ADVANCED REVIEW of WULF AND BATSY 1
Reviewed by Stephen Schleicher
For MAJOR SPOILERS website
In days of yore, people kept their windows and door locked at night for fear monsters would spirit their children away to make of them a mid-night snack. In the 1950s, monster flicks and horror movies gave teenagers a chance to neck in the car, while spooky spirits made mayhem on the screen. Today, the monster genre runs the gambit from graphic horror to zany comedy, but in all this time we haven't seen too many tales of monster romance. Or more specifically, a vampire and a werewolf trying to find a home for themselves among the very humans they would eventually devour.
Wulf and Batsy start out like many a B-Movie.
"It was a dark and spooky night, when suddenly a scream rang out!"
In this case, a young maiden is fleeing from the big bad werewolf who is intent on devouring the lass. Typical horror genre, right? You might think so until a female vampire appears from the mist, and begins arguing with the girl on why her current predicament is her own fault. Seems the maiden interrupted the werewolf while he was trying to nosh on a few of her goats.
Unlike the typical horror genre, the comely herder is not devoured in an orgy of blood and gore by the two monsters, but rather Batsy tells the wolf to get his fill of goat flesh and get in the car - what appears to be a '57 Chevy.
If your head isn't already spinning, then prepare for my high strangeness.
The duo arrive in a small town and rent a hotel room, where they can hunker down for the day - she to avoid the daylight, and he to watch over her.
There seems to be some confusion of the relationship between the two characters. At first it appears they are a couple, but when Batsy takes a quick nap, Cevin (the werewolf in human form) simply sits in a chair watching. And when she prepares her watery bath for a good day's sleep, she tells her male companion not to peek as she undresses. This leads me to believe the duo are not romantically linked in a manner we are used to in a guy/girl on the run from the law type story. Or perhaps there is some unrequited love on Cevin's part. Or perhaps I'm just reading too much into the relationship, and the two are just chums with the common goal of not being killed by a rampaging mob.
And it is the rampaging mob that eventually caps this issue, when the maiden returns to town with her wild stories of monsters among us. It's enough to get the simple minded town folk in an uproar, seeking out the newcomers with the prerequisite pitchforks and torches.
The tale is told through black and white art by story scribe Bryan Baugh, and I do like it a great deal, but it also causes me some concern. When the story opens, the panels look like they were made using the wood block printing process one would find in illustrations from years past. To reinforce an older time period, the young goat heard is dressed in the same old country garb one would expect to find from a fairy tale. This isn't a big deal until the horrific duo climb into a car from the 1950s and arrive at a hotel that looks like it was lifted from Hitchcock's Psycho. Locking down a specific time period becomes even more convoluted when Cevin heads into town and goes to a bar that is the spitting image of the gentlemen's clubs we have today. For even more fun, be on the lookout for H.P. Lovecraft walking among the townspeople. Confusing? I think so, but perhaps that's what Baugh is going for - a timeless story that could take place anytime/anywhere. Or perhaps he is just having fun with the reader and mixing time periods to make for a more interesting read. The layout is nice and the noir feel is conveid with each and every panel. It's just that darn time period thing that keeps bugging me.
As with most first issues, there is a great deal of backstory readers will hopefully discover as the series progresses. The pacing of the story worked very well setting up the characters, introducing the main conflict, and ends as all good issues do; with a cliffhanger designed to get the reader to come back next time. That's exactly what I'm planning to do. I've been sufficiently teased with the art and story, and believe other readers will too.
For a first issue, Wulf and Batsy is good enough to earn a 4 out of 5 Stars rating. Good tongue-in-cheek fun that gives a new spin on the monster romance genre.