Adventure into Fear with The Man Called Morbius, The Living Vampire #27 (1975)

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but Morbius’ solo book is one of the better books on the stands in 1975.  So far, it’s had some really weird stuff in it that is classic 1970s, and it’s experimented with using a horror character in a sci-fi story-long before the Alien film came about.  And it did it without compromising the truly brutal nature of its cannibalistic main character.

This issue starts a multi-issue arc against a vampire hunter named Stroud.  It starts, though, with Morbius reuinited with his old gal Martine, and together they hit the laboratory to find a cure for his (not) vampirism.  I’m still not loving Frank Robbins’ art in this book, but I do love that panel with their faces distorted by their Bunsen burners.  It’s so odd-and so out of place at Marvel, where the cartoon-y art of the Golden Age was pretty much all gone, replaced by neorealism.

Despite his love for Martine and her helping him find a cure, he still gets overcome by his bloodlust and tries to eat her-he fails, falls unconscious, and she laments by his bedside.  Yeah, she’s just a supporting character-and a woman pining away for her tragic man is such a boring trope-but it works well here.

We then get details about Simon Stroud, a special agent (not sure what Federal agency) and monster hunter who has been tracking Man-Wolf, and is now assigned to get Morbius after there is some evidence that vampires are attacking people.  The punch line, at the end, is that the vampire on the loose is not Michael Morbius-it’s someone else.

The issue concludes with Stroud taking Martine into custody.

Very good story.

Creators: Doug Moench and Frank Robbins.
Grade: B
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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