The Beast of Wolfe’s Bay
Trade Paperback | Kindle Edition
Written and Illustrated by Erik Evensen
Color Assists by Jeff Fugelsang
Lettered by Matt Talbot
Release Date: March 9, 2013
Cover Price: $17.99
As expected, strange and fascinating things happen when an instructor of Art and Design decides to retell the epic story of Beowolf in the form of an indie graphic novel, giving it a tone of Twin Peaks-meets-The Legend of Boggy Creek, and then uses Kickstarter to fund the project. The result is the quirky (some might say geeky), well-researched, and carefully executed tale entitled The Beast of Wolfeâ€™s Bay by Erik Evensen from Evensen Creative.
Evensen propels reluctant grad student Brian Wegman on an exciting mission as a consultant in a police investigation at Wolfeâ€™s Bay. Why Brian? Because the case involves the deaths of two students at the hands of what may or may not be a giant primate, and Brian has the know-how in the niche specialty of paleoanthropology that the police need to solve the mystery.
Paired with Winifred Roth, professor of folklore and daughter of the local sheriff, Brian discovers that heâ€™s in over his head with both the investigation and his outspoken new partner. With their personalities (and egos) colliding from the moment they first meet, Brian and Winifred try so hard to out-nerd one another that itâ€™s pretty obvious that thereâ€™s a love connection brewing. The romantic tension between these characters is very â€œMulder and Scullyâ€ and plays nicely off of the action in the book instead of detracting from it.
Iâ€™d like to give Erik Evensen a high-five for several facets of The Beast of Wolfeâ€™s Bay:
First, he really did his homework when it came to the cryptozoological nuances he included in the project. Iâ€™m not saying that Iâ€™m a member of a Bigfoot research organization (or maybe I am) but Evensenâ€™s attention to detail in this area is stellar, especially when it could have been rushed or ignoredâ€”resulting in a huge turn-off to a large chunk of his target audience.
Next, Evensen appealed to my inner geek by weaving subtle nods to classic cult favorites throughout his story. From Winifredâ€™s Batman belt buckle to the â€œI Want to Believeâ€ poster on her co-workerâ€™s office wall, these little tidbits help to make the entire book even more endearing. Look closely (and sometimes not-so-closely) and youâ€™ll notice that Evensen pays homage to Dr. Who, Twin Peaks, Star Trek, Army of Darkness, and more. Iâ€™m betting thereâ€™s a drinking game there somewhereâ€¦
Last, but certainly not least, I think itâ€™s a refreshing feeling to read a graphic novel about two unlikely heroes whose only real superpower is their smarts. Brian and Winifred are chosen to consult on the police investigation solely for their areas of academic expertise, not because theyâ€™re well-known crime fighters or because of some paranormal ability. Thereâ€™s no magic ring, no irradiated super strength, no time-bending deviceâ€”itâ€™s just two bookworms and their own creative thinking.
Iâ€™ve made it this far without a complaint about The Beast of Wolfeâ€™s Bay, and thatâ€™s because I only have one: it was far too text-heavy for my liking. Much of the storyâ€™s exposition and development was conveyed in text when it could have been more effectively (and more excitingly) conveyed using images. It is a graphic novel, but I just wish it had been more â€œgraphicâ€ and less â€œnovel.â€
Apparently this indie project was not all smooth sailing for its creator, and he even suffered a catastrophic computer hardware failure and subsequent data loss, but Erik Evensen has ultimately come out of the ordeal with a fun and action-packed book that is a glowing testament of his hard work and perseverance.