Neil Gaiman’s Werewolves
Much like Neil‘s gods, his scruffy angels, and his horrifying vampires, his werewolves are also surprisingly reflective. Most of the werewolves, unlike his more romantic or terrifying vampires, are more human than we are, and usually a bit on the sensitive side. If he has designed a scary werewolf, I certainly haven’t yet read about him. Maybe the author would take it as a challenge, but if it were up to me, I’d say leave them where they are; werewolves need fans too, damn it. Besides, werewolves are so much more human, because they are our basic animal selves. Vampires are just… dead things, yech. My two favorite appearances of Neil‘s werewolves are in Bay Wolf, and Only the End of the World Again.
Bay Wolf is like a cross between Bay Watch and Beowulf, –there’s the hunky werewolf badass, and the bizarre oceanic appearance of Grand Al. Bay Wolf is kind of an epic poem, like the ancient Beowulf, except, our unlikely werewolf hero is named Talbot, –an homage to Larry Talbot from the original Wolf Man film with Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, and the rest of the funky bunch. Talbot tracks down the monster tearing apart the bikini’d swimmers and sunbathers, for Roth, the man who summoned Talbot to do his dirty work. After the battle with Grand Al in the water, and the mysterious meeting with his mother, Talbot returns to Roth to inform him that his neighbours like it quiet. The 2007 film Beowulf is a longer, more traditional version, and the screenplay was written by Neil, so see it, if you have a soft spot for the writer or the story, but no patience for medieval literature.
The werewolf in Only the End of the World Again is probably more fearsome in his animal form, but as a man, he’s just stuck in Innsmouth, with a bunch of Lovecraftian lunatics who want to see the Elder Gods rise from the oceans depths and devour humanity. Like that’s so much to ask for? The apathetic werewolf is lured into the midst of Cthulu‘s acolytes, who plan to sacrifice him to the gods under the sea. And don’t ask me to tell you the rest of the story, because you know I won’t. Buy the book, and check out Neil’s werewolves, –you can find them both in my favorite anthology, Smoke and Mirrors, but if you’re going to be thorough, you should also pick up Fragile Things, and M is for Magic.