Comic review: "Can I Pet Your Werewolf?"
Can I Pet Your Werewolf? is a 160-page comics anthology that came out in 2017, after a successful kickstarter by Kel McDonald. Recently there was a second kickstarter to make a new print run, so I got in on the PDF version, and my hardcopy should be shipping pretty soon.
The project is described as "A light-hearted anthology featuring tales of friendship, family, and romance shared between those who get hairy under a full moon. Just because they have sharp teeth and claws doesn't mean they have to be a monster out for blood."
There are 13 stories, black and white, from mostly women cartoonists of many backgrounds and art styles. They're short popcorn tales, ranging from 8 to 19 pages in length. Not a lot of time for deep world-building, but in each one you're seeing a personal little snippet of a larger setting.
Content-wise, I'd say it's PG-13; some folks are obviously in love but there's nothing explicit. This would fit quite happily on a shelf in an open-minded library. Two stories have a heterosexual couple, two have a gay couple, three or four have lesbians, and the remaining six revolve around friends and family. Only a few of the stories have werewolves whose existence is open; for most of them they're still secretive - though some of them have a community within which they can live safely.
I'll shout-out some specific stories - Time Wolf by Rashad Doucet is the longest, drawn in what I found to be a confusing, sketchy story-board style; it's a cliché super-hero adventure. The werewolf aspect could have been easily replaced with any other theme, and it wouldn't have made much of a difference. All's Hairy in Love and Coming Out by Monica Gallagher explores homosexuality through a werewolf lens, specifically that of identity: If you self-identify so specifically, what happens when the supportive rug is suddenly missing?
In the Hand of Fate by Zach Lehner has the silliest werewolf premise, and yet its final pages manage to suddenly turn from the comedic to the tragic. Amusingly unexpected! Werewolf x Boyfriend, the opening story in the anthology by Meredith McClaren, is just a series of little jokes about living with a werewolf, and it's my absolute favorite in the whole thing. Mooning Problem by Kendra Wells, about the logistics of changing and clothes when you're not at home, is fun too. Finally, Moon Time by Alina Pete, about two sisters' coming-of-age ceremony, has a distinct furry-adjacent vibe to it.
On top of these, quite a number of the artists experiment with the werewolf idea. How does it affect the way you live? How does dating work? What if you know a werewolf, and you should be able to shape-shift too, but you can't?
Overall, I thought it was a pretty cute anthology! Afterwards I felt starved for more information about many of the situations, but hey, that's the nature of short stories. Personally I highly enjoyed 5 of them, 3 were okay, and the other 5 didn't grab me - every reader's tastes are going to be different.
I should mention that if you're looking for werewolf art, this probably won't be your thing, because there's a lot of human-form stuff. Ultimately, this is about what-if werewolf relationships, and if that appeals to you, I'd say it's worth checking out. Kel McDonald's online store has both the PDF and the book for sale, although I don't know how many physical copies are still available.