New Anthologies From CCS: Werewolf

Posted by on December 2nd, 2009 at 8:14 AM

One of my side interests as a writer has been following the progress of the students and alumni of the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS).  For my first week of blog posts, I’ll be taking a look at some recent anthology work from CCS.  Today’s entry will spotlight WEREWOLF!, edited by Nick Patten, Betsey Swardlick, Penina Gal & Joshua Rosen.

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For employing such a familiar story trope, this turned to be a consistently interesting anthology. Patten’s “Showdown” established that the tone of this anthology was going to be a light one, with the hard-bitten monster-hunter figure undone by a werewolf faking a pulled muscle. I liked Patten’s use of blacks here as a way of framing his characters, especially the hunter with huge eyebrows. There’s also a little bit of Brian Ralph’s influence in the way he drew the wolf and the backgrounds. “Awwwwwww Wolf-Out” by Swardlick continued in a light-hearted vein, this time with a very thin line and almost no use of blacks. It’s appropriate, since this is a story about a woman who is a werewolf but gets her best friend to put her in silver handcuffs, taking place entirely indoors. This is another strip with a punchline, this time involving the werewolf being a vegan but having a taste for chicken.

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Jose-Luis Olivares chimed in with one of his minimalist, Keith Haring-inspired strips that crossed Peanuts with werewolves; with 24 panels on one page, the eye moved quickly through it for its amusing punchline. Gal changed the mood a bit with a wordless story about a werewolf who missed nurturing some wolf cubs; it was drawn in what looked like crayon, giving it an appealing roughness. One of the things I liked about this anthology is that no two artists used a similar visual approach. That was certainly true of the last two entries in the book, a one-page gag by Jon Chad done in the underground tradition, and Joshua Rosen’s feathery pencils in his “Darcy Cheyne” story. It’s the first part of a serial (something I find unfortunate in anthologies of this nature), but thankfully this entry was a fairly complete story. Rosen faked out the audience with a pensive man about to transform into a werewolf musing about his life, and then turned it into an out-and-out monster hunting story. Every entry in this anthology felt like it had a purpose, and at 40 pages it was just the right length. With a striking cover (complete with glow-in-the-dark paint), it’s one of the best anthologies to emerge from CCS.

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One Response to “New Anthologies From CCS: Werewolf”

  1. […] By Penina Rob Clough reviewed Werewolf! over on The Comics Journal’s website. Check it out! Every entry in this anthology felt like it had a purpose, and at 40 pages it was just the right […]