Thursday, 29 September 2011

Preview Post: Blade

On the next episode of 24 Panels Per Second, we kick off the Marvel-ous Halloween series of episodes with the 1998 horror/action romp, Blade!

The character made his first appearance in July of 1973, in the tenth issue of the beloved Marvel comic Tomb of Dracula. He was created by writer Marv Wolfman (with a name like that, how could he not write horror comics?) and artist Gene Colan. While you are probably familiar with Blade's current look, his original look was definitely of its era:

Oh, and by the way, Blade was a completely human character at this point.

After gaining some fame in the 1970s, the character pretty much disappeared until the early 1990s, where he started making various appearances in Marvel's more supernatural comics. Eventually, he gained a regular home in the title Nightstalkers. By this point, his look was much closer to the Blade we have come to know...

Still human at this point, however.

Given the relative obscurity of Blade for most of his history, you wouldn't expect him to have much in the way of appearances in other media. You would be right. In the lead up to the 1998 film though, Marvel decided to feature Blade - and many of the changes being made to the character for the film, such as him being half-vampire - in the beloved 1990s Spider-Man television series. Of course, this is late 1990s Fox Kids, so realistic weapons and violence were a no go. Instead of swords and guns, we were given a Blade with a lightsaber and garlic bombs...

After Blade became a surprise hit in 1998, the film spawned two sequels. Following this, the character and his adventures moved to television when Blade: The Series launched on the Spike TV channel. Playing the titular character this time out was Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones. Below is the Australian trailer for the series:

The series lasted only one season and recieved mixed reaction, so one would assume that the series would have been the final nail in the coffin (rim shot please) for the Blade franchise. One would be wrong! As part of Marvel's deal with the Japanese animation studio Madhouse, an anime of Blade premiered in Japan in 2011, with an American dub of the series to air on the American G4 network late this year/early 2012. Below is the Japanese trailer for the series:

As you can tell, Blade has come a long way from his time as a supporting character in Tomb of Dracula. But join us next episode as we discuss the film that put him in the limelight, Stephen Norrington's Blade!

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