Welcome, one and all, to another MDM Projects book review. Today, I’m looking at something a little different: The multi-contributor ezine, Werewolves Versus Hollywood.
Background: Edited by Angela Quinton, the Werewolves Versus project is a bi-yearly magazine that pits the aforementioned beasts of fang and fur against physical, cultural, and ideological foes. Each issue picks a theme and runs with it, featuring a plethora of different contributions, ranging from short prose and poems, to art and comics. The issues can then be bought on Gumroad, with you, the reader, naming your price.
Running to a whopping 167 pages, this fifth instalment of the series features the lycanthropes of L.A. as they schmooze their way through the cut-throat world of the film industry. From the early days of the talkies to modern day monster movies, we are served up a veritable bounty of fur covered tales to sink our teeth into.
The Good: When it comes to multi-contributor anthologies and magazines, their greatest strength (and indeed potential weakness) is in the variety of styles on offer for readers. In this case, the contributions are on a whole very strong. Yes, they all deal with the same base theme of a werewolf in Hollywood, but they all approach this from a different angle.
In terms of the stories, there’s a lot to take in. There are some hints of romance, such as in Claire Count’s Sugar and Spice, which isn’t unexpected given the popularity of Urban Fantasy as a genre (though it should be noted that this not itself a UF tale). If that’s not your thing though, then fret not, because there’s also some true horror in there, such as A Rage to End Worlds by Chris Pearce. Want something a little different? Then that’s fine too! Quebecoiswolf offers up Stay Back, Stay Feminine, Stay a Woman, a tale of a female only lycanthropy and how it affects the women working in the film industry. And that’s just a sample of what’s on offer!
Outside short stories, there are also a couple of werewolf movie haikus by Lesley Keogh, a film script by Jennifer Cooksey and Brandon Harding, and Wolfsbane, a comic by HamsterToyBox that shows the creation of the cinema classic, The Wolfman. The remainder of the content is taken up by art submissions that all add their own flavour to the proceedings.
From a technical standpoint, Angela Quinton has done a great job with the editing, ensuring consistency across the various contributions. Her positive influence doesn’t stop there either. The lay-out is nicely put together too, with just enough colour to be eye catching without causing distraction, and the pre-entry pages to introduce the contributors are pleasing to the eye, adding a degree of elegance to the overall presentation. Throw in that everything is presented in a logical order that allows for the variety to shine through rather than lumping each type of contribution into one section and you’re onto a winner here.
As a personal note, I do have some favourites among the submissions. A Rage to End Worlds by Chris Pearce, Stay Back, Stay Feminine, Stay a Woman by Quebecoiswolf, The She-Wolf of Studio 33 by nothere, and Negative Exposure by Dylan Fields tops the stories for me. Meanwhile, Tandye Rowe’s Marilyn Monroe inspired front and back cover art stands out as a fine example of how to embrace the theme of the magazine.
The Bad: As was alluded to above, the risk with multi-contributor books is that there will potentially be something that isn’t to your taste. That is certainly true here for me, as there were one or two pieces that simply didn’t grab me. I won’t be mentioning these by name though as the stories were technically fine, and it really does just come down to it being a matter of taste. Frankly, I would be surprised if any of the stories contained herein failed to find fans. I would definitely say though that if you prefer your werewolves to be ravenous beasts, then you certainly won’t get on with all the pieces on offer.
Final View: The Werewolves Versus project is a fun little series that offers a little something for all werewolf fans, regardless of how they like their furred beasts. When you consider the ‘pay-what-you-want’ price tag, there’s really no reason not to give it a look-in if you’re a fan of shapeshifters. Werewolves Versus Hollywood is eclectic, well produced, and a fine addition to werewolf lore.
Final Score: 4 / 5