6. Blade (Marvel Entertainment)
First Appearance: The Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)
Creators: Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan
Much of Marvel’s success as a blockbuster media company today has to be credited to Blade. It’s easy to forget that in the mid-to-late ‘90s, the House of Ideas was completely bankrupt, and none of its characters were finding any success outside of the comic books, which were selling horribly at the time anyway. Then, New Line took a chance on a Blade movie in 1998, and the superhero genre has never looked back.
Created in 1973, Blade was only a moderate success in Marvel’s old-school horror line, his only real selling-point that he was among the most prominent black stars that the company ever produced. It wasn’t until the character’s movie trilogy hit theaters that he became much more than that. Thanks to those films, Blade's a star. His films helped usher in a new wave of vampire action movies and comics that pre-dated the trite Twilight era we're currently trapped in.
Armed with an array of weapons and intense super powers, Blade blasted onto the big screen in gory fashion, courtesy of the great performance by Wesley Snipes and the vision of directors like Guillermo del Toro. That mixture of horror and action brought Marvel back into the mainstream, and proved that audiences will always gravitate to an interesting character, no matter the race.