Long before Werewolf by Night became a household name due to Marvel Studios' self-titled Disney+ special, the character served as a building block of the horror stable within the Marvel Comics mythos. The character first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #2 (February 1972) as a way to test the waters before landing his own title. The character was created by a committee of comics icons, including Roy Thomas, Jean Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Mike Ploog.
Now that Roy has had the opportunity to watch the live-action version of Werewolf by Night, we caught up with the creator to get his thoughts on seeing one of his creations added into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "Jack Russell's origin, which my then-wife Jeanie and I had come up with for my concept that I had called 'I, Werewolf' but Stan Lee soon had rechristened," Thomas tells us of the earliest days of Russell's development. "Rather, the story far more strongly resembled one of original comics scripter Gerry Conway's early 'Werewolf' tales of secret cabals and lost terrors. That title is where the Darkhold was first introduced, after all."
Praising Man-Thing's practical effects
Thomas goes on to reveal he's perfectly fine with the studio's change in origin stories, especially once Man-Thing—another character Thomas had a hand in creating—appeared in the series.
"Only 15 minutes into the debut of Werewolf by Night, and we're already heading for the Legion of Monsters! Both the Werewolf and Man-Thing look wonderfully comic-accurate (never a forgone conclusion in these things), the Man-Thing in particular reflecting the original Gray Morrow design of 1971, a latter-day embodiment of the Golden Age monster the Heap, which of course had been Stan Lee's and my intention when Gray was given the assignment," the writer adds.
Thomas concludes by comparing the relationship between Russell and Man-Thing to that of Han Solo and Chewbacca while applauding Marvel's choice to make the special black and white for the vast majority of its duration.
"The black-and-white approach was welcome, echoing The Wolfman and the even earlier Werewolf of London--but it was still gratifying to see the black and white tones shift slowly to color, even as the soundtrack played Judy Garland singing "Over the Rainbow,'" Thomas continues. "I suspect that most viewers finished watching the episode and were abruptly disappointed to remember that there won't be another episode next week. But maybe, before too long? Anyway, I can't wait for the Man-Thing special! Got to have something to wash the last memories of that God-awful SyFy Channel Man-Thing movie of some years back out of my mental palate!"
How to watch Werewolf by Night
Since Werewolf by Night didn't receive a theatrical release, the "Special Presentation," as Marvel Studios calls it, was lumped in with the rest of the television shows the outfit produced for Disney+. As such, Werewolf by Night is available to watch exclusively on Disney+ and nowhere else.