Werewolf by Night (1972) #19

Werewolf by Night  19

The Gil Kane, Tom Palmer, and probably John Romita cover sells this issue as Wolfman Jack versus vampires on the moon. But the interior art isn’t Kane, Palmer, or Romita; it’s Don Perlin and Vince Colletta. Wolfman Jack versus the vampires is actually on a movie set, tying into a Dracula Lives story about a hacky Dracula actor going on a murder spree before the real Dracula kills him. Writer Mike Friedrich’s a real trooper, doing a sequel to another series’s story, one he didn’t write (Marv Wolfman wrote the first one).

I think Perlin might be trying with the composition, but it doesn’t work out. He’s got no rhythm to the fight scene, which isn’t a surprise, but he’s enthusiastic, which is both a surprise and unfortunate. Between Friedrich and Perlin, Jack in his human form is doing acrobatics, and as the werewolf, he’s… it’s hard to say. At least an unlikely jump kick makes visual sense; the werewolf versus vampire fight, not so much. Not with the Perlin.

The Colletta inks are dreadful, as one would expect. Every once in a while, there’s a very detailed panel, and it’s clear someone tried, Perlin or Colletta, and got there. But it’s a handful of panels; every other panel’s terrible. Some middling competence can’t overcome it.

Friedrich spends half the issue checking in on all the subplots. There’s kidnapped sister Lissa, who Jack’s having a relatively easy time tracking (he finds torn clothing on a fence at one point), there’s next-door neighbor Raymond Coker, who’s got a big secret of his own, there’s meddling copper Lou Hackett, who doesn’t appear thank goodness, and there’s Jack’s nymphomaniac apartment groupies, who try to seduce him or something. It’s so weird. Though also, it’d be fascinating if it were thoughtful.

Coker and Jack have a showdown, with Coker explaining he’s worked his way over from Jamaica, leading Jack to acknowledge the difficulty of that situation. Far cry from when Wolfman had Jack be a (seemingly unintentional) shitty racist to Coker.

But then one of the girls has an emergency at the studio, which relates back to the lawyer for the big game hunter’s movie producer brother, who tried to kill Jack and kidnap Lissa a long time ago. It leads to the vampire fight, then an overly dramatic cliffhanger.

Friedrich’s got a rocky start; he likes framing in flashbacks too much, and Jack’s always way too surprised when there’s a full moon; it improves as it goes along. Coker and Jack may be the second relationship we’ve seen develop on page in Werewolf, so it stands out. Especially with the cliffhanger.

Of course, the issue’d be incomprehensible for a new reader. Story for the content, art for the “do people really read a book with Don Perlin drawing werewolf fights?”

Yes, yes, we do. No questions, please.

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