Wolff (left) and Byrd explore the nether regions of their law library. Artist: Batton Lash.


Original Medium: Newspaper comics
Published in: The Brooklyn Paper
First Appeared: 1979
Creator: Batton Lash
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"Beware the creatures of the night," reads the blurb on the comic book cover, "for they have lawyers." The slogan is repeated in practically every article about …

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… the series (such as this one), because it perfectly sums up Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre.

The characters were created by cartoonist Batton Lash, who in 1979 was charged with the task of producing a weekly comic strip for a Brooklyn paper called The Brooklyn Paper. Reflecting that its readers included a lot of lawyers (circulation was excellent in Brooklyn's court district), he decided on lawyers as a theme — lawyers who specialize in cases with supernatural elements, such as cross-examining The Bride of Frankenstein in a divorce proceeding, and representing an infernal creature whose civil rights are violated by a vampire slayer. Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd first appeared in that year's Sept. 19 issue.

The real-life lawyers loved it, and two years later it started appearing regularly in The National Law Review. It continued there until 1997. During that time it was picked up by the comics industry's major trade paper, Comics Buyer's Guide, which still carries it — proving you don't have to be a lawyer to enjoy Wolff & Byrd.

Wolff & Byrd appeared occasionally in comic books during the 1980s and early '90s, usually in anthology titles or as a back-up feature in another character's book. In 1994 Lash and his wife, Jackie Estrada, founded Exhibit A Press for the purpose of publishing a Wolff & Byrd comic book on a regular basis. It's been coming out on a more-or-less bimonthly schedule ever since. Exhibit A has collected most issues of the comic book, and many of the weekly strips, into books, which it keeps in print.

With its 24th issue (1999), the comic book title Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre was changed to Supernatural Law. This ties in with the name of the movie version, which is scheduled to start filming during 2001. Universal Pictures will release the film, winning out over Disney, which was also bidding on the property.

And why was Universal chosen? One reason seems to be that they own most of the old movie monsters that will make up such a prominent part of the lead characters' clientele.


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Text ©2000-04 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Batton Lash