"The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen #1" Comic Review
Written by Angry Scholar
Published by Space Goat Publishing
Written by Micky Neilson
Illustrated by Jason Johnson
Colored by Milen Parvanov
2017, 23 pages, $3.99
Comic released in July 2017
The Howling was an oh-so-‘80s werewolf movie featuring passable practical effects and only a single on-screen (human) kill. I watched it to prep for this review, and it was surprisingly not terrible. Space Goat Publishing’s new The Howling comic is an unasked-for but reasonably satisfying sequel—or it seems poised to be, after this very brief first issue—and if you like the original film you’ll probably want to check it out. (The book does provide a brief synopsis of the original story, in case you haven’t seen it. And it’s a direct follow-on to the first film, ignoring, as far as I can tell, all of the sequels.)
After the events of the movie, Chris, the producer who worked with Karen (the film’s protagonist) at an LA news station, is out on bail. (The reason why is a major spoiler if you’re new to the franchise.) He gets a call from Lew, an anchor at the station, who was present at the film’s climax. Apparently hoping to get some perspective on the bizarre supernatural event they’ve both witnessed, Lew invites Chris over to his place. But when Chris shows up, Lew’s painted his living room with his brains.
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Cut to Vera Waggner, the wife of the late Dr. Waggner, who walks into the study in their Santa Cruz home to find Marsha Quist waiting for her. Marsha is the sexy werewolf lady whose brother Eddie was a serial killer (and also werewolf) who terrorized LA and prompted the events of the film. Marsha toys with Vera before changing into her werewolf form, chasing Vera down and decapitating her.
There’s obviously not much plot here, and it may be difficult to care if you’re not already a fan of the film. If you are, the bare-bones narrative does seem to make sense, and it will be interesting to see how it develops. While the movie was often slyly humorous, the comic seems to be playing it straight, which is an interesting contrast but may be difficult to sustain.
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The art is solid, if not particularly memorable, characterized by thick black outlines and slightly desaturated colors. Marsha’s werewolf form is a tiny bit ridiculous, but that’s the filmmaker’s fault, rather than the comic’s—Johnson’s design is pretty much a perfect match for how the wolves looked in the movie. (Those ears...)
It’s always good to see werewolves in a straightforward horror romp, and The Howling looks like it may be a fun book, if the story actually starts to develop.