A Writer's Commentary: Max Marks talks Wolfcop #1, on sale now from Dynamite. Cover by Thomas Hodge and interiors by Arcana Studios
Like most people who've seen WolfCop possibly hundreds of times, I've always agreed with the notion that the movie really comes into its own when Willie and Lou are riding side by side like this. When doing a cold open into the WolfCop universe, I really couldn't imagine a better way than the two of them going down the road, Lou drinking, and Willie cursing and raving. It's just the buddy duo vibe they've got in a nutshell.
The Wolf Cruiser – WolfCop's car – fits great into this medium, I think. It's like the Batmobile if the guy who designed it was drunk and had to make it out of a cop car in an afternoon, and I feel like it's become a character all on its own.
Writing in Willie's voice is probably one of the most natural things a guy can do. The way that he talks in the film is infectious, especially if you've had the opportunity to hear Jonathan Cherry doing it off camera. And it's a good thing, too, since both Lou and WolfCop aren't really heavy talkers. Like in the movie, Willie fills the air most of the time and just compounds Lou's headaches when he's not cheerleading him in Wolf form.
If you're a fan of the movie and want to know how or why Willie is back, the answer is never made clearly in this issue… Though you will get answers eventually in the WolfCop mythos.
Probably the best shot of the Wolf Cruiser in the comics. It's funny that I consider it such a core part of his character, but the first thing I opted to do was essentially kill it in the middle of the road. Frankly you shouldn't be surprised that a car whose design is mostly comprised of being half torn apart would break down a lot.
And of course, when things go wrong, Lou's solution is always to drink more. A lot more helpful when he's WolfCop.
This page is pretty much the beginning and end of the explanation you'll have for why WolfCop and Willie are fleeing Woodhaven. The end of the film might give you a few ideas on how things could end up this way.
Of course, even when he's fleeing the law, Lou Garou wears his cop uniform and drives around in that car. He's not really the planning type.
And right into the action. The way I always described the outskirts of Woodhaven was equal parts Canadian prairies and Mad Max. If you've ever been out to Saskatchewan, you'd notice that there isn't a huge difference between the two. Just a lot more sky and a lot fewer bands of marauding motorcycle gangs. I mean, they exist, but they're not so aggressive.
This character is named Stitch-Eye. I think it's pretty obvious why. If he talks kind of weird, it's because I've heavily based the way he talks on people I had run ins with working security around Vancouver's downtown east side. You won't find a Hell's Angel talking this way, but you'll find lots of people who want you to believe that they're friends with Hell's Angels talking this way. Getting creative with ways to call a cop a pig is a big one. And, of course, that plays out pretty well with the overall theme in this one.
Say what you want about Lou's alcoholism and apathy, he's got a sense of justice. He just decides to use it at the worst possible times.
Drinking and driving is fine, but if he sees what looks like two damsels in distress, he has no problem trying to go Harry Callahan on an armed gang. And of course he gets his ass kicked. Without the moon helping him out, he's just a drunk cop with a superhuman sense of smell.
The digital watch was a new addition. Not a lot of people wear those these days, of course, but Woodhaven always had an early 90s to late 80s retro-contemporary feel to it. And of course, if you're waiting to literally rip out of your skin, maybe you shouldn't count on grabbing your smartphone to check in.
There are lots of ways to make werewolves transform. Lycan fans all have their own preferences, whether it's the clean hulk-out style, ones with held back body horror and stomach shifting, vague shadows under the full moon… Or just lots of grossness.
Of course, we all know Lowell's vision with WolfCop was heavy on the gross transformations, and there's no way I could deny fans that. And it begins with some blood and vomit…
WolfCop's first official appearance in comic form. You do not want this guy riding shotgun with you if he's not your friend.
I like how this turned out especially because of the way WolfCop seems a lot more like just a mad werewolf than a cop in this page. You mostly just see fangs and claws. It's a common theme for WolfCop that post-transformation he can get a lot more violent. Wouldn't you, if you'd just torn your way out of your skin and nobody's even offered you a drink yet?
Now this is WolfCop! A lot of influence from the barn battle scene in the movie, which is in my opinion hands down WolfCop's best scene. Some people prefer either his initial transformation scene or the jailhouse sex scene. All three are excellent choices, but I'm just really into when WolfCop is being WolfCop. This is him in his element. Full moon overhead, shrugging off gunfire, and tearing apart lawbreakers in full fury. These are the moments when Lou Garou is ready to let out all that anger he's been repressing with alcohol for the last thirty-odd years.
Stitch-Eye's got a big gun. If you google "Nitro Express revolver" you'll understand why. The kind of gun that could conceivably stop a WolfCop. Or a dinosaur. I don't know why this gun exists in real life. It legitimately looks like a weapon designed for fighting fictional monsters.
And Lou Garou gets his sweet revenge. Someone bites his hand and makes him drop his gun, and he bites it right off.
You do not want to mess with the WolfCop. No big gun will change that.
And the gag has come off for Willie, completing the team! He's twice as necessary when Lou's wolfed out like this. WolfCop doesn't generally string together more than two or three words at a time, and when he does, it's usually to make some kind of quick pun or demand.
One of my regrets in this comic was how few women were in it in general, as these two are the only ones who ever make an appearance in it. I really liked how Jenny (that's the blonde's name) turned out with her design and I'm hoping we'll see her again later.
This girl, on the other hand, we'll probably never see again.
Though if you ask me, that's the most rational human response to seeing a werewolf eviscerate a gang of bikers. I wouldn't care who he was saving me from. I'd want to get as far away as possible.
And we've got our first appearance for Pigskin. This is what I'd really consider my first big original contribution to the WolfCop mythos. Everything you've seen so far is sort of me going off of the world Lowell created and drawing from the best parts of the film. You'll see nothing like Pigskin in the film. But he's still got a real grindhouse villain quality to him. He's the first sign of the expanded world WolfCop is walking into. And you can tell he's a lot more comfortable with this world than WolfCop is.
I kind of regret nobody ever called him by his name in-comic. If you haven't noticed, I'm a fan of puns (they're the DNA of all other jokes, and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise) and Pigskin works on so many levels.
Pigskin's creepy henchmen, the Butcher Boys, were all made with one basic premise in mind: What weapons did WolfCop not go up against in the film that I really, really wanted to see a werewolf cop fighting? The obvious answer was chainsaws and flamethrowers. The fact that these are also very useful makeshift tools for preparing cannibalistic feasts was just a happy coincidence.
On a note about the cannibalism, this was originally conceived in late 2014, a time when you might recall cannibalism was in basically every headline. I don't know why 2014 was such a big year for cannibalism. But it's definitely a mainstay for B-movies, and it's welcome as all hell into the WolfCop universe.
People wanting to eat WolfCop is kind of a running theme. In the film, it was his blood. Here, it's his flesh. Sooner or later, someone's going to want to grind his bones to make their bread.
Willie's back riding shotgun with WolfCop here, and we're well into the night, which is WolfCop's best element.
And here we've got WolfCop riding a motorcycle while chugging bourbon from a bottle. Gratuitous? Absolutely. Is that a bad thing? I will fight to the death defending the premise that it is not.
I always like views of WolfCop with the moon at his back like in this top panel. Things like this are why I'm so glad this character was brought into comics.
And here we see WolfCop's always effective master plan: Chug as much alcohol as possible before charging into combat!
It's actually not a bad plan. Alcohol is to WolfCop like spinach is to Popeye. It's the secret sauce that makes him stronger than the average werewolf.
Even if it wasn't. I have a feeling Lou would be drinking roughly as much, though.
WolfCop with an M60. It had to happen. Even if just for one page.
And there's the nitro pistol in action. Enough to stop a crazed cannibal in his tracks. The lack of a massive exit wound from such a big bullet is intentional, of course. Knocking him down is the best it can do.
I'm always happy with the shots of Wolfcop firing into the panel. Werewolf with a gun is just one of the best ways to describe WolfCop.
And the butcher boys in action!
Chainsaws are just such a great piece in anything b-horror, slasher, or monster related. Allan delivered the perfect scenario I'd had in my head here, of WolfCop grappling with one chainsaw while enduring another. If I had to pick a favorite panel in this whole book, it's this.
And Willie actually fires a gun! Which he never actually does in the film, in spite of owning the local gun shop. It just was never really necessary. But we've always envisioned him as that perfect redneck sidekick who may be a bit of a coward but is willing to lend a hand when lending a hand means sneaking up on a guy with a shotgun.
WolfCop is better when he's on fire. Just saying. This is one of those visuals we'd never get in a 2 million dollar movie but we all desperately want to see from a character like WolfCop. The fanboy in me just went nuts when I saw these pages.
And Pigskin is standing up again. And holding that nitro bullet just so you understand what it means that it didn't get all the way through him. As if the beatdown he gives WolfCop in the next panel didn't get that message across.
WolfCop's a tricky character in that, in the world he's been presented in so far, he's more or less invincible outside of specific circumstances. I was of the opinion we needed to move away from that. We didn't want fans to feel comfortable that, given enough moonlight and alcohol, WolfCop would always be safe. So seeing someone just completely wreck him in fisticuffs is the best way to get that settled.
WolfCop's strong, and he's tough… But I think that what gets him by the most in a fight is his instinct. That might sound a bit weird and vague, but I think it comes across in all of his depictions to date.
This transformation was 100% everything I'd hoped it would be. Coming apart at the seems, like he was wearing that bloated body as a costume. Nice similarity as well as contrast with WolfCop's transformations.
In the WolfCop universe, a clean transformation is always unlikely.
So, people ask me, why a pig? Well, you can count on WolfCop to lay out the obvious pun there.
The design here is a bit reminiscent of some of Gannon's transformations in the Legend of Zelda series. As an avid gamer I'd be lying if I said there was no influence there. A lot of it comes from my love of Dungeons and Dragons, too. The Wereboar was always a weird monster to me, and one that didn't get used much. Plenty of people think being part wolf or part tiget is cool. But part boar? I don't know anyone who would volunteer for that.
And this is what I mean by instinct. He's gutted, about to be eaten… And gun goes in the nostril!
A few fellow Canadians have asked me if the burnt toast line was in any way inspired by a certain Canadian heritage minutes video you can find kicking around the web still, and I can neither confirm or deny. Well, I can confirm that there's definitely something there. Canadian audiences are always so well-attuned to even the most obscure culture references.
And they all lived happily ever after!
Sort of. WolfCop never really gets to rest, and things only get bloodier and more harrowing for him. But at least he did some good along the way. His car's still broken down and Willie's the only one he can rely on, but I felt this ending was enough that even if this was the only one we ever did, it was a great little walk through the potential world of WolfCop.
Thankfully, we've got more on the way!