Archive for the Wolf Man Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Dell’s Werewolf (1966)

Posted in comic books, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, werewolf, werewolves, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by Paxton

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Welcome to Day 4 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010. I’ve been discussing werewolves in comic books this week. Today, I’m looking at Dell’s super spy, Werewolf.  He isn’t literally a werewolf, but he is called Werewolf and he’s a somewhat reboot of the Universal Wolf Man into a crime fighting super hero.  Let’s take a look.

Dell Werewolf 1

In 1966, Dell would attempt to reboot the classic Universal Monsters into super hero comics.  I talked about Dell’s ridiculous super hero Frankenstein last year during AWESOME-tober-fest. Dell also tried this with Dracula.  Anyway, since The Wolf Man was a trademarked title, they had to go with the more generic “Werewolf”.  And so they created their new super agent, code named Werewolf and his wolf companion, Thor.

In the first issue of Werewolf, pilot Wiley Wolf, while flying experimental aircraft in the Arctic Circle, crash lands in the Canadian wilderness.  The crash causes Wiley to lose his memory.  He even forgets he’s a man and thinks he’s a wolf (cause that’s how amnesia works).  Of course, he is taken in and cared for by a pack of wolves, because that’s what they do.  One of these wolves, Thor, becomes his constant companion because he feels he owes Wiley some sort of “life debt”.  Eventually Wiley gets his memory back and is rescued, after which he immediately resigns from military duty.  Literally five minutes after resigning from the military, he is “recruited” by a shady covert government agency (along with Thor) to become a super spy.  I say “recruited” because he is not really given a choice.  He is taken directly from the airport to the agency’s hidden headquarters and begun his training before he can even take a leak.  And he goes right along with it.  He is trained to physical perfection and given special hypnotic abilities to allow him to assume several different “facial configurations” to help facilitate his undercover work.  He is given an all black suit (see pic below) that, while being only one molecule thick, is built with advanced technology making it virtually bulletproof and has boots that can change their tactile surface for sliding (slick) or climbing (gripped).

Werewolf Costume

Properly trained and clothed, Wiley sets out to fight the enemies of democracy and freedom as a cross between Batman and James Bond.  When not on assignment he lives in a hidden mountain retreat (of course it’s hidden) and has a beautiful CIA contact Judy Bowman (of course she’s beautiful).

Dell Werewolf #2 Dell Werewolf #3

Dell’s Werewolf only lasted two more issues before it was summarily canceled (see issues #2 and #3 above).  A similar fate to it’s Frankenstein brother.  However, as ridiculous as the Frankenstein super hero concept was, this one was actually good. The problem lies in the writing.  This book is poorly written.  It is hokey and ham fisted and makes little sense.  Some examples?  Of course.

Werewolf 1 underwater
Werewolf’s lair, as I said, is hidden. It has a secret entrance and exit, but instead of implementing some hidden tunnels underneath said lair like Batman, the “backdoor” is actually a man made pool/lake that he swims in and out of to get out. Yes, he has to SWIM out of his lair if he wants to sneak away. Logistics aside, that just seems like an overly complicated solution to a simple problem. Not only that, but his wolf companion, Thor, also has to swim out. Werewolf’s suit helps him breathe. What about Thor? That looks like a pretty long underwater tunnel in the last panel.  How long can Thor hold his breath?  Again, this solution seems needlessly complicated.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: The Astounding Wolf-Man

Posted in comic books, monsters, werewolf, werewolves, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by Paxton

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Here we are, Day 2 of werewolf comics week.  This year’s Halloween articles are focusing on werewolves.  I’ll be looking at werewolves in comic books all this week. Yesterday I discussed Image’s Dracula Meets The Wolf Man. Today, I’ll look at another Image comic book, The Astounding Wolf-Man.

Astounding Wolf-Man 1 Astounding Wolf-Man 3

The Astounding Wolf-Man is a comic book written by Robert Kirkman and drawn by Jason Howard.  It was launched in May 2007, the first issue being given away during Free Comic Book Day. I actually talked about reading this series back in April.

The story revolves around Gary Hampton, a corporate CEO, who is violently attacked by an animal while on vacation with his family and barely survives.  Gary later learns that the animal was a werewolf and he now is cursed to turn into a werewolf during the full moon.  Gary meets Zechariah, a vampire, who teaches him to use his newly acquired werewolf abilities for good.  Gary gets a costume and starts patrolling the streets for crime as The Wolf-Man (a-la BAT-man or SPIDER-man).  Gary can change into his wolf form whenever he wants and has complete control over that form except during the full moon when the wolf completely takes over.  He also has heightened strength, speed, senses and a highly accelerated healing ability which is nearly instantaneous when he reverts to human then back to wolf.

Astounding Wolf-Man 14 Astounding Wolf-Man 5

While training with Zechariah, Gary’s home life starts to deteriorate.  His wife resents his late night adventures and his daughter is afraid of him.  After confronting a gang of werewolves one night, Gary learns that he is not an ordinary werewolf.  The wolf that attacked him was an Elder Wolf.  Centuries old and much more powerful than the mixed breed werewolves running around today.  As a result, Gary is also much more powerful than normal werewolves.  Gary is left to ponder why an Elder Wolf would attack him as they apparently haven’t been seen in hundreds of years.  Many believe they aren’t even around anymore.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Frazetta’s Dracula Meets The Wolfman

Posted in comic books, Dracula, monsters, werewolves, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2010 by Paxton

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In 2007 Image Comics started releasing several limited edition comic books based on the paintings of sci-fi/fantasy legend Frank Frazetta. Their first comic was based on one of Frazetta’s most well known pieces, The Death Dealer. The Death Dealer was the subject of several of Frazetta’s most famous paintings.  The comic book told the origin of the famous character and fleshed out some of his adventures.  When that comic proved successful they decided to continue the series by telling the story behind other famous Frazetta paintings.

Frazetta's DMW painting

In 2008, Image released a one-shot comic book based on Frazetta’s painting, Dracula Meets The Wolfman (see above).  The one-shot comic was released with three limited edition covers.  Cover A was the original Frazetta painting.  Cover B was done by the book’s artist Francesco Francavilla.  The third cover was a limited edition sketch by Nat Jones (see covers below).

Dracula Meets Wolf Man Cover A Dracula Meets Wolfman Cover B Dracula Meets Wolfman Cover C

I recently read this one shot comic and, as for the story, it’s a little thin. It feels like only part of a larger story. Nicolae, who is apparently a werewolf, is in love with a peasant girl. The peasant girl is taken to Dracula who intends to feast on her blood. Nicolae shows up all wolfed out and battles Dracula for the life of the peasant girl. That’s essentially it. The peasant girl is killed and we get an epilogue that fast forwards years later where the Wolf Man ambushes Dracula on the tarmac of a private airport. It’s really disjointed and feels like the middle part of a three part story.  I was hoping there were other issues to flesh out the rest of the story but there isn’t.  That’s it.

Needless to say, for me, the idea is far better than the actual execution of that idea.  I love Frazetta, I love the painting, but I do not love this comic book.

Stay tuned, all week I am looking at werewolves in comic books.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: 6 Crazy-ass werewolf movies and their posters

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, werewolf, werewolves, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by Paxton

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Welcome to Day 1 of AWESOME-tober-fest. A month long celebration of all things scary, weird and AWESOME. This month’s theme is werewolves. So today, to kick off AWESOME-tober-fest 2010, I’m going to look at a bunch of crazy-ass and randomly weird werewolf movies and their posters.

Let’s kick this party off with…

Legend of the Werewolf
Legend of the Werewolf (1975) – This is a pretty spectacular poster.  The white werewolf looks great.  Almost like a Polar Werewolf (they live in the Arctic Circle, you know).  The red eyes and teeth are striking.  I like the font on the title too.  What’s up with the hanging corpse on the left?  What does a hanging have to do with the werewolf?  I don’t remember hanging being one of the traditional ways to kill a werewolf.  Does the werewolf actually hang someone?  And what’s with the little Jack the Ripper silhouette below the hanging?  Is this a werewolf vs Jack the Ripper movie?  If so, that’s pretty awesome.  Check out Grand Moff Tarkin in the lower right corner.

Werewolf Woman
Werewolf Woman (1976) – This is the plot synopsis from IMDB:

A woman has dreams that she is a werewolf so she goes out and finds men. She proceeds to have sex with them and then rip their throats out with her teeth. She eventually falls in love but then she is raped and her lover is murdered so she goes out for revenge.

I’m not sure what I can really add to that, except that might be the single greatest movie synopsis I’ve ever seen.  Simple, to the point, AWESOME.

Werewolves on Wheels
Werewolves on Wheels (1971) – This movie looks so ridiculous.  A biker gang encounters black robed, Satan worshiping monks who secretly turn one of the female gang members into a werewolf after the bikers trash their monastery. And the hilarity ensues. The other tagline for this movie was “If you’re hairy, you belong on a motorbike!” And I’m seriously not joking.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Posted in Dracula, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, Universal Studios, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by Paxton

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Yesterday, I watched the first three Boris Karloff Frankenstein movies, the last one being Son of Frankenstein in 1939.  Today, I’m going to jump ahead almost 10 years to talk about my next movie, 1948’s Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein

This movie was a horror comedy (Horr-edy?!) staring the comedy team of Abbott & Costello. It is notable because it features three of the Universal monsters, two of which are played by their original actor. Lon Chaney reprises his role of The Wolf Man and Bela Lugosi returns as Dracula (this is the only time Lugosi played Dracula apart from the original 1931 classic). Karloff, however, had stopped playing “The Monster” after Son of Frankenstein in 1939, so Glenn Strange played the titular monster in this movie (as he had for The Ghost of Frankenstein a few years earlier). Karloff would actually appear with Abbott and Costello in another movie, Abbot and Costello Meet The Killer, Boris Karloff, one year later. This movie is considered the “swan song” of the original Universal Monsters as the popularity of the Universal Horror movies had waned towards the end of the ’40s. As a matter of fact, Bud Abbott did not even want to do the movie, but Universal offered him so much money he couldn’t turn it down.  Also, Universal was set to cast another actor as Dracula because it believed that Bela Lugosi had died!  However, Lugosi’s agent had informed Universal otherwise (his movie career was almost non-existent at this point) and convinced the executives that they owe Lugosi the role he originated.  As for the Wolf Man, it is the only character to be portrayed by the same actor (Lon Chaney) throughout the original Universal monster movies (including this one).  Despite the pedigree, this movie was a cash grab for Universal.  And it kinda shows.

Abbott and Costello 2

I can see why Abbott didn’t want to do the movie. It’s dumb. Apart from the novelty of having the original Universal Monsters all together, this movie is silly and hard to watch (even boring at times). Having Dracula try to reanimate The Monster and being opposed by Abbot, Costello and Larry Talbot (The Wolf Man) is a good idea on paper, but the execution is lacking. I’ve watched this movie twice and I barely made it through each time.  The idea is definitely better than the result.  Abbott and Costello are funny, but I prefer the Universal Monsters in a horror setting where they are taken seriously, not in this comedy setting where they seem more ludicrous and out of place than scary.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.