The Vampire King has the appearance of a large, muscular man with animalistic features, including a face resembling a lion's, scaled, reptilian hands, birdlike feet and a forked tongue like a snake. He wears a white suit, a wine-red cape and a crown resembling the branches of a tree or bush. Jake describes him to look like a stop sign coming out of a loaf of bread.
After his vampiric essence was extracted at the end of "Checkmate," he was divided into two beings: His mortal self was restored to its original form as a seemingly mundane lion, while his vampiric essence became a cloud monster resembling a lion with long, spindly legs and snakes growing out of his head.
After Marceline absorbed the cloud with her demonic powers, the Vampire King appeared to Marceline as a mental projection, appearing as a miniature version of his vampiric self.
Despite being the ruler of vampires, the Vampire King has an odd, somewhat eccentric and silly demeanor. He appears to like animals a lot, and is seen dancing with a cow shortly after his return. He is also accompanied by several animals throughout the mini-series.
He is not without a darker side, as he acted considerably vengeful and cruel after Marceline had killed all of his fellow vampires in the past. As a sort of punishment, as well as an attempt to continue his species, he bit Marceline just before he was destroyed. In the current time, he seems apathetic to being a vampire and later admits to wishing to be rid of his vampirism. He also doesn't appear to care much about his fellow vampire brethren, as he made no attempt to stop them from going on their own.
His pure, vampire cloud-like half appears to be largely mindless and violent, seeming only to desire to consume and turn others into vampires. His mortal lion half, on the other hand, appears to be just a normal animal.
Powers and abilities
As a vampire: The Vampire King is widely acknowledged as being the most powerful vampire in the court, and he lived up to this reputation, holding his own against Marceline at full strength in a fight. As a natural vampire, he has a set of unique abilities:
- Telekinesis - The Vampire King demonstrates telekinesis. He is powerful enough to choke the Hierophant with it, crush wood stakes, as well as throw Jake far away enough to make him disappear from sight.
- Levitation - Like Marceline and The Fool, the Vampire King is capable of levitation which he uses in both of his past and present day battles with Marceline.
- Hydrokinesis - The Vampire King is shown to be capable of manipulating water.
- Telepathy - The Vampire King was able to read Peppermint Butler's mind.
- Teleportation - The Vampire King demonstrates the ability to teleport short distances extremely quickly. He can also engulf himself (and other targets) in light and teleport them to another location, as shown in "Checkmate."
- Transparent Room: The Vampire King can use his powers to create some kind of invisible room that also makes everything it contains invisible. Furthermore, it can disperse sunlight, creating an artificial dusk inside, which enables him to stay in open spaces in daylight. The room appears to be a solid construct and can be accessed through a door. This ability may be an advanced application of telekinesis that manipulates light.
- Psychic Autograph - The Vampire King was able to use his psychic abilities to autograph Peppermint Butler's book.
- Vampire Creation - The Vampire King can transform humans and animals into vampires.
As the cloud:
- Reality Warping: According to Princess Bubblegum, the amount of pure vampire juice inside the Vampire King could alter reality irremediably.
- Wind Generation - The Dark Cloud could generate powerful gales.
- Vampire Creation - The Dark Cloud bites Marceline and turns her into a vampire while she is trying to absorb him.
After being absorbed by Marceline:
- Mental Projection - After being devoured by Marceline, the dark cloud half of the Vampire King was able to communicate with Marceline telepathically and appear to her as a miniature version of his former self.
- Jake described him as "an angry stop sign coming out of a loaf of bread."
- During Peppermint Butler's drawing of the vampires, the Vampire King was the only one that matched the drawing.
- He is playing a Harmonica in "Vamps About."
- He is based on the tenth tarot card, Wheel of Fortune, which represents change and taking action, as that change is inevitable and we don't always have control of our path, but we can decide how to respond. Similarly, the Vampire King accepted that the times changed and being a vampire is no longer worth it and asked for Marceline to help to remove his vampire juices. It also represents destiny, as it could be interpreted it was Marceline's destiny to remain a vampire for the rest of her life. The same thing can be interpreted with the reversed form of this card, that represents lacking control, setbacks, confusion, ongoing struggle, as well as bad luck, all talking about Marceline's inability to change her status as a vampire, even after going through all the trouble to defeat all the vampires once more, as she didn't make any progress but moved back to where she was. Another connection to Wheel of Fortune, many of the creatures that appear in the card are represented in Vampire King's body, such as a lion (head), a human (torso), a bird (feet) and a snake (hands), as well the Sphinx, which is a mix of all those beings. He also has a cow companion that represents the bull, although he doesn't seem to have anything representing the anubis.
- He also greatly resembles Vincent from the 1987 TV series Beauty and the Beast in both looks and personality. Vincent was portrayed by The Lich's voice actor Ron Perlman.
- It is possible that his design is based on a Lamashtu, the Mesopotamian equivalent of a vampire which is said to have the head of a lion and the feet of a bird.
- He is the one who turned Marceline into a vampire.
- During the flashbacks in the Miniseries, he and The Hierophant both mention a price that Marceline had yet to pay in order for her to keep her powers. The consequences for not paying the said price (becoming a vampire and losing your "full life") are heavily implied to be madness and/or sadness, an emotion complex that exists (in variation) among magic users in Ooo (or at that time, post-apocalyptic Earth).
- As a Vampire, he looks similar to Evergreen, sharing his bird feet. Although this is most likely just a coincidence.