Marvel’s roster of heroes and villains features no shortage of costumed vigilantes and over-the-top bad guys, but the more horror-tinged stories from “The House of Ideas” also includes those iconic bloodsuckers, vampires. The first modern Marvel cinematic hit, 1998’s “Blade,” followed the titular Daywalker as he fought against the undead scourge, but the history of vampires in Marvel comics dates back to long before Blade’s 1973 print debut.
Vampires first appeared in the pages of “Marvel Mystery Comics” #35, published by Timely Comics in 1942. Timely would eventually evolve into Marvel, which makes this little-known story the proper debut of Marvel’s version of vampires. In terms of lore, however, Marvel vampires date back thousands of years, and include icons like Varnae and the immortal legend himself, Dracula. From repression by the Comics Code Authority to clashes with the X-Men, this is the history of vampires in the Marvel Universe.