Real Name: Tara Cross

Identity/Class: Human vampire (early 20th century to 1929, modern era);
   citizen of Latveria

Occupation: Unrevealed

Group Membership: Order of Tyrana (Lucas Cross, Madame Vanity, Oleg Speziali, many others)

Affiliations: Madame Vanity's girls

EnemiesDeacon Frost;
   formerly Baron Mangegi de Sabbat (Vladimir Fortunov)

Known Relatives: Lucas Cross (husband), Eric Brooks (Blade, son), Zukajaa (possible grandchild)

Aliases: Vanessa Brooks (see comments)

Base of Operations: London, England;
   formerly a grave in London, England
   formerly Madame Vanity's brothel in Soho, London, England;
   formerly Latveria

First Appearance: (Blade's mother) Tomb of Dracula I#13 (October, 1973); (true name revealed) Blade III#1 (November, 2006)

Powers/Abilities: Tara Cross possesses conventional vampire powers including enhanced strength (lifting 1500 lbs.), speed, stamina, agility and reflexes. She was immune to aging, conventional disease, and most forms of injury. She has limited psychic powers to control others with a glance or after drinking their blood. She must drink blood regularly to survive and is vulnerable to silver, garlic, sunlight, a wooden stake through the heart and religious symbols. She does not cast reflections and usually cannot enter a house without invitation.

Height: 5'10" (by approximation)
Weight: 150 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

(Blade III#6 (fb)) - In the early 20th century Latverian Tara Cross was pregnant from her husband Lucas Cross, the leader of the Order of Tyrana, who opposed Vladimir Fortunov's tyranny. Lucas suffered from cancer and when Fortunov signed a warrant for Lucas and his wife, Lucas had his old friend Oleg Speziali help her flee Latveria. Lucas told Tara to go into hiding at fellow Order member Madame Vanity's brothel in London where she could pose as one of her girls. He told her how to gain Vanity's trust with the phrase "If one of the Order of Tyrana, requests sanctuary, one of the Order shall provide it." Tara wasn't sure what type of life it would be without Lucas, but he assured her she would be free and safe with her child. Tara took off with her unborn child and Oleg, while Lucas led Fortunov's soldiers away.

(Blade III#9 (fb)) - Three months later Tara wrote down her secrets as it was tradition in her homeland. She wrote about being the wife of Lucas Cross and how it would mean certain death for her and her child if someone learned about it and their membership in the Order of Tyrana. She hoped her child could one day assume the position of her husband as leader of the Order without fear of death.

(Tomb of Dracula I#13 (fb) / Marvel Preview#3/3 (fb) / Tomb of Dracula I#58 (fb) / Blade: Crescent City Blues#1 (fb) / Blade: The Vampire-Hunter I#3 (fb) / Blade I#1 (fb) / Blade II#3 (fb) /Blade III#1 (fb)) (see comments for full events concerning Blade's mother from each individual issue)

(Blade: The Vampire-Hunter I#3 (fb)) - Tara's son was still in her womb.

(Tomb of Dracula I#58 (fb)) - Tara was going through a painful pregnancy.

(Tomb of Dracula I#13 (fb)) - Madame Vanity's girls took care of Tara when she was going into labor. She was crying out in agony with her unborn child threatening to cause her to die in childbirth. The girls were helpless and called a doctor. It took some time to find one, who would come to them.

(Blade II#3 - BTS) - <10/24/1929> Blade was born.

(Blade III#1 (fb)) - Her child was not breathing when he was born because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Tara begged Madame Vanity to save her baby and call her husband Lucas, but Vanity told her that they first needed a doctor for the baby.

(Blade I#1 (fb)) - Tara was fighting for her life when Deacon Frost, posing as a doctor, arrived.

(Tomb of Dracula I#13 (fb)) - While in tremendous pain Tara looked up at the supposed doctor and saw his fangs. She knew that screaming would be useless.

(Tomb of Dracula I#58 (fb)) - Deacon Frost sent the girls to another room and smiled at Tara while his fangs were sparkling in the light.

(Blade III#1 (fb)) - Frost revealed that he was not a doctor, but someone that could still end her pain. He told Tara that he had been watching her for some time and was only waiting for the right moment to feast on her. Vanity recognized him as a vampire and was knocked aside by Frost, who got mad that she was interrupting him. He then began to feast on Tara while one of the girls watched in shock.

(Blade: Crescent City Blues#1 (fb) / Blade I#1 (fb)) - Frost ripped open Tara's throat with his fangs and drank her blood.

(Tomb of Dracula I#13 (fb)) - Interrupted by Tara's friends at the brothel Frost fled with her blood still dripping from his fangs.

(Blade I#1 (fb)) - Tara died, but an enzyme induced into her bloodstream by the vampire's bite was passed on to her son through the umbilical cord.

(Blade III#9 (fb) - BTS) - Tara was buried in London with the letter containing her secrets in her hand.

(Blade III#9) - Remembering how Madame Vanity told him about secrets buried with his mother, Blade dug up his mother's grave in London and found the paper containing her secrets next to her skeleton inside her coffin. Reading the letter Blade learned that his parents were both members of the Order of Tyrana and it confirmed that Lucas Cross was his father.

(Blade III#12) - Tara rose from her grave as a vampire, reanimated when her son inadvertently fulfilled a prophecy that brought all vampires back that had ever been destroyed.

Comments: Created by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan & Tom Palmer.

Blade's birthdate was given in the MAX series Blade II#3 (July, 2002). In history this date is well known for the Wall Street Crash of 1929 aka. Black Thursday!

His mother was mentioned a few more times. Pretty much each time Blade is given an introduction in a new series or a single story.

She was first identified as Vanessa Brooks in the movie Blade (1998) before it made it into Blade's handbook profile.

There are slight differences between all flashbacks to Blade's birth and Tara's death.

The original version written by Blade creator Marv Wolfman. The events were told by Blade to Frank Drake, Taj Nital, Rachel van Helsing and Quincy Harker. The events were presumably what Madame Vanity and/or some of the other girls told him.

   (Tomb of Dracula I#13 (fb)) - Madame Vanity and her girls took care of Blade's mother when she started going into labor. She was crying out in agony because the unborn child was giving her a hard time. The longer the child wasn't born the more likely it became that she would die in childbirth. Unable to help, her friends called a doctor, but it took a long time to find one that would come to them. Hours later one finally knocked on the door and was led in by the girls. The white-haired man sent the girls to another room and closed in on the shaking body of Blade's mother. Through her pain she saw his fangs gleam in the dark and she knew screaming would be useless. When he smiled at her and softly spoke into her ear she finally screamed and her friends tried to break through the locked door. When they finally made it inside the room they saw the vampire crouched over the body of Blade's mother with her blood dripping from his teeth. It was too late to save her because she was already dead. Frost leaped across the room to break through a window and escape into the night. Blade was born after his mother was already dead.

Quick retelling by Marv Wolfman. Blade told his origin to Neva, one of Madame Vanity's girls.

   (Vampire Tales#3/4 - BTS) - A vampire posing as a doctor killed Blade's mother. Vanity and her girls rushed in and saw the vampire grinning with his victim's blood on his fangs, but Blade's mother was already dead. Vanity then delivered Blade.

Quick retelling by Chris Claremont. Possibly based on stories told to Blade by Madame Vanity and/or her girls.

   (Marvel Preview#3/3 (fb)) - As she was giving birth to her son Blade's mother was killed by a white-bearded vampire. The baby was already lying next to her when she was attacked.

Wolfman is back to expand a bit on Blade's origin and reuse some of the already established lore. Blade told this to his girlfriend Safron Caulder and based it presumably on what he was told by his mother's friends.

   (Tomb of Dracula I#58 (fb)) - She was going through a painful pregnancy when her friends called a doctor, who arrived hours later. He sent the others to another room and smiled sweetly at Blade's mother while his fangs sparkled in the dim light. When she screamed her friends rushed in and saw the vampire crouching over her and drink blood from her neck. They tried to stop him, but he broke through a window, changed into a bat and disappeared into the night. As she died her child was born.

Wolfman is back and screws up continuity with a Tomb of Dracula mini-series published as part of the Epic label. Dracula and Blade both falsely claimed that Blade's mother was murdered by Dracula. This doesn't work at all!

   (Tomb of Dracula III#4 - BTS) - Dracula killed Blade's mother while he was still in her womb.

D.G. Chichester adds some additional mystery to Blade's birth. Blade learned about this in a vision induced by the Edge of Intrados.

   (Nightstalkers#11 (fb)) - Blade's mother was in pain while giving birth to her son. Deacon Frost drank her blood, killing her and then held up the infant. Two men and a woman stormed the room armed with a crucifix and a shotgun. Deacon Frost took something wrapped up in bloodied sheets and jumped out a window. He changed into a bat and escaped into the night while threatening that he now had new ways to fortify his existence.

Ian Edginton retells Blade's origin with a bit of a change to what we already knew. This is a memory experienced by Dracula (it was actually a weird merger of the Dracula clone Bloodstorm, Hannibal King and Frank Drake) when he bit Blade and drank his blood.

   (Blade: The Vampire-Hunter I#3 (fb)) - Her son was still in her womb while the vampire Deacon Frost murdered his mother. Blade was later born in a hospital and against all odds survived, but tainted by Frost's bite.

Christopher Golden tweaks the story a bit again. Blade remembered this origin told to him by his mother's friends.

   (Blade: Crescent City Blues#1 (fb)) - Her unborn child was giving her trouble and she called a doctor. When the doctor arrived she invited him in, just grateful that he would make a house call after dark. He then ripped open her throat and drank her blood. Her son only survived because the vampire was interrupted by her friends. He was cut out from his dying mother's womb and came into the world a month early.

Don McGregor once again retells the story using already established elements. Blade remembered this origin as something told to him by his mother's friends.

   (Blade I#1 (fb)) - Blade was still in his mother's womb when the vampire Deacon Frost, posing as a doctor, sank his fangs into her neck and drank her blood while she was in agony due to her unborn child. She died while giving birth to her son with the help of her friends.

Bart Sears had one panel and a bit of text to talk about the death of Blade's mother. The Scribe told this as part of his description of Blade.

   (Blade: Vampire Hunter II#1 (fb)) - Twisted with the pain of giving birth Blade's mother was drained of her blood by the vampire Deacon Frost.

Marc Guggenheim adds new stuff and basically retells the birth of Blade with a lot of additional information. It was a flashback and not a story told by someone who wasn't in any position to remember it.

   (Blade III#1 (fb)) - Tara gave birth to her son, but the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck and he was not breathing. Tara asked Vanity to call Lucas, but Vanity told her that they needed a doctor first. One of her friends brought in the supposed doctor, but it was actually Deacon Frost. He revealed that he was not a doctor, but could still end Tara's pain. He told her that he had been watching her and was just waiting for the right moment to feast on her. Madame Vanity recognized Frost as a vampire and tried to stop him. He got mad at her for interrupting his meal and knocked her aside. Frost drank Tara's blood while one of her friends was watching in shock and the baby's umbilical cord was still connected. She apparently died that night while her baby mysteriously survived, tainted by enzymes transferred through the vampire's bite through the umbilical cord.

In Mighty Avengers II#14 (November, 2014) by Al Ewing Blade had a flashback to his mother's death at the fangs of Deacon Frost while he went through the transformation to become part of the Avenger Prime gestalt.

In Avengers VIII#27 (January, 2020) by Jason Aaron Blade quips in a conversation with Robbie Reyes that he was born in the 1920s to a vampire prostitute in London. Blade should know better, but whatever.

This profile was completed 4/05/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Markus Raymond.

Vanessa Brooks aka. Tara Cross should not be confused with:

Tara Cross doppelganger

(Marvel: Shadows & Light#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - Dracula had the corpse of Blade's mother exhumed and brought to Castle Dracula in Transylvania where she became one of Dracula's brides.

(Marvel: Shadows & Light#1/2) - After Blade had slain two of Dracula's brides his mother stepped out of the shadows and was happy that she could finally see him. Unable to kill her she tackled him and both fell over an edge through the wooden floor.

(Marvel: Shadows & Light#1/2 - BTS) - Father Nicolas drove her away with his cross while Blade was unconscious. After Nicolas gave his cross to Blade she begged Blade to put it down and leave this place together, but Blade knew what she was and promised to put her to rest once more. Seconds later Dracula appeared and claimed that Blade's mother was his now and so was Blade...and the battle began.

Note: This vampire was probably created when Deacon Frost bit Tara in London because creating doppelgangers of those he had bitten is part of his weird set of powers. How she ended up dead in a grave in New Orleans and why Blade believed her to be his mother is unknown. Due to Guggenheim's series it is kind of impossible to have Blade's mother appear in this story. The vampire appearing in this issue was apparently buried in New Orleans before Dracula had her taken to his castle in Transylvania. But even if we assume that this was just a mistake and that the writer meant London instead of New Orleans it couldn't be Tara Cross because her grave seen in Blade III#9 was untouched since the 1920s. Why do I know that? The confession she wrote some time before her death was still in her coffin with her. I doubt a piece of paper would've been buried with her again after the events of Shadows & Light. Additionally we don't know the fate of the vampire in Shadows & Light at all. She could've gotten away as doutbful as that is.

images (without ads)
Blade III#6, p4, pan1(main)
Blade III#6, p5, pan2 (head shot)
Tomb of Dracula I#13, p9, pan1 (first appearance)
Blade III#12, p14, pan7 (reanimated)
Marvel: Shadows & Light#1/2, p10, pan1 (doppelganger)

Tomb of Dracula I#13 (October, 1973) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Vampire Tales#8 (December, 1974) - Marv Wolfman (writer/editor)
Marvel Preview#3/3 (September, 1975) - Chris Claremont (writer), Rico Rival (artist), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Tomb of Dracula I#58 (July, 1977) - Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), Gene Colan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks)
Tomb of Dracula III#4 (1991) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Nightstalkers#11 (September, 1993) - D.G. Chichester (writer), Kirk Van Wormer (pencils), Bill Anderson (inks), Hildy Mesnik (editor)
Blade: The Vampire-Hunter I#3 (September, 1994) - Ian Edginton (writer), Douglas H. Wheatley (pencils), Chris Ivy & Steve Moncuse (inks), Chris Cooper (editor)
Marvel: Shadows and Light#1 (February, 1997) - James Felder (writer), Jose Ladronn (pencils), Juan Vlasco (inks), Mark Powers (editor)
Blade: Crescent City Blues#1 (March, 1998) - Christopher Golden (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Mark Pennington (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Blade I#1 (November, 1998) - Don McGregor (writer), Brian Hagan (pencils), Sandu Florea (inks), Joe Andreani (editor)
Blade: Vampire Hunter II#1 (December, 1999) - Bart Sears (writer/pencils), Raymond Krissing & Andy Smith (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Blade II#3 (July, 2002) - Christopher Hinz (writer), Steve Pugh (artist), Bronwyn Taggart (editor)
Blade III#1 (November, 2006) - Marc Guggenheim (writer), Howard Chaykin (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Blade III#6 (April, 2007) - Marc Guggenheim (writer), Howard Chaykin (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Blade III#9 (July, 2007) - Marc Guggenheim (writer), Howard Chaykin (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Blade III#12 (October, 2007) - Marc Guggenheim (writer), Howard Chaykin & Gene Colan (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)

First Posted: 09/16/2021
Last updated: 09/15/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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