Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Werewolf: Super Hero...Super Spy!

In the 1960s, Dell briefly had a licensing agreement with Universal Pictures, so it made sense that they would create new comic book series based on the most famous creatures of all: Dracula, The Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's Monster. What didn't make sense was the fact that they kept the names, but then attached them to completely new characters--and turned them into superheroes!

To make matters worse, for this series, they weren't allowed to use "Wolf Man" due to copyright issues, so they reverted to something more generic. Don't be swayed by the title: this short-lived comic series has nothing to do with werewolves.
Major Wiley Wolf is given the codename "Werewolf" upon being recruited by the CIA for a new group of elite special operatives. By "recruited," I mean he was basically kidnapped and forced into this new role, and by "group" I mean he's the only one. Prior to being forced into government servitude, Major Wolf was a U.S.A.F. pilot who disappeared over a stretch of remote, Canadian wilderness. Upon crash-landing his plane, a wolf was inadvertently stunned, so he nursed it back to health while seeking shelter in a cave. Thankfully, the other wolves in the pack didn't tear him to bits, and over the next six months he formed a special bond with his new friend--whom he called "Thor."

Naturally, the accident gave him amnesia, so Major Wolf initially believed he was a wolf. Over the course of six months, as his memory returned, the man-beast bromance with Thor grew even stronger. So strong that when Major Wolf was rescued by the Air Force, Thor chose to come along with him! Upon returning to the States, the Major showed his appreciation by immediately quitting the U.S.A.F. About five minutes later, he was scooped up by the CIA, and subjected to their intensive, special ops training program--which essentially turned him into James Bond overnight. He was even subjected to ungodly psychological experiments, where he gained the ability--through "physiognomical" suggestions--to contort his facial features that ostensibly changed how he looked. For science!

Indeed, this story sounds like it was written by a six year-old, which explains why the best part of Major Wolf's transformation included a "Werewolf Suit"--a self-fulfilling, full-body deus ex machina costume that will basically give him everything he needs, and will ensure he never gets hurt.

Actually, the suit is about the only cool thing about this story. Werewolf effectively becomes a silhouette, as he fights alongside Thor to battle Russian and Cuban baddies.

I forgot to mention that Werewolf and Thor both received radio transmitter implants, so they can communicate even when separated by great distances. Boy, the CIA sure thought of everything! Here are the covers for the other two issues:

Each of these monster-cum-superhero series lasted three issues apiece, although Dracula and Frankenstein kicked off with a one-shot adaptation of their respective feature films from 1931.

31 Days of Horror (2014 edition) continues tomorrow...


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