By Ken Porter
Wolf Moon #1 - Alt Beat
Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art by: Jeremy Haun
Published by: Vertigo Comics (DC)
One thing I love about Vertigo Comics are the teams that deliver great new takes on classic monsters. American Vampire made me believe in the vampire genre again, and now Wolf Moon is poised to do the same with lycanthropes. Werewolves are one of the most iconic monsters in horror and popular culture, but we've seen just as many werewolf interpretations as we have zombies, ghosts, or mummies over the years. The thing that makes another addition to the werewolf genre worthwhile is when the story takes an old concept and makes it something fresh, taking the story or usual characters in a new direction. Wolf Moon takes the concept of the werewolf and puts a new spin on it, making the creature even more dangerous and mysterious than before.
Here’s the official premise from the Vertigo Comics website:
“WOLF MOON is a horrific werewolf hunt unlike any other. When Dillon Chase’s family was slaughtered by the wolf, his life was forever changed. Dillon sets out to destroy the creature, but he soon learns that lycanthropy is far more insidious than the legends ever said. With each full moon, he draws closer to the monster – and with each full moon, he becomes more aware that in order to stop the wolf, he must kill a human being and become a fearful monster himself.”
A Killer Team
Bunn and Haun have spun their words and art into a compelling horror comic that makes you afraid of werewolves again. Considering so many books want to make monsters sympathetic or sexy these days it's nice to go back to the horror roots of creatures like the werewolf again.
Bunn writes a story that has danger, thrills, and a twist that I really didn't see coming. One that makes lycanthropy a much scarier and threatening supernatural element than a simple bite or curse transfer from one to another. Haun's artwork shows off the tense and bloody moments that make these kinds of stories great. His expressions, on both the people and the wolf, make the story believable in all the best ways. If you feel nervous watching a werewolf on the comic book page, then the team has done it's job.
Why it's a Great Alternative
Horror is a genre that comics can do really well if readers give it a chance. It's been a while since the days of EC Comics and titles like Tales from the Crypt, but the potential to tell those kinds of stories still exists in the medium. Wolf Moon shows that the horror genre is still viable in comics and is due for a comeback. I didn't think there'd be another title like American Vampire that would both celebrate horror comics and change the genre conventions of a popular monster, but Bunn and Haun have proved that good stories can work no matter what the subject. Superheroes may still be the dominant genre within the comics medium, but horror can stand toe-to-toe if readers give it a chance.
Who Would Like Wolf Moon?
I think fans of the TV show Supernatural would like the hunting aspect of the book. While it doesn't follow that formula or premise, it has that aspect of the common man against the unstoppable that gives shows like Supernatural it's charm. People who enjoyed reading American Vampire (Vertigo), Severed (Image), or Spirits of the Dead (Dark Horse) will enjoy this comic quite a bit. If the atmosphere in those books got you excited and if you've got room on your pull list then snatch this up and devour it from cover to cover.
Ken Porter also writes comic books including "Ink Ribbon" from Visionary Comics. Ken was also the winner of last year's Top Cow Talent Search contest and was recently published in "Artifacts" #33.