Making your own silver bullets in your basement with a buddy

A. Quinton — Jul. 23rd 2016

homemade-silver-bullet

Two guys from the “making neat stuff and blowing it up” zone of YouTube are here in this video to exercise one of science’s primary directives: doing a thing not because you need to, but because you can, and it’ll be fun.

Grant Thompson – “The King of Random” and Cody of Cody’s Lab collaborate to fabricate some “fully-functional werewolf deterrent”: homemade silver bullets.

I liked watching this process because while both guys are clearly skilled, they didn’t edit out the technical problems, and they didn’t try to hide the fact that the results, while quite functional, weren’t Adam Savage-level perfect. Perfection isn’t required when you’re experimenting or making something cool!

My thanks to friend and colleague William K, who was worried that sharing this video with me might lead to reprisals from “the werewolf community.” Nah, William, it’s fine! I’m sure the werewolves out there are glad to know that anyone wanting to make their own silver bullets runs the risk of pouring molten silver all over their hands.

Wereshere.com, a huge new resource for werewolf comics fans

A. Quinton — Jul. 21st 2016

Wereshere

Werewolf comic fans might want to clear their afternoon schedules before reading any further. Werewolf News reader / supporter / all-around great dude Kurt just launched wereshere.com – a tremendous resource for anyone interested in comic books and graphic novels with werewolves in them.

The site is split into two sections: comics in Kurt’s collection, and comics he’s searching for. Both lists are enormous, and every entry leads to a page with tons of details on the issue. Publication info, characters, writers, artists and letterers are all present, and Kurt plans to start adding his own reviews, too. He was nice enough to answer a few questions I had about his collection and his site.

I count roughly 500 comics on the “own” section of the site. Is this your entire collection of werewolf comics, or only part of it?

The first collection listed on wereshere.com is every comic book and graphic novel that I have in physical print. This is NOT my entire collection. The second list of comics to dig up represent books that either I have come across and do not own or in some cases may not be available in print and only exist online. Drivethrucomics, Amazon Kindle, and Comixology contain some great materials by independent people who don’t have the financial support. And comic books and graphic novels are just at the edge of the wereshere forest.

What’s your criteria for adding a comic to the list? Can a werewolf appear anywhere in the issue, or do they need to be a character of a certain prominence?

darkchyldeThere are actually a few titles already listed that are may not even be considered were-related to most. For example, I have an issue of Darkchylde that except for the cover art turned out not to have anything within its pages, but the issue caught my eye with what looked werewolf-related. If I see something that looks were-like, humanoid monster, or fur, fangs, and claws, that is enough in my book. Wereshere will start providing reviews and details on each of the materials listed so others can prey upon the flavors they want.

What’s your favourite single issue in the collection, and why?

batman-scratch-1Wow, do you have any difficult questions? That was wercasm if you didn’t catch it. To keep this question in proper context, Let keep the choices limited to the comic books then. One of my most lasting impressions was from a Batman miniseries called Scratch, specifically the final issue #5. At the time I read it, Scratch was a boy’s alter werewolf ego and until he was to accept this part of himself, the werewolf transformations resembled puberty because he could not control it and often times only a portion of his body might change, so maybe one of his hands would be a paw while the rest would remain human. I have never seen this metaphor used in another comic book and at the time I read the series, I could really connect. The messages delivered by the story and the art style itself really leaves an impression.

Are there any comics you’re searching for? What’s the best way for WN readers to reach you if they have something you’re interested in?

Without going into the what should a werewolf look like panel [I did a panel that touched on this topic at Howl Con – aq], I am always looking for new stuff usually with creatures that tend to resemble the Howling or American Werewolf in London appearance. I respect and pay homage to the Lon Chaney Jr. hairy face creatures, but I am a child of the 80’s and between Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, KNB Effects, or Stan Winston, the more lupine features are my idols. Also, gotta mention my late mentor Lance Pope of Haunted Verdun Manor who shed light and fur on many things. I have lots more to share and I hope wereshere will be my window to do just that. Twitter, tumblr, and email all point to me and I will keep my ears perked.

I met Kurt during Howl Con 2015, at a roundtable discussion about werewolves in comics (surprise!). It was my first panel and I was nervous, but the pretence of formality instantly dissolved when Kurt produced an enormous pile of werewolf comics, which he spread around the table and invited everyone to explore. He was generous and kind, and his enthusiasm for collecting, sharing and reading werewolf comics was infectious. Check out wereshere.com to get bitten by werewolf comics yourself!

The full moon reveals another killer “American She-Wolf” teaser

A. Quinton — Jul. 20th 2016

American She-Wolf

For the next few full moons, Caption Comics will be sharing teaser images for their upcoming comic series, Joe Dante Presents American She-Wolf. Featured in this post is July’s image by Orlando Arocena, which is more revealing (conceptually and literally) and more menacing than the one they shared on Independence Day.

I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peek at what the folks at Caption have in store for American She-Wolf, and I have used a lot of enthusiastic exclamation points in my email responses. These teaser images are a lot of fun, a little schlock-y, and great at building hype – eg., they’re very good at their job – but behind the scenes, there’s a lot of character work and excellent world-building happening. I’ve promised I won’t share any details, but I’ll go out on a limb to leave you with this little tidbit, which pertains to one of the deepest schisms in the werewolf fandom:

In the world of American She-Wolf, werewolves have tails.

Follow Caption Comics on Twitter or Facebook for more on ASW, and Orlando Arocena on Twitter for more great art! Oh, and don’t forget to check out the “mothership” site for Joe Dante and ASW writer Kris Millsap, Trailers From Hell.

Full Moon Features: The Werewolf (1956) and The Feeding (2006)

Craig J. Clark — Jul. 18th 2016

The Werewolf (1956)

This month marks the anniversaries of two werewolf films made half a century apart. The first is the imaginatively titled The Werewolf, which was released in July of 1956 according to the IMDb, but the site is no more specific than that. The second is The Feeding, which had its TV premiere on July 11, 2006, before going to video just two months later. Neither is particularly good, but at least one of them is a little fun to watch. See if you can guess which one that is.

Made by producer Sam Katzman and director Fred F. Sears, who teamed up the following year for the notorious giant bird movie The Giant Claw, The Werewolf was the first wolf-man movie to come along since Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein eight years earlier and, as such, it reflected the times by having its tortured lycanthrope change into a bloodthirsty beast as a result of getting into a car accident and receiving a transfusion of irradiated wolf’s blood from two unethical doctors. (If you think that sounds pretty far-fetched, just wait until I cover I Was a Teenage Werewolf.)

The film opens with a stentorian narrator explaining what a lycanthrope is and saying that stories of men changing into wolves have been passed down through the ages because “it is a universal belief” (a sly nod to Universal Pictures, perhaps?). We’re then introduced to an amnesiac werewolf (Steven Ritch) who comes to the sleepy town of Mountaincrest and causes numerous headaches for sheriff Jack Haines (Don Megowan) and his fiancée, nurse Amy Standish (Joyce Holden). Ritch’s first victim is a belligerent drunk who corners him in an alley and immediately regrets it when he transforms (off-screen) and tears the drunk’s throat out (also off-screen). Curiously enough, Ritch keeps his shoes and socks on throughout the attack and runs around with them on for a good while before removing them in the woods — that way Jack and his men can be bewildered by the way the shoe prints they’re following abruptly change into wolf tracks.

After one of his deputies is attacked, Jack orders the town to be sealed off and a tired and bewildered Ritch arrives at the door of the doctor Amy works for looking for help but almost immediately gets scared off. Eventually we’re introduced to the reckless doctors responsible for Ritch’s sorry plight, who wish to eliminate him before he can recover his memory and point the finger (or claw, as it were) at them, and the poor man’s wife and son, who track him down to Mountancrest and just want him to come home safe. In the meantime, we see him transform in and out of his wolf-man makeup a few times with the aid of some pretty shoddy trick photography, and Amy and Jack keep up a running debate over whether he should be captured alive or not. That’s not carried over to The Feeding, though, largely because its characters are preoccupied by other concerns.

As a matter of fact, The Feeding has the makings of its own drinking game since it’s a werewolf film that goes so far out of its way to avoid having anyone say the word “werewolf,” writer/director Paul Moore seems perversely proud of himself for not using it. There are, however, many times where the characters are right on the verge of identifying the kind of creature they’re facing by name, only to walk it back at the last moment. So, should you watch The Feeding (something, incidentally, I do not recommend), every time it looks like somebody is about to say “werewolf” and stops themselves short, take a drink. That might not get you drunk, but it could help make the viewing experience somewhat tolerable.

As much as Moore ties himself into knots having his characters talk around what they’re up against, he also doesn’t do them any favors by writing lines for them like “I’m guessing that if your girlfriend were alive, she wouldn’t want you to hang around here waiting to have your throat torn out.” In a low-budget, direct-to-video film like this, it’s tempting to blame the stiff line-readings on the inexperience of the actors, but it’s the lines Moore has given them to say that are dead-on-arrival. And it doesn’t help that they’re playing such thinly conceived walking stereotypes. On the one side, there’s cocky Wildlife and Forestry special agent Jack Driscoll (Robert Pralgo), who’s been after this particular monster for a few years, and his partner, animal expert Aimee Johnston (Dione Updike), who’s keen to prove herself in the field. On the other, there’s the septet of sex-crazed stoners (three couples and one seventh wheel) who pick the wrong week to go hiking in the Appalachians.

Following the requisite shock-kill opening, in which two redneck hunters banter pointlessly for a couple of minutes before shooting a very hairy werewolf, which makes short work of them, the first half of the film is all set-up as Jack and Aimee brief the park rangers in charge of clearing the mountain of civilians and then lie in wait for their quarry, and the interchangeable seven manage to slip past them and prepare to be werewolf chow. I would identify them, but really, what’s the point? When just about everybody who appears on screen is in the opening credits — even the actors playing “Hunter #1,” “Ranger #1,” and “Hunter #2” — that makes nonentities of them all. Sure, Moore tries to inject some drama into the situation by having one of the guys be the ex-boyfriend of one of the girls, who has since paired off with another one of the guys, but this doesn’t generate any more conflict than the ill-advised game of spin the bottle they choose to play one night. (I blame the weed for the poor decision-making.) And the second half of the film, during which the bipedal human-animal hybrid stalking and killing them gets a lot of screen time, is marred by the fact that it’s always a little bit out of focus, as if Moore knew he had a lousy werewolf suit on his hands. Surprise, he was right.

The Feeding

Animated music video: “Mermaid Werewolf Love”

A. Quinton — Jul. 9th 2016

mermaid-werewolf-love

Just when you’re certain that the Internet is a wasteland of perfunctory banality and ought to be destroyed, along comes Lew Delport with a video to redeem everything.

Mermaid Werewolf Love is music video animated by Victoria Giacomazzi (with backgrounds by Emily Crosby) for a song by Alex Cazares. Watch it, and aspire to be the kind of cryptid who would cheerfully swim through a blood cloud for a shot at romance.

The way she slowly rolls back into the lake is the low-key funniest thing I’ve seen in ages.

Sponsor: The New KHOWL 98.7 FM: after 13 years, I’ve found a radio station that rocks

A. Quinton — Jul. 8th 2016

khowl-group-banner

I’d like to give you something great to listen to. Quit iTunes, close Spotify, and throw your boombox out a window (unless you live in Southwest Oklahoma, in which case, flip that little source toggle thing to “FM”).

KHOWL 98.7 FM is the werewolfiest radio station on the planet, and I’m proud to say they’re sponsoring Werewolf News through 2016. If you live in southern Oklahoma or northern Texas, you can get them at 98.7 on the FM dial – otherwise, you can listen online through their web site or via streaming radio apps like TuneIn.

“But,” you may ask, clutching your pearls and eyeing your carefully curated playlists, “what kind of music do they play? Will I like it?” Well, I’ve checked the logs and it appears that KHOWL’s DJs only play music that fits one or more of the following criteria:

  • rocks extremely hard
  • excellent background audio for various Werewolf Activities
  • makes your average mother angry
  • makes your typical father pretend to scowl but then secretly flash you a thumbs-up
  • Otto from The Simpsons likes it
  • I like it, and you will like it

Listen for yourself, and make a request if there’s something specific you’d like to hear. They even have the new Paul Simon track “The Werewolf”, which I think they first learned about through a certain web site you may know.

SnarlKHOWL broadcasts from Altus, Oklahoma, via a mountaintop radio transmitter that might also be the geographical epicentre of the Rad Rock / Metal Music chart. Snarl, the general manager & founder, has invited me to hike up to that tower the next time I’m in the area. If and when that happens, I will report back with details on any flaming obelisks or cackling onyx skulls I see in the area.

A personal anecdote in closing: before KHOWL, the last time I voluntarily listened to terrestrial radio for longer than 60 seconds was November 19, 2003 (rest in peace, 104.9 XFM). I just assumed I was done with radio, since my musical tastes were too rowdy for Top 40, and too Millennial for classic rock stations. I didn’t think I’d ever find another radio station that would play Nine Inch Nails, Six Feet Under and Depeche Mode in the same 30-minute block, but as I learned when I tuned in to KHOWL for the first time – and was still listening two hours later – I was wrong.

Again, my thanks to KHOWL 98.7 FM for sponsoring Werewolf News. Check them out!

HOWL CON 2017 is going big & it wants you

A. Quinton — Jul. 6th 2016

Howl Con 2017

My wife and I were guests/vendors/attendees at HOWL CON 2015, a werewolf convention just across the river from Portland, Oregon, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. After a year off, the organizers have regrouped with an Indiegogo campaign to bring HOWL CON back to Portland over the weekend of February 4th, 2017.

If it’s successful, this campaign will help HOWL CON turn into something even better than the future I imagined in my effusive 2015 post. May I suggest that you pledge at the $40 level to get your two-day pass, then mark your calendar?

From the campaign:

The global community of werewolf lovers has their very own convention . . . sometimes. Hi, I’m Stephen, and I produced two HOWL CON events in 2012 and 2015. Hundreds of lunatics just like you got our socks charmed off by GRIMM’s Silas Weir Mitchell, line-moshed in costume to GrimWolf‘s blood-boiling werewolf metal, laughed ourselves silly at the instant cult classic film Wolf Cop, and raised money & awareness for Wolf Haven International.

Those were great cons, but behind the scenes they were pretty threadbare, achieved on charm, cussedness, and borrowed capabilities. If we’re going to howl together again, especially in the wake of 2016’s failure to launch, let’s do it without begging pardons or cutting corners.

If they can reach their $15,000 USD goal in the next two months, they’ll be able to mount the convention at an ideal scale and with guests they really want to bring to werewolf fans. As Stephen says, though, even if they only make the halfway mark, they’ll have “the wherewithal to secure a hotel and book featured guests, and a regular pre-registration campaign will have August-January to finish the job.”

Frankly, $15k is a tiny amount of money considering the amazing time it would fund, and I would like to see them hit at least 200% of their goal. Even if you can’t make it, you can support the convention as an Absent Packmate or Absent VIP, which is a cool concept.

I want to go to HOWL CON 2017, but more importantly, I want you to go. Check out the campaign, share it with your friends, and start planning your trip. See you there!

“Howl”, the comic where everyone’s a werewolf except a history teacher with a baseball bat

A. Quinton — Jul. 5th 2016

howl-1-cover

I have another werewolf comic recommendation for you, and this one you can buy and read right nowHowl is a black and white indie series about Jack Lowe, high school history teacher and “last man living in a world where a mysterious pandemic has transformed everyone else [including his wife, Rebecca] into werewolves.”

Thanks to the Lycanthrope Emancipation and Human Transition Act, everyone in the world – except Jack – gets to go buck-wild on the eve of the full moon, although people are encouraged to restrain themselves for their own safety. Of course, not everyone thinks self-restraint is necessary or patriotic.”Things might have changed,” the Lowe’s bulldog of a neighbour barks over his hedge, “but we still have rights!”

Writers Ryan DavidsonEastin Deverna and artist Dan Buksa funded the first two issues of Howl with a Kickstarter campaign that went on to raise 180% of its goal. I’ve read those two issues, and I’m happy to say they’re smart, funny, and just adult enough – thanks to some gore and mild werewolf nudity – that it could earn you some serious Cool Aunt / Uncle Credit if you were to get it for your wayward nephew or niece. Buska’s werewolf design is big and hairy/scary enough to satisfy any werewolf fan, but nuanced enough that readers can easily identify who a werewolf might be on the other 29 nights of the month.

Issue 3 is in the works. For updates on that and other merch (they had a cool t-shirt design at one point), check out the Howl web site, Facebook page or Twitter account.

howl-1-p8

Celebrate the 4th with this gore & drool-streaked poster for “Joe Dante Presents American She-Wolf”

A. Quinton — Jul. 4th 2016

american-she-wolf-logo

Happy Independence Day! Caption Comics is celebrating the red, white and blue by releasing a teaser poster for its upcoming comic anthology series, Joe Dante Presents American She-Wolf.

Yes, that Joe Dante. He’s been working with TrailersFromHell.com colleague Kris Millsap, who created American She-Wolf along with co-writer Lance Dobbins. This title is the first of (hopefully many) comics that Caption plans to develop for the enjoyment of cinema savvy comic readers.

According to Kris, American She-Wolf is an anthology series that will showcase “gritty tales of girls gone feral” in a variety of formats. Artists Greg Smallwood and Ario Murti are involved, and an illustrated anthology magazine and a graphic novel are in the works. From what Kris tells me, they have a lot of werewolf stories to share, and more details will be released later this summer. For more information, follow Caption Comics on Twitter or Facebook.

In the meantime, check out this lovely gore and drool-streaked painting by Orlando Arocena, featuring a hand-lettered ASW logo by Mateusz Witczak. Ah, it’s patriotic enough to make me consider applying for that dual citizenship!

American She-Wolf Poster

“Brooklyn Animal Control”: the crime drama that might still be the TV show werewolf fans have been waiting for

A. Quinton — Jul. 1st 2016

brooklyn-animal-control-banner

bac-panel-1Let me tell you about Brooklyn Animal Control.

First, it was a 2013 comic written by JT Petty and drawn by Stephen Thompson. It depicts several days in the life of a modern New York City in which a secret, powerful werewolf family is responsible for the metropolis’s growth and prosperity. It’s still available directly from IDW in print or digitally as a one-shot. I read it twice this week and I thought the concept and the execution were excellent. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, no further work was released or planned after those 48 pages, despite the cliffhanger ending. It’s as though it was intended as a pitch for something else…

Wait, it almost certainly was. In 2015, USA Network asked Petty (who has tons of experience writing for games, films and his own novels) and Universal Cable Prods. to produce a pilot episode of Brooklyn Animal Control for consideration as an ongoing series.

The pilot was produced. It starred James CallisStephen GrahamJane Alexander and Clea DuVall, and featured some very nice CG werewolves. The concept was adapted from the comic thusly:

Brooklyn Animal Control follows the inner workings of a secret subdivision of the NYPD that functions as social services for some of the city’s most unique citizens — werewolves. Delving into the lives of both the Case Officers, and the secretive, highly insular Kveld-Ulf, a community of werewolves living deep in the borough, the drama will examine city politics, immigrant communities, and families divided by ambition, secrecy, and tradition.

Werewolf drama looks like this:

bac-panel-2

The pilot was never publicly released, but a trailer (polished, but probably never intended for the public) made its way to YouTube and survived for a few weeks before getting yanked. I’ve re-uploaded it as an unlisted video for Werewolf News readers to enjoy, but fair warning – if anyone from USA or IDW pulls it, I won’t put it back up. I gotta play ball. The screen grabs at the bottom of this post will stay, though!

During the short time it was up in the Spring of 2016, the trailer got a lot of people in the werewolf fan community (including me) very excited. Finally, here was a prime time werewolf show with actual monstrous werewolves instead of “regular wolves”, and a plot that balanced its supernatural hocus-pocus with real-world grit. Sure, the trailer was a bit more melodramatic than the comic’s in media res matter-of-factness, but when you have 72 seconds to pitch a concept, you exaggerate. The show looked great, the secrecy bade well, and we were all excited.

bac-panel-3

Unfortunately, news broke in April that USA was not ordering Brooklyn Animal Control to series. According to Deadline, USA didn’t “pass” on the show, as they might have done with something they have no interest in pursuing. Rather, BAC as a series will be “redeveloped with [JT] Petty, who also wrote the original pilot and executive produced it.” No further details are available at the moment.

Redevelopment sounds bad, but it’s not as terminal a sentence as a “pass”. You “redevelop” a recipe by throwing your slightly botched cookies in the compost and starting from scratch; you “pass” on a recipe by throwing the whole fucking cookbook in the trash and setting the kitchen on fire.

There’s no way for us fan-kind to know which aspects of the pilot treatment didn’t make the grade, but here’s hoping UCP and Petty’s second pass finds success. Us werewolf fans need a TV series to look forward to! Oh and please keep the cast (Stephen Graham yes please) and whatever creature effects house is responsible for that werewolf, because damn.

In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the comic (a good place to start might be IDW’s six-page preview) and these seven screen grabs from the Brooklyn Animal Control pilot trailer.

brooklyn-animal-control-pilot-1 brooklyn-animal-control-pilot-7 brooklyn-animal-control-pilot-6 brooklyn-animal-control-pilot-5 brooklyn-animal-control-pilot-4 brooklyn-animal-control-pilot-3 brooklyn-animal-control-pilot-2