The Marvel comic book universe has always been a breeding ground for exciting stories and dynamic characters. Many of these characters have been etched into popular culture, with a few becoming bona fide mainstream phenomena. One of these notable comics, which subtly yet significantly altered the trajectory of Marvel’s pantheon of heroes, is “Werewolf By Night (1972) #32.“
Published in August 1975, “Werewolf By Night (1972) #32” is a standout issue in the comic book world for introducing a new hero – Moon Knight. Written by Doug Moench and beautifully illustrated by Don Perlin, this issue laid the foundation for a character who would later evolve into a major player in the Marvel universe.
The story in “Werewolf By Night #32” involves the titular character, Jack Russell (also known as the Werewolf), who has been captured and held captive by a group of mysterious individuals. The people behind this plot are revealed to be an eccentric millionaire known as the Committee, who intend to use Russell for their own nefarious purposes. To accomplish this, they hire a new character in the form of Moon Knight, depicted initially as a mercenary in a silver-and-white costume.
Moon Knight was originally introduced as a villain, tasked with bringing in the Werewolf so the Committee can use him for their dark motives. However, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Moon Knight isn’t who he seems, hinting at the complex character arc that would eventually evolve over time, turning him into one of Marvel’s most intriguing anti-heroes.
This issue is famously known for marking the first appearance of Moon Knight (Marc Spector), a character that would later become iconic in his own right. Moon Knight is introduced as a complex, multi-layered character with different identities – Marc Spector, millionaire Steven Grant, and cab driver Jake Lockley. This level of complexity, along with his struggle with multiple personality disorder in later stories, made Moon Knight a unique and distinct character in the Marvel Universe.
Moon Knight’s portrayal in this issue may be far removed from the character we know today, but it’s an essential piece of the hero’s backstory. The moral struggle that Moon Knight faces when ordered to capture the Werewolf sets a precedent for the character’s inner conflicts in future story arcs.
The creative team behind this issue, Doug Moench and Don Perlin, delivered a narrative that was full of action, suspense, and drama. Perlin’s art, in particular, stands out for its dynamic action sequences and evocative illustrations of the Werewolf and Moon Knight. Moench’s writing skillfully introduces Moon Knight and successfully intertwines his story with that of Jack Russell, creating an issue that is both enjoyable as a standalone story and crucial to the larger Marvel continuity.
“Werewolf By Night (1972) #32” is not only a fantastic issue in its own right but also a seminal point in the history of Marvel Comics due to the introduction of Moon Knight. The character’s enduring popularity, which has led to multiple series and even an upcoming television series on Disney+, all traces back to this single issue. For any comic book collector or Marvel enthusiast, this issue remains a must-have due to its historical significance and the impact it continues to have on the Marvel universe.