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With Apologies to Twilight Fans, Here’s to Comic Book Vampires That Don’t Suck


Whatever your opinion of Twilight, you can’t deny that Edward isn’t exactly the most active vampire. (He mostly just sparkles and pines over Bella.) The vampires of Twilight aren’t so much concerned with dining on blood as they are with keeping tabs on Bella: outside of the occasional werewolf skirmish, the Cullen clan are a pretty sedentary bunch. Comic-book vampires, on the other hand, are always on the prowl for fresh kills (even when their prey is other vampires). Look at the vampires in comics, and you’ll find a pretty diverse bunch — everything from superheroes to Western gunslingers — who have far more going for them than great hair and sparkly skin.

Take a break from the Twilight hype with our salute to some of best vampires in comics and the comic-book movies they’ve spawned.

Blade (Wesley Snipes), wesley-snipes-blade-125.jpgBlade
Oh, Blade. Why must you be so angry all the time? Aren’t you psyched that you possess, to quote your main rival, Deacon Frost, “all of the vampires’ strengths but none of their weaknesses”? While his big-screen exploits petered out with the forgettable Blade: Trinity, the first two outings are, like the man himself, near-perfect horror-superhero hybrids.


morbius-125.jpgMorbius, the Living Vampire, “The Amazing Spider-Man”
A longtime “Spider-Man” villain (and sometimes ally), Morbius has one of those great only-in-the-comics hooks: he’s a biochemist who accidentally turned himself into a vampire, while trying to cure a rare blood disease. Rumor had it that Morbius was slated to appear in the fourth Spider-Man, back when horrormeister Sam Raimi was still at the helm, but now that the web slinger is headed for a tween-friendly reboot, chances are that Morbius will be banished to the dreaded development hell.


miakirschner-125.jpgLilith (Mia Kirshner), 30 Days of Night: Dark Days
A hit in comics, the creepy vampires of
sunless Barrow, Alaska, made less of an impression in their 2007
movie, but the flick gained an audience on DVD and spawned the upcoming
sequel 30 Days of Night: Dark Days. Mia Kirshner plays vampire
queen Lilith. The “mother” of all vampires, Lilith seeks revenge on
Stella in the comics, after the death of her husband, Vicente, in Barrow. While
the pale, gorgeous Kirshner is perfectly cast as Lilith, we can only
hope the L Word star hasn’t become the comic-book-sequel kiss of
death.

batmanredrain-125.jpgBatman, Batman & Dracula: Red Rain
Oh, yeah,
it happened: Batman was a vampire in Batman & Dracula: Red Rain,
the popular graphic novel that spawned two sequels. Featuring gruesome
artwork by Kelley Jones, the Batman who faces off against Dracula is
easily the most terrifying incarnation of the Caped Crusader, and it’s
surprising Red Rain hasn’t at least gotten the animated treatment.
(A Batman who lives forever? Criminals shiver at the thought.)


Vampire_Hunter-125.jpgD, Vampire
Hunter D

Like Blade, the titular vampire hunter in this
popular Japanese series is part human, part vampire, all perfect killer.
The series has already been turned into two popular anime movies, with a live-action
version on the horizon. The lush, neo-Victorian artwork of acclaimed illustrator Yoshitaka Amano (The Sandman: The Dream Hunters) came off a bit
stiff in animation, so it would be neat to see what a director with
style (Terry Gilliam?) could do in live-action form.

blade2-125.jpgReapers, Blade
II

For what is easily the best film in the trilogy,
Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy) pitted Blade against some freaky
vampires that are more like bloodsucking leeches than mopey
heartbreakers. The Reapers are so vile that they force Blade to team up
with the murderous Blood Pack. Not only are the Reapers the scariest
vamps in all of comic-book moviedom, they could easily rank on a list of great movie monsters.


americanvampire-125.jpgSkinner Sweet, “American Vampire”
Stephen
King and Scott Snyder’s Vertigo series also made our Western-comic-book roundup, proving the duo have hit on a novel twist on
the (admittedly) tired vampire genre. Exploring vampirism from a
historical aspect, King and Snyder are telling the tale of outlaw Skinner Sweet (the first vampire in the series) in both the old West and in the
roaring twenties. The series promises to skip around to different eras in
American history, placing it firmly in the historical-horror genre
that is all the rage these days.

Nick Nadel
writes for HBO and Asylum.com and is the “geek” blogger for GuySpeak.com. Follow the “Comic Book
Movies” column on Twitter.

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