It's October, and that means Halloween.
To celebrate that fact, I'd like to offer a series of reviews on various werewolf movies.
Werewolves are the closest the worlds of furry and horror brush the closest to each other, though they may have more in common than they seem.
Both furry and horror deal with things of dual natures. Furry explores the line between what we mean when we say "human", and what we mean when we say "animal". The werewolf movie, more than any other sub-type of horror movie (or horror story), explores this same trope, and not just the difference between "wolf" and "man".
This book is actually a collection of three novellas about your worst nightmare: A WEREWOLF WITH A BADGE.
OK, I know for some of you (me included), the image that first comes to mind might be more erotic than horrific... but I assure you that your ride along is going to take you into some deeply, darkly, disturbing places.
Highridge is a cop that became a werewolf in an Urban Fantasy Setting where lycanthropes have a subculture and are an accepted part of modern society. And the revelation of their existence is no recent thing.
As is often the case when the werewolves are (mostly) good guys, there are worse things out there than wolfmen.
Legion Printing and Publishing, 2010, ebook $2.66 (194 pages).
Well this is perhaps something different… Fables: The Wolf Among Us is a comic book based on a video game based on a comic book. It’s . “Even before the first issue of Fables, there were stories to be told, shadowy avenues to explore, and lives hanging in the balance! Bigby Wolf has seen plenty in his time as Sheriff of Fabletown…but nothing can prepare him for this… It all starts with a simple domestic disturbance. But when Bigby learns that his old nemesis, the Woodsman who has an axe to grind, is part of the scene, things go downhill fast. And how will Bigby and Snow White keep their heads long enough to crack the case when they get caught up in a grisly murder mystery? Vertigo’s first-ever digital-first series, Fables: The Wolf Among Us is a gripping adaptation and expansion of the smash-hit video game from Telltale Games, and an official prequel to Bill Willingham’s bestselling Fables! Written by Fables alum Matthew Sturges (Jack of Fables) and Dave Justus (House of Mystery), with art by Stephen Sadowski (JSA), Shawn McManus (Fables / Fairest), and Travis Moore (JSA All Stars)!” You might also recall that the game was nominated for an Ursa Major Award. The first full-color issue of the comic book series comes to stores this January.
Now that we’ve finished up with season 1 of the NickToons Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, it’s time to start on season 2, the first six episodes of which are collected in the “Mutagen Mayhem” DVD.
For the first time, we meet new old characters like Casey Jones (who begins appearing in the credits from the first episode of this season) and Rahzar (who is new and old in two different ways) as well as new new characters, like the Squirrelanoids (which are seriously the greatest squirrel based mutants since Doreen “Squirrel Girl” Green).
Oh, and the turtles have finished with Space Heroes and have discovered anime in the form of Super Robo Mecha Force Five!, a brutal parody of old school sentai shows like Voltron and Battle of the Planets/G-Force/Gatchaman. Depending on your knowledge and nostalgia level for those old shows, these are either brilliant or just plain mean. Or both.
All in all, the second season of this incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is off to a rollicking start.
This month, Image Comics brings us the first trade paperback collection of Bad Dog, titled Volume 1: In the Land of Milk and Money. “Two bounty hunters, an angst-ridden werewolf and his deviant partner, stumble through the southwest in search of cash, booze, and the meaning of life. Mostly, they find booze.” Bringing together issues #1 through #6 of this full-color series by writer Joe Kelly and artist Diego Greco, Milk and Money is available now at Comic Book Round Up.
In 2005 Evan Dorkin (writer) and Jill Thompson (artist) won an Eisner Award for their original comic book series Beasts of Burden, about a haunted small town and the local dogs and cats who do nightly battle with the deadly forces of evil trying to invade. Now comes the brand-new Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers, a one-shot full-color comic designed to introduce new readers to the animals of Burden Hill and their struggles. This time around, our furry heroes discover that a friendly half-werewolf might just be more help than they bargained for. Hunters and Gatherers will be available at comic book stores this March, from Dark Horse Press.
Le Bois des Vierges (The Virgins' Woods) is a French comic set in a medieval half-human, half-anthropomorphic world. It was released in three volumes between 2008 and 2013, written by Jean Dufaux and illustrated by Béatrice Tillier. Originally published by Robert Laffont (who then dropped their comics division), it was picked up by a second publisher, Delcourt, who re-released the first volume with a different cover. I reviewed the first book for Anthrozine.
To be honest, this won't appeal to most North American furry fans, for several reasons. Not only is it in French, the wording is deliberately archaic, though not quite bordering on the Shakespearian. The human characters are the main focus, and the story isn't especially creative with the anthropomorphic ones. Oh, and good luck finding the set for under $75, not including shipping.
The main conflict in the story involves speciesism between four groups. The "tall beasts" (mainly wolves), the "short beasts" (including foxes), the humans, and the hybrids. The foxes and wolves are digitigrade and humanoid, but they consider themselves beasts. All the animal-people don't like humans very much, and the feeling is mutual. The tall beasts also hold the short beasts in contempt, and everyone hates the hybrids.
It’s over! This is Book 6 and the conclusion of Jobling’s Wereworld series, which began with Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, and continued through Rage of Lions, Shadow of the Hawk, Nest of Serpents, and Storm of Sharks.
The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms and their dutchies, counties, and baronies are ruled by a Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”.
It could also be called the Lyssian civil war saga. The island-continent of Lyssia is divided into seven kingdoms (see Jobling’s map), often called the Seven Realms, dominated by Westland which was ruled by the wolflords.
A generation before the series began, King Wergar of Westland was murdered and the dynasty of the wolves was overthrown by the lionlords, whose leader, Lionel, became the new King of Westland and began exterminating the wolflords. The other six realms of Lyssia, each ruled by a different werelord dynasty – bears, boars, and others – grumbled but accepted the new order.
How did we miss this one? [Or did we? We lose track!] “Remember the werewolves of classic stories and films, those bloodthirsty monsters that transformed under the full moon, reminding us of the terrible nature that lives within all of us? Today’s werewolves are much more suave – and even sexy – and they’ve moved from British moors to New York City lofts, shaved, and got jobs. But as the tales of these writers will show you, they remain no less wild and passionate, and they still tug at the part of our being where a wild animal used to be. Running With the Pack includes stories from Carrie Vaughn, Laura Anne Gilman, and C.E. Murphy [and more...] and they will convince you that despite their gentrification, werewolves remain as fascinating and terrifying as ever.” Running With the Pack is edited by Ekaterina Sedia, and available in trade paperback. Check out the detailed review at Prime Books, the publisher.
The FRP game Pathfinder slowly works its way a little more furry with the new Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Moon. “Channel the power of the moon and turn the curse of lycanthropy into a potent blessing. Whether you were born with traces of bestial blood from a lycanthropic ancestor or you were bitten by a werewolf and have transformed into one completely, this volume contains everything you need to embrace the beast within and become a fearsome weapon against your enemies. Become a protector of the natural world as a scion of a werebear, revel in bloodshed with the wolf fighting style created by your ancestors, or find your calling in the witch practices of your werecrocodile forerunners. Even if you do not take directly after these bestial horrors of the night, there is much to learn from associating with them—as either ally or hunter. The choice is yours.” Sounds like several species are involved already! Visit the Paizo.com site to find out more about this new softcover volume, loaded with full-color illustrations.
These are Books 4 and 5 in Jobling’s Wereworld saga. Book 1, Rise of the Wolf, was reviewed here in May 2012, and Books 2 and 3, Rage of Lions and Shadow of the Hawk, were reviewed in January 2013. The final volume, War of the Werelords, will be published on October 8.
The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms is ruled by a therian Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”. In Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, teen farmboy Drew Ferran learns that he is adopted and is really the werewolf son of the murdered Wolf King Wergar of Westland, Lyssia’s most powerful nation, which has been usurped by Lion King Leopold who has replaced the old wolf aristocracy with his own lion nobility.
In Rage of Lions and Shadow of the Hawk, the animal nations of Lyssia fall into civil war over whether to acknowledge Drew’s claim to the Westland throne, or whether they should acknowledge any ruling nation rather than declaring their independence; while the supporters of the Lions try to reconquer the whole island-continent. Drew gains allies, but he is betrayed several times, and loses his left hand.
How complex the series has become is shown by Nest of Serpents beginning with a Cast of Characters that takes four pages. Wolflords, Lionlords, Catlords, Staglords, Hawklords, Ratlords, Crowlords, Jackallords, Bearlords, Foxlords, Horselords – you name the animal, and there is probably a werelord for it. (I don’t think there are any Skunklords or Raccoonlords – but those are North American animals, and these are American editions of British books.) And lots of human commoners.
“Wereworld:?Nest?of?Serpents”, Jan.?2013, hardcover?$16.99?([xiv]?+?494?+??pgs.), Kindle?$9.78.
“Wereworld:?Storm?of?Sharks”, May?2013, hardcover?$16.99?([xvi]?+?454?+??pgs.), Kindle?$9.78.
Both by Curtis Jobling, published by The Penguin Group/Viking, with a map by the author.
Two popular and well-known anthropomorphic art calendars are completed again, and taking orders for 2014. The Rare Calendar is dedicated to anthropomorphic species that are less usually drawn. This year, the theme is “festivities”, which each of 13 artists drawing anthro characters celebrating various holidays from around the globe. Artists like: Ashalind, Bloodhound Omega, Heather Bruton, Centradragon, Alector Fencer, Firefeathers, Golden Druid, Katmomma, Nimrais, Donna Quinn, Rhyu, ShinigamiGirl, and Windfalcon. The Rare Calendar web site has more details and order information. Meanwhile the Werewolf Calendar (which speaks for itself!) includes lycanthropic art from the likes of Maria Anisimova, Balaa, Blotch, Dark Natasha, Sarah Finnigan, Goldenwolf, Katie Hofgard, Kyndir, Nambroth, Nimrais, Synnabar, Tachit, and Vantid. Check out their web site to order a copy, or to order last year’s calendar if you missed it.
We can’t put this any better than they do at Dark Horse: “Cassian Steele is the boss of the werewolf mafia in the Big Easy, and he’s got a problem. The old witch Verona knows his secret and has gone into hiding. Cassian wants her dead. So he sends out the word: An open contract. The first monster to dust Verona gets a big payday. What no one realizes is that Barnabus Black, a demon desperately trying to regain his halo, is her protection.” Kiss Me, Satan! is a new full-color miniseries written by Victor Gischler (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike—A Dark Place) and illustrated by Juan Ferreyra (Colder). Find out a lot more at Comic Book Resources. Then look for the premier this September.
Lee and Paul are two buddies at a mid-sized university. When the school receives a large collection of ancient artifacts, mysterious and dangerous events begin to happen — events which lead our heroes into entirely new lives and forms as mystical protectors! That’s the premise of Loop & Hoodie, a weekly web comic written by Adron Buske and illustrated by Dan Cassity and Travis Nuckolls. Why mention it here? Well it turns out that Lee — in his form known as “Loop” — transforms into a large anthropomorphic foo-dog. He just looks like a big werewolf — hence his name! Check it out at www.loopandhoodie.com.