Friday, July 15, 2016
Although I have a love of Man-Wolf dating back to having his Power Records appearance as a kid, I'm not sure I had any actual comics with Man-Wolf until I was in college! (With the exception of his Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry, which was weird for reasons we'll see later...) Which means I may have passed on these two issues on the spinner racks: from 1981, the Savage She-Hulk #13, "Through the Crystal!" Written by David Anthony Kraft, breakdowns by Mike Vosburg, finishes by Frank Springer; and from 1981, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #3, "Dark Side of the Moon" Written by David Kraft, pencils by Jim Sherman and Alan Weiss, inks by Steve Mitchell.
Back in the day, my grandpa got me a subscription to Star Wars, which I loved. So my little sister wouldn't feel left out, he or my folks got her a sub to...I want to say She-Hulk first, then that got cancelled, then maybe Dennis the Menace, then Spider-Woman? My sister was never a big comic reader, but in her defense She-Hulk's first comic was never very good. (I don't think she had this one; maybe Man-Wolf would've made her a lifelong fan!) Despite a cameo by Valkyrie and Hellcat guest-starring, this issue's more than a bit of a mess even before dragging in the Man-Wolf and his backstory and supporting cast as Star-God. Star-God, you ask? That had been written by Kraft as well, and reads like someone's D&D campaign has gone off the rails, not necessarily in a bad way; as Man-Wolf becomes a swashbuckling space barbarian...It was a cool looking OHOTMU entry though, with art by George Perez!
Oddly, even though Kraft wrote the denouement of the Man-Wolf's story (for the time being...) in the Spectacular Spider-Man Annual, that story doesn't go into the Star-God business at all, the moonstone is treated as a parasite, and John Jameson is once again what Toyfare called "Spider-Man's space werewolf." It's a little more serious than that, since Man-Wolf is a savage monster again here, tearing up NYC. Fortunately, grad student Peter Parker and Dr. Curt "Lizzie" Connors are working on a "bio-magnetic converter" project that would revolutionize medicine, if it wasn't used once and destroyed curing John. (Good luck getting more grant money from J.Jonah Jameson!) Y'know, the cover proclaims "Featuring the startling final fate of Man-Wolf!" and honestly? Not that startling. If he had been trapped in the body of a poodle or something, that would have been something...
The Spidey art isn't a modern classic, but it's good enough. That She-Hulk art, though...I don't think the title was a priority for Marvel at the time. (I think there were a couple Michael Golden covers earlier in the run that were pretty good!) That and She-Hulk had two love interests, one named "Zapper," the other occasional supporting character Richard Rory, a Steve Gerber creation that I just haaaaaaaate. Can't stand him. Oddly, despite having a long-suffering fiance named Kristine, in recent years John was actually married to She-Hulk for a time!