|Continuity:||Werewolf by Night|
|Location:||Los Angeles, California|
|Known relatives:||Gregory Russoff (father, deceased); Laura Russell (mother, deceased); Phillip Russell (uncle); Nina Price (niece)|
|1st appearance:||Marvel Spotlight #2|
Jack Russell is a werewolf and the central character from the Werewolf by Night family of titles. The phrase "Werewolf by Night" has also been used as a metonym to describe the character, though neither he, nor anyone else in the Marvel Universe has ever referred to him as Werewolf by Night. The character was created by writers Roy Thomas, his then-wife Jean Thomas, Gerry Conway and artist Mike Ploog and was introduced as the main featurette in Marvel Spotlight #2. Following a three-issue story-arc in Marvel Spotlight, the character then spun out into his own ongoing comic book series that lasted from September, 1972 to March, 1977, spanning a total of 43 issues.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Origin[edit | edit source]
Jack Russell was born Jacob Russoff, the son of Romanian nobleman Baron Gregory Russoff and an American student Laura. Baron Russoff had the misfortune of being cursed with lycanthropy and transformed into a werewolf on the nights of the full moon. Due to the nature of the curse itself, the condition was passed down to his children, Jacob and his younger sister Lissa. Shortly after he was born, Laura brought the children out of Romania and back to the United States where they settled in Los Angeles, California. Desperately praying that her children would not suffer the same fate as their father, Laura hid the truth from them about their heritage and they both grew up unaware that their father was a werewolf. Laura eventually remarried to a man named Philip Russell, and Jacob's name was legally changed to Jack Russell.
The night of Jack's eighteenth birthday happened to coincide with the night of the full moon and the family curse took effect. Jack transformed into a werewolf and stalked off into the darkened streets of Los Angeles. His first victim was a random mugger, but his actions were quickly noticed by two passing policemen, one of whom fired off two shots, grazing Jack's arm. When Jack awakened the following day, he had dim memories of his time as a werewolf, but believed that it was only a dream. That evening, Jack turned into a werewolf for the second time and went off skulking about the streets for prey. His mother, fearing the worst, went off after him, but was involved in a severe automobile accident that put her into the hospital. The following day, Jack was found passed out on the beach. His surly stepfather discovered him and told him about his mother's condition. Jack went to visit her in the hospital and Laura, knowing that she had little time left, finally confessed the truth about the family curse. Aware of the great enmity that existed between Jack and his stepfather, Laura made Jack swear a deathbed promise that he would never take any violent action against Philip Russell.
Laura died, but Jack soon discovered that the collision that took her life was no mere automobile accident. Philip Russell had hired his chauffeur Max Grant to sabotage the brakes on Laura's car. With Laura gone, Philip stood to inherit her fortune. When Jack turned into the werewolf for the third time, he found himself squaring off against Grant. Instinctively aware that the man was evil, the werewolf killed him by tearing out his throat. Even though he was a monster with little cognitive memory, something inside the werewolf's brain remembered his promise to Laura and he let Philip Russell live. 
An American Werewolf in L.A.[edit | edit source]
The werewolf later tore his way through a motorcycle gang that had chased Lissa back towards the Russell beach house. Philip Russell reported the incident to the police as well as a man named Nathan Timly. Timly later met Jack on the road and brought him to his home where his wife Agatha and he began pressing him about the location of the Darkhold. Jack had never heard of the strange book of black mysticism, but the Timlys insisted that it was part of his inheritance. When he refused to cooperate, they had him chained up in the cellar of their home and tortured by a deformed brute named Kraig. Jack escaped captivity and fought with Kraig as the werewolf. Kraig was killed when a lightning bolt struck his metal prosthetic hand, electrocuting him. 
Armed with the knowledge of what the Darkhold was and the fact that it was his birthright, Jack set out to find it. He met a writer named Buck Cowan who likewise was researching the Darkhold. Jack believed that this book might hold the key towards curing his condition, but did not tell Buck the true reason that he wanted it.
Jack learned that Philip had sold his birth father's estate to a man named Miles Blackgar who had it shipped over and reassembled on his own private island off the coast of Monterey. Buck and he took Philip's yacht to the island in search of the book. There, the werewolf fought up against a deformed brute named Strug and crippled Miles Blackgar by throwing him out of a tower window. 
Jack found that Miles' daughter, Marlene Blackgar, was a mutant who had the power to turn any living being into stone with but a gaze from her eyes. She used her powers against the werewolf, temporarily turning him into a statue. Fortunately for him, the metamorphosis that transforms him from beast to man also cancelled out the effects of Marlene's power.
Jack sneaked back into Blackgar Castle until he found the Darkhold. Buck and he escaped the island and brought it back to Buck's home in Venice Beach. Marlene Blackgar and Strug followed them back to the mainland and burst into Buck's house. Strug grappled with Jack, knocking him out with a sleeper hold. When he came to, he transformed into the werewolf and fought with Strug again. Marlene tried to shoot Jack, but her bullet missed, hitting her own henchman instead. She then tried to freeze the werewolf with her powers, but Jack turned away and her gaze reflected off a tall, standing mirror, turning both her father and she into stone statues. 
Tensions between Jack Russell and his stepfather worsened, so he began living with Buck Cowan. Together, they analyzed his father's journals, but Jack was careful not to tell Buck the true reason behind his interest. They brought the book to a former University professor named Father Ramon Joquez.
A man named Mark Cephalos had discovered that Jack Russell was a werewolf and believed that the primal power of the creature could cure him of his own debilitating illness. He captured Jack Russell, knocking him out with gas and brought him back to his secret laboratory. He attached him to a machine that drained his life energy away and channeled it into Cephalos, turning him into a veritible power house. The werewolf escaped from the machinery as Cephalos exited the lab for his helicopter. The werewolf dove into the cabin of the chopper, destroying the controls and sending it veering off course. He dove free just as the helicopter crashed into the Hollywood hills. 
Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The character of Jack Russell was created by writers Roy Thomas, his then-wife Jean Thomas, Gerry Conway and artist Mike Ploog.
Body Count[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
External Links[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
This article relates to characters featured in the Werewolf by Night comic book franchise.