Episode 30: Morbius #1

Marvel didn’t just come up with insane new characters for the 90s, they also tapped into their stable of older characters and gave them EXTREME makeovers. This included the “Living Vampire” (which, to be clear, differs in no practical way from a garden variety vampire) known as Morbius. Host Nathaniel Wayne brings in Ryan Daly to see if this blood sucker should be allowed to live another night or needs to be staked and left out in the sun.

Listen to Episode 30: Morbius #1.

You can subscribe to the Council of Geeks Podcast, home of 90s Comics Retrial on iTunes or on Stitcher.

morbius_the_living_vampire_vol_1_1

You can find one of Ryan’s many podcasts here: http://fireandwaterpodcast.com/show/midnight-the-podcasting-hour-2/

Finally, a reminder that the podcast theme song is by Erica Dreisbach, and you can find more of her work at her website right here.

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8 thoughts on “Episode 30: Morbius #1

  1. For another take on this comic, take a listen to this Back to the Bins episode from last year. (Yeah, I’m a shameless self-promoter. 😉 )

    [audio src="http://twotruefreaks.com/media/podcasts/backtothebins/mp3/212-VampireWeek.mp3" /]

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  2. During the episode, you asked how long the MORBIUS series ran and I speculated that it probably didn’t last two years. Actually, the Living Vampire’s comic was the only one of the four new series to spring out of “Rise of the Midnight Sons” that did last more than two years.

    I checked the database at Mike’s Amazing World to compare the four new books, as well as Ghost Rider’s ’90s series to see how many issues were published in each series. The breakdowns are listed below:

    GHOST RIDER (1990): 93 issues, 2 annuals, and a -1 issue (?). Final issue published in December 1997 (Feb 1998 cover date).

    GHOST RIDER & BLAZE: SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE (1992): 23 issues. Final issue published April 1994 (June cover date).

    MORBIUS (1992): 32 issues. Final issue published February 1995 (April cover date).

    DARKHOLD: PAGES FROM THE BOOK OF SINS (1992): 16 issues. Final issue published November 1993 (Jan 1994 cover date).

    NIGHTSTALKERS: 18 issues. Final issue published February 1994 (April cover date).

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  3. (I think my last comment got eaten. Stupid browser.)

    I know Ryan only checked on titles directly involved in this crossover, but there were a couple more crossovers before all the titles died out. Also, the Midnight Sons had their own quarterly anthology book called Midnight Sons Unlimited (because Marvel in the 90’s, of course). It featured different stories about all the various characters/teams, some even outliving their own titles. The book ran from April 1993 to May 1995 totaling in a 9 issues. Toward the end, though, it became a much more generic dark supernatural book including stories about Dr. Strange, Man-Thing (although not necessarily giant-sized to many people’s chagrin) and even a WWII era Ghost Rider.

    Oh, the rise and fall of Marvel’s Midnight Sons. What a ride.

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  4. Frank says:

    I was aware of Morbius fairly early in my comic collecting, most likely either from a Marvel Treasury Edition of team-up stories where Spider-Man & the X-Men fought him, or a Marvel Spotlight where he was part of the Legion of Monsters one-off team (also involving Ghost Rider, Werewolf by Night & Man-Thing.) He was a creepy looking vampire anti-hero and so was cool in my book, though I had an inflated sense of his importance based on this early exposure and stories of his flouting the Comics Code Authority (like a boss!) For the record, the “living vampire” angle is that he is not a supernatural being and his powers/condition are derived from medical/scientific origins, which his debut comic obviously queers.

    I was a Ghost Rider sort-of fan, not realizing how key Mark Texeira’s involvement was in my enjoyment of those books, but actively buying them on inertia after Tex had left because only then did I have regular access to a comic shop. My brother had all the good issues, while I kept up purchases through the string of meh follow-ups until sometime in the 30s. As part of Tom DeFalco’s multi-vectored but seemingly concerted effort to alienate me from Marvel Comics forever that culminated with Heroes World, I bought every chapter of “Rise of the Midnight Sons.” It was an anemic affair that served only to introduce Lilith and an extended family of titles without resolving any of the conflict with Lilith and mostly forgetting to do anything with any of those characters that would inspire ongoing interest or loyalty. I don’t think I carried many of those books past their individual chapters. Hilariously, my father’s one bout of speculator frenzy was to buy every one of these books and keep them “pristine” in their polybags in a box in his closet for nearly a quarter century as an investment for his daughter. Never mind that even at the time I tried to warn him off of the endeavor, or how they’re still worth less than cover price, or how the cheap plastic bags will actually speed the ultimate deterioration of those comics as the paper soaks up their chemical residue.

    Having wised up some, I think I only pre-ordered the first Midnight Sons issues, with the intention of buying any successive issues I enjoyed off the rack. I recall quite liking Morbius #1 and picking up a few more after, but finding that they didn’t carry the standard of this debut. It’s a shame, because I’ve tended to like Len Kaminsky’s work when I’ve been exposed to it, mostly on JLA tie-ins and a Martian Manhunter annual I liked so much that I openly advocated for his taking over the ongoing series from John Ostrander (though I admittedly wanted anyone but Ostrander by the second year of that run.) He also seems to like supernatural characters, based on his brief underappreciated work on the Jared Stevens Fate series and Scare Tactics (about a touring rock band made up of monsters.) I also liked Ron Wagner more here than on pretty much any other project he was involved with, including his own stints on Ghost Rider and Fate (and, shudder, Genesis.)

    Besides Lost Boys, Anne Rice’s Lestat books were being adapted into painted comics by Innovation prior to the sexay leather fetish revamp of Morbius. I still think the costume update was nice, but without the trademark bat-nose (Ultimate Gil Kane Nares) he’s just another background player in an Underworld flick.

    P.S. In defense of Nightstalkers, it ended to spin-off the rare solo series for an African-American lead, Blade the Vampire Slayer. Which in turn folded less than a year later, but still.

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  5. The editor you’re thinking of who spearheaded Vertigo over at DC was Karen Berger. She’s the one who fought to give Alan Moore the freedom to make Swamp Thing a non code title aimed at adults. She’s the one who first hired Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis and a ton of British creators for their first American comics work.

    She’s a hero of mine, and I wanted to make sure she got her props.

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  6. Illegal Machine says:

    Hi, I’ve been binge listening based on Frank’s recommendation. Haven’t felt the need to comment since I was so far behind on episodes, but this one is pretty recent so I figured I’d chime in.

    Len Kaminski along with Dave Michelinie are two of the more underrated comic book writers of all time, in my opinion. It’s nice to see they’ve had some decent showings on this podcast. Why do I think they’re underrated? Well…they both had great runs on Iron Man, and I’m a giant Iron Man fan. I should say, I REMEMBER Len’s run being pretty good, but as your podcast has shown….I may be looking back at the books of my childhood through holographic and polybagged glasses.

    Len’s most famous stint as a writer is probably his 90’s run of Iron Man with Kevin Hopgood. Out of that run came the armor which evolved into the armor we all associate with the movies, as well as War Machine (EXTREME!) and the Hulk Buster armor (EXTREME!).

    Nobody collected Iron Man, so I doubt you have any of them in your collection. This podcast has me itching to dig into Marvel Unlimited and reread some of those issues.

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