Marvel Comics, Taboo, unleashing a werewolf hunter to the Rez

Vincent Schilling

Comic creator Ben Jackendoff also helps bring Red Wolf - a Native character hunting a Rez-terrorizing werewolf - to 'Werewolf by Night'

Marvel Comics has recently announced that Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas and co-writer Ben Jackendoff will create a new “Werewolf by Night” mini-series comic book in which one of the main character's, Red Wolf will be Native American.

Taboo performs during the opening ceremony of the 2017 North American Indigenous Games, in Toronto on Sunday, July 16, 2017. Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP
Taboo performs during the opening ceremony of the 2017 North American Indigenous Games, in Toronto on Sunday, July 16, 2017.

In the comic, Red Wolf is investigating a werewolf that is terrorizing his home in Indian Country and on his rez.

“We are looking at this comic book as if there was a Native lens,” said Taboo, Shoshone, Hopi, and Mexican. “I have been doing everything possible to connect with my Indigenous heritage, and this comic book, ‘Werewolf by Night,’ tells a Native story. To have this type of Native representation in the Marvel comic world, will help Native youth to know they matter, they are important. Through artistry and more, we hope to inspire them.”

Taboo says as a Native artist and musician, he feels a responsibility in telling accurate stories without lapsing into a stereotype. He says ensuring Native people are represented well in Marvel is critically important.

Vote Now. The Stand Up, Stand N Rock #NoDAPL music video with Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas features real footage from the water protectors on the front lines at Standing Rock. It is up for an MTV music video.
Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas in the MTV Music Award winning video, Stand Up, Stand N Rock #NoDAPL.

“We also have an ally from the Hopi rez by the name of JC Shelton who has been looking at the comic. Throughout the entire process, we have been seeking the advice of cultural advisors and seeking blessings in Indian Country. As these stories have been written in this comic, we have adjusted them or made changes after meting with trusted Native advisors to make sure we are doing everything possible in the right way,” said Taboo.

Taboo will be working with Benjamin Jackendoff, a longtime comic creator, and producer in Los Angeles. The team will also be working with artist Scot Eaton who will be doing the primary art in the comic book. Additional artists have been invited to draw various covers including Native American Marvel artist Jeffrey Veregge.

Werewolf by Night - Variant Comic Covers
Four of the covers by Marvel. The bottom right is by Jeffrey Veregge.  (Marvel)

According to Taboo and Jackendoff, the concept for “Werewolf by Night” got started after the team created Marvel #1000 one page with Veregge.

Jackendoff said: “Taboo and I were so excited about telling a Red Wolf story that we reached out to our editors on the Marvel #1000 and let them know if ever the opportunity arose, we were the guys.”

In November 2019, Jackendoff and Taboo got a call from an editor they had worked with, Jacob Thomas, who asked if they wanted to relaunch a “Werewolf by Night” series, They responded with an enthusiastic “yes.”

Taboo said Jackendoff is an exceptional writer and creator. “I couldn’t imagine working with anyone else, he is amazing.”

Jackendoff shares the same sentiment, “It’s the greatest collaborative partnership I’ve ever had in Hollywood! He’s family. I trust his opinion completely. We call our creative process our ping-pong sessions. We both come from different skill sets but we know how to jam and riff. Our creative sessions are like writing music. We start with a rhythm or a melody and we get it to a place where we are both excited. Once we are there, that energy flows into our storytelling. Everything we do is from a personal place. So these sessions are all about peeling back our layers and digging into self-discovery for our inspiration. And that process requires the trust we have in each other.”

Taboo says he is excited to bring Marvel characters to Indian Country. “It is great to see a Native American hero on the Rez in a Marvel comic book. It doesn’t get better than that.

The issue drops April 22nd in comic stores near you. 

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Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, on Twitter - @VinceSchilling and Instagram - @VinceSchilling

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com


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