Monday, 29 March 2010

Werewolf by Night

Werewolf by Night Vol.1, No.31 - 1975.

Let's just say that your whole world is gigantically pear shaped if you happen to be Jack Russell, a seemingly normal blond haired Californian 19 year old boy, who's father has been cursed by a mystical book called the Darkhold. As luck would have it, Jack inherits the curse and as a result is stuck in a perpetual Michael Jackson 'Thriller' loop.

So what do you do if a full moon is forecast? Well, in 'Death in White', Jack has planned a ski trip with girlfriend Topaz, along with Chuck and his new girlfriend, the recently widowed Elaine Marsten and her 7 year old daughter Buttons. Laughter and frivolity ensues as the two couples head off into the mountains with a teetering roof rack of suitcases. Jack's more than happy to roll around in the snow with Topaz but the precocious little Buttons has other ideas. Teasing and snowball fights aside, its wall to wall rosy cheeks and heavy duty knit wear as they settle in for romantic fireside cuddles and tankards of hot Grog until the Manager informs everyone that heavy blizzards are due to hit the following day.

Fearing that their secret plans are threatened by this turn of events, Chuck catches Jack's attention out of the girls earshot. Quick to shrug off Chuck's suggestion that they scrap their plans to leave him in the lonely mountain backwoods ahead of the full moon, Jack assures his friend that their plan will work better now as they are guaranteed not to run into anyone. The next day the boys convince the girls that Jack needs to return to the city due to work commitments, and instead of driving to the train station they head off the road and into the woods.

Jack sits and waits for nightfall as Chuck's car disappears from view. Unfortunately for Jack the little girl has run away from the ski lodge and has got lost in the woods. Wasting no time, Buck steals a snowmobile and heads off to find the Werewolf before it can get to the girl. Poor old Chuck throws himself into a fearful battle with his best friend, the Werewolf's claws slash out as the monster sees only prey in the form of a 7 year old girl and he smells only fear and blood as Chuck crawls helplessly away through the reddened snow. Putting himself between the Werewolf and the girl, not only to save her but also to save Jack from certain madness if he is to discover later that he has killed a young child. In the end Jack kills his best friend.

I really enjoyed the writing in this comic which was the work of Doug Moench, best known for his work on Batman and Detective comics in the 80s and 90s. He also did some newspaper work where he, amongst other things, interviewed The Who and The Monkeys.

Finally, from the same comic is this wonderful ad. In 1975 you could snag yourself a bathroom towel set or a big ol' beach towel featuring every one's favourite canyon jumpin', double decker hoppin' stunt man, Evil Knieval! For 5 dollars you could be drying off with some top quality Evil cotton.

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