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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Wolf Country #5

Occasionally in my life certain things come together that provide a snugly warm blanket of coincidence and serendipity. Take this week for example - no, I'm serious, please take it because in the whole it has predominantly sucked big chunks and I'll be glad to see the back of it. Now, I know that it's unlike me to talk very much about myself in my blog articles. As a matter of fact I like to think that I'm nothing but a consummate professional who takes his vocation completely seriously - stop laughing there at the back!..... well OK maybe I do talk about myself occasionally........ Alright, alright, I do it all the time time! Blimey, I didn't expect the Spanish inquisition.

However, there has been the occasional brief oasis of bright spots in this desert of a stressful week. A few days ago I was contacted by comics writer and all round good egg, Jim Alexander, who told me that the award nominated and critically acclaimed Wolf Country returns for a fifth explosive issue. Hurrah! Some good news at last, I thought. But wait a moment, because before I go any further I need to mention the snugly warm blanket of coincidence that happened that very same day. 

A few weeks ago I ran a blog article extolling the virtues of another venture from Mr A, Good Cop Bad Cop, which funnily enough you can find RIGHT HERE. Well actually there's nothing funny about it in a ha ha sort of way, just my usual stuff and nonsense. Apart from the usual scribbles of blogging beauty the piece also contained the inaugural 5D. A Scifi, Fantasy & Horror blog competition, the prize being the first four issues of Wolf Country. If that wasn't enough each of the comics were signed by the man himself, the aforementioned good egg, Jim Alexander.

I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting in terms of entries, but thankfully some people did actually enter my website competition, though I'm not fooling myself into thinking that the number of interested parties was down to the popularity of my website, nope I know it was all Mr A. Anyhoo, it so happens that by coincidence that on the very day of receiving the news of Wolf Country issue 5 I was also in the process of informing the winner of the comp that the comics would soon be on their way to him. 

I'm sure that it will please Jim no end to know that his fandom stretches around the world when I tell him that the winner comes all the way from Split, in Croatia. I'm sure it will please the winner, Dalibor, even more to know that I've finally shook off my bout of sickness and managed to post the comics today. I'm also pretty sure that my local post office here in the distant North East will be suitably chuffed that I broke into my penny savings jar so that I could buy the postage stamps in order to get the package three quarters of the way through Europe. So congratulations to Dalibor!

The competition prize & yes, I did consider keeping them for myself!
For those fools, yes that's what I said, fools, who are not familiar with the narrative of the Wolf Country narrative;

"A vampire settlement is surrounded by hostile werewolf tribes.  The settlement is there for religious reasons, following the teachings of a vampire god.  The werewolves don’t want them. They consider a vampire presence on their land to be sacrilege. 

It is a frontier of fang and claw, with death and vengeance the common currency.  In Wolf Country, you need to watch your back and keep your loved ones close, because someone – or something – is always out to get you." 

So here we are with issue 5 as once again we find ourselves in Wolf Country where the vampires are still fighting against werewolves. The vampire Settlement in Wolf Country has repelled the latest wolf attack, but the nightmare refuses to end. Vampire soldiers interrogate and torture the Settler named Carmichael. The Settlers are starving, waiting for an airdrop of supplies that may never come. 

Jim Alexander first described Wolf Country to me as 'vampires v werewolves in a Wild West setting - and a whole lot more'. That particular description barely scratches the surface. Yes, we may have returned once more into the middle of the battle that is taking place between the two communities, but the story is so much more than that. There are complex scenarios afoot here with implicit textures of political, sociological and religious themes that underpin and enhance the story to the extent that the numerous directions that the narrative could potentially progress is truly Intriguing - It's enough to please any Shakespearean tragedy enthusiast. If all that wasn't enough there are set pieces of suitably exquisite violence to appeal to the bloodthirsty aficionados that we all truly are.

The artwork by Will Pickering is atmospheric and evocative as ever and Alexander's dialogue is as crisp and witty as I've now come to expect from him. All that is left for me to say for now is that that the series has genuinely become one of the most exciting and enjoyable stories that I've read in a very long time. However my dear cynically challenged reader, don't just take my word for it because I have it from the the horses mouth himself that there has been TV interest in the title.

"We’re at the ‘treatment/presentation plan’ stage.... Exciting times.... Watch this space." Jim said. Ooh, tell me more and let's pretend that I'm someone that you can confide in, I replied

"It's still in the early stages, but to get to a later stage I suppose you need to be at an early stage first! Sorry I can't give you any more info - at least at this stage" he replied. 

Bugger, talk about being a bit of a tease there as well as thinking that you're being funny, Jim....... It's not as if I'm jealously insecure and would have let anyone in on his secret....... Is it? Actually on reflection, he's probably being very wise.

Written by Jim Alexander (GoodCopBadCop, Metal Hurlant Chronicles, Star Trek Manga, Spider-Man/Captain Britain) and drawn by Will Pickering (Burke and Hare, Something Fast) with cover art by Luke Cooper (Hollow Girl, GoodCopBadCop) Wolf Country is epic both in it's scale and depiction. I'm only sad that I won't be at Dunfermline Comic Con on Saturday 5th of March to buy a real paper copy (the only proper format) and get it signed by the guys themselves.

Alternatively you can order the book online from the Planet Jimbot shop:

Wolf Country #1-4 are also available.  Also, you can order all 5 issues as a single order for a knock-down price.

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