He’s a saxophone player by day, and a superhero by night. While riding a cable car in San Francisco, Johnny Domino (and I would like to emphasize this point, his name is JOHNNY DOMINO) is struck by a piece of shrapnel. Now he has the ability to hear evil thoughts from others. He also has a better than average ability to see in the dark, and has lost the ability to sleep. He dons on an asymmetrical costume and becomes… the Night Man!
Night Man was created by Steve Englehart, a comic writer whose credits include notable runs on Captain America, The Avengers, and Detective Comics. I assume he created Night Man after a bout of heavy drinking. The character was created for Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse, one of many superhero universes that seemed to spring up fully formed every other week in the mid-90’s. His debut issue can currently be found in $0.25 discount comic bins wherever comics are sold. The comic would run for 68 issues. Eventually, Malibu would be bought by Marvel… which meant that there was nothing preventing a much anticipated team-up between Night Man and Gambit.
You can almost smell the Drakkar Noir. So overpowering.
The character was never super popular. He, like every other character acquired from the Ultraverse, was shuffled aside and forgotten… kinda like most of the characters from Wildstorm that were more recently “integrated” into DC’s New 52. Wither Prime? Would Marvel have fared better pushing him than, say, The Sentry? I think Mantra and Voodoo are currently hanging out in Second Banana Comic Book Character Heaven.
And yet, Night Man would somehow be the star of his own syndicated TV series (promoted as being a Marvel Comics character!) It starred Matt McColm, and it would last for two seasons. I assume that the series was greenlighted thanks to two strong cultural mid-90’s forces: Joel Schumacher’s Batman series, and Sam Raimi’s successful action-oriented TV shows like Hercules and Xena. In live action, by the way, Night Man looks like a melted Batman.
If you think that Gambit team-up was impressive, the TV show version provided what was perhaps the greatest crossover of all time. In Season 2, Episode 6, Night Man met none other than TV’s Manimal. After all, what other superhero are you going to call when you need to defeat Jack the Ripper?
The Ultraverse is technically still out there … probably still owned by Disney. Pending the Fox sale, Disney’s going to run out of Marvel character to adapt into movies, right? How about developing some of the least known IP’s? So if any of you Alan Moore types want to dust off these characters and turn them into Marvel’s version of Watchmen, you’ll have at least one happy reader.
Hey… they brought Shooter’s New Universe back.