Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wulf and Batsy need some love and understanding.

Wulf and Batsy is a comic book series, described as “old fashioned Horror,” that’s been around for over a decade now.  There are four trade paperbacks that average about 250 pages available.  So, it’s not really a new comic book, but (I think) it’s still an ongoing series to this day.

Wulf and Batsy have no home
The thing that attracted my eye to Wulf and Batsy was the very stylized and detailed artwork of Bryan Bough.  He captured the right mix I believe, of allowing his personal style to shine without deranging the subject matter too much, and keeping it somewhat in the bounds of naturalism.  The characters, themselves, seemed to flow and move easily against the surreal Van Goghish-like landscapes in the background (always a nice gush of wind for hair and dresses too).  There were also plenty of shadows and hard light to remind you this was a horror comic.  Except for the cover, the books are in black and white.

The series starts off with Wulf and Batsy already friends, looking for a home to stay.  But they’re monsters, a vampire witch and werewolf specifically, so finding a home isn’t easy.  The main theme of the story, at least in the first couple of comics (#1 and #2), is the persecuted monster trope.  Humans are the real monsters, you see, and Wulf and Batsy are trying hard to be normal and belong like everyone else.

 The normie villagers, of course, react in exaggerated cartoony rage when they discover “monsters” are about their town.  They grab their pitchforks, form a stereotypical mob, and then go after the poor misunderstood monsters.  If only the villagers knew about the virtue of inclusivity.  Don’t they know that monsters are just like everyone else when they aren’t being discriminated against?   I got a hunch those backward hicks didn’t even know, statistically, humans committed the majority of crimes in medieval villages, not monsters.  Perhaps ignorance is the real monster here.  I’m just kidding, of course, we should always kill monsters.

The story ends when Batsy is tied to a tree and is being tortured for no reason other than to show how mean the villagers are.  And, this is a thing that happens in stories, where you want to establish to the audience its okay to do bad things to a certain person.  There was no point for the farmer woman to want to get-in-some torturing before the execution, but if she hadn’t, then later, when she is brutally killed by the monsters, it would have been emotionally confusing for the audience, I guess.

Remember, the humans are supposed to be the real monsters here.  In the end, after a gory slaughter, Wulf and Batsy must be on their way, leaving behind corpses of those they had to kill.  As Batsy says, leaving, “Well, so much for this town… what’s left of it.”  I imagine that this will be a constant theme of the book series.

They try to be nice
However, to my delight, the next book (#3) began a new storyline, where it veered off the persecuted monster trope.  This time around, Wulf and Batsy decide to help some graveyard zombies deal with a mad scientist who had been abusing the zombies for mysterious reasons.  This puts the main characters more into a monster-hero light, than as the monster-victims from before.   I feel like I will enjoy this kind of adventure for Wulf and Batsy better.  But, so you know, this is where I left off in the series, so I don’t know what happens after that.

Overall, I really liked the stylized artwork and the corky horror universe of the series.  I didn’t get too far, but being that there is a lot more material to read, I’m sure there is a lot to enjoy in the expanded Wulf and Batsy world.  I give this series a B-.

For those interested, the artist/author  left this “warning” under the description for some his of Wulf and Batsy paperbacks:

Not safe for sensitive readers or social justice warriors. <this paperback> contains Exploitative Content and Politically Incorrect themes. Brimming with old-fashioned horror tropes, graphic violence, religious themes, and mischievous sexual innuendo. There is something in this massive 2-part story to offend everyone. Order with caution!

That kind of warning (or disclaimer) makes me want to check out further comics of Wulf and Batsy even more.

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