How are you celebrating Where Wolf Eve?
A deep dive into Chapter Eleven
Tomorrow is the big day - the last chapter of WHERE WOLF will be published at FANGORIA.com. This whole experience is very bittersweet. On one hand, I am extremely happy with the final chapter of the comic book and I can’t wait for folks to read it. On the other hand, this is two years of work coming to an end. Well, kind of. I’m still very much “on the clock” when it comes to WHERE WOLF. From finalizing the plans to bring the book to print to working with Debora Lancianese on artwork for the next installment of the series to continuing to promote and market the dang thing, I’m still very much living and breathing WHERE WOLF and its characters. And yet, this feels like the end of something and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.
If you haven’t read Chapter Eleven - “I’m On Fire” - get on that before reading this newsletter. Spoilers follow.
The title of the chapter comes, of course, from the Bruce Springsteen song. I was raised Catholic and, while my religion may have its ups and downs as an adult, I am still very much afraid of eternal damnation. I’m pretty sure Springsteen was singing about passion when he wrote “I’m on Fire,” but I sometimes feel that passion and domination are linked at the hip. I’ve written in the past about lycanthropy as addiction and addiction is passion taken to the extremes.
The specific version of “I’m on Fire” that I inspired Chapter Eleven is actually the cover by Bat for Lashes.
I’ll write a bit more about the whys and wherefores of this specific cover, but if you’ve never listened to it, you should remedy that.
To be honest, I really don’t want to do a lot of digging into Chapter Eleven. I probably should have thought about that before I began writing this newsletter but the truth of it is that I think the chapter speaks for itself and any real digging into the story and its mechanics will reveal a bit too much of what I have planned - not only for chapter twelve but for WHERE WOLF 2.
I will share this - when I first wrote this chapter as a podcast, I struggled a bit with how to structure it for audio. My first instinct was to have Tobias, Billy’s father, narrate the chapter and that worked great - especially when Clay McLeod Chapman agreed to narrate the part of Tobias. In addition to being a wonderful writer, Clay is one of the best performers of prose that I’ve ever had the chance to see live. I knew Clay would elevate anything I had written and so I gave him basically one twenty-page monologue.
When it came time to adapt the chapter to comic book form, though, I knew that having Tobias narrate it wouldn’t work. For one thing, Tobias wouldn’t have known a lot of what happens in the chapter between Billy and his Wolf tulpa. For another thing, there was a much more obvious choice of who the narrator should be - the Wolf tulpa itself.
Structurally, it made a ton of sense. Chapter Six was Larry’s story, Chapter Seven was Gwen’s story, Chapter Eight was Sophia’s and Chapter Eleven was Billy’s - but Billy is only part of the story. Having the Wolf narrate the story not only gives perspective into Billy’s childhood, it really underlines the tragedy of his story and just how little control he had over his life - even before the Wolf took control.
As soon as I saw Debora’s illustration of the Wolf tulpa, I knew I had made the right choice. Jack’s lettering just drove the whole thing home.
The werewolf transformation in this chapter is 100 percent my homage to COMPANY OF WOLVES, one of the best (and most underrated) werewolf movies out there. What I love most about the film - besides it just being a beautifully poetic film, is the fact that the film features half a dozen different transformation sequences - each portraying the process of man becoming wolf in a different way.
Billy’s love of LAW AND ORDER is my homage to my mom, who is a huge fan of Dick Wolf and his library of shows. Plus, you know, Dick Wolf is a funny joke for a werewolf story.
My roommates and I used to be really good at this bottle trick during college. Maybe they still are but I recently tried to do it and just ended up fucking up my hand something fierce. You can 100 percent do this at home, just be warned that there’s a good chance that it’s going to hurt. A lot.
If you set a werewolf story in College Station and you don’t include a scene in which a werewolf drags a victim under the Century Tree, did you really set a werewolf story in College Station?
I want to thank Kade Comics for this awesome bit of WHERE WOLF fan art. It really made my day!
Well, that’s it. WHERE WOLF comes to an end tomorrow. I hope you dig it. See you next week for a final recap!