Real Name: Unknown, possibly Topher

Identity/Class: Human Vampire

Occupation: Petty criminal;
    (formerly) Investor

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: His minions; (formerly) the Runaways

Enemies: The Runaways

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None known

Base of Operations: Los Angeles, California

First Appearance: Runaways I#7 (December, 2003)

Powers/Abilities: As a vampire, Topher exhibited superhuman strength and the ability to survive wounds that would have killed a normal human instantly.  He could also regenerate from these wounds in a matter of seconds.  Like all vampires, he was effectively immortal and could change humans into vampires by draining them of blood.  He could “sense” the condition of other vampires in his bloodline, so if they were destroyed he would know it.

Topher exhibited no shape-shifting, enhanced senses, or mesmeric abilities, though he may have had those powers as well.  He was peculiarly invulnerable to wounds that would have normally destroyed vampires (such as penetration of the heart and flames) and claimed that only sunlight could truly kill him.  He may have been a member of a “sub-species” of mainline Marvel vampires, or there may have been other reasons for his invulnerabilities (such as magical protection, or perhaps even mutant abilities that were carried over into his undead state).

History: (Runaways I#10 (fb)-BTS) - The boy who became known as Topher was born around the turn of the last century.  When he was about sixteen years old (circa 1916) he was turned into a vampire.  Despite his now-inhuman needs and habits, he nevertheless found the time to make a fortune in stocks after the Great Depression.  He lost it all, however, during the dot-com bust during the late 1990s, and was forced to get money wherever he could—even from hold-ups of all-night convenience stores.

(Runaways I#7) - Having run away from their supervillainous parents, four of the kids known as the Runaways went to a convenience store in search of food.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for the store clerk), they picked a time during which Topher and his minions were robbing the store.  After a quick debate on whether to do anything, the Runaways decided to make a “citizen’s arrest” on the robbers.  During the course of this attempted good deed Lucy in the Sky managed to shatter the store’s windows, and Sister Grimm magically filled the building with pelicans.  During the resulting melee Topher’s minions displayed superhuman strength.  Talkback managed to incapacitate Topher by holding a knife to this throat while his two hench-vamps fled.  Topher pled innocence, telling the Runaways that the minions were his parents and that they had become evil after gaining superpowers in an industrial accident.  Since Topher’s manufactured story was similar to their real experiences, the Runaways decided to accept Topher as a new recruit.

(Runaways I#8) - Upon being taken back to the Hostel, the Runaways’ hideout, Topher was taken aback (or at least pretended to be) by Gertrude “Arsenic” Yorkes’ pet dinosaur and Molly Hayes’ vast superhuman strength.  Sister Grimm gave Topher a tour of the place, during which they stopped in an old bedroom and commiserated.  In a vulnerable condition, Sister Grimm allowed Topher to kiss her.  Secretly Alex Wilder was watching the event, and was quite upset.

(Runaways I#9) - Topher wandered off after Alex interrupted he and Sister Grimm under the guise of “everything okay?”  Topher later found Karolina “Lucy in the Sky” Dean alone in a room, also feeling vulnerable.  She revealed to Topher her fears about being “abnormal” and about her attraction to one of the other Runaways.  Implicit in all this was Karolina’s worries about her attraction being the abnormal thing, and she kissed Topher to “feel normal.”  Sister Grimm wandered in during the kiss, and rapidly came to super-powered blows with Karolina.  After covering Karolina with mud, an upset Sister Grimm left the Hostel.  In the meantime, the Runaways’ supervillain parents had obtained footage of the attempted convenience store robbery.  Noting the robbers super-powers, the Pride concluded that they couldn’t be aliens, mutants, or time-travelers.  This left only the possibility of the supernatural…which Topher revealed to Sister Grimm in the forest outside the Hostel.

(Runaways I#10) - With his vampiric status out of the bag, Topher revealed that the two adults he was with during the robbery weren’t his parents at all, just a couple of low-lifes he had turned decades ago.  After a short exchange between him and Sister Grimm about the nature of vampirism and how crappy it is to grow up, Sister Grimm allowed Topher to bite her neck.  Fortunately, this shedding of blood allowed her to call forth her mystical Staff of One, which exited her body so violently it ripped right through Topher.  Winking, Topher informed her of his invulnerability to stakes as the wound closed up within seconds.  Distracted, Topher was clubbed over the head by Alex Wilder with a torch, which somehow stunned him long enough for the two teens to make it back to the Hostel.

 No sooner had the alarm been raised among the Runaways that Topher appeared back inside, carrying the Staff of One.  Unable to utilize the mystic powers of the Staff himself, Topher merely used it as a blunt object, hurling Sister Grimm across the room.  Talkback sprayed Topher with flame from his special “Fistigons,” but Topher proved immune to flame as well.  Quickly overpowering Gert’s dinosaur and Alex Wilder, Topher’s attention turned back to Karolina Dean, who was attempting to protect the unconscious, narcoleptic Molly Hayes from the thirsty vampire.  Though Topher was interested in feeding from Molly (“I haven’t had mutant blood since ‘79”), he nevertheless accepted Karolina’s plea to take her instead.  Unfortunately, Karolina’s solar-charged alien blood was as deadly to Topher as direct sunlight, and the vampire exploded spectacularly.

 Topher’s minions were later captured and interrogated by the Pride, but all the vampires could tell them what about their sensation of the death of their sire Topher.  Finding them of no further use, the Pride exposed them to sunlight.  The supervillains felt lingering pride in the fact that their children had battled a vampire and won.

Comments: Created by Brian Vaughn and Adrian Alphona.

There is no mention of how Topher and his minions weathered the reversal of the Montessi Formula in Dr. Strange #62, which destroyed all active vampires on Earth.  Either Topher and his pals weren’t active at the time (meaning they were in some sort of suspended animation) or they represent a sort of vampire not vulnerable to the Montessi Formula, perhaps a “bloodline” not drawn from the original first generation of vampires.

In Blade III#12 a prophecy was fulfilled that brought back all vampires that ever died. This most likely included Topher and his minions as well. We'll have to wait if they resurfaces.
--Markus Raymond

Profile by Reddie


Topher has no known connections to

Topher's Minions

Not much is known about Topher’s minions other than he had one of each sex, and that one of them had his or her fingerprints on file due an arrest for theft…which took place in 1939.  They presumably had the same suite of powers as Topher.  They were incinerated when Mr. Minoru exposed them to sunlight.

- Runaways I#7, 10

Runaways I#10 , page 2, panel 1  (true form)
Runaways I#7, page 21 , panel 3  (human form)
Runaways I#10, page 20, panel 2 (death)
Runaways I#10, page 23, panel 3 (Topher's minions)

Runaways I#7-10 (December, 2003-March, 2004) - Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Adrian Alphona (pencils), Craig Yeung (inks), C.B. Cebulski (editor)


Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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