In the late 1990s, Marvel brought in new blood in the superhero genre with Blade starring Wesley Snipes, who turns 51 Wednesday.
Half-human and half-vampire, Blade staked his way into comics in 1973 -- waging an eternal war against the forces of darkness.
Snipes played the Daywalker in the trilogy that led the way for X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Marvel's The Avengers making their way onto the big screen the coming decade and beyond. He was succeeded by Kirk "Sticky" Fingaz in a short-lived television series from Spike in 2006.
Besides Blade, Snipes is best known as urban drug czar Nino Brown in actor/director Mario Van Peebles' New Jack City with Ice-T and Judd Nelson, airline security expert John Cutter in Passenger 57 and Simon Phoenix in Demolition Man, as well as the 1992 hit comedy White Men Can't Jump with Woody Harrelson; the two reunited for 1995's Money Train, which co-starred Jennifer Lopez.
After serving three years in prison for tax evasion, Snipes is ready for action once more, as he is in talks to appear in The Expendables 3 with Sylvester Stallone; the film is scheduled for release on August 15, 2014.