Some books remind me of a training session that I had at Yahoo! Search Marketing where they tried to drill into us the idea of writing ad copy that is elegant. Specifically, they wanted us to write “cleverly simple” because we only had so much space to get our message across. Becky Cloonan’s Wolves does just that on all levels. It’s a seemingly simple, black and white book with an abstract story and a hidden message.
Up front, Wolves is about a man, his memories of a lost love and his fight with a werewolf to return his love to her home. The writing is a smart use of archetypes that allow you to jump right into the story without any back-story or character development but still feel an immediate, visceral connection. Cloonan’s art uses beautiful crunchy lines to convey emotion, but it is her ability to tell a visual story that makes the book exceptional. There is very little dialogue and only sparse use of voice-over. In the end, it’s a wonderfully crafted book about sacrifice.
So what’s the hidden message that I hinted at earlier? Becky Cloonan is proof that you can make commercially successful books but still produce Art. I’d like to say that she’s an up and coming star, but she has already arrived. She’s a known artist that is making big books like Conan with Brian Wood at the same time that she’s still making kick ass Viking books like Wolves on her own. Her dual approach makes Becky Cloonan a boon to sequential art, mainstream comic books, and independent comics.
Wolves was created, written and drawn by Becky Cloonan.