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Morbius the Living Vampire: Who Is He, and What Are His Powers?

Morbius Jared Leto

With Sony moving forward on a movie based on Morbius, The Living Vampire, many are wondering why, with the studio currently owning the film rights to 900 Marvel Comics characters, they are devoting an entire film to such an obscure anti-hero. As such, interest in the character has never been greater, with most movie-watchers having never heard of Morbius. Fewer still know of his history as one of Spider-Man's enemies.

Morbius is one of many characters for whom Sony had been planning solo films to follow after Venom. Recently, it was reported that Sony has plans to produce movies for the mercenary Silver Sable, the master thief Black Cat (both of whom were previously tied to a team-up movie, Silver & Black), and Kraven The Hunter. Yet it is Morbius who is probably the least-known of these characters outside of the realm of comic books.

Related: Sony's Marvel Universe May Already Have A Spider-Man Replacement

Despite his more obscure status, Morbius has a long Marvel comics history, both as a solo character and as a part of the Spider-Man mythos. In fact, when it comes to Sony's lineup of villain movies, Morbius just might make more sense without Spider-Man than any of the other options. Even so, without the widespread exposure of characters like Venom, his origins and powers aren't widely known so here's an introductory course to Morbius the Living Vampire.

Who Is Morbius?

Marvel Comics Morbius the Living Vampire

Michael Morbius was a brilliant young man who suffered from a rare blood disease that left him physically disfigured and too weak to lift a teacup without it threatening to break the bones in his hand. Though his condition was never given a name, it was said that the red blood cells in his body dissolved far faster than he could naturally produce replacements. This spurred young Michael to excel at his studies, earning both a Ph.D in biochemistry and a medical doctorate with a specialty in hematology, before winning the Nobel Prize for Medicine. He also won the heart of a young woman named Martine Bancroft and the two became engaged.

Morbius eventually developed a treatment for his illness with the assistance of his best friend, Emil Nikos. The cure proved far worse than the disease, however, infecting Morbius with a condition that he dubbed "pseudo-vampirism," which gave Morbius a need to drink human blood to sustain himself as well as a number of super-powers traditionally associated with the vampires of myth. His search for the components to cure pseudo-vampirism led to his breaking into the lab of Dr. Curt Conners on the same night that Spider-Man came seeking aid for an accident that left him with two extra pairs of arms. This would lead to the first of many battles between the web-slinger and The Living Vampire, with Morbius sometimes working with other parties against Spider-Man in exchange for their help in treating his condition.

Related: Are Sony's Massive Marvel Plans A Trick To Sell Its Movie Studio?

First appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #101 in 1971, Morbius, The Living Vampire is a historically important character for two reasons. He was the first Spider-Man villain not co-created by Stan Lee, having appeared in the first issue after Lee left the monthly Amazing Spider-Man title. Morbius is also notable as the first vampire character to appear in a Marvel Comics book for the better part of two decades, thanks to the Comics Code Authority of 1954 prohibiting the depiction of "vampires and vampirism." The 1971 revision of the CCA allowed for both vampiric creatures and vampires depicted in a manner consistent with classical works such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, paving the way for both vampiric beings like Morbius and Dracula himself acquiring his own Marvel Comics' series, Tomb of Dracula.

Page 2: Morbius' Powers & "Living Vampire" Explained

Key Release Dates
  • Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018
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