80’s pop culture has been resurrected over the last five years, mostly in zombified incarnations designed to sell tchotchkes and t-shirts to those of us who were kids then (full disclosure: I am wearing a Ghostbusters t-shirt as I write this). It’s not hard to make new things look like they’re from the era of denim, neon pink and new releases on VHS. However, it’s extraordinarily difficult to make something feel authentically 80’s, especially when it comes to replicating something with the kids-on-a-dangerous-adventure vibe that was the core of so many awesome creative endeavours of the time. Only two things I’ve seen in the last few years have captured that Goonies-style zeitgeist: The movie Monster House and now, the high school kids versus werewolves comic Extinct.
From the Extinct web site:
Texas,1985. On the first full moon of the year a small town named Spring Valley gets taken over by werewolves. Teenagers Jimmy Reynolds, (the town outsider), Nick Evans (his best and only friend), and the girl next door, Lauren Finch, have to make the werewolves EXTINCT. Can they live long enough to figure out why Jimmy is the only one who can save the town?
Writer / creator Fabian Rangel Jr. populates Extinct‘s world with classic 80’s archetypes who look, say and act as though they’re from a werewolf-centric version of Monster Squad. All of your favourites are here: snobby prep girl, unaccountably ostracized everykid, his wise-crackin’ rebel sidekick, the jock villain with the amazing mullet. Somehow, Fabian takes these stock characters and combines them in a way that effortlessly invokes the “holy shit, anything could happen!” energy that made Exctinct‘s 1980’s ancestors so amazing. As Fabian writes in his blog:
This comic is my love letter to all of those awesome 80s movies where kids had to take down monsters. It’s influenced by The Monster Squad, The Lost Boys, and also The Goonies, Teen Wolf, and even The Breakfast Club. It’s pretty much just 80s as fuck.
The werewolves in Extinct (and there are a lot of them) are of a design that will appeal to most Werewolf News readers. They’re tall, rangy (if a bit top-heavy) and artist Jethro Morales has given them lupine faces with just enough humanity to make them unnerving. There are some awesome transformation scenes, too, if that’s your thing (of course it’s your thing). Letterer Ed Brisson‘s work is crispy – crispy. The guy could put on a clinic about leading.
Individual issues of Extinct were meant to be distributed by Diamond, but that didn’t happen because of Reasons. Instead, you can order the graphic novel (which contains all six issues) from your local comic shop – it’s on page 304 of this month’s Previews. If you’re a werewolf fan craving a hit of some authentic 80’s action/horror sweetness, I recommend you go get your car keys now, because you’re going to want to read Extinct.
Update 2015-10-09: Extinct is not available to buy anywhere anymore, seemingly on purpose, which is a real shame.