Real Name: Gregory"Gregor" Russoff, Baron Russoff
Identity/Class: Human werewolf (Pre-Modern era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Lilia Calderu, Wanda Maximoff, Margali Szardos, Taboo
Enemies: Chthon, Damballah (Josué Koulèv), local villagers
Known Relatives: Grigori
Russoff, Baron Russoff; (great, great grandfather,
deceased); Baroness Russoff (great, great grandmother, presumably deceased);
Gregor Russoff (father or grandfather);
Maria Russoff, Baroness Russoff (mother, deceased);
Phillip Russell (nee Russoff) (brother);
Laura Maria Russoff Russell, Baroness Russoff (wife, deceased);
Jack Russell (formerly Jacob Russoff, son), Lissa Russell (daughter);
Louisa Russoff, Baroness Russoff (first wife of Grigori)
His name has also been spelled Grigory, and is often called Gregor, but I'd prefer to refer to him as Gregory to more easily differentiate him from his ancestors.
Base of Operations: Castle Russoff, Borgo Pass,
Formerly Mt. Wundagore, Transia
First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight I#2 (February, 1972)
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.
While wearing the Lunar Pendant, Gregory could turn into werewolf or even full lupine form and retain his own mind.
Hair: Brown (formerly brown, perhaps due to the Lunar Pendant.
(Werewolf by Night I#3 (fb)) - Gregory came into possession of the Darkhold.
(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 ancestors, transforming Gregory into a werewolf, and transferring the curse to his descendents as well.
(Werewolf by Night I#14 (fb) - BTS / Marvel Spotlight I#2 (fb)) - Gregory met Laura via his brother, Philip, who had previous dated her, when she came to (?)Transylvania(?) on a holiday vacation while she was still a student. The two were married, moved into his family castle.
(Werewolf by Night I#14 (fb) - BTS / Marvel Spotlight I#2 (fb) - BTS) - Philip relocated to the USA and Americanized his name to Russell.
(Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - Laura Maria gave Gregory the Lunar Pendant, which enabled him to better control his lupine transformations, as well as to turn fully into a wolf while retaining his own mind. Gregory also allied with Laura Maria's sorceress coven, including Margali Szardos and Lilia Calderu.
(Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch#1/2) - Per Laura Maria's
guidance, Gregory chased the young Wanda and Pietro Maximoff back to their home
on a miller's land. Gregory then returned to Castle Russoff where he met Laura
and they made plans for Wanda to meet the sorceress coven. When Taboo and the
zobop Damballah interrupted the meeting, intending to obtain the Serpent Crown
(which Lilia had mystically summoned from its frozen resting place), Gregory
activated the Lunar Pendant, transformed into a werewolf, and attacked
Damballah's serpents. The struggle was interrupted by Chthon, who communicated
to them from his own realm, banished the Serpent Crown back to its resting place
and Damballah back to Haiti (to prevent Set's influence from affecting Wanda,
for whom he had plans). Before disappearing, Chthon told all those present that
they would bear children of occult significance.
Gregory spoke with Taboo, learning of his Darkhold copy and wondering if it contained pages missing from the original that might cure him of lycanthropy. Taboo told him there would be a steep price, but that if he agreed they would meet in Istanbul one year from that day to arrange the transfer.
(Werewolf by Night I#14
(fb) - BTS / Marvel
Spotlight I#2 (fb)) - Gregory and Laura Maria had a son, Jacob.
Philip relocated to the USA and Americanized his name to Russell.
(Werewolf by Night I#2 (fb)) - Gregory held his young son upon his lap.
(Marvel Spotlight I#2 (fb)) - After two years of an idyllic life, Laura became pregnant again. By this time, she had begun to grow suspicious of the three days and three nights each month that Gregory would spend locked within the castle's tower.
(Marvel Spotlight I#2 (fb)) - One night lightning struck the
tower, shattering its wall, and the werewolf Gregory escaped, making it into the
local village and killing its carpenter.
A group of villagers had discovered evidence that Gregor might be a werewolf. They came to Castle Gregory to confirm their suspicions, claiming to be seeking Gregory's aid against what they believed was a demon, hoping that his knowledge from reading arcane texts would be of some help; they found the tower empty. The following night a hunting party came across the werewolf Gregory and they shot him down, using silver bullets.
(Marvel Comics Presents#55/2) - Jack Russell used a copy of Lemarchand's Mourning Call scrolls to perform a spell, summoning the spirit of Gregory Russoff. Jack asked him how he could be free of the curse of lycanthropy, but Gregory told him that he could not. Gregory encouraged him to seek communion with his beast and achieve a balance. Gregory also told him something of the origins of lycanthropy and warned him to beware the grandchildren (the Braineaters).
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..."
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). In fact, he has to have received the Darkhold prior to 1930.
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. It can't be AFTER WWII as Gregor had to have had the Darkhold and become a werewolf before 1930...unless Gregor's father were Gregor, too, which is even more confusing and certainly unprecedented in the comics.
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.
For further discussion on the origins of werewolves, see the Wolf-Men of Valusia profile.
Counterpoint by Donald Campbell
Profile by Snood.
He should be distinguished from:
Gregor Russoff his father or grandfather, @ Avengers I#187
Grigori Russoff, his great, great, grandfather, @ Werewolf by Night I#15
Marvel Spotlight I#2, p15, panel 7 (Gregory)
p17, panel 4 (Werewolf)
Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch#1/2, p2, panel 2 (Laura Maria with Gregor (as a wolf))
p21, panel 1 (Gregory w/ beard)
Last updated: 11/11/11
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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