JAMAL AFARI

Real Name: Jamal Afari

Identity/Class: Human vampire (late 19th century through 1920s-1930s, returned in Modern Era)

Occupation: Vampire-Hunter & jazz horn player

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Blade, Hannibal King, Lady Vanity (and presumably her girls), Slow-Boy

EnemiesLucas Cross, Dracula, Spider-Man, generally vampires

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile;
formerly his flat in Soho, London

First Appearance: Marvel Preview#3/3 (September, 1975)

Powers/Abilities: He had the normal powers and weaknesses of a vampire, including superhuman strength, the need for blood, fangs, claws, etc. Before being turned he was a skilled fighter and used a silver sword cane. He was also one of the finest jazz horn players alive. Not much changed about his vampiric powers after his resurrection, but he proofed to be strongwilled.

History:

(Marvel Preview#3/3 (fb) - BTS) - In his youth Afari fought many vampires and Dracula was one of them. Over the years Afari became a fine jazz horn player, but due to massive drug abuse he was sent to a hospital. In December he was allowed to leave hospital again.

(Marvel Preview#3/3 (fb)/Blade III#1 (fb) ) - Shortly after his hospital stay on a cold December night a group of vampires attacked Afari. A 9-year-old Blade came to his aid and together they slew a few of the vampires and the rest ran away. After this incident Afari moved into Lady Vanity's brothel and taught Blade everything he knew about playing a jazz horn and vampires. He was like a father to Blade.

(Blade III#3 (fb) ) - One day Jamal tested Blade's skill to recognize from five expensive items the fake one. He reminded Blade how important it is to train, patrol, hunt and train even more. He told him that it was important to know what was valuable because when Blade was older he would have to finance his life with the wealth of his vampire victims because most of them were rich.

(Blade III#3 (fb) - BTS) - Afari checked with the coroner after Blade had accidentally killed a man suffering from porphyria. The man's wife described Blade to the police and it was only a matter of time before they found him.

(Blade III#3 (fb) ) - Afari and Blade sat on a roof in London and talked about the incident. Blade thought that he deserved to be arrested, but Afari asked him to leave before the police found him. In his opinion Blade had learned another lesson, but prison wouldn't teach Blade any lessons. It would only deprive Blade of years and the world of a talented vampire hunter. Later that night Blade said his goodbyes to Afari and Lady Vanity and then ran away.

(OHotMU Marvel Knights 2005 - BTS/Blade III#4 (fb) ) - Despite Afari's positive influence Blade joined a street gang called the Bloodshadows in New York City.

(Marvel Preview#3/3 - BTS) - Afari was sure the vampires had forgotten him, but he was wrong. Afari disappeared and was gone for a whole week. Blade (who had returned to London with the Bloodshadows; see Blade III#7), Lady Vanity and his other friends were worried that he was on drugs again, but the reality was far worse. Dracula had found Afari and turned him into a vampire.

(Marvel Preview#3/3 (fb)/Blade III#10 (fb) ) - Afari came to Slow-Boy's (a jazz club) and when Blade saw him (after hunting a vampire into Slow Boy's) the old man told him to get away. Blade didn't listen and Afari attacked him. He thirsted for Blade's blood and tossed him around like a ragdoll. Blade got hold of a pair of silver candlesticks and formed a cross. A beam was released by the cross which seemingly killed Afari by burning him. In the end only two piles of ashes wer left (of Afari and the other vampire added in Blade III#10).

(Blade III#12 (fb) - BTS) - Dracula needed Afari because he knew the location of the amulet Dracula needed to fulfill an ancient prophecy and resurrected him with the "Espil Shade" spell, a spell that allowed Dracula to resurrect any vampire he had turned into a vampire and enhanced his control over them. Afari's willpower was still strong and he tricked Dracula and brought him as far away from the real location of the amulet as possible as he went with Dracula to the basement of a school in Manhattan, New York City.

(Blade III#10 (fb) ) - Spider-Man followed Afari into the basement of a school in Manhattan. There Afari met with Dracula and started digging for an amulet. Spider-Man attacked Afari and was bitten by him.

(Blade III#1 - BTS) - Afari got away without anyone noticing him.

(Blade III#11 (fb) - BTS) - Lucas Cross found Dracula and made a deal with him. Afari became a pawn in their game.

(Blade III#11) - Cross had his bodyguards drag out Afari in front of Blade and threatened to kill im if Blade didn't destroy the amulet and drop Dracula's remains on the saltet ground around Dracula's castle as it was said in the prophecy. Cross, who thought that the prophecy was about giving back vampires their soul, even brought Blade's partner King on his side and Afari had to watch Blade killing King.

(Blade III#12) - The bodyguards left Afari alone to attack Blade, who just knocked them out. Blade was then stabbed by Dracula with his own sword. Dracula then revealed how Cross made a deal with him and how Afari had tricked him. Dracula attacked Afari, who mocked him, but dropped him as soon as Blade attacked. He went back to kicking Jamal when he realized that he still needed Blade to fulfill the prophecy. Cross and Blade fought over the vial with a splinter from the stake containing Dracula's DNA and Cross dropped it. The prophecy was fulfilled, but it didn't have the effect Cross thought it would. Afari witnessed the return of the recently killed Hannibal King and Blade realized that the prophecy was about bringing back all dead vampires. In the end Afari and Blade left together.

Comments: Created by Chris Claremont (writer), Tony DeZuniga (pencils) & Rico Rival (inks).

I have no explanation for the beam or why Afari was so easily killed by a cross. Okay, it's a vampire weakness, but Afari caught fire and burnt like a sack of straw within seconds. Maybe Afari was weakened because he hadn't fed on a human since he was turned into a vampire.

This story was reprinted in Blade: Black & White published in 2004. The images used in this profile are from the reprint (the images' counterparts should be on pages 34 and 35 in Marvel Preview#3).

Afari's first meeting with Blade was retold in Blade III#1, Afari's death was retold in Blade III#10 with a changes (Blade was originally in the club playing the horn and not hunting a vampire into the club). Guggenheim really seems to like the old geezer. BTW although Guggenheim's Blade title was cancelled with issue #12 it still was the longest running title with Blade as protagonist ever.

Although the Bloodshadows weren't mentioned in Blade III#3 this issue is still the perfect explanation for how Blade got mixed up with them. In the following issues everything was explained and now we know the reasons why he became a member of the Bloodshadows.

Afari's original death can now be placed into the early 1930s.

Concerning the disease of Blade's victim in Blade III#3:

  Porphyria is not a single disease but a group of at least eight disorders that differ considerably from each other. A common feature in all porphyrias is the accumulation in the body of "porphyrins" or "porphyrin precursors." Although these are normal body chemicals, they normally do not accumulate. Precisely which of these chemicals builds up depends upon the type of porphyria.
 
   The symptoms arise mostly from effects on the nervous system or the skin. Effects on the nervous system occur in the acute porphyrias. Proper diagnosis is often delayed because the symptoms are nonspecific. Skin manifestations can include burning, blistering, and scarring of sun-exposed areas.

Source: American Porphyria Foundation

Guggenheim brought back all the vampires that were ever killed, but read Ronald Byrd's thoughts on it:
Since vampires have been, one would think, dying since shortly after the first few were created some 20,000 years ago, which one might reasonably guess would add up to a total of hundreds of thousands of vampires coming back in one fell swoop, I'm not sure the writer really thought that one through. Seems like even the perpetually oblivious general public of the Marvel Universe might notice that.

Of course, throughout half the world they would've re-materialized in broad daylight and thus mostly incinerated right back to death almost immediately ("D'oh!"), so there's that, anyway...

Profile by Markus Raymond.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Jamal Afari has no known connections to


images: (without ads)
Blade: Black & White, p60, pan4 (main image)

p59, pan6 (head shot)

Blade III#3, p6, pan4 (another head shot)


Appearances:
Marvel preview#3 (September, 1975) - Chris Claremont (writer), Tony DeZuniga (pencils), Rico Rival (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Blade III#1 (November, 2006) - Marc Guggenheim (writer), Howard Chaykin (artist), Aubrey Sitterson (editor)
Blade III#3 (January, 2007) - Marc Guggenheim (writer), Howard Chaykin (artist), Aubrey Sitterson (editor)
Blade III#10-12 (August-October, 2007) - Marc Guggenheim (writer), Howard Chaykin (artist), Aubrey Sitterson (editor)


Last updated: 06/27/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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