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Mike Connell talks Werewolves and Writing Mythology

Mike Connell talks Werewolves

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Mike Connell and Kevin Manklow’s The Beastiary

Earlier this week I caught up with comic book co-creator, Mike Connell, to talk about his latest project: The Beastiary. The Beastiary is a fantastic spin on the Werewolf legend and the Lycan lore as a whole. In which Werewolves cross over with the fur and pelt trade of the 1700/1800s.

Additionally, Mike and his co-creator, Kevin Manklow, have an entire universe planned which will spin off from the Kickstarter project, The Beastiary. An expansion which will see them tell their stories across other mediums including (but certainly not limited to) prose.

Here’s an interview which tells the tale of how an entire universe can spin off from just a simple idea.


Beastiary looks to be a fantastical expansion of Lycan lore. How did you get into werewolves in the first place?

Mike Connell: We’ve (me and my co-creator, Kevin Manklow, who handles all of the illustration and artwork) have always loved fantasy and folklore. We were discussing movies like the Revenant, and how hard a life that must have been, but the conversation started diving into the fantastic (as it does), and we started wondering what would have happened to the fur-trading-powers-that-be if there were more than bears and an unsuspecting indigenous population to contend with?

It started with the simple “werewolves during the fur trade!” statement, and snowballed from there.

Everyone’s got their favourite Werewolf film. Which is yours and why? 

Mike Connell: Tough one. Have to give a nod to Teen Wolf. The animated Wolfwalkers was amazing, but to be honest, there haven’t been a ton that I would consider my favourite outside of Teen Wolf… But I think the Buffy/Angel series had me thinking about the “realities” of being a werewolf or vampire and how that could be applied to a longer story arc.

Werewolves tend to be more closely associated as characters in horror films even though they are technical supernatural in origin. Your graphic novel tends to get more towards those roots but provide an interesting spin on the fur trade of the 1700s. Tell me about the origins of this story and in developing it?

Mike Connell: Alt history and historical fiction are fun to watch and dive into. Shows like Frontier, Barkskins, Black Sails… these are great stories about what could have happened. A show like Carnival Row is also amazing, as it weaves the supernatural in with the fantastic. There’s also a series of books called Temeraire that I quite liked, which explore what it would have been like if there were dragons during the napoleonic wars. That’s where our heads went with werewolves and it just started spiraling out of control from there.

Is your character, Sir Clancy, based on any historical figure?

Mike Connell: No. He was loosely created around the Stephen Maturin character from the movie Master and Commander.  

Mike Connell talks Werewolves and Writing Mythology
Mike Connell talks Werewolves and Writing Mythology

This story could have easily been prose. Why graphic novel?

Mike Connell: That’s the starting place… prose is in the future! That, and because we (Kevin and myself) love graphic novels. We loved the idea of a field guide… sketches and notations made about what Sir Clancy found on his adventures. 

Your Kickstarter mentions the start of the Feral universe. What have you got planned beyond this book?

Mike Connell: Feral: The Beast Within is the next in the arc. It occurs many years later, as the fur trade has matured and even started to decline and explores a murder/mystery storyline and digs deeper into what larger forces and plans are at work…

Who are the other talents behind this release and why did you team up with them?

Mike Connell: Kevin Manklow (co-creator, illustrator) and myself (Mike Connell, co-creator, writer) are the main forces behind the project, but we have a letterer (Clay Adams) involved, and we may use a colourist as well. 

Tell us about the Kickstarter and where can we find you online?

The Kickstarter funded in less than a day, and we quickly became a Kickstarter Project We Love. That helped us keep the ball rolling, but is also a point of pride as this is our first ever attempt at crowdfunding on any platform.

We’re just over two weeks in and almost at $13K CAD at the time of this writing, which is over 230% funded. The initial budget ($5,500 CAD) was modest and based on a small print run, so this simply means we will be printing more books and will hopefully be able to improve our margins based on the higher volume. 

You can find us here.


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