Mongrel: Son of a Bitch
Review by : Daniel Kraevyn
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Werewolf stories are very hit or miss, mostly belonging in the latter category. In all honesty, most of them suck, which is an unfortunate thing, as one would think that the mythos would be rife with stories that would write themselves. I guess one of the traps that practically every werewolf story falls into is that they all struggle to capture the feelings of the original Wolf Man film. Many movies, books, and comics have tried to craft a good werewolf story, and most have failed, although there have been some exceptions (notably, the first Howling film, and the Werewolf television series). Perhaps trying to capture this ubiquitous “feeling” is the very thing that leads most lycanthrope stories to vapid response.
Enter Mongrel: Son of Bitch, an indy comic by Edward Dunphy and Andrew Mitchell Kudelka. According the preface, Mongrel was originally written in the early 90’s but due to complications (read: long story of company troubles) the other two issues never saw the light of day. Now, it has been revised, colorised, and with the help of kickstarter, the first two issues are out, and the third is currently seeking funding.
This is a 1990’s era detective story, and I must say, one of the better lycanthrope tales to be released. The mood is evocative of a noir tale, the gruff monologue of a protagonist, interspersed with alternative narratives; yet the comic is injected with a modern, gritty, visceral feel. As with comics, pacing can be tedious, but this story overcomes any issues quickly. Of note: the gore. The violence is spectacular, and witholds nothing, and Kudelka shows his artistic prowess by how he is able to pose his characters, along with a very artistic and original of showing the blood splatter outside of the panels. While “nothing” is happening (no action), the characters pose normally; then the action sequences shine as Kudelka displays the sequences with precision and dramatic flare. I must also note that the werewolves themselves are awesome. I will say that perhaps the greatest challenge to werewolf movies has been to have truly scary, realistic werewolves, and Mongrel does just as the movie Dog Soldiers and the T.V. series Werewolf did for the Lycanthropes, they are fantastic.
Mongrel is a three-issue digital comic, with two issues out, and the third in it’s funding stage on Kickstarter. I recommend this read, and even to support these guys. Indy comics need all the help they can get, because there are some gems out there. I will include links below should you wish to get involved. At least read them, and enjoy a good werewolf story. As I prefaced this review, good werewolf stories are tough to come by, so be sure to experience the good ones.