Being a detective is about facts and cold hard evidence, but what happens when there's magic involved? Ales Kot and Matt Taylor's upcoming series Wolf digs into that with a damaged detective walking the streets of a Los Angeles where man and myth meet and, according to the solicitations, the apocalypse is on its way.
Wolf meshes the grounded vibe of True Detective with some magical and apocalyptic elements to give it a distinct urban magic kind of flavor.
“Wolf is a crime noir fantasy horror,” Kot explains. “Imagine Los Angeles as it is now, a strange membrane between reality and fiction that is a thriving apocalypse, and then remember that we humans only see 3% of available light and imagine what the 97% is. Vampires, werewolves, succubi, and much weirder? Check.”
The wolf in the series title is Antoine Wolfe, a military veteran with a curse and a history of bad decision.
“Antoine is an ex-army vet who got hit by a strange gas and now can see a lot more than the three percent I mentioned," Kot says. "So he comes back to L.A., and he's dealing with serious fallout from many bad decisions, and he's got this ability which is a curse to him rather than a blessing...so he drinks a lot and he pops pills because that's how he kills his perception. But he needs money, for reasons that will soon become apparent, and it turns out he can make some by turning that curse into a gift.”
In July 22's debut issue, Wolfe meets an orphaned teen who might be the key to the apocalypse coming down on L.A. When asked about this player in Wolf, Kot keeps the mystery about her.
“First name's Anita. Last name I won't tell,” he replies. "There's something to be said for mystery. Why would I describe the contents of our amazing, 58-page first issue that drops in little over a month in an interview? I want the readers to have a perfect experience, and that means some things have to be discovered by them.”
As for how he discovered and developed the ideas that became Wolf, Kot said it was surprisingly easy.
"Antoine Wolfe came to me very well formed. I knew what he would wear, I could see him move," Kot reveals. "But I'm not great at drawing, and Matt Taylor is -- so we connected and talked. The pitch, distilled into a sharp tagline, is: 'Blood and Magic.' See? It works. And it certainly worked for Matt. We talked about approaching Wolf from a deep crime noir perspective, which means Matt uses even more shadowplay than usual, but at the same time when you set a story in California you get the other side of the coin, too -- the blazing sun. So we play with these contrasts, and on top of that, Matt adds a sensibility that is sharp and simple, straight to the point.”
Kot has an eclectic group of muses for Wolf, ranging from Iron Man 3 director Shane Black to more esoteric prose authors.
"In terms of approach, I keep in mind works by people like Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout), H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman," the writer explains. "We're letting you into a world, and the world's got lots of flavor. Speaking of flavor: the colorist is Lee Loughridge, who is responsible for many issues of Hellblazer and the beautiful coloring take on Deadly Class. This art team is, to me, perfect.”
Big picture, Kot is personally excited about Wolf for the chance to delve into the setting of California, which he recently moved to, as well as several social issues -- but also some mythical concepts as well.
“I'm also really excited to dig into the mythical, into California and Los Angeles, into institutionalized racism and prison-industrial complex," says Kot. "I'm excited to show you the bureaucracy of Hell and plenty more. I feel the world of Wolf is so real you'll sweat with the characters.”