Marvel is launching a new Werewolf by Night miniseries in 2020. The series offers a new take on the Werewolf by Night concept as conceived by Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas and co-writer Benjamin Jackendoff with artist Scot Eaton. Together, they’ve worked to tie the concept of Werewolf by Night to Native American mythology and storytelling. The series sees a new, young werewolf emerge. The hero Red Wolf is tasked with tracking the werewolf and bringing him in. “I've always had a love and appreciation for the character Red Wolf,” Taboo tells ComicBook.com. “I actually did a cosplay becoming Red Wolf. I did an interview with Joe Quesada speaking on my love and appreciation for the first Native American superhero from the Marvel Universe, Red Wolf. And I always said, ‘Hey, if Red Wolf ever comes up, I would love to be a part of writing or co-writing anything that deals with Red Wolf.’
“We're going through a Native lens because of my Native American heritage. I always liked storytelling from a native perspective. Although I was born in the city of Los Angeles, recently I've been really connected to the Indian country or to native communities to be able to be a service and help native youth, inspire them, especially when it comes to health and wellness, and arts and music. So we built our partnership knowing that when we create, we create through a native lens… We took all the proper precautions, like getting the right folks that represent Indian country. When it comes to native storytelling, there's a respect and an empathy for elders and folks from different tribes, nations, especially when you're telling a story. This story is personal for me because I am half Hopi, that's my tribe and the character is based on Hopi and the Hopi reservation. And for us, we always want to be respectful to native folks, especially when it comes to the Marvel Universe.”
Jackendoff adds, “I think Werewolf by Night is such an interesting character, a cool character. His mythology is really dope, and it was such an exciting opportunity to be able to revamp a new mythology and tie it into Native American storytelling. That's really what got us excited because they were like, ‘All right, cool. We can take the Werewolf by Night brand and stay true to the genre of it all, the creatures, the monsters, the big stuff, all that, but tie it into Native American storytelling, into a Native American background and palette, but still make it a fun adventure story about a kid.’"
The new Werewolf by Night series will stick to the traditional monster movie horror genre that the property is known for. “Basically, it really is the hormone monster,” Jackendoff says. “So he's a 17-year-old kid, and one of your opening lines is like, ‘Everyone else was getting the hormone monster. I became the hormone monster.’ So there's a levity to the book in a lot of ways too because it is about self-discovery, and in tying this into Tab's own personal journey of his Native American self-discovery that's been going on for some time... I've always been a big fan of creatures and there's definitely going to be a lot of homages to creatures from different movies and different stories, whether it's anime or horror films or whatever.
Jackendoff also says the series will draw inspiration from real-world events and ideas surrounding Native American communities. "There's also something that's been happening a lot where Native American women, mostly women, have gone missing. There's a lot of missing indigenous folks all over. There's the Highway of Tears, it's called up in Canada, but it's also happened a lot here in the United States. The idea of invisible no more is something Tab says a lot, where it's this idea that Native folks have always been here and so often that people, if you ask an average person, sometimes they think like, ‘Oh Native American people? Where would you ever find them? Are they even here? Are they extinct?' kind of thing. And that's a big part of the core of this storytelling, is this idea of these invisible folks that are not invisible anymore.”
This 17-year-old Werewolf by Night is debuting around the same time as Marvel’s Outlawed event, which sees the government cracking down on underage superheroes. Taboo and Jackendoff say they used that framework as a jumping-off point, but that Werewolf by Night is a mostly self-contained story with a few ties to the larger Marvel Universe.
“Our goal is to kind of make it its own little world for this miniseries, but we want to tie it to the much bigger Marvel Universe,” Jackendoff says. “We want to bring in Nick Fury in some way, we want to bring in S.H.I.E.L.D, we want to find a way to kind of thread it into the Marvel Universe narrative. And also there's a little thing where we were coming up with the company because there's a bad guy company that's a pharmaceutical company doing experimentations. They're doing these experimentations and doing them on these Native folk. And the company is called Life Pharmaceuticals, and we're tying it into The Life Corporation from the Spider-Man Universe.”
And what about Werewolf by Night's old rival, Moon Knight? "We would love that," Jackendoff says, "but I think in this story it's a little bit more self-contained just because we're introducing a new character and his new background, and we're tying it into the native lens and how he's got his werewolf powers."
Werewolf by Night #1 goes on sale in April. Solicitation details follow.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #1 (of 4)
TABOO & BENJAMIN JACKENDOFF (W) • SCOT EATON (A)
COVER BY Mike McKone
THE HOUR OF THE WOLF!
A new Werewolf by Night is prowling the Southwest, but all is not as it seems! A young man, a family curse, and an unholy experiment prove a dangerous combination for a small town in Arizona. All young Jake wants is to protect his people, but who will protect him from the monster within? Taboo of the BLACK EYED PEAS and Benjamin Jackendoff team up with Scot Eaton to tell an epic tale of righteous fury and incredible transformation in the Mighty Marvel Manner that is not to be missed!