Werewolf and Thor make short work of an opponent. Artist: Tony Tallarico.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Dell Comics
First Appeared: 1966
Creators: Don Segall (?) (writer) and Tony Tallarico (artist)
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Superheroes and monsters. Monsters and superheroes. They're both popular with …

continued below

… kids. So, put 'em together and you'll have something that's doubly popular, right?

At least, that seems to have been the thinking at Dell Comics when they launched their three superheroized monster series, Frankenstein, Dracula and Werewolf, in 1966. And they did succeed in making memorable comics with those titles — it's just that they've been remembered for wonkiness, not quality or popularity.

Werewolf was the only one of the three to start with a #1 issue. The others had continued their numbering from oneshot Movie Classics Dell had published a few years earlier, which was possible because the names "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" are in the public domain. But the movie monster this one was based on, Lon Chaney's Wolfman, was trademarked by Universal Studios, so the comic book was named after the generic word for the character and thus didn't have an earlier #1 to continue from. (It was probably the trademark issue that prompted Marvel Comics, a few years later, to use the trademarkable phrase "Werewolf by Night" as the name of its own werewolf series.)

Dell's Werewolf #1 had a cover date of December, 1966. The artist was definitely Tony Tallarico (who drew Jigsaw for Harvey Comics, The Blue Beetle for Charlton and Lobo also for Dell), but the writer's identity isn't known with such certainty. It's been attributed to Don Segall (dialog on DC's Creeper, full scripts on Dell's Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle), but that may be just an ugly rumor.

The title character was U.S. Air Force Major Wiley Wolf, who crash-landed in the Arctic and, stricken with amnesia, joined a wolf pack. The wolves accepted him apparently because he nursed one of their wounded members (whom Wiley called Thor, no relation) back to health after he'd been wounded in the crash. By the time the CIA rescued him, he'd learned much of their wolf lore, and had formed such an attachment to Thor, the wolf accompanied him back to civilization. There, Wiley was equipped with a black stealth costume (which, tho only a single molecule thick, was quite sufficient to protect him from bullets), and went to work as a superhero for the U.S. government. Radio implants in his and Thor's heads enabled the two to communicate without speaking aloud.

Like Dell's other monster superheroes, this one lasted a mere three issues, the final one dated April, 1967. There were no media spin-offs, no reprints, and no apparent demand for a revival.


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Text ©2003-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Dell Comics.