Night Man hits DVD, but was he ever really a Marvel hero?

Contributed by
Apr 19, 2018

Good news, Marvel fans. Your favorite comic book TV show of the ‘90s is heading to DVD. But don’t worry if you’ve forgotten who or what Night Man is. SYFY WIRE is going to remind you of a hero who’s been buried for so long that he may never make it back to the printed page. 

Via TVonDVD, Lionsgate announced that both seasons of Night Man are getting a complete series release in a 9-disc collector’s set. The press release claims that Night Man is “one of Marvel's first forays into scripted television, paving the way for modern hits like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist.” This is, shall we say, not strictly accurate. It’s like claiming Fox’s first live-action superhero series, M.A.N.T.I.S., paved the way for Gotham. Although Night Man was briefly published by Marvel, it was not a Marvel comic. 

In 1993, a comic book publisher called Malibu gave several comic book writers the chance to launch their own superhero universe called the Ultraverse. The Night Man was co-created by Steve Englehart and artist Darick Robertson. In the comic and the TV show, Night Man was Johnny Domino/Domingo, a musician who was in an accident that gave him the power to hear “evil thoughts.” Both versions could also see in the dark.

The television series presented the Night Man costume as a tripped-out action suit that let Johnny fly, turn invisible, and shoot a laser with his eyepiece. By comparison, comic book Johnny was realistic and grounded. His costume was just cobbled together from hardware stores and other sources. 

Both incarnations of Johnny were also saxophonists who were well known in San Francisco's music scene. Night Man didn’t need to sleep, so he stayed pretty busy between fighting crime and taking on music gigs. 

The TV series isn’t a lost classic, but it added more life to a character who would otherwise have disappeared when Marvel purchased Malibu. In 1995, Marvel made a brief go of relaunching the Night Man comic alongside a few other Ultraverse titles. However, they were all canceled, and they haven’t returned to print in over two decades. Marvel hasn’t publicly stated why the Ultraverse characters are off limits, but we hope they eventually find a way back out of their permanent hiatus. The Ultraverse had a lot of fun concepts and comics that deserve a second chance, and even Night Man should get another shot in the future. In the meantime, the television show is the only artifact from this nearly forgotten franchise.  

Night Man - The Complete Collection is coming to DVD on Tuesday, June 12.