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Official Site: Marvel Comics
Morbius, the Living Vampire, is a fictional character appearing in comic book published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Roy Thomas and penciler Gil Kane, the character, a living human suffering from vampiric abilities resulting from scientific rather than supernatural means, first appeared as an antagonist in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (Oct. 1971), and went on to become a heroic, tragically flawed protagonist in his own series and other titles.
Dr. Michael Morbius was created in response to the comic-book industry's self-censorship board, the Comics Code Authority, lifting its ban on vampires and certain other supernatural characters in February 1971, and not as a challenge to the code, as many believe. Writer Roy Thomas and penciler Gil Kane created the character as a living man who is given vampiric abilities via scientific rather than supernatural means. Kane was instructed to specifically avoid Gothic fashion elements and design a costume for Morbius that was akin to those of superhero or supervillain, and he specifically chose the red and blue primary colors that were the staple of characters like Spider-Man and Superman.
Morbius debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (Oct. 1971), the first issue of Marvel Comics' flagship Spider-Man series written by other than character co-creator and editor-in-chief Stan Lee. Lee, busy writing a screenplay for an unproduced science fiction movie, bequeathed the series to his right-hand editor, 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. Thomas said the name "Morbius" was not deliberately taken from the antagonist Dr. Morbius in the movie Forbidden Planet.
A tragic and sympathetic antagonist in his initial two-issue arc, having acquired his vampiric addiction while researching a cure for his own rare, fatal blood disease, Morbius collided again with Spider-Man and others in Marvel Team-Up #3-4 (July & Sept. 1972). Morbius went on to star in 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 (Aug. 1973 - June 1975). All but the first and last of these were written by Don McGregor, with penciling by Rich Buckler and by Tom Sutton, primarily. 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 (Feb. 1974) and continuing through #31 (Dec. 1975), the final issue of that title. These were written, successively, by Mike Friedrich, Steve Gerber (who wrote the first Morbius solo story, in Vampire Tales), Doug Moench, and Bill Mantlo, working with a wide variety of pencilers. Morbius segued. During this period, Morbius again appeared as an antagonist in the Spider-Man one-shot, Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1 (June 1974)
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