Every day this week a new supernatural character from the Marvel Universe gets the spooky spotlight leading up to Halloween!
The 1970’s saw a huge upswing in the number of ghouls creeping around the Marvel Universe. From Dracula and Morbius to Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night and Frankenstein’s Monster, a distinct rise occurred in the monster population.
In an effort to give fright fans a one-stop-shopping experience, Marvel unleashed a black-and-white magazine called THE LEGION OF MONSTERS in 1975. It might have only lasted one issue, but the first installment offered a more stark and grown-up series of stories.
Broken up into short stories, the issue shines some moonlight on Frankenstein’s Monster in a tale penned by Doug Moench with art by Val Mayerik, Dan Adkins and Pablo Marcos. After seeing a beautiful woman named Cynthia dressed as a princess pass by, the patchwork man followed her to a spooky old house only to discover that a costume party raged inside. Naturally disguised by the occasion, he proceeded, danced with his lady, fell harder in love and then met a jester claiming to have Cynthia’s best interest in mind.
Without ruining the story, things didn’t quite work out for Frankenstein’s Monster, but he did get to throw a gargoyle at a moving car and exact some presumably brutal off-panel vengeance.
The next story, called “Vengeance Crude” teamed plotter Marv Wolfman with scripter Tony Isabella and artists Dave Cockrum and Sam Grainger to bring a pair of thousand-year-old humanoid aliens dubbed “Manphibians” back to the surface world. The more evil of the duo attacks oil Baron Aaron Fox’s wife, which sets off the second Manphibian who flashes back to the time when his prey killed his mate several centuries ago. The story ends with a surprise that proves that, even when strange beings walk the earth, man is still one of the most evil beings around.
THE LEGION OF MONSTERS #1 also featured the next chapter of Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano’s interpretation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula which originated in another black-and-white magazine, DRACULA LIVES! Thomas and Giordano finally finished their adaptation in a four issue limited series called STOKER’S DRACULA in 2004 and 2005.
While the magazine only lasted that one issue, the Legion of Monsters name lived on thanks to a team consisting of Ghost Rider, Morbius, Werewolf by Night and Man-Thing debuting in MARVEL PREMIERE #28. The name also became an umbrella for four one-shots focusing on Man-Thing, Morbius, Satana and Werewolf by Night in 2007.
Later the group that brought The Punisher back to life as Frankencastle and also built Monster Metropolis in the old Morlock tunnels used the name. Most recently, a four issue LEGION OF MONSTERS limited series written by Dennis Hopeless with Juan Doe art joined Morbius, Werewolf by Night, the Living Mummy and Manphibian back together!
FRIGHT FACT: The costume party Frankenstein’s Monster attends in the first story is packed with famous characters from The Wolfman and Robin Hood to Mr. Spock and Spider-Man!
Happy Halloween, all!