Get your beef chow mein ready and make sure your hair is perfect, because it’s time for “So You Want To Read Comics” and this week we’re talking about werewolves.
Werewolves are one of the most recognizable and used monsters when it comes to pop culture. While their first appearance in movies was in 1913, werewolves have existed in some form or another for much longer than that. Werewolves possess a special place within the horror/monster genre in that the horror is often internal. What sort of darkness do we all possess, are we capable of atrocities under the right circumstances? Could you someday lose all of your humanity and become the beast you believe you’re above? Could you someday have a feud with a sparkly vampire and have trouble keeping your shirt on?
Being that werewolves are so distinct looking, they have been well represented in the comic genre over the years. Possibly the best among the various monsters and ghouls out there. It’s not difficult to find a werewolf story, but that doesn’t mean they’re all good in quality or for someone who’s new to comics. But these following recommendations should do the trick.
Hellboy: The Wolves of St. August
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Mike Mignola
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Hellboy is a demonic paranormal investigator who has tussled with just about every monster, evil, and devil out there. In this single issue story we find the titular character heading to Eastern Europe to investigate the mass murder of a village. It’s this investigation that brings him face to face with the Wolves of St. August and the dark history they and the village holds. Hellboy: The Wolves of St. August succeeds at being a good werewolf story by being pretty straightforward with it’s gruesomeness and quickly getting to the idea of deep seeded rage being represented with the metaphor of lycanthropy. As an added layer there’s a religious element at work here that enhances the core metaphor to another level. It doesn’t hurt that there is some wonderful art going on here that is more than capable of giving the shivers. What’s nice about this story for a new reader is that it’s over in one issue and everything you need to know about Hellboy is told within the first couple of pages, so the investment is small and the barrier of entry is incredibly low.
Jughead: The Hunger
Writer: Frank Tien
Artist: Jim Amash
When I say names like Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica, your first thought is probably not werewolves, that’s fair. But, let me tell you that over the last decade Archie and his pals have been the source of one of the best zombie comics, one of the best vampire comics, and one of the best werewolf comics. In Jughead: The Hunger we learn that Jughead comes from a family of werewolves and when he can no longer control it, the citizens of Riverdale pay the price. Now initially the big appeal of this series is seeing these iconic characters in a new and troubling light. But after that initial shock wears off what’s left is a legitimate interesting story of someone who loses everything due to a curse he didn’t ask for and how his friends reconcile with the fact that someone they loved has become something horrid. Now, there are some references to characters and places you might be unfamiliar with if you haven’t read Archie comics, but none of them are integral to the story.
So what do you all think? Did you like these recommendations? Do you have your own suggestions? Let us know in the comment section below.