GREGOR RUSSOFF

Real Name: Gregor Russoff, Baron Russoff

Identity/Class: Human werewolf (1930s to Post-World War II era)

Occupation: Landowner

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Johnathon Drew, High Evolutionary, Taboo

EnemiesChthon, Merriem Drew, High Evolutionary, Moloid subterraneans

Known RelativesGrigori Russoff, Baron Russoff (grandfather or great-grandfather, deceased), Baroness Russoff (grandmother or great-grandmother, presumably deceased);
   
Maria Russoff, Baroness Russoff (wife or daughter or daughter-in-law, deceased);
    Gregory "Gregor" Russoff, Baron Russoff (son or grandson, deceased),
    Phillip Russell (nee Russoff) (son or grandson);
    Laura Russoff Russell, Baroness Russoff (daughter-in-law of granddaughter-in-law, deceased);
    Jack Russell (formerly Jacob Russoff, grandson or great-grandson), Lissa Russell (daughter or granddaughter);
    Louisa Russoff, Baroness Russoff (first wife of Grigori)

Aliases: None
    His name has also been spelled Grigory, but I'd prefer to refer to him as Gregor to more easily differentiate him from his ancestor Grigori or his descendent Gregory (see comments).

Base of Operations: Formerly Mt. Wundagore, Transia;
    presumably formerly Castle Russoff, Borgo Pass, Transylvania

First Appearance: Avengers I#187 (September, 1979)

Powers/Abilities: Russoff had some knowledge of the arcane arts via his study of the Darkhold and other such texts.
    As a werewolf, Russoff possessed enhanced human strength, speed, stamina, agility,  reflexes, and senses. His claws could rend anything from flesh to cinderblock and even soft metals. He was immune to most forms of conventional injury; though he could be injured or stunned, he healed rapidly (approximately ten times normal) from most assaults. However, assaults involving silver could cause permanent and/or fatal injuries.

History:
(Werewolf by Night I#3 (fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#14: Werewolf) - <Prior to May, 1930 (see comments)> Gregor came into possession of copies of the Darkhold scrolls, binding them back into book form.

(Werewolf by Night I#15 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Update '89 #2: Darkhold / Discussion with Jean-Marc Lofficier)
- After having obtained the Darkhold, Gregor transcribed much of its content into his ancestor Grigori's diary, which he then used as his own diary.

(Werewolf by Night I#3 (fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#14: Werewolf / Dr. Strange III#27/2)
- Reading of the origins of lycanthropy in the Darkhold under the light of the full moon drew upon the werewolf curse present in his ancestor, Grigori, transforming Gregor into a werewolf, and transferring the curse to his descendents as well.

(Avengers I#187 (fb)) - To finance his dark pursuits, Russoff sold part of his estate (which included Wundagore mountain) to Johnathon Drew.

(Silver Surfer Annual#1/3) <May, 1930> - Merriem and Jessica Drew observed the Gregor Russoff werewolf outside of their cottage. Johnathon Drew and Herbert Edgar Wyndham nearly had a run in with the werewolf while searching the land, but an encounter with Phaeder prevented this.

(New Mutants Annual#4/3) <March, 1931> - The Gregor Russoff werewolf slew Merriem Drew.

(Fantastic Four Annual#21/3) <April, 1931> - The Gregor Russoff werewolf attacked Wyndham, wounding him. To protect himself from further attacks Wyndham designed a suit of silver plated armor. Russoff later attacked some Moloid subterraneans and Wyndham struggled with him, ultimately trapping him in a cell.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual#22/4 (fb)) - After Gregor returned to normal, Wyndham offered to take the responsibility to restrain him from harming anyone during his bestial states in exchange for the opportunity to study his bizarre condition.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual#22/4 (fb) - BTS) - Wyndham's studies of Russoff, including biopsies taken during both of his states, proved inconclusive.

(Avengers I#187 (fb) - BTS) - Magnus the 6th century sorcerer possessed Drew.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual#22/4 - BTS) - Russoff remained in Wyndham's care.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#14: Werewolf / Uncanny X-Men Annual#12/3)
<1958? (see comments)> - Believing that Chthon would free him from the curse of being a werewolf, Russoff used the Darkhold to try to bring Chthon back to Earth. Magnus possessed Russoff, forcing him to read the Darkhold's Ritual of Banishment, sending Chthon back to his own dimension. Realizing what was happening, Chthon lashed out with a magical blast.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#14: Werewolf / Web of Spider-Man Annual#4/4)
- Magnus brought the apparently deceased Russoff to Wundagore mountain to be buried.

 

 

 

Comments: Created by Gerry Conway and Michael Ploog.

    Oddly enough, Jack Russell's father's death was shown in his first appearance, way back in Marvel Spotlight I#2.  Initial stories discussed Gregor Russoff as having obtained the Darkhold scrolls shortly after World War II (specifically, they mentioned "35 years ago" in a story written in 1972, thus 1947). As time stretched further due to the sliding timescale, Jack's father had to have been older and older to have done this. Then in the Evolutionary War back-ups, Baron Russoff was shown to have been a werewolf around 1930, meaning he would have had to have received the Darkhold prior to 1930, which would be weird, b/c his brother Philip was tied to the modern era and would have to be 50+ years younger than him. Worse, the end of the Evolutionary War showed Baron Russoff being slain by Chthon, and these events were retold over and over again. However, that story took place in the 1958. Jack's father could not have been killed back in the 1950s. Jack Russell turned 18 years old in Werewolf by Night I#18, and so he couldn't have been born back in the 30's (or much after his true father's death).
    Examining the stories over and over again, it became clear that Jack's father and the Baron Russoff who was involved with Wundagore could not be the same guy. Nothing in the stories definitely contradicts this. With the approval of Tom Brevoort, I confirmed that the two were different beings in the OHotMU: Horror 2005: Werewolf entry. Apparently Gregor was a popular family name.

Here's a related parody, courtesy of our own Loki:

Jack, showing someone an old family photo:
"This is my father, Gregor. That's my grandfather, Gregor. My uncle Gregor, my other uncle Gregor, my aunt Gregor, etc. What can I say? The family wasn't very imaginative back then, but at least no one ever forgot your name. Which was handy, because thanks to centuries of inbreeding, they all looked alike. We like to tell people the lycanthropy was a demonically inflicted magical curse, but frankly, given the numbers of cousins who married cousins, I think we got off lightly..."

I have to sort out the deal with Taboo at some point now...

According to Werewolf by Night I#13:
    Decades ago Taboo was forced to put his own son, Algon, in "The Spell of Changes", apparently to save his life and..."to alter him." Taboo did this, planning to use the Darkhold to complete the spell. However, the villagers knew of the dark magic practiced by Taboo, and they stormed his castle, destroying his darkling devices. Taboo took the inert form of Algon and fled, while the Darkhold fell into the hands of one of the peasants: Gregor Russoff.
    The Book of the Vishanti back-up in Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#15 shows Taboo, in Istanbul, selling the Darkhold to Baron Gregor Russoff at the end of World War II.

    I don't know exactly why Wyndham (the future High Evolutionary) didn't become a werewolf after being scratched by Gregor.

    According to WwbN#3, the curse of lycanthropy had lain dormant in his ancestor's veins for nigh on eighteen centuries. It was later revealed that his ancestor Grigori had obtained the curse in the 18th century, which is about 1600 years different than originally stated. Perhaps there was another ancestor who became a werewolf @ 200 AD.

The date that Gregor Russoff summoned Chthon to Wundagore mountain would have to be @ 1958 b/c:

  1. It's over ten years after the birth of Anya Lehnsherr, who looked to be a pre-adolescent when she died and her father Eric (Magneto) Lehnsherr went magnetically ballistic, driving his pregnant wife Magda away, to give birth to the SW and Q not long after.
  2. It's the year that the Miss America title (with Patsy Walker) was cancelled, so it seems like an appropriate year to place Miss America's death, which more-or-less coincided with the SW and Q's births.  It has to have been at SOME point in the 1950s, anyway, due to (A) above.
  3. I placed the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver's births at 1958 because that's the year that the Miss America title (with Patsy Walker) was cancelled, which seemed a reasonable year for the death of Miss America, the character; it has to have occurred long enough after 1945 for Eric and Magda Lehnsherr's daughter Anya to be a pre-adolescent in the same general timeframe (IIRC Classic X-Men implied that a few years passed between Eric and Magda's marriage and their daughter's birth), and I figure even if she was born as early as 1947, that'd work.  So, yes, that would also be a relevant year for Gregor Russoff; by pure coincidence, it's also the year that the First Line formed and the year that details indicate that Namorita was born and Namor was rendered amnesiac.  So it was a pretty important year all around.
    --Ronald Byrd.

For further discussion on the origins of werewolves, see the Wolf-Men of Valusia profile.

Counterpoint by Donald Campbell

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
He should be distinguished from:


images:
Fantastic Four Annual#21/3, p1, panel 1 (werewolf form)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual#22/4, p3, panel 5 (human form)


Other appearances:
Avengers I#187 (September, 1979)
OHOTMU Deluxe Edition#14 (January, 1987)
Silver Surfer Annual#1 (1988)
New Mutants Annual#4 (1988)
Fantastic Four Annual#21 (1988)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual#22 (1988) - by Mark Gruenwald (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Uncanny X-Men Annual#12 (1988)
Web of Spider-Man Annual#4 (1988)
OHOTMU Update '89#2 (August, 1989)

Last updated: 12/03/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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