BY MATT TUCK
The word on the internet is that Werewolf by Night will make his debut next Halloween, but don’t expect to see Jack Russell.
Nothing has been confirmed, but the latest buzz around WBN is that he will be the main focus of a Marvel-themed Halloween special that will air on Disney+ in 2022, according to The Wrap. Which shapeshifter will star in the holiday special? Reportedly, Marvel is searching for a Latino actor in his 30s to headline the cast, and that leads to speculation that the MCU’s WBN will be Jake Gomez.
Debuting in last year’s Werewolf by Night #1, Jake is a Native American from the Hopi Tribe. His family suffers from lycanthropy, and the curse is passed on to him. Since Marvel is said to be casting a Latino actor rather than a Native American for the part, the company may be looking to invent an entirely new character for the Halloween Special.
A MONTH OF RUMORS
For the past month, there has been rampant speculation of Werewolf by Night coming to the MCU via Disney+. Whether Marvel Studios slipped him into the highly anticipated Moon Knight series or WBN would star in his own show, the indication was clear: Marvel has plans for Werewolf by Night.
Famed director and comic guru Kevin Smith stoked the fires of the rumor mill last month. During an episode of his podcast, Smith spoke about writing early drafts of the abandoned Howard the Duck cartoon for Hulu. When pitching ideas to Marvel, the company nixed an appearance by Werewolf by Night. According to Smith, “[Marvel] said, ‘You can’t use Werewolf by Night,’ and I asked why. They said the movie division was using him.”
Add Smith’s comments to the latest developments and the WBN picture is becoming more clear.
THE SUPERNATURAL MCU
Beginning with the Darkhold and witches being established in WandaVision, Marvel has been heading toward the supernatural and delving into its history of classic monsters.
At the forefront of the supernatural is the Blade reboot, which will obviously have vampires. It would also be hard to get away from the blood suckers in the Moon Knight series. For that matter, Dracula is heavily rumored for either Moon Knight, Blade, or both. Don’t forget that the initial reports of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness indicated that while it would not be necessarily a horror movie, the film would have more horror elements than anything Marvel has done to that point.
To top it off, the Marvel Zombies appear to be limping and shuffling their way into the MCU as well. The teaser images for What If…? have featured zombie versions of Captain America and Hawkeye, and there are already action figures for Zombie-Hunter Spider-Man.
THE MARKET REPORT
If Marvel is opening up the Multiverse for vampires and zombies, logically, the next step would be werewolves. That means that the WBN rumors are all but confirmed at this point, which will mean an even hotter market for those key issues. Here are the latest figures.
MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #2
No matter which character Marvel Studios turns into a werewolf, Marvel Spotlight #2 remains the go-to Werewolf by Night key. This issue marked the first appearance of Jack Russell, the original WBN, and it also has him on the cover, which is always good for collecting purposes.
Only three days ago, one buyer forked over an astounding $14,001, the highest price ever paid for a 9.6. Not bad for a comic that averaged $3,880 last year. The rumors have sparked the 9.4 to reach new heights this year. In July, a copy sold for over $5k, and it currently has a 90-day average of $4,629.
Compared to those upper grades, the 4.5 is a steal at $600, but there is no denying the FMV inflation. In 2019, this was a $125 comic, and last year saw the FMV rise to just $136.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #1 (2020)
About three weeks ago, I predicted Jake Gomez could very well be the MCU’s Werewolf by Night, especially with Marvel Studio’s push for diversity in its castings. If the rumors are to be believed, then Jake is the frontrunner for the part. That has collectors on the hunt for 2020’s WBN #1.
This month has seen the standard edition 9.8s crossing the triple digits for the first time. After August 4 saw a new record of $145, yesterday’s news brought a new high of $175 in a swarm of sales. Meanwhile, both variant covers for WBN #1 have sold in the $400 range.
BARK AT THE MOON
Longtime Werewolf by Night fans are being rewarded for their loyalty. In a short amount of time, both versions of the character have become exceedingly popular, and those key issues are inflating by the day. That won’t stop anytime soon. With WBN’s ties to Moon Knight and the Darkhold, rest assured that the Halloween Special will not be the last time Werewolf by Night stalks to the MCU.
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.