Morbius Reading Guide

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Hello fleshlings, and welcome to the Morbius Reading Guide!

More than man, myth, or meme, Morbius is now a movie! The first full-length film featuring Dr. Michael Morbius is premiering in just one week, which means it is time for the MorbMob to begin our pernicious preparations. For the quickest course through these vampiric verses, here is what you need to read:

Quick start:

  • Morbius the Living Vampire Omnibus (2020)
    • Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #101-102
    • Marvel Team-Up (1972) #3-4
    • Vampire Tales (1973) #1-5, 7-8, 10-11
    • Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #15
    • Giant-Size Werewolf (1974) #4
  • Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #1-13
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (2000) #95-96
  • Legion of Monsters: Morbius (2007) #1
  • The Punisher: Franken-Castle (2010)
  • Marvel Zombies 4 (2009)
  • Lizard: No Turning Back (2012)
  • The Man Called Morbius (2013)
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (2013) #1-9
  • Morbius: Old Wounds (2019)
    • Morbius (2019) #1-5
  • Morbius: Bond of Blood (2021) #1

But these 60 issues are just a tease of what’s to come! Gathered below are 50 years of Morbius comics, bringing you a wide gamut of horror, comedy, romance, tragedy, hits, misses: enough variety to sate the hunger of any Morbius fan’s palate! I recommend trying a few issues of every run, just to see which treacherous tales might tempt your taste.

Also, be sure to check out the “Extra Reading” sections for bonus recommendations and guest appearances. Good luck, Morbheads!

“Gaze your fill, human — Morbius the living vampire will be the last sight your miserable eyes behold!”

 

 

Early Appearances (1970s)

As far as I know, before 2020, there was only one Morbius trade collection ever. But thanks to the upcoming movie, we’ve finally gotten the first omnibus for our favorite fashionable vampire. The Morbius the Living Vampire Omnibus is an exciting new collection of Morbius’ early appearances, including his origin story, his first ongoing series, the first appearance of the Legion of Monsters, a handful of hero crossovers, and so much more!

  • Morbius the Living Vampire Omnibus (2020)
    • Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #101-102
    • Marvel Team-Up (1972) #3-4
    • Vampire Tales (1973) #1-5, 7-8, 10-11
    • Fear (1970) #20-31
    • Marvel Premiere (1972) #28
    • Marvel Two-in-One (1974) #15
    • Giant-Size Super-Heroes (1974) #1, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #6-8, 38; Savage She-Hulk #9-12; Giant-Size Werewolf (1974) #4; Marvel Preview (1975) #8.
  • Also collected as
    • Morbius Epic Collection Vol. 1-2

 

Extra reading:

  • Fantastic Four (1961) #266-268
  • West Coast Avengers (1985) #5-6
  • Fantastic Four (1961) #315-317

 

 

Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992)

After his massive popularity in the 70s, Morbius sulked into the shadows for the 80s. But not for long, because he was brought back in the 90s in full force. Popping up everywhere between 1992-1994, Morbius featured in not only three Midnight Sons crossovers but also Spider-Man’s Maximum Carnage event happening at the exact same time. (Warning: these are very 90s extreme!). After the Morbius solo series ended in 1995, he unfortunately started to fade into obscurity yet again and by the end of the decade he was entirely absent from the Marvel universe.

  • Rise of the Midnight Sons (1992)
    • Ghost Rider (1990) #28
    • Ghost Rider and Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992) #1
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #1
    • Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins (1992) #1
    • Nightstalkers (1992) #1
    • Ghost Rider (1990) #31
  • Interlude
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #2-11
    • Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (1988) #52-53
    • Nightstalkers (1992) #8-9
    • Midnight Sons Unlimited (1993) #1-2
  • Midnight Sons: Midnight Massacre (1993)
    • Nightstalkers (1992) #10
    • Ghost Rider (1990) #40
    • Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins (1992) #11
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #12
    • Ghost Rider and Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992) #13
  • Interlude
    • Midnight Sons Unlimited (1993) #3
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #13-15
      • At this point the original writer left and the writing quality fell

  • Midnight Sons: Siege of Darkness (1993)
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #16
    • Nightstalkers (1992) #14-15
    • Ghost Rider (1990) #44-45
    • Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins (1992) #15
    • Marvel Comics Presents (1988) #143-146
    • Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (1988) #60-61
    • Ghost Rider and Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992) #17-18
    • Midnight Sons Unlimited (1993) #4
  • Interlude
    • Midnight Sons Unlimited (1993) #5
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #18-20
    • Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (1988) #62-63, 66
  • Morbius: Dance of the Hunter (1994)
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #21-23
  • End of the Midnight Sons
    • Midnight Sons Unlimited (1993) #7 [A Story]
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) #24-32
    • Blade: The Vampire Hunter (1994) #7-8, 10
    • Blade (1998) #2-3

 

  • Maximum Carnage (1993)
    • Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #378-380
    • Spectacular Spider-Man (1988) #201-203
    • Spider-Man (1990) #35-37
    • Spider-Man Unlimited (1993) #1-2
    • Web of Spider-Man (1985) #101-103

 

Recommended watching:

  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994) S2 E6-E10; S4 E6-E7

Extra reading:

  • Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (1988) #10-11, 14-18, 20
  • Spider-Man (1990) #13-14
  • Daredevil (1964) #324-325
  • Venom: The Enemy Within (1994) #1-3
  • Web of Spider-Man (1985) #120 [B Story]
  • X-Man (1995) #24
  • Strange Tales: Dark Corners (1998) #1 [B Story]
  • Spider-Man (1990) #76-80
  • Peter Parker, Spider-Man (1999) #4, 7-8
    • In the upcoming movie, Matt Smith’s character is rumored to be Loxias Crown. An obscure villain of both Morbius and Blade, Crown’s only comics appearances are in Spider-Man (1990) #76, 79-80 and Peter Parker, Spider-Man (1999) #4, 7.

 

 

Legion of Monsters (2007)

After being forgotten for five years, Morbius was revived in the 2000s with new friends and a new attitude. With the Legion of Monsters reformed, Morbius came to the supernatural side of Marvel comics with renewed purpose. One of the wildest and most memorable moments from the Legion of Monsters saga was Rick Remender’s run on Punisher where Frank Castle died and was reborn as “Franken-Castle.” (It’s as awesome as it sounds) 

But that’s not all! Some of Morbius’ best stories from this era also include his extended adventures with the Legion of Monsters in Marvel Zombies (also awesome!) and a short but sweet appearance in Brian Michael Bendis’ critically-acclaimed Ultimate Spider-Man run. All bangers.

Even without a solo series, Morbius was thriving in the late 2000s. This is the best place for modern Morbius comics.   

  • Ultimate Spider-Man: Deadpool (2006)
    • Ultimate Spider-Man (2000) #95-96
    • Alternate universe
  • Also collected as:
    • Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 8 (hardcover)
  • Legion of Monsters (2007)
    • Legion of Monsters: Morbius (2007) #1
  • The Punisher: Franken-Castle (2010)
    • The Punisher (2009) #11-16
    • Franken-Castle (2010) #17, 21
  • Legion of Monsters (2011)
    • Legion of Monsters (2011) #1-4
  • Find more Legion of Monsters recs here!
  • Marvel Zombies (2008-2010)
    • Marvel Zombies 3 (2008) #1-4
    • Marvel Zombies 4 (2009) #1-4
    • Marvel Zombies 5 (2010) #5

 

Extra reading:

  • Blade (2006) #5
    • Features Wolverine
  • Spectacular Spider-Man (2003) #14
  • Amazing Fantasy (2004) #17 [B Story]
  • Spider-Man Family (2007) #5 [A Story]
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (2005) #24
  • Marvel 1985 (2008) #4
  • Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #622, 642, 679.1
  • Deadpool Team-Up (2010) #894

 

 

Morbius: The Living Vampire (2013)

Continuing his momentum from the 2000s, Morbius finally earned his own solo book in 2013! Spinning out of Amazing Spider-Man #699.1, the new Morbius series was polarizing. With just as many fans as critics, the run was allegedly one of the lowest-selling Marvel books of the era. Nonetheless, Morbius had a significant role in a popular Lizard/Spider-Man arc and some funny cameos when Deadpool’s divorce caused a monster war in New York. Check them all out and see what works for you!

  • Lizard: No Turning Back (2012)
    • Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #688-691
  • The Man Called Morbius (2013)
    • Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #698-699.1
    • Morbius: The Living Vampire (2013) #1-9

 

Extra reading:

  • Deadpool (2016) #3
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe (2016) #1
  • Deadpool v. Gambit (2016) #2
  • Deadpool: Til Death Do Us Part (2016)
  • Spider-Man Annual (2018) #1 [A Story]
  • Domino (2018) #7-8
  • Avengers (2018) #12
  • Absolute Carnage: Lethal Protectors (2019) #2-3, 5

 

 

Morbius (2019)

Despite some great art by Marcelo Ferreira and covers by Ryan Brown, the latest Morbius title was only decent. It could work if you’re a new fan, but you might be better served trying the old-school Vampire Tales or the other solos from 1992 or 2013. There was also the retro-style Morbius: Bond of Blood one-shot last year from Marvel legend Ralph Macchio, but the reception to that was even more polarizing! So give these both a shot, but as with everything Morbius, your mileage may vary. 

  • Morbius: Old Wounds (2019)
    • Morbius (2019) #1-5
  • Morbius: Bond of Blood (2021) #1

 

Extra reading:

  • Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality (2019) #3-4
  • Amazing Spider-Man (2018) 77-78, 92, 92.BEY
    • Features the Lizard as…. a vampire??!

 

 

And that’s the magnificent Morbius! What are your favorite stories here? What are you excited to try next? Have you already bought your IMAX tickets, or are you waiting for the digital release? Let me know on Twitter @vinwriteswords and remember to follow the site @MyCosmicCircus for more monster madness!

Of course, be sure to check out our other reading guides here and stay tuned to The Cosmic Circus for more coming soon!

All images courtesy of Marvel Comics.

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Reviews, reading guides, and crazy theories. Currently obsessing over Moon Knight, Blade, and Doctor Strange. Find me on Twitter @vinwriteswords!
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