It’s that time again, boys and girls! That’s right ACB’s Comic Book Monsters has returned! This year, I’ll be looking at a slice of some of the creepiest comic book series of all time! I’ll be covering a series a day in reverse chronological order. So, check under your beds and lock the doors and windows. It’s time to take a look at today’s featured series…
Comic Book Monsters – October 20th: Werewolf By Night
Though born Jacob Russoff, most fans of Marvel know him by two other names. The first is his legal name of Jack Russell. The other is Werewolf by Night. Poor Jack is simply a victim of his own bloodline. The Russoff family has suffered from reports of lycanthropy for centuries. In the late eighteenth century, it was in response to Dracula killing Grigori Russoff’s wife that the first widely known existance of hte Russoff werewolf came into being. Lydia, an imprisoned werewolf agreed to turn Grigori into a wolf in order to get revenge on the lord of vampires.
Generations would pass without Grigori’s curse being passed down. A later Russoff, Gregor (Jack’s great-grandfather), didn’t turn into a werewolf until he obtained a magical text known as the Darkhold. When reading the passages about lycanthropy during a full moon, the cursed gene in his bloodline took charge and transformed him into a werewolf. For decades, a younger Gregor (possibly the other’s son?) stayed with the High Evolutionary who was able to keep the wolf inside at bay. This younger Gregor would later be killed by the Elder God Chthon when Gregor sought a cure.
Jack would be born decades later to yet another Gregor. For most of his life, Jack would be clueless to his family’s curse until his mother had just enough time to tell him about the werewolves that have run in their family before she died. Jack, though native to good old Transylvania, would later spend most of his time on the road traveling from town to town and only changing into his werewolf form during the three nights of the full moon each month.
After being entranced by the magical familiar Topaz, Jack traveled throughout Europe taking on several monsterous bad guys like Dracula before going to the United States. It would be in the states where he would assist Tigra in a battle against HYDRA. He took on more vampires, and even another werewolf. Werewolf would also team up with other monsters like Frankenstein’s Creature, Morbius, Ghost Rider, and Man-Thing. In fact, Werewolf, Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, and Morbius would kill an alien who originally intended to cure each of them of their curses… Oops!
Jack still makes appearances today. He’s learned to embrace the wolf in him which has given him the best of both sides of his persona. Now in control, he tends to be more of a hero than anything, but not afraid to kill when necessary which he does in a more recent story that finds Werewolf in Alabama assisting a werewolf girl stay safe from a lynch mob that has already killed the girl’s family. Jack also appeared in the fourth installment of Marvel Zombies as part of a new Midnight Sons team tracking down escaped zombies in the main Marvel Universe Jack is actually turned into one of the zombies, but his Werewolf form is not affected. He’s kept in that form until Jennifer Kale and Black Talon is able to remove the infection from Jack which seems like a pretty big deal that someone could do this… Seems as though there wouldn’t be that many sequels if they just brought these two people along to fix the zombies. He’s most recently been seen in the pages of X-Factor when he was among other wolfmen who were drawn to the team’s headquarters in the last few moments of Wolfsbane’s pregnancy. Instead of looking to acquire the half-mutant/half-Asgardian child, Werewolf vows to protect mother and child.
That does it for today’s feature. Check back tomorrow when I talk about some “Weird” things going on at DC! Until then!