Dr. Michael Morbius PhD, originally designed by penciler Gil Kane, was also created by writer Roy Thomas. He made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 in 1971. The Nobel Prize-winning biochemist suffered from a rare blood disease, which he attempted to cure through an experiment involving vampire bats and electroshock therapy. Rather than curing him, he became afflicted with “pseudo-vampirism” – a condition that mimicked the powers and bloodthirst of vampirism.
In order to survive, Morbius now needed to digest human blood and had a strong aversion to light. The transformation also gave him the ability to fly, along with superhuman strength, speed and an accelerated healing factor. Meanwhile his teeth extended into fangs, his nose flattened and his skin became chalk-white. Similar to normal vampires, Morbius could turn others into “living vampires” by biting them. Although he was searching to cure his newfound condition, Morbius often came into conflict with the Human Torch, the original X-Men, and more frequently Spider-Man.
During an altercation with Spider-Man, Morbius was struck by lightning and seemingly cured of him pseudo-vampirism. Unfortunately, this “cure” was short-lived and Morbius resumed his pseudo-vampire state. Throughout his long history, Morbius continued to be an antagonist of Spider-Man, as well as the Ghost Rider and John Blaze. Eventually, Morbius became a tragically flawed protagonist and often attempted to be a hero. He even signed the Superhuman Registration Act and cooperated with the SHIELD.
While Morbius has endured a rather tumultuous comic history, did you know he will soon be making a feature film appearance? As Sony continues to expand their Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a particular focus on Spider-Man, the company recently announced plans for a featured project on Morbius. The film, which is currently in development at Sony, is being written by Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama (Power Rangers).