Sunday, October 06, 2013
31 Werewolves | Dell's super spy
At the height of the monster nostalgia craze in the early '60s, Dell published a series of one-shots adapting Universal's most popular monster movies: Dracula in 1962, then Frankenstein and The Wolf Man in 1964. A couple of years later though, they decided to turn the characters into monster-themed superheroes.
Dracula and Frankenstein were no problem as long as Dell didn't use the Universal likenesses. They even continued the numbering from the one-shots, starting the superhero versions with #2 issues. Since the Wolf Man name was trademarked by Universal though, Dell renamed that series Werewolf and started with a new #1.
Unlike Dell's Frankenstein and Dracula heroes, who had some story ties to their namesakes, Werewolf was an all-new character with no connection to the monster of folklore. In fact, with Bondmania in full swing all over the world, Dell broke further with the other two by making Werewolf more superspy than superhero. He was an Air Force pilot named Wiley Wolf who got amnesia and was adopted by a wolf pack after he crashed his plane. Traveling with his wolf pal, Thor, he used the skills he learned with the pack to join the CIA and become a secret agent in a black bodysuit with high tech enhancements.
Like the Frankenstein and Dracula series, Werewolf only lasted three issues.
Back in 2010, my pal Pax Holley at Cavalcade of Awesome wrote about Werewolf during his lycanthrope-themed Halloween countdown. He's got lots of additional details, plus scans of the issues, including a schematic of Werewolf's suit. Check that out, but then also check out the rest of his posts from that month. It's great companion reading to 31 Werewolves.