Archive for The Wolf Man

AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: The Legion of Monsters plus The Creature Commandos

Posted in comic books, Frankenstein, monsters, werewolf, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by Paxton

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In the ’70s, Marvel had several “monster” characters that were fairly popular. I talked yesterday about Werewolf by Night, but there was also Man-Thing, Morbius the Living Vampire and Ghost Rider. They decided to team these guys up to see if a super team of monsters would be popular with readers. The team up would happen in 1976.

In Marvel Premiere #28 (Feb 1976), Werewolf by Night would join forces with the aforementioned Morbius the Living Vampire, Man-Thing and Ghost Rider to form the first Legion of Monsters.

Marvel Premiere #28Legion of Monsters intro

At the time, all four of these characters were very popular, so this was an interesting exercise by Marvel.  However, the story, doesn’t really live up to the idea.  In this horribly zany story a giant mountain appears in the middle of LA on the same day that Morbius, Werewolf, Man-Thing and Ghost Rider all happen to be passing through. Ghost Rider and Man-Thing are somehow drawn to the mountain while Morbius and Werewolf also make their way to the mountain, but not before they get into a fight because Morbius tries to drink Werewolf’s blood.  While investigating the mountain, some giant golden guy on a horse shows up.  This guy.

StarSeed

He calls himself StarSeed (I am not kidding, he seriously calls himself that) and in the middle of a long convoluted story about his origin, Morbius attacks and tries to drink his blood (you sense a pattern here?). Ghost Rider is hypnotized by the golden StarSeed’s beauty so he tries to fight off Morbius.  Man-Thing tries to help but Ghost Rider thinks he’s also attacking.  Goldie and all the monsters get in a fight, Ghost Rider freaks out at Man-Thing and totally runs away on his motorcycle and Werewolf is given a vicious back hand across the face. While trying to help, Man-Thing takes the giant dude down with his “touch of fear” and after conceding defeat, StarSeed uses his cosmic powers to transform everyone back to their alter egos thereby giving Morbius, Werewolf and Man-Thing a brief respite from their curses… only to change them back again 30 seconds later (what a dick). The monsters head out of town sad because they’ve killed their only chance at curing themselves and we never see anyone resolve the giant f’n mountain in the middle of LA. So, like I said, ZANY.

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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 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.


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