Category: Books & Comics

Woodberry University’s supernatural side is off to a pleasant start in “Moonlighters” issue 1

A. Quinton — Mar. 7th 2017

There are werewolves at Woodberry University. Specifically, there are two werewolves – neophyte Renee, and the nameless lady who bit her outside a Delta Omega Epsilon house party. To help track down “her werewolf”, ostensibly to find a cure (or get an apology), Renee enlists the Moonlighters: Filipe, Meg and Sue, a trio of supernatural jacks of all trades whose familiarity with the world of monsters comes from very personal experience.

Moonlighters is a new comic from Space Goat Productions, written by Katie Schenkel, illustrated by Cal Moray and lettered by Tom Napolitano. It stars were-creatures, a witch, and a dour girl on a moped who’s either a vampire or a real monster hunter, but it’s not a horror story. It’s a lighthearted, kid-friendly comic that asks “what if the Scooby-Doo team were vaguely competent supernatural college kids who lived in off-campus housing?”

Heads-up to dogmatic (pun intended) werewolf fans: the three Moonlighters are actually were-dogs, not werewolves, a distinction not addressed directly in the comic (although it’s evident in the art and mentioned in the comic’s promo text). However, Renee’s shadow on the cover and the depiction of her Delta Omega Epsilon assailant hint at some potentially monstrous differences between wolf and dog variants. I’ll be interested to see how that plays out – again, this is an all-ages comic, but surely it’s not all cute corgi ears and instantaneous sparkle-transformations.

I had more to say about this comic than I thought I would, which only seems to happen with things I like! The art and the lettering are clean and expressive, evoking an early-90’s Saturday morning cartoon, and the story is light but covers a lot of ground, setting up the characters and their world without over-explaining anything. Despite finding everyone in the cast except Renee (clever, friendly) and Ms. Pleasant (loses her cat a lot, stylish) a teensy bit irritating – seriously, Sue, put down your DS – I’m definitely coming back for the next issue. There’s something about that snarly silhouette on the cover… and the fact that in her human form, Meg looks exactly like a good friend of mine.

Moonlighters #1 is available on comiXology starting March 8th.

Archie Comics turns Jughead Jones into a werewolf in “The Hunger”

A. Quinton — Mar. 3rd 2017

Until the Predator killed everyone in a recent Dark Horse crossover, I hadn’t read an Archie comic in years. Now writer Frank Tieri and illustrator Michael Walsh are sending me back to Riverdale with a new Archie horror one-shot, out March 29th: “Jughead – The Hunger“.

That’s right, Jughead Jones is now canonically a werewolf.

Tieri tells EW.com:

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Jughead? The fact that the guy’s always so damned hungry all the time, right? In Jughead: The Hunger, we ask why that is, and we reveal the answer is quite a bit more sinister than the guy just really liking Pop’s cheeseburgers a whole lot. It turns out our version of good ol’ Jug has a lot more in common with his dog Hot Dog than anybody ever realized. Well, other than the fact Hot Dog isn’t whacking and eating half of Riverdale, of course.

You can pick this up at any comic shop on March 29th, but if you want the variant cover by Francesco Francavilla (featured at the top of this post), order item JAN171319 from Previews.

Here’s a little sample from that same EW article, which has an exclusive 8-page preview. RIP, Miss Grundy.

Thanks to @Somnilux for the link!

A new textbook for your werewolf film studies class: “The Werewolf Filmography: 300+ Movies”

A. Quinton — Feb. 26th 2017

McFarland Books has just released a monster of a reference book – and you know I’m serious because it takes a lot for me to break out a pun like that. The Werewolf Filmography: 300+ Movies by Bryan Senn is a 408 page hardcover with the dimensions and heft of a college textbook, and it contains the most comprehensive run-down of werewolf films I’ve ever seen.

From the horrific to the heroic, cinematic werewolves are metaphors for our savage nature, symbolizing the secret, bestial side of humanity that hides beneath our civilized veneer. Examining acknowledged classics like The Wolf Man (1941) and The Howling (1981), as well as overlooked gems like Dog Soldiers (2011), this comprehensive filmography covers the highs and lows of the genre. Information is provided on production, cast and filmmakers, along with critical discussion of the tropes and underlying themes that make the werewolf a terrifying but fascinating figure.

The book’s coverage is so comprehensive, in fact, that I’m out of my depth. To give you the best possible review, I am passing the book along to Craig J. Clark – Werewolf News’s in-house authority on werewolf movies. Craig has kindly agreed to report back to you and I on the book’s filmographic qualities.

If you’d like to conduct your own assessment in the meantime, you can purchase a copy on Amazon or direct from McFarland Books. Kudos to Bryan – this book is a huge accomplishment, literally and figuratively.

Pre-order “Moonlighters”, a comic about college-age werewolves for hire

A. Quinton — Jan. 31st 2017

Today Space Goat Productions announced their Backpack Edition line of 9″ x 6″ perfect-bound graphic novels with two new titles – Uncanny Valley High and Moonlighters. Guess which one is about werewolves?

Moonlighters features broke college-age werewolves taking supernatural odd jobs to pay the rent. Written by Katie Schenkel (writer at Comics Alliance, The Mary Sue, Panels, and the upcoming graphic novel The Cardboard Kingdom) and illustrated by Cal Moray (Monster Elementary). They are monster helpers for hire.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to build the world these characters exist in between the mundane and the supernatural,” said series illustrator Cal Moray. “But not gonna lie, I’m mostly excited to draw corgis.” Series writer Katie Schenkel said, “Writing these cute queer werewolves being friends and getting into shenanigans has been a dream so far. I really think Moonlighters is going to be special.”

Moonlighters #1 is available for pre-order on comiXology right now, with a digital release date of March 1st and a print release date of January 1st 2018. At first I thought that was pretty far away for a title launching a line distinguished by its physical dimensions, but then the rest of my brain engaged and I realized Schenkel and Moray probably want to do more than one single issue before Space Goat issues a graphic novel.

Moonlighters and Uncanny Valley High are geared towards younger audiences, but for werewolf fans with more mature preferences, recall that Space Goat is also working on an officially-licensed comic and board game (!?) set in the cinematic universe of the Howling franchise.

Werewolf comic “Howl” issue 3 review: what a time to be alive!

A. Quinton — Jan. 8th 2017

Issue 3 of indie werewolf comic Howl has just come out in physical and digital formats. The creators were kind enough to send me a review copy, which I consumed like a hot dog: with relish, and disappointment that there aren’t more.

Nearly halfway into its projected seven-issue run, Howl has firmly established itself as a showcase for writers Ryan DavidsonEastin Deverna and artist Dan Buksa. The first two issues (which I discuss over here) are driven by action and an impending full moon. This issue is more of a police procedural, as we follow the authorities who are trying to make sense of (and find the culprit responsible for) the carnage wrought by series protagonist Jack Lowe. Jack’s wife Rebecca and high school student Laura make the big decisions in this issue, setting up potential consequences that they and their families will have to pay for in future issues.

For now, there’s a lot of cop-talk in front yards, Jack himself spends most of the issue passed out, and with the full moon done for another month there’s nary a werewolf to be seen. In the hands of less efficient writers, these plot points could lead to boring exposition and frustration as the cops try to figure out what the readers already know, but the great dialogue and believable rapport between characters keeps things lively and manages some subtle world-building (the best kind, in my opinion).

Buksa’s art has gotten a little cleaner and tighter in this issue, but it still has the organic, high-contrast pen-and-ink style that made the first two issues so distinctive and fun to look at. I don’t know what his process is, but I could believe he turns each page from a blank document into a finished, inked panel layout with no in-between steps or drafts. It’s confident, charismatic work, and I couldn’t imagine this series drawn any other way.

If you want to get into Howl, head over to the Howl store to get caught up on the series. Davidson, Deverna and Buksa are doing excellent work, and I encourage you to support them and share your comments on the Howl Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Beth W. Patterson writes about werewolf packs & the music of New Orleans in “The Wild Harmonic”

A. Quinton — Jan. 2nd 2017

Add Beth W. Patterson‘s debut novel The Wild Harmonic to the ever-growing list of werewolf books I’ll finally have time to read after the upcoming nuclear apocalypse.

New Orleans musician Birch “Buzz” MacKinlay used to think she was the only werewolf in the world. But that was before the mysterious and captivating Rowan welcomed her into his pack, and showed her that shapeshifters – all kinds of shapeshifters – were hiding in plain sight everywhere. Now Birch is on a crash course by day to learn everything she can about the secret “shifter” world, while gigging as a bass player at night. But there’s a problem with this dream come true: a dark and growing danger threatens the shifters, who are beginning to mysteriously disappear or die. Faced with hecklers, drunks, stalkers, and incompetent bandmates in one life and fang-toothed double agents in the other, Birch doesn’t know who to trust – especially now that she’s the target of a powerful enemy. With menace closing in fast, Birch must find a way to save her new pack… or lose everything that matters, including her own life.

The excerpt on Patterson’s web site piqued my interest. I kept wanting to think “this isn’t my thing” as I read – the rhythm of the prose is a little strange in places, and Birch’s werewolf form is literally “a large wolf”, which you all know isn’t really my thing. What hooked me, though, and kept me thinking about this book for the past few weeks, is how Patterson writes about music.

She’s an accomplished musician, and from the first paragraph of The Wild Harmonic it’s clear that her experiences performing (and being moved by) music form an integral and exuberant part of the narrative. I’m not crazy about urban fantasy or quadrupedal werewolves, but give me a story in which the author writes with enthusiasm about something she loves and does well, and you’ve got me on board.

You can buy The Wild Harmonic in paperback and digital formats from Amazon and direct from the publisher.

1983: “What if Judge Dredd was a werewolf for a bit?” 2017: “What if he never changed back?”

A. Quinton — Dec. 28th 2016

For a little while, way back before many of you were born, comics’ premiere justice-dispenser Judge Dredd was both “the law” and “a werewolf” in a story arc called “Cry of the Werewolf”. Fast forward over three decades to March 2017: writer John McCrea and a handful of artists will use an IDW Deviations one-shot to explore what might have happened if Dredd had never been cured of lycanthropy.

Dredd Deviations cover by John McCrea

From Comics Alliance:

In March, IDW is launching another five-week Deviations event, and it’s kicking off with a Judge Dredd story [“Howl of the Wolf!”] where the always amazing John McCrea asks what Mega City One would be like if its toughest lawman had never recovered from that time he was briefly a werewolf.

So what’s the provenance of this alternate-reality sequel’s story?

In 1983, writers John Wagner and Alan Grant, letterer Tom Frame and artist Steve Dillon turned Mega City One’s massively-chinned lawman into a lycanthrope for seven issues of 2000 AD. “Cry of the Werewolf” was regarded as one of the better “Dredd versus the supernatural” stories and it got the stand-alone collection treatment in 2012. Now, in light of Dillon’s recent passing and the imminent release of Judge Dredd: Deviations, IDW is also reprinting that original story along with some extras, for a good cause.

Cry of the Werewolf art by Duncan Fegredo

…IDW will be reprinting the original “Cry of the Werewolf” with a new version that serves as a tribute to Dillon, who passed away in October. In addition to the full story, IDW’s version will include a section of pinups from artists like Duncan Fegredo, PJ Holden, Jock, and more, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated in Dillon’s name to his favorite charity, the Hero Initiative.

Both comics will come out in March 2017 and will feature a ton of great werewolf art, like this post’s feature image, Ryan Brown’s variant cover for “Howl of the Werewolf”.

My exposure to Judge Dredd is limited to 2012’s Dredd, a film (and soundtrack) that I will never ever get tired of, but as with so many other things, add werewolves and you will get my attention and my dollars.

Thanks t0 KSFWerewolf for the link that sent me down this rabbit hole.

“The Howling” gets an official follow-up comic & board game with “Revenge of the Werewolf Queen”

A. Quinton — Dec. 14th 2016

Space Goat Productions has just announced an officially licensed comic book and board game(!) based on The Howling werewolf film universe.

Not all of that colourful franchise is particularly worthy of adaptation or expansion, but don’t worry: the four-issue The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen will take place directly after the events of the first film. Given that title and the events of the second film, Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, we might be in for some backstory on a certain powerful werewolf lady.

The comic series will be written by two-time New York Times best-selling author Micky Neilson, whose lycanthropic work you might already be familiar with: he wrote the Warcraft comic series Curse of the Worgen and the werewolf novel The Turning, previously mentioned here on Werewolf News.

The comic’s line art will be handled by veteran Jason Johnson, who says he’ll “bring this story to life like only a true werewolf connoisseur can”. If the teaser image accompanying this post is any indication, uh, yes, dude, I believe you will.

The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen comes out in Summer 2017. No details on the board game yet, but if it involves quoting lines from the film series, I’m gonna win every single round with this gem.

Keep an eye on Space Goat and the very web site you’re reading right now for more details.

Trade your current dystopia for one featuring werewolves with “Apex Predator” by S.M. Douglas

A. Quinton — Dec. 2nd 2016

Here’s some holiday reading direct from the “You Might Like…” category of things I haven’t checked yet but want to: horror author S.M. Douglas‘s new werewolf novel Apex Predator.

It combines classic occult story assets like “secrets from WWII-era Europe” and “mythical evil on the verge of remaking the world” with a fictional dystopian present day that seems increasingly non-fictional as 2016 staggers to its miserable conclusion. But I digress! A summary from Douglas herself:

In a world destabilized by soaring inequality, climate change, and war the deaths of several high profile bankers leave national security experts scrambling for answers. A disgruntled and discredited FBI Agent striving to bring to justice the corrupt individuals responsible for wrecking his community is instead ordered to protect these same Wall Street power brokers. In the postindustrial wasteland of a bankrupt Detroit he stumbles onto a lead capable of not just cracking the case, but with potentially explosive ramifications for the future of mankind. Meanwhile, a team of historians investigating a mysterious Second World War era mass grave make a startling discovery in a medieval village located deep within a foreboding Ukrainian valley. Brought together, they face an ancient terror in a global adventure that forces them to confront the tragic history of Eastern Europe’s blood lands. There they struggle to reconcile their findings with the evidence that a mythic evil is possibly real, and murderously intent on keeping its existence a secret until able to set in motion events that could change human history.

To be frank, this sounds like exactly the kind of thing I want to read right now, so I’m going to order a paperback copy from Amazon as soon as I’m done writing this post. Aspiring metal bands, please contact Douglas directly to negotiate the rights to name your group “Eastern Europe’s Blood Lands”.

Bernie Wrightson “Cycle of the Werewolf” Art Portfolio on Kickstarter

A. Quinton — Oct. 13th 2016

Bernie Wrightson and Nakatomi, Inc are collaborating on a deluxe fine art portfolio of Wrightson’s artwork for Stephen King’s 1984 calendar-turned-book, Cycle of the Werewolf.

This Kickstarter project is to fund a high-quality artist edition collection of the full color illustrations from Cycle of the Werewolf as a print set, along with a book collecting the Black and White illustrations and never-before printed concept and process sketches.

This campaign is less than two days old and it’s already raised over $45,000 against a $12,000 goal, with many of its limited quantity higher-tier rewards quickly on the way to being sold out. Those extra rewards include a 2017 calendar, a 1984 calendar(!), a t-shirt, and a special boxed set of prints featuring a real (inert) silver bullet and original hand-drawn Cycle of the Werewolf art from Bernie’s archives. Some images of the 2017 calendar reward and Bernie’s concept sketches are below.

The campaign ends on November 11th, and Nakatomi, Inc is optimistic that they can have backer rewards in the mail in time for those 2017 calendars to be hung on walls by January 1st.

I resisted the PCS Howling statue pre-order, but my financial restraint has crumbled. Cycle of the Werewolf stands with An American Werewolf in London and The Real Ghostbusters Now Comics #5 as a catalyst for a young AQ’s werewolf fandom. I simply can’t ignore the chance to own such high-quality editions of this artwork.

Thanks to Doruk G. for telling me about this!

calendar-mock-up-closed

calendar

og-art