Werewolf by Night
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (January 2016)|
|Werewolf By Night|
Partial cover of Werewolf by Night #1, "Eye of the Beholder!" (Sept. 1972) by artist Mike Ploog.
|First appearance||Marvel Spotlight #2 (Feb. 1972)|
|Created by||Roy Thomas
|Alter ego||Jacob Russoff (given name)|
|Team affiliations||Legion of Monsters
|Notable aliases||Jack Russell (adopted name)|
|Abilities||In werewolf form:
Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, durability, reflexes and sense of smell
Accelerated healing factor
Razor sharp claws and teeth
Werewolf by Night (birth name Jacob Russoff, legal name Jacob Russell, nicknamed Jack) is a fictional character, an antiheroic werewolf appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Werewolf by Night (usually referred to by other characters simply as the Werewolf) first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #2.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 Collections
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The Werewolf by Night character first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #2 (Feb. 1972) and was based on an idea by Roy Thomas. The series name was suggested by Stan Lee and the debut story was crafted by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog. The character made additional appearances in Marvel Spotlight #3 and #4 and then graduated to his own eponymous series in September 1972. Werewolf by Night was published for 43 issues and ran through March 1977. Issue #32 (August 1975) contains the first appearance of Moon Knight. Jack Russell co-starred with Tigra in Giant Size Creatures #1 (July 1974), which was the first appearance of Greer Grant as Tigra instead of the Cat. That series was retitled Giant-Size Werewolf with its second issue.
Jack Russell was dormant for most of the 1980s. The character's appearance was radically revamped in Moon Knight #29 (March 1983). He guest-starred in various issues of Spider-Woman, West Coast Avengers, and Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme.
Werewolf by Night was later revived in the pages of Marvel Comics Presents, where he appeared irregularly from 1991-1993. He made regular appearances as a supporting cast member in the pages of Morbius, the Living Vampire from 1993-1995. A letters page in an issue of Morbius mentioned that a Werewolf by Night miniseries by Len Kaminski and James Fry was in the works, but the miniseries was never published.
Werewolf by Night, volume 2 ran for six issues in 1998. The series was written by Paul Jenkins and penciled by Leonardo Manco. After the book's cancellation, the story was continued in the pages of Strange Tales, which also featured the Man-Thing. That volume of Strange Tales was canceled after only two issues due to poor sales.
In early 2007, Marvel published a one-shot entitled Legion of Monsters: Werewolf by Night, with art by Greg Land.
In January 2009, Jack Russell was featured in the four-issue limited series Dead of Night Featuring Werewolf by Night, from Marvel's mature readers MAX imprint. The series was written by Duane Swierczynski, with art by Mico Suayan.
He was featured as a member of Morbius' Midnight Sons in Marvel Zombies 4 in 2009.
Fictional character biography
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2015)|
While reports of lycanthropy (becoming a werewolf) in the Russoff line stretch back many centuries, the first confirmed manifestation is Grigori Russoff in 1795. Dracula slew Grigori's wife Louisa after he refused to acknowledge Dracula's primacy upon his return to Transylvania. Grigori then ambushed and destroyed Dracula, but was turned into a werewolf by Lydia, a werewolf formerly imprisoned by the vampire lord. Grigori took a second wife, but accounts vary as to why lycanthropy failed to pass to his descendents. Sometime prior to May 1930, Grigori's descendent, Gregor, obtained the legendary Darkhold scrolls, binding them back into book form. Reading lycanthropy's origins in the Darkhold under a full moon triggered the dormant curse, turning Gregor into a werewolf. Gregor further transcribed much of the Darkhold into Grigori's diary, essentially creating a Darkhold copy, which he used as his own diary.
Gregor sold part of his estate — including Wundagore Mountain — to Jonathon Drew, who shared it with partner Herbert Wyndham (the future High Evolutionary). The Russoff werewolf slew Jonathon's wife, Merriem, and Wyndham designed a suit of silver-coated armor to protect himself, enabling Russoff's capture. Russoff stayed with the Evolutionary, who kept the werewolf safely contained for decades. Russoff eventually used the Darkhold to summon Chthon to cure him, and the Elder God nearly broke through the earthly plane; but Magnus the Sorcerer forced Russoff to banish Chthon, who lashed out with a parting blast that slew Gregor. Despite contrary accounts, the Gregor Russoff who stayed with the High Evolutionary seems to have been the grandfather (or great-grandfather) of Jack Russell. Having the same name and presumably using the same diary contributed to earlier confusion. It would seem more likely that the elder Gregor was the one who transcribed the Darkhold into the diary.
Birth of Jack
Decades later, another Gregor Russoff married Laura, the former girlfriend of his younger brother Philip. Jacob (later Jack) was born in Mediaş, Transylvania, soon after, and Laura was pregnant with Lissa within two years of marriage; however, when lightning struck Russoff's Transylvanian castle during a full moon, the werewolf Gregor escaped confinement and began attacking villagers. They tracked down and killed Russoff with silver bullets. Gregor's mother, Maria, was stoned and driven from the village, living with gypsies and learning magic. After Gregor's death, Laura found Philip - who had moved to Los Angeles, anglicizing his name to Russell - and they married after a year; Jack and Lissa remained unaware of Philip's past.
Approximately fifteen years later, the criminal Committee learned of Gregor's curse and blackmailed Philip, threatening to reveal his secrets. To protect Laura's name, Philip paid them but had second thoughts and canceled payment, causing the Committee to send Max Grant to kill Laura. Critically injured in a car crash on Jack's 18th birthday, Laura barely had time to tell Jack about his true father and the curse of the werewolf, making Jack promise not to harm Philip, before dying. Having inherited lycanthropy the night before, Jack slew Grant, but wrongly blamed Philip for some time. Laura left Castle Russoff in Jack's name, but Philip, the trustee, sold the castle to Miles Blackgar, who had it moved to an island off California's coast. Jack battled a motorcycle gang, infecting its members with lycanthropy.
On the road
Jack spent the next few years as a traveler, transforming on the three nights of the full moon into savage werewolf form. He learned of the Darkhold from Nathan and Agatha Timly, who briefly kidnapped the Werewolf and met grisly ends. Befriending writer Buck Cowan, Jack sneaked into Blackgar's castle and stole the Darkhold, encountering Miles Blackgar and his daughter Marlene, whose petrifying power slew both Blackgars. After fighting off the deformed Cephalos' plot to drain his power to stabilize Cephalos' form, Jack had Father Ramon Joaquez translate the Darkhold. The priest died after being possessed by the Darkhold's former custodian, 12th century Mad Monk Aelfric, and the indestructible Darkhold vanished. Jack encountered Joshua Kane, who hunted the Werewolf, and his brother, Luther Kane, who offered to prevent Lissa from becoming a werewolf in exchange for Jack kidnapping billionaire recluse Judson Hemp; he met mentalist Swami Rihva, who sought the Werewolf's blood to reveal the treasure-map of the ancient sorcerer Kaman-Ru on his "Bloodstone"; the possessing demon Krogg; and Spider-Man and Moondark the Magician. Jack then fought the sonic-weapons of Sarnak, his first brush with the criminal Committee who wished to enslave the Werewolf.
Working with Topaz
After fighting the sociopath Hangman (Harlan Krueger), Jack was entranced by Topaz, the familiar of the sorcerer Taboo, who sought the Darkhold. Taboo had used the tome decades before to grant his son, Algon, a golden touch, but had lost the book in mid-spell, trapping Algon in a mindless state. Lacking the Darkhold, Taboo transferred Philip Russell's mind into Algon, but both Algon and Taboo died, restoring Philip, who explained Laura's death and reconciled with Jack and Lissa. Traveling to Transylvania alongside Topaz, with whom he had bonded, Jack discovered the Russoff diary/Darkhold copy, the Werewolf battled Dracula, and the book was lost in the Alps. Jack and Topaz encountered the kyphotic Half-Mad before returning to the U.S., and Jack fought the Committee's Behemoth robot and then Ma Mayhem, assisted by werewolf Raymond Coker. Jack joined the newly mutated Tigra against HYDRA, battled vampires Louis Belski and Liza Pyne, opposed Ma Mayhem and her ally Baron Thunder, and joined Coker against Lou Hackett (a policeman transformed into a werewolf by a magic ring), who was killed in the struggle. The Werewolf joined Frankenstein's Monster against the Satanic Brotherhood of Baal (who had abducted Lissa), then fought the disfigured Atlas and the Jekyll/Hyde-like DePrayve. Jack briefly returned to Transylvania following Topaz's psychic summons and encountered Maria Russoff, who used gypsy magic to raise zombies to slay the villagers who had driven her off. Maria sacrificed herself to save Jack from her zombies upon learning he was her grandson.
In Blackgar's Castle, Werewolf, Topaz, and the repentant spirit fragment of Taboo battled the necromancer Glitternight, who transformed Lissa Russell into a were-demon; the process of curing Lissa purged her of the threat of lycanthropy, though she would still pass it on to her children. After battling Morbius, the Living Vampire and slaying the demon worshipped by Brad Wrangle, the Werewolf was briefly transported to the divided dimension Biphasia by Satanist Joaquin Zaire, and he aided Paingloss against the sorcerer Sardanus. During a subsequent ski trip, the Werewolf nearly slew Buck Cowan, after which he was captured by the Committee-paid mercenary Moon Knight, who set him free when he realized Jack's humanity and the Committee's intentions. The Werewolf joined the Ghost Rider, the Man-Thing, and Morbius in unwittingly slaying the benevolent alien Starseed, who intended to cure them all.
The Werewolf, Topaz, and others then battled and were nearly driven mad by the ghost of 19th-century black magician Belaric Marcosa, but they freed the trapped spirits of Marcosa's enemies, who destroyed him, and the grateful spirits healed Buck. The enigmatic Three Who Are All (Burning Snake, Goat Child, and Hooded One) — an ancient extra-dimensional group who had formerly included Glitternight and a fifth member, Fire-Eyes — sent Jack, Topaz, Raymond Coker, and Brother Voodoo to Haiti, where the Werewolf and Fire-Eyes destroyed Glitternight. In the process, Jack gained control of his Werewolf persona, though he still only transformed under moonlight and still lost control during the three nights of the full moon.
With other heroes
The Werewolf joined with Iron Man against the Maggia's Masked Marauder and his Tri-Animan, and he teamed with Spider-Woman against the mercenary Enforcer. The mad scientist Dr. Karl Malus, who captured and performed scientific experiments on Russell to control him against Spider-Woman; Russell escaped and apprehended Malus with the aid of Spider-Woman. Russell joined Spider-Man against the Tatterdemalion, a former agent of Sarnak. After being temporarily captured alongside a number of costumed adventurers by the Locksmith, Russell began mutating into a more savage and lupine form, a late effect from Malus' treatment. He fled Satanists Morning Star (Schuyler Belial) and his Left Hand Path, who wished to use his blood to become werewolves, then sought aid from the now-human Michael Morbius in controlling his savage self, leading to a battle with the West Coast Avengers. With assistance from Iron Man, he later saved Lissa from Morgan Le Fay's attempt to possess her.
The Night Shift
He was subsequently mind-controlled into joining the mostly criminal Night Shift by Dansen Macabre. Russell was the only member who knew their leader, the Shroud, was using the group to oppose other criminals and to prevent them from harming innocents. After encounters with Captain America, Moon Knight, and the Avengers, the Werewolf eventually developed resistance to Macabre's powers and turned on the Night Shift, after which he went solo. After battling the Hulk in the Midwest, Jack contacted his father Gregor's spirit to cure his lycanthropy, but was told he would die unless he accepted his beast. During the ensuing battle with the religious zealot Silver Dagger and the Braineaters, a cult of werewolves transformed in the past by Russell, Jack fully accepted his wolf-self and his personae merged, altering his powers and granting him full control and the best of both selves.
Russell assisted Doctor Strange against the alien Possessors, the Night Shift against an L.A. street gang, and Ghost Rider against a new group of Braineaters; Jack narrowly survived a battle with Sabretooth and fought an unidentified Wendigo in Canada. Russell was captured by criminal scientist Nightshade who used his blood to create the Night Patrol, a group of werewolves in Starkesboro, Massachusetts. Captain America - also transformed into a werewolf - freed Russell and led the werewolves to defeat Nightshade's master, Dredmund the Druid, who had used the Godstone (former gem of the Man-Wolf) to briefly become the powerful Starwolf. The Night Patrol was cured, after which Russell was drawn into a conflict involving the Midnight Sons and was slain by Switchblade (the insane Darkhold-powered Blade), but Jack was revived once Professor Louise Hastings broke Switchblade's spell. Russell befriended the again pseudo-vampiric (and now demon-possessed) Morbius, had a vision of advertisements on the moon causing mass insanity, and fought the Lilin Goblins, Mr. Hyde, and the sadist Morphine. Jack had an affair with Morbius' possessed former girlfriend Martine Bancroft.
Jack again began losing control of the Werewolf, locking himself in a cage under full moons, and even glimpsing visions of Hell as he transformed. From the Cult of the Third Moon's dying leader, Walter Clark, Russell learned that only the legendary Wolfblade could control his lupine self. With the aid of Smedley, a mysterious benefactor, Russell recovered all three parts of the Wolfblade, battled the original Wolf Demon in a branch of Hell, completed the puzzle by reaccepting both selves, and seemingly regained control. However, after Jack visited friends Freddie and the disfigured Lump, Smedley sent him to investigate a series of killings, and evidence pointed to Jack as the killer. As Russell began to mutate further, Smedley said Jack just hadn't been careful enough in his wish to be freed from the wolf demon and that he must embrace the disease or it would destroy him. Uncertain how to accomplish this, Jack found a confidant in Lump, who cared for the Werewolf as he hid out in the sewers. While Jack's new girlfriend, Roxanna, remained blissfully unaware of his dual existence, the Werewolf was tracked down by a pair of detectives, escaping only after they were slain by the Cult of the Third Moon. Though Jack's subsequent fate is unknown, he was later seen sensing the arrival of the mystic assassin Hellphyr.
In the Legion of Monsters: Werewolf by Night one-shot, Jack Russell came to Salvage, Alabama to save a family of law-abiding werewolves from townsfolk led by Cal Escher. Young Rhonda was the only one left in the family after her mother and sister Suzie chose death by gun or knife. The girl was drowning her sorrows in Sullivan's bar next to the cemetery when the gang attacked her, revealing her werewolf nature by means of a tarot card ("The Moon") and then trying to kill her. Russell interfered, transforming into the Werewolf while Rhonda decided to do the same. After killing the violent gang, Russell and Rhonda left the town, determined to control their affliction and live their lives without fear.
Moon Knight rescues Jack from a criminal enterprise wherein samples of his blood are used to temporarily mutate homeless people into pseudo-werewolves who are then provoked into fighting each other as a spectator sport. Moon Knight frees Jack, who has degenerated into a near-mindless feral state, from his captors; the Werewolf proceeds to rampage attacking both his tormentors and Moon Knight, who subdues him before restoring his freedom to him.
Marvel Zombies 4
Werewolf appears as part of the new Midnight Sons team to hunt down zombies who escaped A.R.M.O.R. headquarters and prevent the contagion from spreading. Prior to the team's mission, he records a video will and testament telling his sister he is happy in life. He was given a vaccine developed by Morbius. In their search for the missing zombie Deadpool, the team battles and kills zombie Men-Fish and their leader, Piranha. After battling Hood's Night Shift and watching ally Man-Thing seemingly die in a battle against Deadpool, Russel's vaccine fails him and he becomes a zombie. He then confronts Jennifer Kale. He battles Morbius, who realizes that Jack's werewolf form is not subject to the virus, and Jennifer Kale summons a moonlight spell to transform him into the werewolf. Jack is later restored to normal by Morbius, who developed a cure for the zombie virus using Spider-Man's blood and samples of the zombie virus from different realities.[volume & issue needed]
After the death of Frank Castle, Morbius pieces the Punisher together again and enlists his help in saving monsters from extinction. Jack Russell, Man-Thing, and the Living Mummy are part of the Legion of Monsters who fight those who would wipe out all monsters. The Punisher aids this group in protecting an underground city that has many innocent, sentient monsters.
Russell appears among many mystical beings of lupine and feline nature drawn to the headquarters of X-Factor Investigations by the imminent birth of the mutant Wolfsbane's child, fathered by the Asgardian wolf prince Hrimhari. While many of the gathered beings wish to acquire the child for their own ends (due to its status as a hybrid of human mutant and Asgardian god), Russell seems intent on protecting mother and child, likening the call that drew him to Wolfsbane to the hymn "O Come All Ye Faithful", and takes them into the woods of upstate New York to hide. Once the child is born, it is rejected by a shaken Wolfsbane due to its vicious, feral nature and her own religious beliefs. The cub appears to be caught up in a convergence of the mystic forces seeking it, vanishing explosively from the Earth; however, Russell finds the child hiding in a cave (unknown to its mother and the other members of X-Factor), and takes it under his care.
Powers and abilities
Jack Russell is a descendent of the mystically altered offshoot of humans known as Lycanthropes. During the night of the full moon and the two nights surrounding it he is forced to transform into a werewolf, a large, powerful form which is a hybrid of human and wolf, and loses his human intellect. Through a series of events, he is also capable of transforming voluntarily outside of the full moon, at which time he remains in control of himself.
As a werewolf, Jack gains the proportionate physical advantages of a nearly 7-foot-tall (2.1 m) wolf. In this form, he possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. He possesses a superhuman sense of smell, which carries over to his human form. He has razor sharp teeth and claws able to rend light metals. The werewolf is resistant to many forms of conventional injury and very hard to kill by conventional means. Though he can be severely wounded, he recovers from non-fatal wounds much faster than a human would. He is vulnerable to magical attacks and, like all supernatural creatures, he can be killed by weapons made of silver, due to its inherent mystical "purity".
In Marvel's Earth-666, a version of the Werewolf appeared in Supernatural Tourbook and Supernaturals #1-4.
In the Marvel Adventures continuity, Jack Russel's family home is in Queens, New York. This brings him into conflict with Spider-Man after he reluctantly turns the somewhat innocent Flash Thompson into a werewolf. Fortunately Dr. Strange's knowledge of Romanian lycanthropy saves Flash.
In other media
- Werewolf by Night appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "This Man-Thing, This Monster", voiced by Rob Paulsen. Iron Man arrives and helps Werewolf by Night fight an army of mummies led by N'Kantu, the Living Mummy until his girlfriend Ellen is captured. Together with Iron Man and Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night fights Dracula and his mummy army. After Dracula retreats, it is discovered that Ellen was turned into a vampire and joins Werewolf by Night and Man-Thing into forming a team that would defend the town from future monster attacks.
- Werewolf by Night appears in the Halloween-themed episodes of Ultimate Spider-Man entitled "Blade" and "The Howling Commandos", voiced by Ross Lynch. He is a member of Nick Fury's Howling Commandos and seems to have had a bad history with Blade.
- Werewolf by Night appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "Hulking Commandos", voiced by Nolan North. He appears as a member of Nick Fury's Howling Commandos. In the episode "Planet Monster" Pt. 2, Werewolf by Night was with the Howling Commandos when they helped the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and the Avengers fight the forces of the Supreme Intelligence.
- The episode "Days of Future Smash: Dracula" featured Werewolf by Night's grandfather (also voiced by Nolan North) who was around in 1890 during the Victorian era and helped Hulk, Frankenstein's Monster, and N'Kantu the Living Mummy into thwarting Leader and Dracula's plan to blanket the Earth in darkness with their Gamma Furnace.
- A film version of Werewolf by Night, written by Robert Nelson Jacobs, was announced in 2005. The film was due to begin filming in 2005, but no further developments took place.
- Russel appears in Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds in Jill Valentine's ending. He attacks her and Blade alongside other Marvel monsters.
- Werewolf is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
- Essential Werewolf by Night
- Vol. 1 collects Marvel Spotlight #2-4, Werewolf By Night #1-21, Marvel Team-Up #12, Giant-Size Creatures #1, and The Tomb of Dracula #18, 576 pages, October 2005, ISBN 978-0785118398
- Vol. 2 collects Werewolf By Night #22-43, Giant-Size Werewolf #2-5, and Marvel Premiere #28, 576 pages, November 2007, ISBN 978-0785127253
- Essential The Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1 includes Werewolf by Night #15, 560 pages, 2004, ISBN 978-0785109204
- Essential Monster of Frankenstein includes Giant-Size Werewolf #2, 496 pages, October 2004, ISBN 978-0785116349
- Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1 includes Werewolf by Night #32-33, 560 pages, March 2006, ISBN 978-0785120926
- Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1970s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 154. ISBN 978-0756641238.
Roy Thomas came up with the idea for a series called 'I, Werewolf', narrated in the first person by a teenager who transformed into a werewolf. Stan Lee liked the concept but decided to name it 'Werewolf by Night'. The initial creative team on the series was scripter Gerry Conway and artist Mike Ploog.
- Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 157
- Werewolf by Night at the Grand Comics Database
- Giant-Size Creatures at the Grand Comics Database
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- Giant-Size Werewolf at the Grand Comics Database
- Werewolf by Night vol. 2 at the Grand Comics Database
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- Thomas, Roy; Thomas, Jean; Conway, Gerry (w), Ploog, Mike (p), Ploog, Mike (i). "First Night" Marvel Spotlight 2 (February 1972)
- Conway, Gerry (w), Ploog, Mike (p), Ploog, Mike (i). "Werewolf By Night!" Marvel Spotlight 3 (May 1972)
- Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1970s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 69. ISBN 978-0756692360.
Scripter [Len] Wein and plotter [Gerry] Conway teamed up for an issue [of Marvel Team-Up] penciled by Ross Andru that featured Spider-Man facing the threat of Jack Russell, the Werewolf by Night.
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- Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 170: "In August , Jack Russell, the Werewolf by Night, encountered a new mysterious enemy called Moon Knight, created by writer Doug Moench and artist Don Perlin."
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- Benson, Mike (w), Deodato, Mike (p), Deodato, Mike (i). "In The Company Of Wolves" Moon Knight v6, 20 (September 2008)
- Van Lente, Fred; Walker, Kev (2010). Marvel Zombies 4. Marvel Comics. p. 128. ISBN 978-0785139188.
- Remender, Rick (w), Romita, Jr., John (p), Janson, Klaus (i). "A Good Lie" Dark Reign: The List - Punisher 1 (December 2009)
- Remender, Rick; Liu, Marjorie; Way, Daniel (2011). The Punisher: Franken-Castle. Marvel Comics. p. 344. ISBN 978-0785144205. Cite uses deprecated parameter
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- David, Peter (w), Norton, Mike (p), Lee, Norman (i). "Hair of the Dog That Bit Ya" Marvel Adventures 17 (September 2006)
- Ferrell, Cody (September 21, 2013). "Terry Crews Is Blade In Ultimate Spider-Man’s Halloween Special". Comic Book Therapy. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013.
- "Hulking Commandos". Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Season 2. Episode 3. October 19, 2014. Disney XD.
- "Werewolf by Night Movie Update". SuperHeroHype.com. November 18, 2005. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- Werewolf by Night at Marvel.com
- Werewolf by Night at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Werewolf by Night appearances in publication order