Saturday, October 14, 2006

Halloween Spotlight: Werewolf Comics

Halloween's just around the corner, so you may be just itching to sit down with a good book in a dark, quiet room to give yourself a scare. Over the next few weeks, I'll be highlighting books appropriate to read on a dark and scary night. For this opening post, I'm going to look at those monsters who always seem to get the shaft: werewolves. You may not be able to think of a werewolf comic off the top of your head, so let's change that. There was actually a time when publishers using the Comics Code Authority (in wake of that infamous Seduction of the Innocent) were unable to produce works featuring werewolves. They were in fact banned from even mentioning werewolves or wolfmen. Things have changed since then, and while publishers don't seem to be scrambling to make up for lost time, there are a few noteworthy comics featuring the creatures.

The Wolves of St. August
This is a short story from Mike Mignola and James Sinclair originally featured in Dark Horse Presents, featuring Hellboy and Professor Kate Corrigan as they travel to a small town that has been massacred by a wild animal. This story is reprinted in the third Hellboy trade collection, The Chained Coffin and Others.

Only the End of the World Again
Neil Gaiman, Troy Nixey and P. Craig Russel adapt the short narrative from Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors into comic form. Available from Oni Press.

Full Moon Fever
Werewolves in space. A black and white original graphic novel from Joe Casey, Caleb Gerard and Damian Couceiro.

The Book of Jack
From the minds of Denis-Pierre Filippi and Olivier G. Boiscommun, comes a story about a boy who steals a strange book from a haunted house and is cursed to change into a werewolf when he's unable to return it.

Until the Full Moon
This manga from Sanami Matoch is about a half-vampire/half-werewolf who begins to inexplicably turn into a girl every full moon. And then a vampire boy falls for him in girl form... A fantastic idea.

Patrick the Wolf Boy
On the lighter side of the spectrum, this is an all-ages read that has little to do with the protagonist being a werewolf as much as a general outcast. By Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar, this cute, cartoony character has been capturing the hearts of readers for years.

Werewolf by Night
Jack Russel was Marvel's Werewolf by Night decades ago, and along with other Marvel versions of monsters like Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula, appeared in and out of other creature books and ultimately carried along his own title, which is currently available in an affordable Essential volume.

Wolf's Rain
Based on the popular anime of the same name, this condensed manga version of the story follows werewolves seeking a foretold paradise.

The popular Vertigo/DC book from Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham features a werewolf character from all of those popular fairy tales like The Three Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood: Bigby Wolf, sheriff of Fabletown.

Nightwolf: The Price
An ongoing series currently being serialized, this book features a more heroic, superheroish character who atones for his feral nature under the full moon by inducing the change for the rest of the month to perform heroic acts.

Werewolves: Call of the Wild
This is an ongoing Moonstone title, the first arc of which is a crime tale featuring a werewolf. From Mike Oliveri and Joe Bucco.

This book from Richard Corben collects short stories written and illustrated from the acclaimed creator, all on the title subject.

Crescent Moon
Another manga, this book follows "The Lunar Race" as they seek to recover their stolen moon drops. This title puts monsters into the role of hero, a werewolf of which is prominently featured on the cast.

*Sources for the above-mentioned books and all-around good resources on the subject: Shapeshifter Emporium and UnderGroundOnline: Werewolf Guide (which also features movies, books, video games, even music with werewolves).

If you are looking for good werewolf movies, I recommend the classic The Wolf-Man, as well as Frankenstein Meets the Wolf-Man, and Dog Soldiers (from the director of the excellent The Descent).

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