Once every so often, companies take a character that has had spurts of popularity here and there and decide to try again on a solo series. Try again – because all previous attempts have fizzled out not long after the launch. These characters, they think, should be franchise players, but try as they might, they cannot muster a fanbase strong enough to warrant an ongoing.
Marvel has a string of characters that once in a while they will try to push to the top tier, only to fail time and time again. Perennial background players like Ghost Rider, Blade, and whichever Captain Marvel is current are pushed into the limelight, but the fans just don’t buy it. The latest incarnations of Blade and Ghost Rider are no doubt thanks to the movie hype the two have gained (though Ghost Rider’s wasn’t exactly positive, and Blade’s was a bit overdue), but for Blade, it wasn’t enough. One year, and he’s through.
But when thinking about the character, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Blade can’t make it as a solo series. The main appeal of mainstream super heroes is that they can fight anyone, anywhere. It takes a story base (Fantastic Four – science, X-Men – mutation, Thor – folklore, Avengers – homestyle heroics) and pushes on. Blade has a very limited scope – he’s a half-vampire vampire hunter who, uh, hunts vampires. In a massive event like Civil War or World War Hulk, Blade completely feels out of place. Why should he care about registration? He’s not a hero – he simply hunts vampires.
Blade’s a perfect character to show up as a guest star when a title like Amazing Spider-Man or New Avengers enters a vampire-based storyline (which hasn’t happened in quite some time). As for his own, Blade deserves a mini-series at best, but when you push beyond, there’s not really much else you can do with the character. It’s a fate, no doubt, that Ghost Rider will (once again) be meeting before too long.
So farewell, Blade. We’ll see you in a few years when your movie trilogy comes out in a special edition boxed set.