Leave it to Batton Lash to come up with a new spin on werewolves. Batton is the writer/artist behind the long-running Supernatural Law comic book/trade paperback series featuring Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre.
Supernatural Law is also a webcomic (www.supernaturallaw.com), about to hit its fourth anniversary in September. In the current storyline, “Rights of the Werewolf,” ordinary guy Leon Reed has accidentally become a werewolf, terrorizing New York City every full moon. He hasn’t hurt anyone yet, so the court has agreed to terms suggested by his attorneys, Wolff & Byrd: go into a 13-step rehab program at Sister Mary Maledict’s Halfway House of Horrors.
The media are all over the case, and TV talk show host Zelo Pestifero makes a point not only of interviewing Leon but bringing on representatives from an organization that is openly critical of Wolff & Byrd: People for the Rights, Interests, and Concerns of Shape-Shifters (PRICS), a werewolf advocacy organization. This group thinks Leon has a right to run free and should not be forced to be “cured” of lycanthropy.
Throw in Leon’s fiancee Christine, a senile vampire, some “monstas,” and lots of plot twists, and you indeed have not just another werewolf story.
Batton and his wife, Jackie Estrada, have been self-publishing Supernatural Law comics and trades since 1994, so this is the 15th anniversary of the print series. He actually created the characters in 1979 for a weekly newspaper in Brooklyn, so it is also the 30th anniversary of Wolff & Byrd. As media have evolved, so have the outlets for the series: from newspapers to comic books to books to webcomics.
“Producing the series online is great because I can do stories that are ‘ripped from the headlines’ and do them in color,” says Batton. “But it’s also a challenge because the storytelling approach is different for something that is updated twice weekly as opposed to something that is meant to be read in one sitting. The pacing is definitely different-I’ve got to come up with a punchline or cliffhanger for just about every episode.”
The online version is part of webcomicsnation.com, where it has consistently been in the top 20 strips viewed there over the past four years. It also won the Eagle Award for favorite webcomic in 2005. Past stories have included “The Life-Partner of Frankenstein” (what if the monster and his bride really wanted to tie the knot?), “How to Talk to a Mortal (If You Must)” (Medusa as a bestselling author), and “Something Wicca This Way Comics” (Wiccans rain on a Halloween parade).
The werewolf story is the longest running ever on the site and is reaching its big climax within the next few weeks. Where has Leon disappeared to? And what will happen in the next full moon? The people of New York are on edge as the sun goes down and the police, the media-and Leon’s attorneys-mobilize for whatever comes next!
To read the story from the beginning, go to www.supernaturallaw.com and choose “#259. Rights of the Werewolf” from the Table of. More information on Batton (who is also the writer of Archie: Freshman Year and of Bongo’s Radioactive Man comics) and Supernatural Law can be found at www.exhibitapress.com.