My Misspent Youth: Marvel Premiere by David Kraft and George Perez

I read a lot of comic books as a kid. This series of posts is about the comics I read, and, occasionally, the comics that I should have read.

When I was in college, I knew a guy who insisted that his copy of Super-Villain Team-Up #12 was the only comic book he needed. The reason? It featured Dr. Doom and Red Skull fighting on the moon, and once you had that, how could anything else even compare?

One of my favorite things about superhero comic books in the nineteen-seventies–especially those titles that emanated from the House of Ideas known as Marvel Comics–was the total anything goes aesthetic that drove the stories. If there was some craze out there in the pop culture ether–be it sharks, kung fu or even disco–it was legitimate fodder for the comic book creators. This wasn’t a case of ironic posing, either. They often approached the oddball material as if they were dead serious about it. And, of course, the moon was a totally acceptable place for a story to take place.

So there we have Man-Wolf, which is the tragic lupine identity of John Jameson, the hero astronaut son of Spider-Man’s newspaper-running nemesis J. Jonah Jameson. As the caption notes, the ruby around his neck that’s blazing like a police siren is the item that gives him his powers. Rocks from other dimensions will do that, you know. Approach them with caution.

In the story written by David Kraft and penciled by George Perez, Man-Wolf’s visit to the moon resulted in him finding passage to a place called Other Realm, the source of his magic ruby. There, he was viewed as a god and he joined the beings there in a major battle they were fighting, giving Marvel creators a chance to cash in on the fantasy fervor that began with the massive popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings on college campuses.

To review, that panel has a astronaut who’s been transformed into a sort of space werewolf by a magical, other-dimensional ruby and he’s riding a dragon-pegasus-unicorn hybrid across some levitating mountains.

That whole situation may benefit from some further elaboration, so here’s a two-page splash from just a little further into the issue:

This is not, to put it plainly, a comic book that’s not kidding around.

I’d never hold this story up to suspicious souls seeking evidence of whether or not literary masterpieces could be crafted in the comic book form, but it surely does represent a level of complete, reckless, unashamed fun that’s been all but leeched out of comics these days. Space werewolves still show up, but in a knowing, half-satiric way. I’d rather read an old story featuring Man-Wolf as a sword-swinging inter-dimensional rapscallion. Any day.

Previously…
Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and John Buscema
Contest of Champions by Bill Mantlo and John Romita, Jr.
Daredevil by Frank Miller
Marvel Fanfare by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and Paul Smith
Marvel Two-in-One by Tom DeFalco and Ron Wilson
Fantaco’s “Chronicles” series
Fantastic Four #200 by Marv Wolfman and Keith Pollard
The Incredible Hulk #142 by Roy Thomas and Herb Trimpe
Uncanny X-Men by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum
Godzilla by Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe
Giant-Size Avengers #3 by Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas and Dave Cockrum
Alpha Flight by John Byrne
Hawkeye by Mark Gruenwald
Avengers by David Michelinie and George Perez
Justice League by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire
The Thing by Dan Slott and Andrea DiVito
Nexus by Mike Baron and Steve Rude

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34 comments on “My Misspent Youth: Marvel Premiere by David Kraft and George Perez
  1. caker_66 says:

    A few questions…

    1. So is Man-Wolf simply a Wolf Man?
    2. Flying mountains and riding dragons? DId James Cameron steal that for Avatar?
    3. If you has a beer with Man-Wolf, would you be allergic?
    4. In that last panel why does Man-Wolf look more like a Man-Cat?
    5. If Man-Wolf was turned into a Man-Cat, would you be allergic to him then?

    • caker_66 says:

      “If you has…” what am I drunk? Or just plain stupid?

    • Dan Seeger says:

      You ask very good questions.

      1. I believe Wolf Mans are Wolf Mans because they’ve been bitten by another Wolf Man. Man-Wolf has a mystical ruby that causes him to transform when exposed to the moon. Or, naturally, when he’s on the moon. Totally different.
      2. Probably. Just like he stole Terminator from Harlan Ellison. And he stole Titanic from an unspecified Harlequin Romance book.
      3. I probably would be. He doesn’t appear to be hypoallergenic.
      4. Maybe when he’s real mad like that, he channels power from the Thundercats?
      5. Yes, but the other member of my household would be way more allergic.

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  9. amarok says:

    I have to confess Marvel Premiere 45 and 46 are my favorite comics for making Man-Wolf a barbarian swordsman/pagan god. I mean, the snarling, snapping werewolves are a dime a dozen.

    When I entered college in 1980, money was hard to come by. I swore off comics to save cash. I might have kept that vow to this day if I didn’t check occasionally to see if Manny had returned in some capacity. After a few near-misses in the “Capwolf” saga and in Spectacular Spider-Man, a full fledged Man-Wolf as Stargod returned in Dan Slott’s She-Hulk!

    David Kraft planned out the “Stargod” saga for Creatures on the Loose, but Manny’s strip was canceled just before the extra-dimensional climax. It finally appeared three years later in Marvel Premiere. After that time, George Perez started drawing Manny with a wider snout, I guess to match the width of his semi-human head. This did give a more feline appearance to our space-wolf. I liked the more wolf-headed (and slightly blue-tinted) Man-Wolf of Creatures.

    • Dan Seeger says:

      Of course Dan Slott would be the one Marvel writer to appreciate the gonzo inventive genius of this saga. I’m glad they largely leave him alone on Spider-Man, but I swear the Marvel Universe would be a much better place if they’d yank the keys away from Bendis and his cronies and toss them to Slott.

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