Itâ€™s no secret that the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and director of the first two Avengers film) Joss Whedon is a huge Marvel Comics fan. What may surprise many, however, is that Whedon imbued a staggering amount of character from Marvelâ€™s own vampire slayer, Blade the Vampier Hunter, into his iconic feminist hero. In fact, many may say that, despite developing into a culturally significant and historically relevant character in her own right, Buffy was created as somewhat of a parody of Blade. In this article, weâ€™ll take a look at some of the similarities that these two spectacularly cool vampire hunters share.
Buffy vs Blade: Who Came First?
Casual fans are often confused about which of these two beloved properties came first. While Blade the Vampire Hunter wasnâ€™t popularized in film until 1998, he existed in the Marvel Universe long before then. To add to this confusion, itâ€™s widely theorized that the vampire-boom created by the cultural phenomenon that was Buffyâ€™s debut on television paved the way for Blade to make his first appearance on the big screen.
Blade Was Created in 1973
Blade wasnâ€™t quite as popular as some other characters in the Marvel Universe, but he always stood out due to his dark edge, especially in relation to the Marvel Universe writ large. Created in 1973, Blade first appeared in The Tomb of Dracula #10. Over the years, Blade has seen a significant number of re-imaginings in various forms, from big screen adaptations, to animations, to television series. Buffy has seen a comparable saturation in the media. As well, despite the near 20 year gap in their creation, both rose to mainstream prominence around the same time.
Buffy vs Blade: Differences vs Similarities
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not in anyway a rip-off of Blade, but there are many aspects of Buffy that serve as a mild homage. While there are a good deal of similarities between the two, there are also many things that set them apart. Blade is an anti-hero whose origin was born out of tragedy, not a hero who was destined by fate. His mother was the victim of a powerful vampireâ€™s attack, and those powers transferred over into Blade, making him a reluctant half-vampire with uncanny abilities. This tragedy inspired him to dedicate his powers to fighting against the beings that created him.
Buffy Was Chosen by Fate, Blade Was Born from Tragedy
Buffy, on the other hand, is much more of a typical Chosen One, whose powers were passed down to her from a long line of other chosen vampire slayers. In many respects, the trials that Buffy goes through in her stories are more akin to the trials that the younger X-Men face when learning how to control their powers, with Buffyâ€™s mentor Giles playing a role similar to Professor Xavier. With this in mind, itâ€™s likely that Blade isnâ€™t even the Marvel character that most inspired Whedon when he was creating his beloved character. Still, the similarities are there– the 1992 Buffy film that predates the series could almost be read as â€œBlade Meets Saved By the Bellâ€.
Buffy vs Blade: Change In Various Mediums
If the 1992 film was all that ever came of Buffy as a character, this story would be much more concrete. However, the initial premise of Buffy as a parody is left behind for good in the 1997 television series, which has also left behind a much greater cultural legacy than it’s parent film. In fact, many people donâ€™t realize that Buffy was even in a movie before the TV show.
Buffy the Series Was More Mature Than the Movie
The world of the television series is much more mature and thoughtful than that of the film and, although the Marvel comics universe and Blade are still great inspirations, the television series of Buffy really canâ€™t be said to be derived from any one thing. It is it’s own creation, just like Blade, and it has arguably had an equal impact on history. Itâ€™s not for nothing that the success of Buffy led Joss Whedon on a career path that would inevitably see him creating his own Marvel films, the most successful of their kind at the time.
Buffy vs Blade: Mentors and Comics
Itâ€™s interesting to note that although Blade in his comic form and Buffy in her television form donâ€™t share a good deal of specific similarities beyond the obvious, there is one thing that the film adaptation of Blade took from Buffy. While Blade never had an elderly mentor in the comics, the film adaptation took a character from Spider-Man: The Animated Series and added him into Bladeâ€™s story as a mentor, playing a role that is incredibly similar to the one Giles plays for Buffy in both her film and television series. Perhaps Buffy was acting in retaliation to this when she began releasing her own comic specials through Dark Horse Comics in 1998, the same year Blade came out in theaters.
Okay, But Who Would Win In a Fight?
Depending on where they faced each other in their respective canons, these vampire hunters could pose a pretty big threat to one another. While Buffyâ€™s signature weapon is designed specifically for hunting vampires, Bladeâ€™s healing abilities and speed could give him a slight advantage. Although Buffy is a cunning and fast fighter in her own right, so the real victor could be hard to predict! Preferably, these two would eventually find some common interest and a way to work together for the greater good.
Both Are Equally Awesome Heros!
Both heros draw liberally from their inspiration, as all fantasy creations do, and both have a place in the heart of a huge group of fans. As well, both serve as rare and treasured examples of oft-underrepresented demographics in their mediums and genres, Blade for African-Americans and Buffy for women. Both have taken from each otherâ€™s stories respectfully over their many iterations, and will continue to inspire new and similar tales for many years to come. If itâ€™s a matter of did it first, itâ€™s Blade, but if itâ€™s a matter of who did it better, itâ€™s neither!