A. Quinton — Oct. 6th 2015
I’d like to thank Todd McCullough for sponsoring Werewolf News for the entire month of October with his incredible book Who Needs The Moon?, a devastating horror graphic novel about werewolves and vampires, obsession and revenge, and what it takes to really be a monster.
I’ve been raving about WNTM since I read the first two issues back in 2013.
The atmosphere in this book is dense and cold, but it’s alive. The main character, Ethan, is endearing, haunted and terrifying all at the same time. He’s likeable, but it’s also clear that he’s capable of monstrous things. Kingford, the small town setting, feels like a brooding Everytown, and also like a half-dead incarnation of places I have called home. This mournful malevolence is achieved through a combination of effective writing and phenomenal colours on the page.
By the third issue I was calling it the best werewolf comic I’d ever read.
[WNTM] is the work of a truly gifted storyteller and artist, made even more singular by the fact that it’s self-produced and self-published. Honestly, I don’t know what else I can say right now, except please go buy it for whatever price you deem fair, and read it.
Through the ensuing tragedy, carnage and betrayals, Who Needs The Moon? remains the best werewolf graphic novel I’ve come across. The artwork is both painterly and animated, its themes are uncomfortable and sometimes terrifying but never without human connection, and the storytelling is clever enough to warm your heart on one page before tearing it out on the next. If Kingford really existed, it’d be a town known internationally (as readers will come to understand), and it’d be a place I would avoid as adamantly as Silent Hill.
Who Needs The Moon? is available as a name-your-price download on Gumroad. If you’re over 17 and you want to start the scariest month of the year with a truly excellent horror comic experience, I suggest you download it immediately. I’d like to thank Todd again for sponsoring Werewolf News for the month of October!
A. Quinton — Oct. 2nd 2015
It’s my favourite Twitter tradition! As soon as September ends, you have to perform two rituals:
- Change your Twitter username to a spooky derivative – equal parts scary and corny (eg. if you’re Marco Arment, you could be Marc O’Lantern).
- Get a profile picture to match. It has to be a picture of you, but Halloween-ified – you can’t just put up a stock image and call it good (unless you’re rocking a gimmick, in which case, you’re excused).
Finding an artist who’ll do a good monster portrait of you cheap and quick can be tricky, but three of my favourite artists are starting the month of
Halloween October with special limited-time deals to help you out.
- Teknicolor Tiger is offering six profile picture slots for $30 CAD each. That’s Canadian dollars, which are in the toilet right now, so it’s an extra-good deal. TT draws some extremely terrifying werewolves so get on it!
- Hamster Toybox is offering monstrous/snarly icons for $20 USD each. She’s done art for me in the past (including this image of Tandye transforming into a werewolf) and my responses to her delivery emails are always written in ALL-CAPS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!
- Just minutes ago, Shmorky opened a limited number of Halloween avatar slots for $10.31 USD. Shmorky is a legend and you only need to browse their Tumblr for a minute to see why getting a drawing of yourself as any Shmorkified monster is a super wise move.
If you get a profile pic drawn by one of these people, mention @WerewolfNews on Twitter because I wanna see!
The flattering portrait of me at the top of this post is by Lew, who will get added to this list instantly if and when they start accepting this kind of commission.
A. Quinton — Oct. 1st 2015
Doris V Sutherland‘s inaugural article for Women Write About Comics is about Ulula the Werewolf Woman, an example of Italy’s sexy, violent and “gleefully pulpsh” fumetti comics. As you can guess, an illustrated assessment of a pulpy werewolf sex comic isn’t safe for work – there are some images of sex, violence, and sexual violence, so click with care, and make sure your screen isn’t mirrored to the Apple TV in the conference room.
Despite having spotted the first issue’s cover floating around Tumblr, I was unfamiliar with Ulula until I read Sutherland’s article. Now, having read her analysis, I’m not especially motivated to seek out any more of the series’s 36 issues than I’ve already seen. I can’t read Italian and I don’t have as deep an appreciation for pulp horror comics as my pal Joey, who was kind enough to share his knowledge on this very site three years ago.
However, what I did enjoy was Sutherland’s analysis, particularly on the subjects of femininity, beauty and the mutation of the werewolf’s portrayal in media over the years.
Today, we do not tend to associate werewolves with femininity, let alone physically attractive femininity. Cinematic werewolves have been portrayed as grotesque creatures from the genre’s beginning in The Werewolf of London (1935) and The Wolf Man (1941); this reached a height in the 1980s, when films such as An American Werewolf in London emphasised the visceral body-horror implications of the transformation from human to wolf. More recently, the likes of True Blood and Twilight have cast werewolves as earthy, conventionally masculine counterparts to refined and effete vampires.
But things were once very different. In the literature of nineteenth-century Britain, the favoured variety of werewolf was a beautiful—even ethereal—woman who acted as a temptress. This character type owes something to the widespread folktale motif of the animal bride, variations on which include swan maidens, frog princesses, and —yes— wolf women.
Sign me up for more of this! I’m a big fan of the modern Hollywood-informed portrayal of werewolves as slavering, bestial monsters, but I’m always ready to wash off the fake blood and learn more about the werewolf’s historical and cultural relevance in decades past – especially when the analysis addresses aesthetics, the subversion of conventional gender roles, or the fickle and contradictory tastes of the modern audience.
Sutherland concludes her piece by asking us to consider what Ulula The Werewolf Woman contributes to the world of fumetti (and, I would say, to literature in general).
…Is Ulula a contemptuous piece of exploitation, a harmless bit of derivative nonsense, or an enjoyably brash pulp adventure? Could we even make a case for it as being—at least in some respects—a progressive work, thanks to its gay portrayal and subversion of the male gaze?
My answer: “all of the above, and thank God for that!”
A. Quinton — Sep. 30th 2015
Via Flayrah comes news of a graphic novel adaptation of German author Cornelia Funke’s young adult “Little Werewolf” books. I’m not a parent or a young adult, but I can appreciate all-ages material, especially when the art looks this fun.
I’m a little fuzzy on the specifics of the source material. At first I thought this was based on Dutch author Paul Van Loon’s “Alfie the Little Werewolf” books, previously adapted into a film, but nope, Funke has her own, more action-adventure-y take on “young kid gets turned into a werewolf”. The publisher, Magnetic Press, refers to a “series”, but I can only find one book, titled “Young Werewolf”. Funke seems like a prolific author, though, so there could be more coming.
The adaptation itself is still in production, but Magnetic Press has released a 48-page art book called “BITTEN: The Full Moon Book” to showcase the process. I’m a sucker for behind-the-scenes stuff, so even as my introduction to the franchise, this is extremely cool to me.
Based on International Best-selling YA author CORNELIA (The Inkheart Trilogy) FUNKE‘s “Little Werewolf”, this production artbook by artist extraordinaire FRANCISCO HERRERA (Megamind, The Prodigies) and animation director RAUL GARCIA (Aladdin, The Lion King) opens the door to a hidden side of Hollywood, where werewolves are real and hiding in plain site!
This limited edition artbook is filled with character designs and concept art being poured into the upcoming graphic novel series by Herrera and Garcia in 2016, including a number of onionskin sheets tipped in for special effect!
Craig J. Clark — Sep. 27th 2015
With the super blood moon upon us — for the last time until 2033 — it’s fortuitous that there’s a new werewolf movie out called Blood Moon. What’s unfortunate is that it’s not a very good one. Set in Colorado in the year 1887, but filmed in the South of England for reasons known only to its financiers, Blood Moon is about a Native American Skinwalker — a warrior who’s able to take the form of a bipedal wolf creature and is at his strongest during the blood moon according to the film’s resident half-breed font of Navajo legends and dream visions — who has chosen to bedevil the abandoned mining town of Pine Flats and all who pass through it.
Taking its cues from classic Hollywood westerns like John Ford’s Stagecoach as much as modern revisionist ones like Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, Blood Moon is populated by all the expected character types. There’s Calhoun (Shaun Dooley), the mysterious gunslinger about whose past there is much speculation, who stops a stagecoach on the road to Pine Flats and talks his way onto it. His fellow passengers are deputy marshal Jake Norman (George Blagden), his blushing bride Sarah (Amber Jean Rowan), saucy saloon owner Marie (Anna Skellern), baby-faced London Times reporter Henry Lester (George Webster), and requisite priest Father Dominic (Kerry Shale), who’s the first to get plugged when the travelers are ambushed by outlaw half-brothers Hank and Jeb Norton (Corey Johnson and Raffaello Degruttola), who are on the run after a bank robbery gone bad. In addition to the repeated references to their deplorable personal hygiene, both are repugnant in their own unique ways. While Jeb has an eye for the ladies and makes plain that he plans to rape Sarah before they move on, Hank can’t go five minutes without spitting and sounds so much like Yosemite Sam that it: a) must have been a deliberate choice, and b) is incredibly distracting.
Speaking of distractions, director Jeremy Wooding and screenwriter Alan Wightman include numerous cutaways to Jake’s cousin, Marshal Wade (Jack Fox), who hires the aforementioned half-breed Black Deer (Eleanor Matsuura) to track down the Nortons, hand-waving her concerns about going out during the blood moon. Once it rises, that should mean the end of the tedium (“Jesus Christ, Jeb. Pull the trigger,” Hank says, speaking for the audience. “Shoot somebody.”), but even when one of the Nortons is put out of his misery and one of the passengers is attacked off-screen by the Skinwalker, the others seem unnaturally unperturbed when it drags the victim’s legs away, leaving the head and torso on the front porch of the inn where they’re holed up. Meanwhile, Wooding reveals the creature incrementally, progressing from an over-the-hairy-shoulder shot to the hairy arm that breaks through a window and grasps at the unwary soul who had their back to it. Then there are the closeups of its hairy back as it’s repeatedly shot so Wooding can show that the bullet wounds heal instantly thanks to the magic of CGI. What’s surprising about this is he was actually given a decent-looking practical werewolf costume to work with, so waiting until the last fifteen minutes to show it off just seems like a waste.
Also puzzling are the film’s attempts to prop up Calhoun like he’s some sort of icon who should be mentioned in the same breath as Eastwood’s Man with No Name. Based on his refusal to ever say where he’s from, despite being asked repeatedly, perhaps he should be known as the Man with No Birth Certificate. Also, his reputation as a crack shot may be somewhat overstated since the Skinwalker has to wait patiently up on the roof for Calhoun to fire a shotgun shell filled with silver jewelry into its heart. Then again, it was probably still dazed after being run over by that stagecoach. Blood Moon may not be a classic, but that’s still a moment for the record books.
A. Quinton — Sep. 27th 2015
Quoting from Draw A Werewolf on Tumblr:
Tonight’s super ultra blood moon mega eclipse means you HAVE to draw a werewolf and tag it with #DrawAWerewolfDay or the moon will get really close to your house and crush it. Neil deGrasse Tyson confirmed it just now on a phone call that I did not record and will not share with you.
More info on DaWD here. Get drawing (regardless of how talented you think you are [or are not]) or that moon’ll smush you.
A. Quinton — Sep. 25th 2015
I recently received some very polite emails from whoever’s in charge of Dark Libra Films, asking if I would like to review their short film Angelic Wolves, available now to rent or purchase on Amazon. My unofficial policy for the past few years is that only Craig gets to review films on Werewolf News because he’s better at it than I in every way, but I wanted to field this one because I want to combine my “review” with some meta-commentary.
In their email to me, Dark Libra wrote:
The film only runs 25 minutes and is supposed to be a reminder of what horror films were once like with classics such as “Nosferatu”, “Werewolf in London”, etc. We intended for the film to look as though it was shot with some scrappy old film camera, while editing in some more modern sounds.
Judged by the criteria its makers set out for it here, Angelic Wolves is not good. It’s a weird, over-long student film with bad dialogue and a narrative arc that never lands. The premise from which the title is derived takes too long to establish – not because it’s complicated, but because the thin setup takes forever – and then the concept goes nowhere. It doesn’t succeed as a campy or sincere throwback to the “classics” because its only nod to proto horror films is a distressed sepia tone filter that blows out all the highlights.
If I’d never heard of Angelic Wolves before September, I’d leave it at that, or perhaps I wouldn’t have posted about it at all. But I have more to say, because I did hear about it before September, and I know that the in the email quoted above, the filmmaker is sandbagging and selling themselves short.
Angelic Wolves isn’t a short film. It’s a web series that Dark Libra Films tweeted to me about in April. They released four or five episodes over several weeks (which I regret to say I did not watch at the time). What’s available on Amazon feels like the first episode, or maybe two or three stitched together, in which we meet the main characters and learn what’s at stake over the remaining instalments. I have to assume from the abrupt, cliffhanger ending that there are more episodes, either unreleased or unshot, and that’s a shame.
Viewed from the “web series” angle, Angelic Wolves is a gothic-y, ultra-low-budget production with amateur (but charming) actors, a distinct visual style, and a premise that could have gone to some interesting places. As an ongoing a web series with more space to establish its world-building chops (and some tighter editing), I’d watch it with interest. I sincerely hope Dark Libra Films return to these woods (without the old-timey filter) to complete Eve and Johnny’s story.
Here are the notes I took while watching:
- interesting camera angles
- too many fast crossfades
- Eve likes turtles
- found footage or documentary vibe?
- introduction of Johnny is effective and his weirdness is charismatic
- Eve’s bemused “what the fuck” is a good line reading
- Johnny’s gratuitous shirtless pull-ups
- Bone-nub hands! And that spinal column is suspiciously clean
- “werewolves are angels” is cheesy but I’ll stay for the guardian / agent of justice thing
- Line of the day: “Did you place that strange skull next to my bed last night?”
A. Quinton — Sep. 23rd 2015
I’m putting together a new werewolf costume, and I’m trying not to fall into the same pattern that has screwed me in the past. Like many other amateur werewolf costume people, my instinct is to sink a ton of money into an expensive mask and awesome gloves. Through budgetary constraints and tunnel vision, everything else ends up as an afterthought. That means my amazing werewolf head and hands are framed by an outfit hastily assembled to hide my lack of fur or grey werewolf skin.
It’s September, there’s still time, and I’m telling myself this now so I don’t spend another Halloween trapped in generic pants and whatever long-sleeved coat I can bear to wear indoors for five hours: I need some kind of werewolf bodysuit.
One option came to me via Tandye, who should know better because we share a bank account: this insanely detailed and highly practical werewolf bodysuit from Snakepit Studios. This particular bodysuit is painted to match a werewolf mask from Immortal Masks, but your $425 USD will get you a bodysuit sized to your measurements and painted to match the rest of your costume.
Snakepit Studios is an Ohio company that started in an engineer’s apartment and now makes dozens of different comfortable, highly-rated custom cosplay bodysuits. Their bodysuits are made-to-order from “lightweight, athletic grade material” that won’t drown you in sweat, and they can be tossed in the wash after a night of getting fake blood and drinks spilled on you.
It might seem expensive, but a suit light this is the literal foundation of a good costume. You can wear whatever you want on top of it, as shredded and torn or fitted and revealing as required, and feel confident that your pasty human skin isn’t showing.
A. Quinton — Sep. 21st 2015
Thick yellow claws are a timeless and respected nail style for any werewolf looking to make deep, long-lasting impressions on the faces, torsos or locked front doors of friends and colleagues. But what if you’re like me and your keratin situation has cursed you with nails as flimsy and harmless as construction paper?
Don’t worry! You can still get that fresh, ready-to-maul look. In this video submitted by Leticia R, makeup artist Alexys “Lex” Fleming demonstrates how to give yourself a flawless lycanthropic manicure and pedicure with modelling wax, Pros-Aide (or spirit gum) and some basic cosmetic supplies. These nails won’t hold up to rough wear and tear, but they look appropriately monstrous, and they’ll be sure to impress your professor, orthodontist or bail bondsman.
Check out Lex’s line of ethical, vegan, cruelty-free eyeliner and makeup brushes, plus her other amazing makeup tutorials, including this one that demonstrates how to re-create the look of a werewolf from Penny Dreadful.
A. Quinton — Sep. 15th 2015
The always-fascinating Monster Legacy snuck up on me this weekend with three huge posts dedicated to the werewolves of the Underworld movie franchise. I didn’t see the “Lycans of the Underworld” posts when they first appeared because I sometimes forget that I can subscribe to RSS feeds instead of manually checking sites like a nana with a Dell from 1997, but @Crystalakhanna hooked me up.
For the first time since Underworld, new sculpts for the Lycans were created — based on production photographs of maquettes and suits from the first film. The design, again, underwent some cosmetic changes: different angles and details in the facial structures were added, and the ribcage and pectoral muscles were made more pronounced. The fur on the neck was decreased in mass and length. Certain changes were also applied to the overall color scheme of the creatures, which now featured a darker nose area and different patterns. MastersFX built three Lycan suits, two of which were provided with mechanized hero heads.
This is just a small quote – these articles are long, well-researched, and packed with great photos. You can read equally detailed articles on the Lycan designs from Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Underworld: Evolution, or the original Underworld.