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Has Superman Ever Been Turned Into a Vampire?

by  in Comics Comment
Has Superman Ever Been Turned Into a Vampire?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Johnny K. wrote in to ask:

Superman’s vulnerable to magic, right? So has he ever been turned into a vampire, even temporarily?

Let’s find out!

The first time that Superman fought vampires (since they were banned by the Comics Code for years), was in the pages of Jack Kirby’s “Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen” #143, but it was just a sort of weird vampire named Count Dragorin that I wouldn’t really count him as a vampire for these purposes. And he didn’t really do much to Superman and he certainly didn’t turn him into a vampire.

A more straightforward Superman/vampire fight occurred in 1979’s “Superman” #344 (by Paul Levitz, Len Wein, Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte), when somehow Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster appeared in the DC Universe. Superman defeated Dracula through a rather outlandish way, creating a miniature sun in a balloon!!

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Then, luckily for Superman, Phantom Stranger then showed up and solved everything permanently…

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EDITED TO ADD: Reader Steven G. wrote in to point out an odd “World’s Finest” story that came out two years before that “Superman” story, where a unique marine lifeform does transform Superman into a vampire of sorts in “World’s Finest” #249 (by Bob Haney, Kurt Schaffenberger and Tex Blaisdell)

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Batman was actually about to stake Superman in the heart when, once again, the Phantom Stranger showed up at the last minute to explain that the marine creatures weren’t trying to do anything wrong. They were just trying to, in effect, warn Batman and Superman about some other bad guys around them. So Phantom Stranger revealed the true bad guys and Superman recovered. This doesn’t really count, though, as there were no real vampires involved in the story. It is funny to see both stories involving the Phantom Stranger showing up at the last minute to wrap things up.

Following “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, Superman was re-vamped by writer/artist John Byrne. In the memorable 1987 “Action Comics Annual” #1, Byrne was joined by artists Art Adams and Dick Giordano for a memorable team-up between Superman and Batman (at a point in their respective histories when Superman and Batman rarely teamed up with each other). Batman and Superman tried to “save” a seemingly innocent young girl in the deep south who turned out to be a vampire…

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Batman ended up using a stake to kill her.

A few years later, there was a recurring subplot in the various “Superman” titles where Lucy Lane was turned into a vampire. This was all part of a larger game between sibling demons, Blaze and Satanus. So when the vampiric Lucy Lane was about to bite Superman to try to transform him, Blaze entered the fray and cured everyone of their vampirism…

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As you might have noticed, except for the mini-sun, Superman has been saved by other people in each of these stories, with Phantom Stranger, Batman and Blaze saving him before we could actually find out what would happen if a vampire bit Superman.

That changed in 2002’s “Superman” #180 (by Jeph Loeb, Geoff Johns, Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund). Superman and Lois Lane travel to Eastern Europe to investigate
Count Rominoff, one of the leaders of the small countries that were in danger of being attacked by the evil General Zod, leader of the former Soviet republic of Pokolistan. Rominoff wanted the help of the West in general and Superman in particular in his upcoming battle against General Zod. As it turned out, Rominoff was just a pseudonym for Count Dracula himself! After messing with Superman’s head for a while (and even having him drink human blood!), Dracula made his big move – he bit Superman! Unfortunately for Dracula, Superman’s blood had so much solar energy stored in it that it killed Dracula.

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Oddly enough, almost exactly two years later, another vampire DID bite Superman. In “JLA” #95 (by John Byrne, Chris Claremont and Jerry Ordway), the vampire Crucifer bit Superman. His blood WAS bad for Crucifer, but it did not kill him. And he was able to control Superman through the bite…

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Eventually Superman broke free of his control and killed him with a cross. For once, Superman saved himself!

Oddly enough, Superman did not really fight any vampires in the mini-series “Superman and Batman vs. Vampires and Werewolves”. Mandrakk, the Darm Monitor, from Final Crisis was sort of a metafictional vampire, but I don’t think he counts, either.

So no, Johnny, Superman has never been turned into a vampire by being bitten by a vampire! He’s come sort of close at times, though!

Thanks for the question, Johnny! If anyone else has a question, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com or bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

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