Comic - ‘Werewolf By Night’ #1 September 1972. “Eye Of The Beholder” Written by Gerry Conway. Art by Mike Ploog and Frank Chiaramonte (listed as Frank Monte). Cover by Ploog.
I only began collecting Werewolf By Night a few years ago. Thankfully, they’re relatively inexpensive, #1 being a mid-tier Bronze age key, only commanding higher prices in hi-grade encapsulated form. Nice raw copies are fairly affordable. His first appearance in Marvel Spotlight #2 is the more sought after and expensive book. I have most of his regular run, though I have yet to get Spotlight #2.(I have #3 and #4). This book was an Ebay pickup a ccouple of years ago. A nice copy, with a tiny 1/2” tear at the very top and a crease in the back upper left corner. Still retains nice cover color and gloss.
Certainly an iconic cover by Mike Ploog who became known for his great work on many of Marvel’s monster and supernatural books of the early 70’s such as Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, The Frankenstein Monster and Planet Of The Apes.
The story in this one is pretty convoluted and again, as with Ghost Rider, picks up from his appearances in Marvel Spotlight.
There’s more of a gothic feel to this story then Ghost Rider, with castles and forests as set pieces. There’s a mutant gorgon with a gaze that will turn people to stone, a lurking monstrosity of a henchmen, with a loyal side, in Strug, a wheelchair bound old man, evil curses and a magical spell book that is at the root of the plot.
For all it’s somewhat serious inclinations this story ends with an almost parody like conclusion that might be better suited for one of Marvel’s humor mags. For those without access to read the book, Marlene Blackgar, the gorgon, attempts to turn Jack Russel, in his Werewolf guise, into stone, but he ducks out of the way and instead her eye beams reflect off of a mirror behind him, turning her and her invalid father to stone instead.
The book ends with Jack’s friend, Buck Cowan, donating the ‘statues’ to the Santa Monica Art Museum. They’re pictured on display with Buck breaking the third wall and ‘winking’ at the reader. Kinda odd. Read more about this book here: