Dead or Alive: The Weird World of Marvel’s Morbius

Morbius, The Living Vampire

The Weird World of Marvel’s Morbius

Is he dead or alive, human or vampire⁠—Welcome to the weird world of Marvel’s Michael Morbius. Morbius will make his horrifying debut in the Sony Spider-Verse and it should be awesome.

The question is, will it be?

Early Screening reviews are NOT encouraging with many critics pointing out flawed CGI and a lackluster plot. For casual movie goers a negative review is a stake to the heart. But… comic fans are not your normal movie goer.

To appreciate the odds this Marvel Horror Icon faces you must go back to the glorious 1970’s. A magical time of Disco, Bellbottoms and a freshly lifted censorship ban on Vampires in Comics.

Morbius debuted in the fan favorite comic book series The Amazing Spider-Man in 1971. His debut is a historical one. It came on the heels of The Comics Code Authority lifting a ban on the use of Vampires in mainstream Comics. Morbius was a villain on the Spider-Man roster and easily transitioned to brooding antihero by 1972.

First appearance of Morbius in Amazing Spider-Man #101.

Dead or Alive

Morbius is a tragic antagonist, having acquired his pseudo-vampiric addiction while researching a cure for his own rare, but fatal blood disease. The “cure” consisted of vampire bat DNA and electroshock therapy. What could go wrong? (Spoiler Alert: EVERYTHING!)

The ill-fated attempt at a cure afflicted Morbius with “pseudo-vampirism” which cursed him with the powers and the bloodlust of a vampire. This led to a new life’s mission… curing his newfound vampire curse.

His activity frequently takes him down dark paths leading to many altercations with Spider-Man. Morbius made appearances in The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up and Giant Size Superheroes in his early years.

After that Marvel made a push toward promoting Morbius as a more mature and horror-based character. He starred in Vampire Tales as well as his own Bimonthly book Adventure into Fear. These were both short lived series for Morbius and did nothing to cement him as an A-List Hero.

Adventure Into Fear with The Man Called Morbius.
Dead or Alive: The Weird World of Marvel's Morbius
Adventure Into Fear with The Man Called Morbius.

Take an Adventure Into Fear

Throughout the next 40 years Morbius weaved in and out of more established and popular books. Frequently teaming up with or at times battling against Spider-Man. His journey and nature ultimately leading toward the more supernatural side of the Marvel Universe.

Morbius frequently made appearances in the pages of Werewolf at Night, Dr Strange, Man-Thing and co-starred in the short series Legion of Monsters. His niche was assigned, and he rarely ventured far from it, even now.

None of this is to say that Morbius is a forgettable character with boring stories.

NOT AT ALL!

He has had some classic confrontations with Blade… yes… That Blade. The Vampire Hunting BLADE. At one point Blade even managed to kill Morbius but the death was short lived as Morbius was resurrected later in Spirits of Vengeance.

Comic Books. How can you NOT love them!

Enter Franken-Castle
Dead or Alive: The Weird World of Marvel's Morbius
Enter Franken-Castle

Journey Into The Weird With Morbius

Two of my favorite Morbius appearances are both on the wacky side.

Morbius was held prisoner by zombie Morbius during the Marvel Zombie craze of the late 2000’s. He ultimately killed his zombie counterpart and with the help of The Midnight Sons contained a full-blown zombie outbreak from destroying the world. It was kind of a big deal.

The most surreal and confusing storyline involving Morbius involves The Punisher, Man-Thing and Wolverine’s son, Daken. After Daken dismembers Punisher, Morbius and Man-Thing re-assemble Punisher into a monster called Franken-Castle. Yes. It is as awesome as it sounds.

These moments stick out when I hope for a Morbius live action feature film. I don’t expect Franken-Castle cameos or Zombie battles but the possibility of a supernatural Hero prowling for adventure sounds amazing. Star Jared Leto agrees.

Morbius Movie from Sony/Columbia Pictures
Dead or Alive: The Weird World of Marvel's Morbius
Morbius Movie from Sony/Columbia Pictures

It’s Showtime

In an interview with Screen Rant, Leto shared how his own fascination with vampires helped shape his portrayal of Morbius.

Leto stated, “You know, I’ve always loved vampires. I love the Anne Rice novels. One of the very first movies I ever saw was Dracula; that black-and-white Dracula so I’ve always loved that.”

He went on to state that he was intrigued by the character’s health struggles and the moral conflict of a hero who thirsts for blood.

Leto also revealed his inspiration when embodying the role. He added, “I love The Hunger with David Bowie, it was a great film not a lot of people have seen. For me, there’s something iconic about this opportunity. It’s one of the roles that you want to play, so it’s great to do a different spin. This isn’t exactly a vampire, but some of those qualities are there.”

Jared Leto Stars as Morbius
Dead or Alive: The Weird World of Marvel's Morbius
Jared Leto Stars as Morbius

This Man. This Monster.

Morbius is dead and alive, he is human and vampire. This is the weird world of Marvel’s Michael Morbius. And it is beautiful!

The possibilities are endless with a character like Morbius. Time will tell if Sony hits the right vibe for such a complex Hero but if early reviews are to be believed… it’s not looking good. With a release date of April Fools Day the joke may be on all of us. Keep your fingers crossed, True Believers!

Morbius Tagline⁠—One of the most compelling and conflicted characters in Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters comes to the big screen as Oscar® winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. Will good override evil — or will Morbius succumb to his mysterious new urges? In theaters April 1, 2022.

MORBIUS TRAILER (YouTube)

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