BY MATT TUCK
It’s official: Werewolf By Night is coming to the MCU, and Disney has found its lead for next year’s Marvel Halloween Special. If you’ve been investing in those WBN keys, it could be time to cash in.
There have been rumors for some time now that Werewolf By Night is coming to the MCU. It’s no wonder, either. With Blade and Moon Knight bringing the supernatural element to the live-action Marvel, a superheroic werewolf fits in nicely. It’s easy to see where theorists would connect the dots between WBN and Moon Knight, considering the characters’ shared history.
Things took a pleasantly unexpected turn in August when the gossip sites first reported that Marvel was prepping for a live-action WBN. The word on the internet was that the Bronze Age character would star in a Halloween special predicted for a 2022 release. Even more interesting was that the studio reportedly wanted a Latino actor for the role, which led to theories that instead of Jack Russell, audiences would see Jake Gomez.
Oftentimes, the rumor mill is at best a 50/50 gamble, so when collectors buy up key issues based on gossip, there is always a chance that it won’t pan out. In this case, the crap shoot is paying off. Earlier today, Marvel announced that it has found its Werewolf By Night, and Gael Garcia Bernal has been officially cast to portray the publisher’s current werewolf, Jake.
While most fans won’t recognize Bernal’s name off hand, he has been building his resume in recent years. In 2016, he won a Golden Globe for his work on Amazon’s streaming series, Mozart in the Jungle. Movie audiences will recognize him from M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, which premiered earlier this year.
Now that Bernal has landed the role, it will inflate the prices of those Werewolf By Night key issues that investors have been stockpiling for months. If you’re looking to get in the game at this late hour, here’s a closer look at the current market values for five issues you will want to keep watch on.
No matter what character is the human half of the wolf, this will always be the key among Werewolf By Night keys. Here, we have the first appearance of Jack Russell as he transformed into the famous werewolf. Even though Jake Gomez will be the MCU’s one and only WBN, Marvel Spotlight #2 will always outrank Jake’s first appearance because this is the debut of the original Werewolf By Night. A rose by any other name, right?
Fittingly, the highest grade to sell last month - a 9.2 - grossed record figures on Halloween. That day, two copies broke the previous record when the first sold for $2,400 followed by $2,500. On November 1, an 8.0 brought $900, and a 7.0 sold for $735. That’s nearly three times its 2020 average of $275.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #1 (2020)
There’s no going wrong with the 2020 Werewolf By Night #1. The rebooted series brought the Native American character Jake Gomez into the mythology. As the gossip circulated through the comic community, this issue gained traction among collectors and speculators alike. Now that Bernal has been given the role, buyers will be scouring the auction sites for high grade copies.
Before 2021, hardly anyone cared about this issue. Last year, just one standard cover graded at a 9.8 sold online, earning $61 on December 29. On August 31, that same 9.8 suddenly brought $400. Prices have held steady in the $145-$150 range since last week, but that is going to change very soon. Already today, a 9.8 sold for $250, and I would not be surprised to see it break that record.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #1 PLOOG VARIANT
When it comes to 2020’s WBN #1, the real fun will be watching the Mike Ploog variant. This was a 1:100 ratio variant that was drawn by the classic WBN artist from the 1970s. Since it was a ratio variant, it was automatically printed in smaller numbers than the standard edition, but that did not propel collectors to buy graded copies. In fact, the first time a graded 9.8 Ploog variant sold online was on March 13 when one brought $185. Then came the casting rumor, and it made leaps and bounds in FMV after steadily climbing since April, ultimately selling for $750 on September 1. With the casting news making the internet rounds, there is no doubt that this issue will approach the $1k mark by the end of the year.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #32
Like peanut butter and jelly or mustard and ketchup, Moon Knight and Werewolf By Night are an inseparable pair. That stems from Marc Specter making his first appearance in a random issue of WBN, but it permanently connected the two characters from then on. It explains why the WBN rumors became twice as common after Marvel announced the Moon Knight series was on its way to Disney+. Naturally, longtime Marvel readers anticipate that WBN will soon follow, and that has proven true, to an extent.
Since we are not getting a full-fledged WBN live-action series, could it be that after the Halloween Special, we will have a werewolf sighting in the Moon Knight series? Obviously this won’t happen in MK’s first season; filming has wrapped, and Bernal was only officially cast for the role today. That doesn’t mean that we won’t see the two paired together in the future, which only add to the price inflation of WBN #32.
It’s not like this issue needed another reason to be expensive. Already this month, a 7.5 is selling for over $2,700. Meanwhile, a 6.5 recently sold for $1,740. The more telling figure is the 1.8, which was approaching $800 last month.
MARVEL TEAM-UP #12
Stan Lee had way too much fun with his horror characters in the 1970s. When the Comics Code Authority relaxed its stranglehold on the industry and allowed for previously-published literary characters, I picture Stan as a mad scientist as he plotted out all the horror figures and how they would fit into the world of superheroes. There was Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, Werewolf By Night, and Stan even tried to turn Satan into a superhero and churned out Daimon Hellstrom. Wouldn’t you know that everyone crossed paths with Marvel’s heroes? Dracula has battled practically everyone at this point, Frankenstein teamed with the X-Men, and in Marvel Team-Up #12, Werewolf By Night met Spider-Man. I would say this is one of the oddest pairings in comics, but it was par for the course in the Bronze Age. The thing is, we could very well see a peculiar combination in the Halloween Special, and that could have implications for this issue.
The most recent sale was on September 29 when a 9.2 traded hands for $132. Before that, a 9.2 earned a record $159 in April.
VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, AND ZOMBIES
The supernatural is invading the MCU. It started with vampires being mentioned in Loki, then came the Marvel Zombies appearing in What If…?. It is only natural for Marvel to add werewolves to the mix. Who knows? Maybe now Man-Thing can finally come out from hiding and be a part of the MCU.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.