BY MATT TUCK
Marvel is going supernatural, and the word on the internet is that Werewolf by Night is coming to Disney+.
After Marvel Studios announced a Blade reboot was on the horizon, theorists have pondered what other supernatural creatures could be in store for the MCU. Aside from the multitude of vampires and Marvel Zombies, fans have crossed their fingers for a live-action Werewolf by Night. The wish could be coming true, and Jack Russell (the guy, not the dog, although that would make for a great sidekick) may even get his own Disney+ series.
A SUPERNATURAL TURN
No doubt, Marvel is all in for the monstrous side of the MCU, and it is unfolding one tantalizing piece at a time in typical Marvel fashion.
When the MCU first began, the movies had a more grounded, vulnerable feel. Even with the larger-than-life figures like Thor, Hulk, and Captain America, the core of the first two phases centered on bringing the superheroes to a human level. Post-Avengers, Marvel Studios shifted into the cosmic realm before veering into the mystical side of the MCU. Now it would appear the studio is shifting gears toward the supernatural.
The monstrous hints began with the teases for Man-Thing in Thor: Ragnarok and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. What fully got the wheels turning was the Blade reboot announcement, and the theories and speculation have been rampant since. Next was the forbidden book of magic, the Darkhold, appearing in WandaVision. Then came Loki and the TVA, and Mobius’ casual mention of vampires that hinted at a supernatural Nexus event. Just like that, Blade has a platform for his coming introduction.
Another large piece to the puzzle is Moon Knight. Being a magical figure himself, MK is famous for fighting monsters and other supernatural creatures. Considering Marvel’s usage of its Disney+ series to establish new characters and set up storylines for the movies, it is logical to assume that Werewolf by Night will follow his comic roots and take on Marc Spector. From there, the rumors have sprouted branches of their own, and the latest speculation is that Jack Russell will star in his own MK spinoff series on Disney+.
Much of this comes from previous comments by director Kevin Smith. On an episode of his Fatman Beyond podcast, the world famous comic guru mentioned having wanted to use a host of Bronze Age characters on the now-cancelled Howard the Duck Hulu cartoon. Specifically, Smith asked Marvel about using Werewolf by Night, but he was denied. He explained, “[...] they said, ‘You can’t use Werewolf by Night,’ and I asked why. They said the movie division was using him.” That leaves much to the imagination and leads to intriguing ideas for the future.
Based on that story, it would seem that Marvel has definite plans for WBN going forward. On that note, let’s take a closer look at the current market for Werewolf By Night’s key issues.
MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #2
For decades, the Comics Code Authority ruled the comic industry. In the 1950s and ‘60s, horror titles were not allowed, pushing publishers to print kid-friendly stories. Then in the 1970s, the CCA eased its restrictions to allow characters that had previously been used in other literary forms. Stan Lee and the Marvel editors saw this as a chance to incorporate the classic monsters, such as Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and their very own Wolfman, Werewolf by Night.
While Jack Russell was not the only werewolf in Marvel in the ‘70s, he was the first and arguably the best. It all started with Marvel Spotlight, a title the publisher used to market test new ideas. WBN would prove to be a hit among fans, eventually giving rise to his own solo series. That is why this has been the key to own among Werewolf by Night collectors.
This year has proven to be a record breaker for MS #2. So far, the highest grade sold in 2021 has been the 9.4, which earned a new high of $5,099 in June. Nothing has topped that in the past month, though a July 6 did net a respectable $4,458.
The momentum is not slowing just yet. On August 1, an 8.0 broke its previous record after a $1,200 sale. That same day, a 6.0 set a record following a sale of $695.
MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #4
Going forward, it is apparent that the Darkhold will be an important plot element for the mystical and supernatural side of the MCU. Comic writers have long used the book as a means to explain the existence of the supernatural in Marvel. That will up the ante on those key issues, beginning with Marvel Spotlight #4.
After being first mentioned the previous issue, readers were given a full look at the book in MS #4, which makes it the prime target for collectors. Keep in mind that the first appearances of weapons and items don’t carry the same FMVs of character firsts. The good news is that makes this an affordable key, although prices have been moving thanks to WandaVision. Two years ago, a 9.4 averaged $173, and no 9.4s sold in 2020. This year, it has already reached $850 just last month. Despite the near-mint grades pushing closer to four digits, the mid-grades are still reasonably priced. In the past week, a 6.5 sold for $150.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #1 (1972)
With prices for first appearances going through the roof over the past year, collectors and investors alike are leaning more and more toward a character’s first self-titled issue. That is helping to drive up prices for higher grades of WBN #1 from 1972. In two years, the 9.4 has leaped by almost $1,000; in 2019, it averaged $621, but the most recent sale from July saw a $1,600 price tag.
If you need something more budget friendly, everything up to an 8.0 is currently selling for under $500, but that won’t last for long if the rumors are confirmed. At this point, to find anything outside the triple digits, you have to look all the way down to a 3.5.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #1 (2020)
Here is a true sleeper pick among all the Werewolf keys. Like many of Marvel’s characters, Jack Russell isn’t the only one to carry the WBN title. Last year, Marvel introduced Jake Lopez, who inherited the curse of the werewolf.
Could it be that the MCU Werewolf by Night will not be Jack after all? There is that chance. Considering Marvel Studios’ push for more diversity in starring roles, Jake would fit the bill. Plus, it helps avoid confusion with the dog breed.
I must not be the only one thinking this, either. On August 3, two 9.8s sold for $130 each. Whenever I see oddly specific auction prices selling on the same day, I raise an eyebrow. The true tale of the tape will be in the future sales to see if those are outliers or the new norm.
FULL MOON (KNIGHT)
With so many Disney+ series proving to be massive hits so far, it is safe to assume that Marvel is already at work brainstorming its next round of shows. Whether or not that will include Werewolf By Night is a long shot, but with vampires and even Marvel Zombies joining the MCU, it would seem that Jack Russell’s time is coming.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.