What the D'ast? Man-Wolf
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
This oddly Cosmic star owes his existence in comics to two items: the popularity of Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man books and the popularity of the Marvel Monster Movement of the 1970s.
The character of John Jameson was actually introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Jonah is immensely proud of his son, whom he sees as a true hero. Initially an astronaut, John was first seen being saved by Spider-Man when his craft malfunctioned on re-entry, something that did nothing to endear the wall-crawler to his father.
While on a mission to the moon, John Jameson found the mystical Godstone, an other-dimensional ruby. The jewel grafted itself to his throat and extended tendrils into his body. Moonlight activated the gem, which transformed him into the lycanthropic Man-Wolf, and he fought Spider-Man in this bestial form. The ruby was removed by Spider-Man.
Some time after that, the ruby was reattached to John by Morbius the Living Vampire (another early Marvel monster and snub at the Comics Code of the day) who used Man-Wolf as a pawn so Morbius could find a cure for himself. Man-Wolf was again thwarted by Spider-Man.
Later, he was transported to the dimension known as Other Realm, where the ruby originated and the source of the radiation that transforms John into Man-Wolf. It was revealed that the ruby was created by the dying Stargod to pass on his powers. While on Earth, Jameson could only partially transform, resulting in his berserk behavior. While in the Other Realm, he could fully transform, resulting in retention of his human consciousness while in lupine form. He took up the mantle of Stargod and acted as champion of the Other Realm, gaining new powers such as telepathy and energy manipulation. He fought his foes with a sword, dagger and longbow in this incarnation.
Jameson later opted to return to Earth, resulting in him losing the ability to fully transform and the loss of all memories of being Stargod. He later allowed himself to be subjected to a procedure that removed the ruby, restoring normalcy for awhile.
Jameson spent some time as Ravencroft head of security and briefly dated its director, Dr. Ashley Kafka. Both John and Ashley were fired by a director angry about the escape of the Chameleon and his subsequent wounding by Kraven the Hunter. Via hypnotherapy, Kafka helped discover that Jack O’Lantern had caused him to attack his hospitalized father. This therapy also briefly unleashed John's Man-Wolf aspect before Ashley was able to help John suppress his changes once more.
John had been dating She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) and the two had been living together for some time along with She-Hulk's co-worker, Augustus Pugliese. Eventually John and Jen eloped to Las Vegas but John was forced into becoming Man-Wolf once more after being injected by a mysterious substance. After a brief rampage, John stopped fighting his situation and became Stargod again. He now retains his intelligence while in Man-Wolf form, has Stargod’s powers and apparently can switch between human and lupine forms.
In actuality, however, John did not want to be Stargod because he felt that having powers made him arrogant and savage. She-Hulk and Stargod separated after she discovered that her feelings for John were influenced prior to their marriage by her former Avengers teammate, Starfox (Eros of Titan). Dejected, Stargod sought adventure in outer space before finally returning to Earth. He resumed his human form and tried to reconcile with Jennifer, but when she rejected him again John realized their relationship was truly over and he signed legal papers annulling their marriage.
Man-Wolf brought Cosmic to the pages of Spider-Man in a way no one expected, and – although many would argue the point – this classic comic creation belongs among the stars with the rest of our cosmic champions.