Just opened the new monstrous Werewolf By Night omnibus from Marvel. This thing is awesome! Collects Marvel Spotlight 2-3, Werewolf By Night 1-44, Marvel Team-up 12, Tomb of Dracula 18, Giant-size Creatures 1 (first Tigra), Giant-size Werewolf 2-5, Marvel Premiere 28 (Legion of Monsters), and material from Monsters Unleashed magazine 6-7.
This is one helluva treat for Halloween. Painted cover by Ploog with WBN #1 cover by Ploog and the Werewolf vs Moon Knight on the back. Dust jacket by Ploog or DM jacket by Arthur Adams. The painted cover has very good digital painting that adds to the original artwork.
On his 18th birthday, Jack Russell discovers that he inherits a family curse by transforming into the Werewolf. Now, under the full moon, he becomes a blood-curdling beast. He must protect his younger sister, Lissa, while trying to discover the secret of the Darkhold or anything that can release him from this curse. All the while, he fends off all manner of evil horrors that want the Darkhold for their own malevolent intent.
Jack Russell meets Tigra (Greer Nelson’s first appearance as Tigra), Dracula, the Monster of Frankenstein, Spider-Man, Morbius the Living Vampire, Moon Knight and Iron Man.
This is a fantastically produced volume. Yes Ploog’s werewolf is the definitive one but later issues have some gripping stories, such as # 38, which is one of my favorites in the whole run. In #38, Doug Moench and Don Perlin have Jack caught between a man and his child on the run from a makeshift posse hired by his ex-wife. The issue ends with a surprise guest-star as Jack continues on his supernatural theme.
Yes, the concept of a teen that transforms for three days a month but is otherwise quite normal lends itself to narrow plot possibilities. This led to a few weird plot maneuverings over the course of the title. Also, with several writers on the series, some of the recurring characters went through odd inconsistencies. Some of the themes wouldn’t be out-of-place in the more tame titles from the pre-code horror era, some of the stories try to be “relevant” for the 70s, which in turn, make them appear dated. A few of these stories would transcend in any era (minus the bell bottom pants 🙂 ). Given these items, this volume is still packed with fun, old-school stories.
This is the best continuous werewolf story ever done in the comics medium and was one of Marvel’s more successful new titles in the Bronze Age across any genre. Werewolf By Night was the first attempt in comics history to give a recurring title dedicated to a werewolf. Roy Thomas described his thoughts as trying to graft a heroic werewolf in the style of Dracula merged with the formula of “a teenager going through difficult changes” that made Spider-man a success.
1160 pages of comics with 16 pages of extras. Extras include the covers from the trade paperbacks, an Art Adams cover, the original unaltered cover of Dracula vs the Werewolf, and a ton of quarter-sized original artwork. Beautifully arranged omnibus! Thank you, Marvel!
Before the Marvel Age dawned with the Fantastic Four and Stan Lee/Martin Goodman dusted off the name Marvel Comics again, the comic company that the industry referred to as Timely was published under the globe of Atlas.
The original name “Werewolf By Night” was used in the Atlas horror anthology Marvel Tales 116 July 1953.
That issue featured a fantastic cover by Atlas stalwart Joe Maneely and is in effect a bonus three-panel comic. This cover and 5-page story should’ve been included as an extra in the omnibus, but the rest is spectacular. As a special treat, we’ve posted the full story on thefanaticfour!
As an added special treat, we are also posting Dashing Donnie Heck’s first story for Atlas from Mystery Tales #25 in 1955. Two months before werewolves were banned under the Comics Code, Don Heck penciled a tale which just so happened to be called “Werewolf Beware“. I don’t have a copy of the original, but I do have Dead of Night #4, which conveniently reprints this story that has a heroic werewolf.
Don Perlin first drew the Werewolf on this team-up with Spider-man. Perlin teamed up with Ross Andru for the artwork. Spider-man goes to San Francisco.
Morbius the living vampire faces off against the Werewolf, with cover and interior art by Gil Kane. I always liked Morbius. Maybe we will get a trade of his stories soon?
Tom Sutton drew a vicious werewolf. Too bad we didn’t see more of him in the series. Maybe it was too scary?