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Best Werewolf by Night comics to read before watching the MCU special

GamesRadar logo GamesRadar 9/29/2022 Samantha Puc
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Marvel Studios is paying homage to classic horror films with Werewolf By Night, an upcoming direct-to-streaming Halloween Special debuting on Disney Plus on October 7. The story follows Jack Russell, whose ancestors were werewolves who passed the curse of lycanthropy down to him.

Jack Russell debuted in 1972's Marvel Spotlight #2, written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Mike Ploog. In the last 50 years, Werewolf By Night has had a number of adventures and encountered multiple heroes and villains from throughout the Marvel Universe. 

If you'd like to learn more about the character and his history before watching Werewolf By Night, these are the best comics to read before the movie's Disney Plus premiere on October 7.

Marvel Spotlight #2 (1972)

Jack Russell makes his first appearance as Werewolf By Night in Marvel Spotlight #2 (1972), written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Mike Ploog. The issue starts with Jack having dreams that he turns into a werewolf, and he slowly discovers that his dreams are real. 

As mentioned above, Jack's ancestors are Lycanthropes who can turn into werewolves with or without the presence of a full moon. He learns about their curse from his mother on her deathbed.

Marvel Spotlight #2 should definitely be on your list of best Werewolf By Night comics to read before the MCU movie since it's the character's first ever appearance and the beginning of his mythos.

Marvel Spotlight #4 (1972)

In Marvel Spotlight #4 (1972), written by Conway and drawn by Ploog, Jack learns about the Darkhold, the dark grimoire whose magic is the source of his family's lycanthropy.

Also known as the Book of the Damned, the Darkhold has made several appearances in the Marvel Universe since Jack learned of its existence, and has even played a pivotal role in the MCU through Wanda Maximoff's use of its spells in both WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Since the Darkhold will seemingly continue to be an important object in the MCU, and it's unclear how much involvement Jack Russell will have in future shows and movies, Marvel Spotlight #4 is a great read to understand the beginning of the lore.

Werewolf By Night #1 (1972)

Jack Russell's first solo title, Werewolf By Night, debuted in 1972 shortly after his debut in Marvel Spotlight. Werewolf By Night #1, written by Conway and drawn by Ploog, continues the story after Jack finds the Darkhold and claims possession of it.

In this issue, he faces off against the mutant gorgon Marlene Blackgar to rescue his friends Buck and Lissa, hopefully without being turned into stone (which has already happened once before). This premier solo title sets up the first major Werewolf By Night story, making it a must-read.

Bloodstone and the Legion of Monsters

Bloodstone and the Legion of Monsters isn't strictly a Werewolf By Night book, but it makes this list because it introduces other characters who are important to his story - namely, the titular Elsa Bloodstone, a monster hunter created by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Michael Lopez in 2011.

Elsa Bloodstone is played by Laura Donnelly in the MCU Werewolf By Night special, and this collection is a quick way to get to know the character. It also shows how Jack interacts with other monsters (and hunters) in the Marvel Universe, expanding his story and further incorporating him into the world of the comics.

Werewolf By Night #32

Last but not least, before watching the Disney Plus Werewolf By Night movie, you should read Werewolf By Night #32, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Don Perlin and Howie Perlin. This issue introduces Moon Knight, who's played by Oscar Isaac in the MCU, and features an epic fight between him and Jack Russell.

This issue makes the list because it impacts the entire Marvel Universe, even though it seems like a self-contained story. Plus, with Moon Knight already in the MCU and Werewolf By Night joining soon, they may cross paths at some point - making this issue an important one to understand the comic books origins of their relationship.

Werewolf By Night will debut Friday, October 7 on Disney Plus.

Newsarama counts Werewolf By Night as one of the best Marvel horror comics of all time.

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