New Blood Rising: Three Indie Werewolf Comics

The last decade has been a good to horror and horror comics. We’re still in the midst of the seemingly unkillable vampire and zombie booms (seems fitting, right?), both of which arguably began their festering, undead outbreaks in comics.

30 Days of Night, the comic most credited with kicking off the creative resurgence in horror comics, debuted in 2002, a solid three years before Twilight started setting thighs everywhere a-quivering. The Walking Dead began its inexorable shamble up the sales charts just a year later. While The Walking Dead wasn’t the first work to bring zombies into the modern age (both 28 Days Later and the first Resident Evil films were released a year earlier), between the phenomenally successful comic and the critically acclaimed TV series, its cultural impact is undeniable.

So, if comics were the mad scientist’s lab from which these cultural contagions sprung, do current comics hold the next horror trend? If they do, I doubt that trend will feature those classic Universal Pictures monsters The Mummy or Frankenstein’s Monster (though one of DCnU’s launch titles is Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.).

If another monster is scratching at our cultural door, it may well be the werewolf. And, if that’s the case, just like with vampires and zombies, indie comics may be where the monsters first draw blood.

These three recent werewolf books take different approaches to the classic monster.



the poundThe Pound (#1 of 5)
Writer: Stephen Nilson
Art: Karl Waller
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Published by: IDW (digital only now, TPB in Sept. 2011)
Price: $1.99 (#1 is free)

The Pound is a miniseries for this economy: in it, a pair of laid-off animal control workers start their own business and, by the end of the first issue, (minor spoiler, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise) have unwittingly captured a werewolf.

It’s a solid set up for a story; unfortunately, issue 1 suffers under the weight of that set up. We don’t get towards the real thrust of the series until page 14 (of 24) and the action only really gets moving on page 17. This scene-setting gives us a solid sense of Scott, the main character, but Howie, his sidekick, is bland. It’s hard to get a handle on who exactly he is (other than, perhaps, a future source of comic relief).

The art is also somewhat bland. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s the kind of modern mainstream American comics art that looks a bit too slick (though the colors may have something to do with that), not expressing enough of an individual style.

The art causes some clarity problems in the final action scene, but the writing breaks down a bit there, too. Scott and Howie chase the werewolf through a school, but they go from a locker room to a cafeteria without any clear path between the rooms. When they nearly run over another werewolf, why isn’t Howie smashed against the pavement? And speaking of that werewolf, is there one or two in the road? I can’t tell (though I think it’s two). In this scene, I thought about the pages spent on early set up; Cut a page or two upfront and you’d have them to clarify these scenes.

All in all, The Pound isn’t a bad comic. It’s not to my tastes, but it’s easy to see it finding an audience who enjoys a high-concept horror story with, at least so far, a not-too-disturbing tone. If that’s you, check out the free first issue. Issues 2 and 3 are out now.

Story: 3 – Good | Art: 3 – Good



Feeding GroundFeeding Ground #1-2 (of 6)
Writers: Swifty Lang & Chris Mangun
Story by: Swifty Lang, Michael Lapinski, and Chris Mangun
Art & Lettering: Michael Lapinski
Published by: Archaia
Price: $3.95 for single issues; $25 hardcover in August

Another topical werewolf book, Feeding Ground uses illegal immigration as the backdrop against which to tell its story.

In it Diego, a coyote, smuggles immigrants through the desert to the U.S. On the trip, one immigrant goes crazy (it’s not really clear why) and charges into the desert, where he dies. On the return, Diego discovers that it’s a werewolf who killed him.

Diego’s profession, coyote, doesn’t refer to the animal, but rather is the name for smugglers who help immigrants across the border. That word carries an interesting resonance, since it suggests a human who can also be an animal, just like a werewolf. This point isn’t played up much; the word “coyote” is barely mentioned and not explained. I doubt the duality is lost on writers Lang and Mangun, but they don’t do anything with it.

That sense of missed opportunities pervades Feeding Ground. Lapinski’s art is awkward and rough, though his appealing, impressionistic colors conceal it. It also misses some chances to make an impact. For instance, when the lost immigrant’s body is found in the desert, torn apart, skinned and eaten by the werewolf, rather than creating a moment of horror or gore, the body just lies there in the panel. The writing, which sets too slow a pace and frequently focuses on things of unclear importance, is difficult, too.

The basic idea of a werewolf in the desert and set among illegal immigrants is a good one. But, at least in its first two issues, Feeding Ground doesn’t cohere into something that involves the reader.

Story: 2 – Average | Art: 2 – Average


harbor moonHarbor Moon #1 (of 6)
Writer: Ryan Colucci & Dikran Ornekina
Story by: Brian Anderson
Artist: Pawel Sambor
Published by: Spoke Lane Entertainment (digital download)
Price: $1.99 (#1 is free)

The third in the trio of hairy-palmed tales, Harbor Moon, offers the most compelling art. Artist Sambor’s work has an appealingly scratchy Ben Templemsith vibe to it, and he makes good use of tones and colors. On the downside, though, and as is the case with many artists descending from Templesmith, the action in some panels can be awfully hard to make out.

That’s nothing compared to the writing, though, which I found close to impenetrable.

The story took me three reads to start to understand. Apparently there’s a drifter (no name provided) that a paramilitary organization is after. They think they have him cornered in Arizona, but he gives them the slip and heads to Maine. There he finds Harbor Moon, Maine, to be a deeply strang town: hotel workers barge into the room while characters shower to get their ID, butchers spray blood all over, innkeepers store saws under the counter.

Not only do we not get a sense of why things are so strange, we don’t even have a good sense of who the main character is. We never get his name. We don’t definitively find out if he is the drifter or an operative of the paramilitary organization (I’m guessing the drifter). We’re told he’s looking for Andrew O’Callahan, but not who that is or why. There’s a vague hint of the supernatural in two places but not enough to latch onto.

I can imagine that reading the series as a whole (all 6 issues are available now at Graphicly) could resolve some of this confusion, but issue 1 is too muddled to spur me to continue.

Story: 1 – Poor | Art: 2 – Average



If werewolves are going to be the next big trend, the stories bringing them to us will need to mature and become more refined. Each of these titles has at least one thing to like about it—more than one thing in some cases—but none of these books is ready to ignite a trend in the way 30 Days of Night or The Walking Dead did. But who knows what will appear along with the next full moon?



Sam Costello is the creator and writer of Split Lip, a horror webcomics anthology that io9 has called “the webcomics answer … to the Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.” It offers over 500 pages of free comics.

Split Lip: Termites In Your Smile and other stories is available now directly from Sam. It's 174 pages of comics for $15. Just try to beat that.


Other iFanboy Posts by Sam Costello

On My Own in Indie Comics Series:


Indie Comics Coming Attractions Series:


  1. Have you read the Astounding Wolf-Man? That was fantastic.

  2. I remember reading a Tim Drake Robin young adult novel in 4th grade called I, Werewolf. It was pretty silly. It seemed like they had already written the book and then just inserted Robin in at the end. Like Find > Replace.

  3. Astounding Wolf-Man had a rough start, but by the end of the run, I was enjoying it more than Invincible.

  4. @Sam If you can get your hands on this comic you should check it out. In fact I think it’s available for download. The name is “Extinct” it’s an indie werewolf comic mixed with an 80s movie kind of vibe. I really dug it. Curious what you would think of it.

  5. Wow, I actually just found out it’s available for download on

  6. I don’t think werewolves are the next thing… I think they’re already here. Both Twilight and True Blood feature werewolves and are both hugely popular (personally I like the later, but not the former). Plus we’ve already we werewolf comics: the already mentioned Astounding Wolf-Man, Bad Dog, and Zuda’s High Moon… And wasn’t there a Joe Casey book about werewolves on the moon not that long ago? Not saying we might no start seeing more of them, just that they have already been poping up in film, TV, books and comics for a while now.

  7. I never played Werewolf the Apocalypse but was always intrigued by its concepts. I have been waiting for good werewolf comics for at least a decade. So far the best offerings I have found out side of Astounding Wolf man have been the apocalypse stuff from Moonstone publishing.

  8. I also really liked Wolfwood from Justice League Elite.

  9. Wow – so you read one issue of a mystery (Harbor Moon) and are complaining that you don’t know what is going on?  I’m not sure if you’re serious or not.  I guess I have to assume you are and then call you out for misinterpreting the book completely.  

    It is a mystery.  That’s the entire point.  Why on god’s green earth would we give everything away in the first issue.  It is also deeply rooted in Clint Eastwood westerns from the late 70’s, early 80’s.  You learn our character’s name, at the opportune time (along with all these other details you couldn’t figure out)… in some of those eastwood movies, you don’t ever find out his character’s name.  

    I’m still not sure I’m reading this correctly.  You read one 23 page issue and didn’t get the answers you were hoping for?  Isn’t that the point of continuing a story?  

    I’ve never in my life responded like this… but this is not superhero in tights or straight monster book stuff.  it’s not hemingway, but it has some layers to it.  If you want – I will send you a copy of the actual book and I am confident you will change your mind. 

  10. No love for Ben Templesmith’s Welcome to Hoxford? That’s an awesome Werewolf comic. Four issue min from a couple of years ago.

  11. Werewolf by Night!