It seems safe to say this: any wolf-themed comics zine that includes Emily Carroll's hyperlink sarcophagus, Citric Comics' coming-of-age adventure, and Lauren Zuke's Sailor Moon-inspired romantic comedy is destined to be rad.
A year into the "Wolfen Jump" anthology, editors and cartoonists Rory Morris, Jen Lee and Sloane Leong have managed to amass an enviable roster of contributors. Remarkably, though, the project grew out from a off-hand joke about making a Shonen Jump for wolves, a critter version of the famed Japanese comic magazine.
"I think either Rory or Sloane made a 'Wolfen Jump' joke on Twitter," Jen Lee explained. "I bought the domain name for twelve bucks, and then it evolved to a beautiful beast of great storytelling."
Perhaps now more than ever, a fun catchy zine concept will naturally draw in droves of young, energetic online contributors, which fits Rory Morris' vision just fine.
"I hate the 'fan vs. creator' binary," he said. "I love to see more people making stuff, befriending each other, bringing influences from things — other than comics — into comics."
If Rookie made a pastel punk werewolf manga, it would probably look like "Wolfen Jump." The comics revel in animated GIF panels, screen-print neon, and inclusive nation-spanning influences that seem web-native in their DNA. Sloane said she started drawing strips on a site called EnterVoid, where many fellow artists have also gone on to become professionals. Jen began uploading comics after quitting a marketing job, and found an unexpectedly warm reception for Thunderpaw.
"It's pretty crazy how fast your work can spread these days," Lee said. "I think we've all gotten jobs from posting on social media, basically."
"We found each other on Tumblr," Leong added. "And we just all drew cute animal people and rad goofy weird creepy animal comics and thought HEY lets put our work and our friends work in one place!"
Soon after launching Wolfen Jump, they began to receive emails about the zine almost every day. Some even wanted to create music and video games on the theme.
"I can't usually afford to go to [comic conventions] so I really dig the internet. I love that there are animated comics and comics that scroll forever and comics that utilize weird mixed-media you can only really pull off on a web browser," Morris said. "I've always had a hard time relating to the more mainstream gritty 'man-pain' comics, and for the longest time I thought it was something wrong with me. But then after seeing people integrating so many different facets of what's important to them into their work, and playing with all these interesting concepts... Aaahh! Oh my gosh."
"Oh my gosh" sums up my smittenness with the collection and all of its contributors. You can buy/support the fundraiser for Wolfen Jump's print issue on IndieGoGo (only 15 days left).
Below is one of the included stories by Anatola Howard:
Support/preorder a copy of the zine at IndieGogo
Full list of contributors: Ian Andersen, Beetle Birdley, Caitlin Rose Boyle, Emily Carroll, Greg, Mallory Hodgkin, Anatola Howard, Ian Jay & Nero O'Reilly, Irene Koh,
Meghan Lands, Jen Lee & Daniel Bressette, Thales Lira, Rory Morris feat. Sloane Leong, Kris Mukai, Sean Poppe feat. Deanna Poppe, Sera Stanton, Toril, Kat Verhoeven, Weja, Michelle Yague, Lauren Zukauskas.