themselves. There have only been a few instances where Morbius's bite has turned other individuals into pseudo-vampires, including Jefferson Bolt (a young man first seen in Marvel Team-Up #3), Emilio (a young man first shown in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #7), Vic Slaughter (a bounty hunter who first appeared in Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #7), Nate Grey (in X-Man #24), Roxy (a junkie dying of a drug overdose in Legion of Monsters: Morbius #1) and Blade the Vampire-Slayer (in Peter Parker: Spider-Man (vol. 2) #8). The causes behind these transformations have never been clearly explained, even though, in Blade's case, Morbius's bite combined with his unique physiology to turn him into a half-vampire with all the strengths and powers of a true vampire and none of the weaknesses.

The radioactive blood of Spider-Man once caused Morbius's pseudo-vampirism to go into remission.[28] As a result, after drinking Spider-Man's blood, Morbius became human again and did not need to feed on blood again for some time. Morbius once developed a serum based on Spider-Man's blood,[64] which would stave off his pseudo-vampirism for short periods of time.

Morbius possesses the ability of transvection, which enables him to navigate wind currents and glide for great distances. It was alluded to that this ability may be related to hyper-evolved portions of his brain, caused by a combination of his blood disease and his pseudo-vampiric condition. He also used a battle suit provided by Horizon Labs to further enforce his body.[65]

Even before he contracted the disease of pseudo-vampirism, Michael Morbius already possessed a gifted intellect. He is an expert biologist,[33] biochemist and neuroradiologist with a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is also a Nobel laureate. He also attended medical school,[66] where he specialized in hematology.[67]

Enemies and allies[edit]

Morbius was first introduced as a villain in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #101–102. He would return to battle Spider-Man several times over the years in Marvel Team-Up #3–4; Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1; Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #6–8 and 38; Spider-Man #13–14; Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #3–4 and 21–23; and Peter Parker: Spider-Man #77–80 and (vol. 2) #8. Spider-Man and Morbius formed an uneasy alliance during the Maximum Carnage crossover event.[citation needed]

Blade the Vampire-Slayer and Morbius have had an ongoing feud with each other, which began in Adventure into Fear #24. The two also clashed in Marvel Preview #8, Blade the Vampire Hunter #8, Blade #2–3, and Blade (vol. 4) #5. Blade, while possessed by a demonic presence, killed Morbius in Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #12, but Morbius was resurrected in Spirits of Vengeance #13.

Simon Stroud, a rogue CIA agent who was first introduced hunting the Man-Wolf in Creatures on the Loose #30–37 and Marvel Premiere #45–46, has been hunting Morbius since Adventure into Fear #27. Stroud and Morbius last clashed in Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #23.

Dr. Loxias Crown was a HYDRA scientist who kidnapped Morbius to study his pseudo-vampiric condition. During his escape, he bit the scientist, turning him into a pseudo-vampire like himself who called himself Hunger.[68]

During the run of Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2), Morbius crossed paths with a handful of brand-new foes. They included Vic Slaughter (introduced in issue #7),[69] the Basilisk II (Wayne Gifford) (introduced in issue #5), Doctor Paine (introduced in issue #4)[70] and Bloodthirst (introduced in issue #20).[71] During this same period, Morbius also battled a new villain called Bloodbath in Midnight Sons Unlimited #2.[72]

Morbius has had a friendship with Jack Russell (a.k.a. the Werewolf) since West Coast Avengers #5, where Morbius helped Russell deal with his werewolf curse. The Werewolf was a frequent guest star in the pages of Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2). Morbius and the Werewolf first met as enemies in Giant-Size Werewolf #4 and, together with the Man-Thing and the Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), they formed the short-lived Legion of Monsters and met the Starseed in Marvel Premiere #28.

Morbius and Doctor Strange have teamed up on several occasions. Morbius appeared sporadically throughout the run of Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme, beginning with issue #10. Doctor Strange recruited Morbius as one of "the Nine", a.k.a. the Midnight Sons, a team with only one purpose: to be Earth's last defense against the supernatural.

Other versions[edit]

House of M[edit]

In the House of M series, Michael Morbius appears in a flashback as one of the scientists (along with Jonas Harrow and Farley Stillwell) behind Luke Cage's powers.[73]

Marvel MAX[edit]

Morbius appears in Dead of Night featuring Werewolf by Night #4 as one of the anomalous beings contained and experimented on by the Babylon Group. When Jack Russell attempts to escape from the Babylon Group with his infant daughter, the facility tries to stop him by unleashing Morbius and the Frankenstein Monster. In the ensuing brawl, Morbius's heart is punched out by the Monster.[74]

Marvel Zombies 4[edit]

A zombified version of Morbius the Living Vampire appears in the 2008–2009 Marvel Zombies 4 miniseries. The real Morbius of Earth-616 (the mainstream Marvel Universe) is kidnapped and beaten by his zombie counterpart, who found a way from the Marvel Zombies universe into the Marvel Universe. The zombie Morbius holds the real one captive while using a latex mask to look normal.[46] It is revealed that he plans to infect every member of the Fifty State Initiative with the zombie virus. His captivity is later inadvertently uncovered by an A.R.M.O.R. team member, whom Morbius tries to warn of an impending attack. The warning comes too late, as Morbius's zombie counterpart attacks the team member and infects her, thus creating a violent chain of events after she attacks another team member.[75] Towards the end of the crisis, the real Morbius appears out of nowhere and grabs a tree, which he uses as a stake and stabs his zombified version from behind and straight into the heart, killing him instantly.[47]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Ultimate Marvel version of Morbius is more akin to a traditional vampire, the son of Dracul and brother of Vlad III Dracula himself.[76] He has all of the powers and abilities associated with the usual interpretation of Dracula. This version of Morbius, however, seems to be heroically struggling against his baser instincts and is, in fact, a vampire hunter. He meets Spider-Man in a typical misunderstanding, centering on a cabal of vampires attacking Ben Urich. He tries to stop Urich from becoming a vampire, in which he succeeds, despite the conflict. When Spider-Man is bitten by a vampire, Morbius sniffs Spider-Man and determines that the young superhero is immune to vampirism.[77]

Spider-Geddon[edit]

During the "Spider-Geddon" storyline, there are different versions of Morbius:

  • In the universe of Peni Parker, M.O.R.B.I.U.S. is a techno-organic dragon-like kaiju with tentacles which feeds on technology. During the battle between SP//dr and VEN#m, it attacks the latter and overloads it; sending the black mecha into a rage.[78]
  • In the Web-Slinger's universe (which takes place in the Old West), Doc Morbius appears similar to his Earth-616 counterpart, but he works to cure himself by experimenting on people; including children. Before he could do so, the Web-Slinger burst into the lab and battled Morbius. During the fight, several chemicals caught fire and Morbius realized what he was doing. He sacrifices himself to save the Web-Slinger and the children from the exploding chemicals.[79]

Infinity Warps[edit]

In this new universe, Morbius is fused with Morpheus. He tries to steal some blood tanks, but is defeated by the Arachknight.[80]

Collected editions[edit]

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Morbius the Living Vampire: The Man Called Morbius Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #1–9, Amazing Spider-Man #699.1 November 5, 2013 978-0785183914
Morbius: Old Wounds Morbius #1–5 March 9, 2020 978-1302920999
Morbius: Preludes and Nightmares Amazing Spider-Man #101–102, Marvel Team-Up #3–4, Fear #20, Amazing Spider-Man #699.1 November 24, 2020 978-1302925925

Marvel Epic Collections[edit]

Volume Subtitle Years covered Material collected Publication date ISBN
1 The Living Vampire 1971–1975 The Amazing Spider-Man #101–102; Marvel Team-Up #3–4; Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1; Fear #20–26; Giant-Size Werewolf #4; material from Vampire Tales #1–5, 7–8 February 23, 2021 978-1302928353
2 The End of a Living Vampire 1975–1981 Fear #27–31; Marvel Premiere #28; Marvel Two-in-One #15; Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #6–8, #38; The Savage She-Hulk #9–12; material from Vampire Tales #10–11 and Marvel Preview #8 May 25, 2021 978-1302928346

Marvel Omnibus[edit]

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Morbius the Living Vampire Omnibus The Amazing Spider-Man #101–102; Marvel Team-Up #3–4; Giant-Size Super Heroes #1; Fear #20–31; Giant-Size Werewolf #4; Marvel Premiere #28; Marvel Two-In-One #15; Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #6–8, 38; The Savage She-Hulk #9–12; material from Vampire Tales #1–5, 7–8, 10–11 and Marvel Preview #8, plus extras July 7, 2020 978-1302922405

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Morbius the Living Vampire appears in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, voiced by Nick Jameson.[citation needed] This version drains blood plasma through his hands, leaving his victims with a series of welts covering their bodies. He first appeared as Michael Morbius, a foreign Empire State University biologist, in the episodes "The Insidious Six" and "Battle of the Insidious Six" before transforming into a vampiric creature in a self-titled episode. In the following episodes "Enter the Punisher", "Duel of the Hunters", "Blade the Vampire Hunter", and "The Immortal Vampire", he attacks people for their plasma and battles Spider-Man and Blade while attempting to create more pseudo-vampires like him. In "The Vampire Queen", Morbius becomes a hero after joining forces with Spider-Man, Blade, and the Black Cat to defeat Miriam the Vampire Queen, and leaves with Blade and the Black Cat to destroy other vampires around the world. Morbius makes a final cameo appearance in "Secret Wars Pt. 2", alongside his allies.
  • Dr. Michael Morbius appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man vs. the Sinister Six animated series, voiced by Benjamin Diskin.[citation needed] This version is a HYDRA scientist who specializes in symbiotes. In the episode "Anti-Venom", he and Doctor Octopus create the Anti-Venom symbiote.[81] In the three-part episode "The Symbiote Saga", Morbius creates the Carnage symbiote before Doctor Octopus mutates him into Morbius the Living Vampire, which grants him the power to absorb life forces. Morbius later fights Spider-Man, Agent Venom and the Patrioteer while trying to control the Carnage Queen, who defeats him.

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

In The Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip, Michael Morbius returns to New York, seemingly cured of his pseudo-vampirism, and with a fiancé, Martine Bancroft. However, at night, he begins exhibiting his old symptoms and comes into conflict with Spider-Man. It is later revealed that Bancroft is behind his troubles and gained her own vampiric abilities after she was attacked and killed by Dracula.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marvel Zombies 4 #1
  2. ^ Legion of Monsters (vol. 2) #3
  3. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  4. ^ a b c d e Stone, Sam (January 16, 2020). "Morbius: How Marvel Turned the Spider-Man Villain Into a Hero". CBR.com. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  5. ^ "Top 25 Spider-Man Villains". IGN. 16 April 2014.
  6. ^ Cronin, Brian (July 16, 2009). "Comic Book Legends Revealed". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
  7. ^ a b c Buchanan, Bruce (October 2009). "Morbius the Living Vampire". Back Issue. No. #36. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 29.
  8. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura (2012). "1970s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 59. ISBN 978-0756692360. In the first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man to be written by someone other than Stan Lee...Thomas also managed to introduce a major new player to Spidey's life - the scientifically created vampire known as Morbius.
  9. ^ Kane in Ringgenberg, Steve (n.d.). "Gil Kane". Comic Art & Graffix Gallery. Archived from the original on December 11, 1997. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  10. ^ Morbius did not appear in issues #6 and 9; reprinted Morbius stories from the series appeared in Vampire Tales Super Annual #1 (summer 1975), the only issue of that title.
  11. ^ Markstein, Don. "Morbius, the Living Vampire". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  12. ^ a b Meth, Clifford (June 1993). "Going for the Throat". Wizard. No. #22. pp. 90–93.
  13. ^ a b World, Drew. "Morbius and Spider-Man's Biggest Team-Ups/Fights In The Comics". Screen Rant.
  14. ^ Ching, Albert (25 August 2012). "'Morbius the Living Vampire' Rises in New Ongoing Series". Marvel.com. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  15. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #101–102. Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ a b Adventures into Fear #30–31. Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ Vampire Tales #2–5 and 7–8. Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1. Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Adventure into Fear #20–26. Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ Giant-Size Werewolf #4. Marvel Comics.
  21. ^ Adventure into Fear #27–29. Marvel Comics.
  22. ^ Vampire Tales #10. Marvel Comics.
  23. ^ Vampire Tales #11. Marvel Comics.
  24. ^ Marvel Preview #8. Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ Marvel Premiere #28
  26. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #15. Marvel Comics.
  27. ^ Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #6–8. Marvel Comics.
  28. ^ a b Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #38. Marvel Comics.
  29. ^ The Savage She-Hulk #9–12 and 25. Marvel Comics.
  30. ^ Doctor Strange (vol. 3) #10. Marvel Comics.
  31. ^ Doctor Strange (vol. 3) #14–18. Marvel Comics.
  32. ^ Spider-Man #13–14. Marvel Comics.
  33. ^ a b Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #1. Marvel Comics.
  34. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #3–4. Marvel Comics.
  35. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #5–6. Marvel Comics.
  36. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #7–11. Marvel Comics.
  37. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #20–22. Marvel Comics.
  38. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #7–9. Marvel Comics.
  39. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #14–17. Marvel Comics.
  40. ^ a b Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #20. Marvel Comics.
  41. ^ Web of Spider-Man #102–103, The Amazing Spider-Man #379–380, Spider-Man #36, Spectacular Spider-Man #202 and Spider-Man Unlimited #2
  42. ^ Spider-Man #77–80
  43. ^ Peter Parker, Spider-Man (vol. 2) #8. Marvel Comics.
  44. ^ Blade #5. Marvel Comics.
  45. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #12. Marvel Comics.
  46. ^ a b Marvel Zombies 4 #1. Marvel Comics.
  47. ^ a b Marvel Zombies 4 #4. Marvel Comics.
  48. ^ Marvel Zombies 5 #1–4. Marvel Comics.
  49. ^ The Punisher (vol. 7) #11. Marvel Comics.
  50. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #623. Marvel Comics.
  51. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #642. Marvel Comics.
  52. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #671. Marvel Comics.
  53. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #679.1. Marvel Comics.
  54. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #688. Marvel Comics.
  55. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #689. Marvel Comics.
  56. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #690. Marvel Comics.
  57. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #699. Marvel Comics.
  58. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #699.1. Marvel Comics.
  59. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #1–9. Marvel Comics.
  60. ^ Domino (vol. 3) #7–8. Marvel Comics.
  61. ^ Avengers (vol. 8) #12
  62. ^ Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 5) #77–78. Marvel Comics.
  63. ^ Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 5) #91–92.BEY. Marvel Comics.
  64. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #5
  65. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #6–9
  66. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #25
  67. ^ Morbius the Living Vampire (vol. 2) #3
  68. ^ Spider-Man #76–79
  69. ^ Vic Slaughter at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  70. ^ Dr. Paine at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  71. ^ Bloodthirst at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  72. ^ Bloodbath at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
  73. ^ House of M: Avengers #1 (2005)
  74. ^ Duane Swierczynski (w), Mico Suayan (p), Mico Suayan (i), Ian Hannin (col), Blambot's Nate Piekos (let), Warren Simons (ed). "Part Four: Blood Memory" Dead of Night featuring Werewolf by Night #4 (April 1, 2009), United States: Marvel Comics
  75. ^ Marvel Zombies 4 #3
  76. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #95
  77. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #96
  78. ^ Edge of Spider-Geddon #2
  79. ^ Vault of Spiders #1
  80. ^ Infinity Warps: Arachknight #1
  81. ^ "Anti-Venom". Ultimate Spider-Man. Season 4. Episode 8. April 3, 2016. Disney XD.
  82. ^ Brehmer, Nat (2020-01-16). "Breaking Down the Deleted 'Blade' Ending Featuring Morbius and Why We Never Got That Sequel". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  83. ^ Fleming, Michael (May 16, 2000). "Artisan deal a real Marvel". Variety. Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  84. ^ Trumbore, Dave (November 13, 2017). "'Morbius': Marvel's Living Vampire Movie in the Works as a 'Spider-Man' Spin-off". Collider. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  85. ^ Kit, Borys (27 June 2018). "Jared Leto to star in Sony Spider-Man title 'Morbius', Daniel Espinosa to Direct". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  86. ^ Hood, Cooper (July 20, 2018). "Sony's Morbius Movie: Villain Details & Filming Start Revealed". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  87. ^ Marc, Christopher (October 9, 2018). "Producers Hint Jared Leto's Morbius Could Begin Filming Around February". OmegaUnderground. Geeks WorldWide. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  88. ^ "Undated trailer of 'Morbius'". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  89. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 21, 2021). "Sony Marvel Movie 'Morbius' Heads To 2022 As Bond Takes Over Early October". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  90. ^ Garvey, Marianne (4 January 2022). "Marvel's 'Morbius' release date pushed by Sony again". CNN. Retrieved 2022-01-21.
  91. ^ "Characters". IGN Database. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  92. ^ Insomniac Games. Spider-Man (2018 video game). Sony Interactive Entertainment. Voice Cast Credits
  93. ^ Green, Jake [@iamjakegreen] (September 30, 2019). "I'm the voice of Morbius in MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black Order! Voicing a playable character..." (Tweet). Retrieved October 1, 2019 – via Twitter.

External links[edit]

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