The initial introduction of Jack, the young, confused lycanthrope – as seen in Marvel Spotlight On… #2 – would eventually go on to become an expanded and intriguing tale of a man afflicted by something terrible. Jack is a decent human being, but sudden extreme events in his life change things fast.
First, Jack is forced to confront himself and acknowledge his position as a literal monster of the world. Second, he doesn’t care much for his step father – there’s some hatred lingering beneath the surface, and when it comes to Jack, that hatred spreads in the direction of his step father’s driver, a mean brute. And finally, the man suddenly has his mother taken from him after she found herself in a terrible car accident that may not have been an accident at all.
Rage fuels the beast, terror and uncertainty rules the man. There’s a sizable gap between man and monster and that works great. It’s a little bit reminiscent of Lon Chaney Jr.’s depiction of the Wolfman back in 1941. I love that, as Chaney played the greatest Wolfman we’ve ever seen, still to this day.
I really enjoyed the parallel conflicts of the story, as they encourage a fast paced narrative that sucks the reader right in. Gerry Conway really did do an outstanding job of crafting this monumental introduction, and Michael Ploog, who handles the illustrations, turns in top notch work that for the most part, wouldn’t feel dated by today’s standards. The man was ahead of his time, and he got the chance to illustrate a terrific story here.
As much as I adore Marvel’s other big classic monster book, Tomb of Dracula, I just can’t get enough of Werewolf by Night. Werewolves were always “my thing” as a child, and they still are today, decades later as grown nerd who takes a verbal shellacking from his kids… even though they’ve all got a little nerd in them, as well.
Amazing stuff, is Werewolf by Night.