Essential Werewolf by Night—Volume 1

essential werewolf by night volume 1 cover trade paperback tpb
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10

Fun '70s Marvel Horror

Artists never know what to do with the Werewolf's mouth

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Marvel Spotlight (Volume 1)/Werewolf by Night (Volume 1)/Marvel Team-Up (Volume 1)/Tomb of Dracula/Giant-Size Creatures #1

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Roy Thomas/Gerry Conway/Len Wein/Marv Wolfman/ Mike Friedrich/Tony Isabella/Doug Moench

Artist:  Mike Ploog/Werner Roth/Tom Sutton/Gil Kane/Gene Colan/Don Perlin/Ross Andru

# of Issues:  27

Release Date:   2005


Marvel Spotlight (1) #2

Reprints Marvel Spotlight (1) #2-4, Werewolf by Night (1) #1-21, Marvel Team-Up (1) #12, Tomb of Dracula #18, and Giant-Size Creatures #1 (February 1972-September 1974). Jack Russell was born under a curse. His father was a werewolf and when Jack turns eighteen, he inherits his father’s curse. As Jack seeks a cure for his affliction, he tries to control the beast inside of him and finds himself in conflict with the likes of the Hangman, Tatterdemalion, and the legendary Dracula. Along the way, he’ll have help from his sister, his friend Buck, a mysterious girl named Topaz, Tigra, and even Spider-Man.

Written by Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Mike Friedrich, Tony Isabella, and Doug Moench, Essential Werewolf by Night—Volume 1 is a Marvel Comics horror comic.  The issues feature art by Mike Ploog, Werner Roth, Tom Sutton, Gil Kane, Gene COlan, Don Perlin, and Ross Andru and are reprinted in black-and-white like other Marvel Essential collections.  Issues in this volume were also collected as part of Werewolf by Night Omnibus, Werewolf by Night:  The Complete Collection—Volume 1, Avengers/Doctor Strange:  Rise of the Darkhold, and The Tomb of Dracula:  The Complete Collection—Volume 2 among others.

The Werewolf makes his premiere in this series and is written by a host of writers his first few years. First appearing in Marvel Spotlight (1) #2 (February 1972) and gaining his own series after issue #4 (June 1972), Werewolf by Night ran from May 1973 to #43 in March 1977 and was one of the longer running comics in the horror boom of the ’70s.

The stories in this collection are a bit all over the place but fun. I really enjoyed the Werewolf and still often pick up appearances of Jack Russell (the awful named character who is forced to share his name with a dog). The early stories deal a lot with Jack, his family, and the situation surrounding his mother’s death. It is tricky to write a series around a hero who is only active three nights of the month, but the series does remarkably well dealing with the restrictions (this of course was later alleviated by having Jack being able to transform any time).


Marvel Team-Up (1) #12

Enemy and ally-wise, the Werewolf mostly deals with supernatural folk in this volume. The characters range from mystics, witches, and vampires, but I always like issues where they cross over with mainstream Marvel. Marvel Team-Up (1) #12 (August 1973) has the Werewolf batting Spider-Man (then the obligatory “team-up”). Topaz who first appears in Werewolf by Night (1) #13 (January 1974) later became a supporting character in Doctor Strange’s series.  Werewolf by Night also gets a boost in this collection by crossing over with the popular Tomb of Dracula so it almost becomes a Universal Picture movie from the ’40s. The comic has the first appearance of not only the Werewolf, but Tatterdemalion in Werewolf by Night #9 (September 1973), Hangman in Werewolf by Night #11 (November 1973), and Tigra “the Were-Woman” (as she was first called) which transformed Greer Nelson the former Cat into Tigra in Giant-Size Creatures #1 (July 1974).

Werewolf by Night was a good horror comic. It is a little dated and all the artists never quite know what to do with the Werewolf’s mouth (it is always hanging open). It is worth checking out and it shows how horror and super-heroes could blend. A second collection Essential Werewolf by Night—Volume 2 collects the rest of the series.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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