Category: Books & Comics
A. Quinton — May. 17th 2017
The Flop House is a great podcast about bad movies. Its hosts – Dan McCoy, Elliott Kalan and Stuart Wellington – are award-winning writers, comedians and hamburger-likers who have the kind of chemistry that makes anything they do simultaneously inscrutable and entrancing to the uninitiated. Ten minutes into your first episode you’ll be frustrated by the in-jokes you don’t get, and by the end of the episode you’ll be so charmed and delighted that you’ll likely start through the 230+ episode back catalogue to learn the origins of those in-jokes.
They are the Good Boys of Podcasting – rivalled only in their Goodness by another trio of Podcasting Boys – but they’re also Good Comic Book Boys too. Elliott has written for Marvel, and Dan and Stuart have each written a one-off Flop House comic, the proceeds of which are donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (“Flop House Comics: Dumb Stuff For a Good Cause”).
The second Flop House Comic, “A Hairy Night In Wolfsburg“, came out last week, and guess what it’s about? This werewolfy tale-within-a-tale was written by Stuart Wellington, drawn by Jacob Edgar, coloured by Dearbhla Kelly & lettered by Simon Bowland. It involves mistaken identity, werewolf rituals, hasty makeup, and the fact that Alexia and Olga have exactly the same colour pelt. You don’t need to have any knowledge of the Flop House to enjoy it, although my read-through was enhanced by my hearing all of the character’s dialogue in the voices of the Flop House guys.
The issue is available in a variety of formats by donation, with amounts ranging from $1 to $50 USD, and (much like a little magazine I just published) the money is going to a good cause: “All proceeds for this dumb comic are going to the American Civil Liberties Union”. Even if you’re not into podcasts, this is a good comic to check out!
A. Quinton — May. 15th 2017
It’s always a pleasure to write about a Werewolf News sponsor, and never more than when the sponsorship concerns a new publication by someone whose work I already enjoy. In this case, I’d like to thank Fox Spirit Books for sponsoring Werewolf News with Joyce Chng‘s marvellous sci-fi werewolf space opera novel Starfang: Rise of the Clan.
Is a clan captain going to sacrifice everything for her clan? Tasked to kill Yeung Leung by her parents, powerful rival clan leader of the Amber Eyes, Captain Francesca Min Yue sets out across the galaxy to hunt her prey, only to be thrown into a web of political intrigue spreading across the stars. Is Yeung Leung collaborating with the reptilian shishini and playing a bigger game with the galaxy as a price? Is Francesca’s clan at stake? Welcome to Starfang: Rise of the Clan, where merchants and starship captains are also wolves.
“Wolves should not be in space, but here we were, a clan of wolves and merchants. Instead of the preserved forests of New Earth and Noah’s Ark, we were in ships of steel and armor, reading data scans and commanding officers on the bridge. Wolves within the uniform of merchants and mercenaries, human seeming, claws and teeth sheathed.”
– Captain Francesca Ming Yue, of the warship Starfang.
Starfang: Rise of the Clan is available for purchase in a variety of formats through the following channels:
Once you’ve read Rise of the Clan, I recommend you check out Homecoming, an excerpt from the second book in the Starfang series (so yes, it contains spoilers for Rise of the Clan). You can read it on her web site or as a stand-alone story in the “space” issue of zine I edit, WEREWOLVES VERSUS. It was my introduction to Joyce’s wonderful prose and the elegant, sombre world of the Starfang series.
Craig J. Clark — May. 10th 2017
As the foremost authority on werewolf movies ’round these parts, it naturally fell to me to review Bryan Senn’s The Werewolf Filmography, the first attempt at a comprehensive overview of the subject since Stephen Jones published The Illustrated Werewolf Movie Guide back in 1996. (Senn dismisses Jones’s book in his introduction, claiming “its brevity and haphazardness makes it far from definitive and of limited use,” but it’s still worth tracking down and hanging onto for its generous sampling of photos, posters, and lobby cards, many of them in color.) Where Jones muddies the waters by including any and all films in which someone is transformed into an animal — resulting in annoyances like every filmed version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet getting a capsule review — Senn’s bent is more lycan-centric. In fact, of the “300+ Movies” trumpeted in the book’s subtitle, only 158 are covered in the main section, with the rest being relegated to the chapters on “Pseudowolves” (a slippery designation that feels arbitrary at times) and “Other Were-Beasts” (a less crowded and more self-explanatory field).
In his introduction, Senn cuts right to the heart of the matter. “Why write a book on werewolf cinema,” he reasonably asks, “if the majority of the films are, shall we say, less than classic?” The answer, of course, is to highlight the good and the great while steering people away from the bad and “the howlingly ugly.” To this end, Senn employs a five-moon rating system (similar to the one used by Jones, albeit without the fancy graphics) that isn’t nearly so bottom-heavy as one might expect based on the genre’s track record. True, it’s possible to count the five-moon movies on one claw (for the record, they are The Wolf Man, The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, Dog Soldiers, and Game of Werewolves), and there are only two that get four-and-a-half (Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and Ginger Snaps), but those are neatly balanced out by the four half-moon movies and the three turkeys that come away with zero. (Happily, I have not seen any of the latter, and based on Senn’s recommendation, will continue to avoid them.) That leaves the majority in the one-to-four-moon range, with a fairly even distribution reflecting the range in quality therein.
To be fair, Senn tosses more than a few curve balls into the works. While he takes Hammer’s The Curse of the Werewolf down a peg with a two-and-a-half-moon review, questioning its “classic” status in the process, he doles out four moons to the likes of Silver Bullet, the 2011 Red Riding Hood, and Wolves, none of which impressed me that much when I saw them. He does, on the other hand, recognize that Rise of the Lycans is the best entry in the Underworld series, and is unafraid to call out dreck like Night Shadow, The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here!, Red: Werewolf Hunter, and Teen Wolf Too. That last write-up contains one of several typos that managed to sneak past Senn’s editor, though, when star Jason Bateman is accidentally called “Justin.” (See also: the “Pseudowolf” entry on The Brothers Grimm, which misspells Peter Stormare’s name twice before getting it right in the very next paragraph.) Most damning of all, though, is the way the back cover lists the wrong year (2011) for Dog Soldiers, an error compounded by its inclusion in McFarland’s online listing for the book.
Other idiosyncracies abound. While it’s understandable that Senn would want to partition off films where werewolves only appear in supporting roles or, say, a single segment of an omnibus film, relegating Paul Naschy’s The Beast and the Magic Sword and Licántropo and other Spanish-language werewolf films to the “Pseudowolves” chapter merely because they never received an official release in the U.S. seems short-sighted, especially since Senn’s write-ups for them are often as long and detailed as his “full-fledged” werewolf film reviews. He’s also heavily reliant on quotes from the filmmakers — many of them culled from other sources, although some hail from interviews Senn personally conducted — and given to repeating himself to pad the entries out. And while it’s nice to have an appendix listing the films in chronological order (since the text arranges them alphabetically), it would have been nice to have another one that breaks them down by rating for easy reference.
With its hefty $55 price tag and sturdy hardback binding, The Werewolf Filmography is an impressive, if imperfect, addition to McFarland’s stable of horror reference books, and can be ordered directly from the publisher (www.mcfarlandpub.com, 800-253-2187) [or Amazon – ed.]. It won’t take long for it to go out of date, though, since, as Senn points out in his introduction, more than half of the werewolf films he covers have been produced since the turn of the millennium, with more being churned out all the time. Some of them may turn out to be winners (I’ve got high hopes for Another WolfCop, to give one example), but lycan-lovers will always need help separating the wheat from the chaff. With luck, a second edition where Senn does just that won’t be long in coming.
A. Quinton — May. 8th 2017
More werewolf art for your walls! Gallery 1988 hosting a Stephen King art tribute, featuring dozens of exhibits inspired by the horror author’s works. Here’s the one werewolf-related piece I spotted: “Reverend Lowe” by Steve Mardo. The framed original has sold, but you can still get one of the 20 signed prints for yourself.
11 x 14 inches
signed and numbered, limited edition of 20
inspired by Cycle of the Werewolf
If you’re in Los Angeles you can see the exhibit in person through May 27th at GALLERY1988, 7308 Melrose Ave.
A. Quinton — May. 4th 2017
Space Goat Productions has shared publication details, cover art and five preview pages from the first issue of their upcoming comic series “The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen”.
The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen #1 picks up where the cult-classic 1981 film left off: Three weeks have passed since Chris Halloran revealed on national TV that werewolves walk among us. No one believed him. Now Marsha Quist has returned for revenge–and now there is no colony to hold back her blood lust. For fans of Evil Dead 2, The Walking Dead, and Silver Bullet.
When news broke late last year that Space Goat had secured the rights to produce a canonical comic series tied to the The Howling film franchise, I got good vibes about the project on the grounds that it had a great title, a talented writer, a killer cover, and a tacit acknowledgement that the story would be derived from one of the good Howling films.
Now that we’re getting close to the July publication date, preview pages and review copies are making the rounds, and I’m relieved that my good vibes were accurate. This looks hot as hell. Check out these five pages from this first issue, then keep scrolling for publication details and a look at the alternate covers.
THE HOWLING: REVENGE OF THE WEREWOLF QUEEN #1 (of 4)
UPC: 711099797381 00111 (Covers A & B)
UPC: 711099797381 00121 (Cover C)
UPC: 711099797381 00131 (Cover D)
Writer: Micky Neilson
Art: Jason Johnson (A), Milan Parvanov (C)
Cover: Kevin West (A), Yvel Guichet (A, C), Carlos Eduardo (A), Chris Summers (B), Anton Kokarev (B), Bill Sienkeiwicz (D)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Horror
Publication Date: July 2017
Format: Comic Book, FC
Page Count: 32 pages
A. Quinton — Mar. 29th 2017
The first teaser trailer for director Andrés Muschietti’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel IT is out, and in addition to exceeding all of my expectations, it shows a tiny bit of possible Canonical Werewolf Content.
The story’s eponymous, eternal villain has many forms, all of which are derived from the fears of children. Its most famous appearance is that of Pennywise the clown (whose look in this new film I am very into), but in two of the book’s scenes, It assumes the form of a werewolf. The 1990 miniseries condensed those appearances into a single new scene, but this new film appears to be a more faithful adaptation.
The teaser includes a short scene at 1:55 set in what looks like an abandoned house (which is where one of the book’s werewolf scenes takes place). In it, members of the Losers’ Club cower from Pennywise, whose flexing hand shreds the tips of its glove to reveal dark, clawed, very werewolf-like fingers. This might not be the scene I’m thinking of – in the book only one of the Losers’ Club is present – but assuming it is, I am very much looking forward to seeing Werewolf Pennywise.
This adaptation of IT will span two films. The first is in theatres September 8th. You can watch the teaser below.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.