Werewolves of Wisconsin and Other American Myths, Monsters and Ghosts
by Andy Fish
Cover Artist: Andy Fish
Review by Nick Sauer
Mcfarland Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780786467983
Date: 08 November 2011 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
From the cover, where Baron Samedi is thumbing a ride from you, Werewolves of Wisconsin takes the reader on a graphic road trip and tour de force of popular American folklore. Starting with the "Bell Witch of Tennessee", to the "Jersey Devil" and finishing with a chapter devoted to the Baron himself, this book offers up an impressive set of artistic images of these and other hauntings and myths by artist/writer Andy Fish.
Although this book is your standard collection of ghost stories and urban legends it is cleverly packaged around the theme of a road trip up the east coast of the US and, ultimately, to the midwest. In addition to briefly covering each topic, there are quick references to some of the allegedly most haunted locations along the way. Werewolves of Wisconsin would make an excellent introductory volume to anyone interested in the rich supernatural folklore of America and, even as well versed as I am on the subject, there were a couple of new stories that I had never encountered before which lead to some further research on my part. The entries, while short, do provide enough information for anyone interested in more detail to continue looking on their own.
While the subject matter is fairly standard, what sets this graphic novel apart is the art itself. Mr. Fish's style is quite distinctive but, he also easily demonstrates the ability to adjust it to better suit the subject matter at hand while still making it clearly identifiable as his own. Another strength of his artistic style is his sense of layout for the pages in the book. It is clear that this is a skill that Mr. Fish knows well and is extremely comfortable with using to excellent effect in telling the story. The overall artistic presentation of the Werewolves of Wisconsin is the novel's greatest strength.
As a final note, I was pleasantly surprised that McFarland was the publisher and noted that they listed a number of other graphic novels in the back of this volume. For those unfamiliar with the publisher, McFarland is primarily a nonfiction book publisher specializing in books on popular culture topics not generally covered by other more mainstream publishers. Their books tend to be a little more expensive but, I personally find their three volume set The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Television to be an invaluable reference tool. I hope this line of graphic novels proves successful for them and wish them the best of luck in their move into this market.