Werewolf By Night #11-12
Issue(s): Werewolf By Night #11, Werewolf By Night #12
The inker credits are also worth noting. Issue #11 is inked by Tom Sutton, who drew (and inked) the previous two issues. And issue #12 is inked by Don Perlin, who will become the regular artist on the title after a brief return by Mike Ploog after these two Gil Kane issues.
Since it is Gil Kane, we start off with some (mild) up nostril shots as Philip Russell surprisingly refuses to give up the stepson that so far he's been a complete ass to in this series.
Meanwhile, Jack decides to move out of Buck Cowan's place, so he goes and rents his own apartment. We meet building mates Tina Sands and Raymond Coker...
...as well as the weird-eyed Clary Winter and her similarly weird-eyed friend Sam.
Jack has of course timed things perfectly, so after meeting the two odd girls that both want him, he is forced to run to the beach and tear off his clothes, transforming into a werewolf.
There's probably a metaphor there, but i'm too distracted by Jack's continued irresponsibility. This time he immediately gets into a fight with some beach partiers.
Meanwhile, we're introduced to a new villain, named Hangman. He's kind of like a horror version of the Punisher. Someone that thinks he's a good guy but he kills his victims, terrifying the people he's protecting...
...and when the people he's protecting happen to be attractive young women, he takes them back to his dungeon so that he can "protect" them forever.
He not so subtly explains that he's a product of his times.
The Werewolf eventually runs out of muscle beachers and policemen to tear to shreds...
...and winds up approaching the Hangman just as the Hangman is monitoring Buck Cowan's behavior towards Jack's sister.
During the battle, Lissa spills the beans to Buck about Jack's secret identity.
The Werewolf manages to escape the Hangman, and later transforms back into his human form and goes back to his new apartment. In the scene below, we see the first mention of the large superhero world in this series (as opposed to the Werewolf's appearance in Marvel Team-Up), with Jack denying that he's a super-hero like Spider-Man or Daredevil. We also see that Raymond Corker is into some weird stuff.
Jack also finds Clary and Sam still waiting for him, and you can see Jack literally putting all thoughts of his girlfriend Terri aside.
Jack is an interesting character in the sense that he's completely unlikeable. Irresponsible about his werewolf status. Uninterested in pursuing the fact that he thinks his stepfather killed his mother (but not at all concerned about leaving his sister Lissa to live with him alone). And quick to drop a girlfriend when presented at the first possible opportunity for a menage a trois.
After spending the day in the pool with Clary and Sam, Jack calls home to talk to Lissa and finds out that their stepfather is missing. When he goes to investigate, he's attacked by Committee goons, but he escapes when he transforms into Werewolf form. And the Werewolf isn't interested in the Committee; it just wants to continue its fight with the Hangman.
The Hangman's prisoners escape during the fight, and the Werewolf leaves the Hangman pinned under some rubble, begging to not be left alive in a corrupt and evil world.
Gil Kane's Werewolf is at least sufficiently terrifying.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Has Philip Russell been a prisoner of the Committee for an entire month? It seems so. Last arc had three nights of Werewolf transformations. The first transformation we see in this story is "Second Night". So it seems to have been over a month since the previous arc when we saw Philip getting kidnapped. But in issue #12, Lissa calls Jack to tell him that their stepfather has been missing for "two days". Maybe Lissa just hadn't been home in awhile herself, so it's been two days since she got home and realized that her stepfather wasn't there.
Philip will spend at least another month imprisoned, since it's not until next arc that he's freed.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBuck Cowan, Clary Winter, Hangman, Lissa Russell, Philip Russell, Raymond Coker, Sam (WWBN supporting cast), Tina Sands, Werewolf By Night
"Meanwhile, we're introduced to a new villain, named Hangman. He's kind of like a horror version of the Punisher".
Intriguingly, though, he did precede the latter by some months. Of course, Mack Bolan preceded both.
The other intriguing aspect, not clear from your scan; he served in World War II. This would have made him, sliding timescale or otherwise, roughly 43 or so. I also find it intriguing since while the Vietnam war served as part of the backstory of many vigilante in adventure tales, as did World War I (cf. the Spider, the Shadow), World War II largely did not. The 1950's and 1960's served as rather a fallow time for vigilante fiction (the Spider pulps ended in 1943, the Shadow pulps ended in 1949, the Green Hornet radio show ended in 1952, the Shadow's radio show ended in 1954); most of the indigenous comic book heroes who made it through to the early 1960's and later had long stood as officially deputized by the early 1940's.
Posted by: PB210 | January 5, 2015 7:17 PM
If he fought in World War II, he'd be at least 46 by 1973.
Posted by: Michael | January 5, 2015 7:56 PM
Vietnam vets made good vigilante antiheroes because of the "stabbed in the back" narrative: the government didn't have the jobs to "let us get the job done" in Nam; the cops won't do the job right on the streets and we're "losing the war at home" too.
The existence of this narrative and attitude makes it fertile ground - whether the creators have this viewpoint and are promoting it through their character, they're ridiculing that perspective, or using it for characterization and motivation.
World War II veterans were generally treated well throughout culture (including the Left), they benefited from the GI Bill, and were generally not considered to be mentally or morally deformed by their experiences. That doesn't mean WWII participants didn't have deep scars or engage in atrocities; but it wasn't socially resonant in a way that would drive a fictional trope.
Posted by: cullen | January 6, 2015 12:38 AM
*grrr, "the government didn't have the *guts* to..."
Posted by: cullen | January 6, 2015 12:38 AM
The other thing to keep in mind is that in World War II, there were conscientious objectors, draft dodgers, etc. but they were small in number compared to the people that served, and very few of them became writers. In Vietnam by some estimates almost half of the eligible draftees avoided serving one way or another, and a lot of them became writers. So whether they feel guilty about not serving,think it took more courage to refuse to go to Vietnam than to go or simply find it easier to depict Vietnam vets as antiheroes because they didn't go through the war themselves, they depict the vets as antiheroes.
Posted by: Michael | January 6, 2015 8:06 PM
One WW2 draft resister(who spent time in jail for it) later became a jazz composer known as Sun Ra.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 9, 2015 9:04 PM
Intriguing question on this issue; it came out in 1973.
I wonder how many outlaw or fugitive or employing lethal force vigilantes preceded this issue in comic books during the Silver Age and post-Silver Age period. DC's adaptation of the Shadow came out in Oct-Nov 1973. I wonder how many vigilantes fitting the parameters debuted in 1973 to 1980.
Posted by: PB210 | January 10, 2015 3:35 AM
Elijah Muhammad also resisted the draft in World War II. Just in case people from Mars stumble upon this page, might as well get it all out there.
Posted by: cullen | January 11, 2015 3:04 AM
The werewolf was one character Gil Kane drew where the infamous "nostril shot" isn't as prominent. Although in the panelat the end of #11 where he's being hanged, his nose closely resembles my Boxer's.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | May 25, 2017 4:37 PM
On the other hand, I can't say the same for Gil Kane's rendering of the Hangman. His nose looks like a miniature ironing board with two big holes sawed through it.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | May 31, 2017 12:35 AM
The times being what they are, a few issues from now the letters page includes a message from someone complaining that the comic is is unfairly subverting the Hangman's old-fashioned morality by making him a "pervert" who kidnaps women, and effectively insisting that the rest of what he does is A-OK because real-world morality should be as black-and-white as the old movies.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 15, 2017 4:28 PM
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