Retro Retail: Classic Monsters of Marvel Comics

in Marvel, Merchandise, Movies & TV

While classic monsters may find their fame from films in the Universal Studios Classic Monster movies of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, they’ve also haunted the pages of the Marvel Comics universe.

With revised backstories and sometimes intertwined story lines, these Marvel monsters made multiple appearances in the 1970’s, both under their own titles and as team-ups (or villains for) various Marvel super heroes.

Dracula first appeared in Marvel Comics (then known as Atlas Comics) in 1951.  The King of Vampires received his own title in 1972, “Tomb of Dracula,” and “Dracula Lives” in 1973.  Unfortunately both titles vanished by the end of the decade.

The King of the Vampires has faced off against Spider-Man, Blade, the X-Men and Doctor Strange.  Though defeated once by the X-Men and again by Strange, Dracula eventually managed to return.

“Tomb of Dracula” was adapted into an animated feature entitled, “Dracula, Sovereign of the Damned.” This 90 minute monster movie was released in Japan (1980) and the United States (1983) was not well received.

Frankenstein’s Monster was woven into the comic book realm in 1953.  “Your Name is Frankenstein,” written by Stan Lee was published under the Atlas Comics brand in “Menace” issue 7.  After appearing in an issue of “The Sliver Surfer” (1969), the creature received his own comic, “The Monster of Frankenstein” (for the first five issues), which evolved into “The Frankenstein Monster.” This comic was published from 1973-1975).

The monster also appeared in the Avengers comics and alongside both Spider-Man (“Marvel Team-up) and “Iron Man.”

Mary Shelly’s monster also received the same animation treatment as did Marvel’s Dracula.  “Monster of Frankenstein” was released as a television special in 1981.

“Werewolf by Night” prowled the Marvel comic line up from 1972-1977.  Lycanthrope Jacob Russoff (aka Jack Russell) first transformed for readers in Marvel’s Spotlight books (issues 2-4). The full moon monster returned again in “Marvel Presents” (1991-1993) and as featured character in “Morbius, the Living Vampire” (1993-1995).  “Werewolf by Night” also received a reboot (vol. 2) in 1998 and several special edition comic books from 2007-2009.

Russell’s full moon alter ego has appeared in stories with Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, West Coast Avengers, Ghost Rider and Iron Man. The character also teamed up with Frankenstien’s Monster to fight the Satanic Brotherhood and other comic story arcs like “the Punisher,” “X-Factor” and “Civil War 2.”

While a film based on this Marvel monster never materialized, he has howled his way into various video games (“Marvel Super Hero Squad Online,” and as character in this year’s Halloween happenings within “Avengers Academy”).

The Living Mummy appeared in several issues of “Supernatural Thrillers” comics (1972). In Marvel’s universe, this supernatural creature was once an African warrior known as N’Kantu, who was captured by Egyptians, along with others to help build the pyramids.

During an attempt to overthrow his captors, he is paralyzed by an Egyptian priest who paralyses and turns the warrior into a living mummy and seals him in a sarcophagus.


N’Kantu, after being entombed for 3,000 years, manages to overcome his paralysis, escape and eventually is asked, by Nick Fury, to join S.H.I.E.L.D.’s team of supernatural special forces.


in Marvel, Merchandise, Movies & TV

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