Tuesday, October 08, 2013
31 Werewolves | Werewolf by Night
In the '70s, Universal's unholy trinity came to Marvel comics. Marvel was introducing all sorts of new genres to their superhero universe and horror was a major one from spooky superheroes like Ghost Rider to classic monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula. Of course they had to have a werewolf too.
Werewolf by Night was the product of a few different creators. Roy and Jean Thomas came up with the basic idea, Stan Lee named it, and the first story (in 1972's Marvel Spotlight #2) was created by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog. After a couple of more appearances in Marvel Spotlight (which immediately introduced Ghost Rider next), the werewolf got his own series that ran for five years and 43 issues. The Werewolf by Night series was the first appearance of Moon Knight (in #32) and Tigra was also introduced in a Werewolf by Night story in Giant Size Creatures #1. These stories were all reprinted in Essential Werewolf by Night, Volumes 1 and 2.
Typically called simply Werewolf by other characters, the protagonist of Werewolf by Night is a man named Jack Russell (I know), which is an Americanization of his actual, Transylvanian name: Jacob Russoff. Jack inherited his lycanthropy through a family curse that goes back to the late 18th century and connects to other Marvel characters like Dracula and even the High Evolutionary. As was typical of Marvel's horror characters in the '70s, Russell continued mixing with traditional superheroes and villains, and went on to meet everyone from Captain America and Iron Man to Doctor Strange and Sabretooth.