When a perpetual grad student is called in to help investigate mysterious attacks thanks to his expertise in paleoanthropology, he gets more than he bargained for when he’s teamed with a no-nonsense sheriff and his brilliant daughter.
We caught up with creator, Erik Evensen to talk about his graphic novel The Beast of Wolfe’s Bay.
Horror News Network: How did you come up with the concept for The Beast of Wolfe’s Bay?
Erik Evensen: It was kind of a mash-up of a couple of different ideas. I finished my first book, Gods of Asgard, right before grad school, and during grad school I floated a bunch of ideas around for follow-up projects. One of these projects was an adaptation of Beowulf, which I nixed because how could I compete with Gareth Hinds or Stefan Petrucha? So I focused my efforts on another idea, a what-if scenario about scientists discovering real, legitimate proof of Sasquatch. Around the same time, all of these Beowulf projects kept popping into my field of vision — Pathfinder, the Gerard Butler film Beowulf & Grendel, and of course, the awesome Neil Gaiman/Roger Avary/Robert Zemeckis animated feature. I ultimately decided to mash the two ideas together. Beowulf & Grendel and Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead showed me how you can deconstruct the ideas behind Grendel and his mother and do something a little less mythic and a little more X-Files. So that's ultimately what I did — I took the basic plot of Beowulf, modernized it, made Grendel a sasquatch and Beowulf into a nerdy grad student, like myself at the time.
Horror News Network: Tell us a bit about the main character in the story, Brian Wegman.
Erik Evensen: Brian is Beowulf. That doesn't explain his character at all, though. He's Beowulf, rebuilt for a modern audience. Beowulf is a champion, a hero, a brute. But Brian isn't any of those things. In the beginning of the book, he's a perpetual graduate student — an anthropologist struggling to finish his PhD, with an advisor who doesn't even remember his name. He teaches undergrads who walk all over him, and everyone really wants him to graduate and move on to bigger and better things. He basically starts off as kind of a put-upon nerd, but grows up a lot over the course of the story. In the beginning, an old family friend calls him in as an expert consultant on a strange homicide case, and he quickly finds himself in a sasquatch conspiracy theory. Ever the scientist, Brian refuses to accept the existence of sasquatch, but things get a little too weird for him to keep up his skepticism. Luckily, he's paired up with folklorist Winifred Roth, who is sort of the Mulder to his Scully.
Horror News Network: Can you talk a bit about the cryptid(s) in the book?
Erik Evensen: I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by how restrained I was with the cryptids! They only appear at crucial moments, and always in shadow. Some of this is because they parallel Grendel's appearances in the Beowulf story, but also, I wanted to create as believable a scenario as possible. This got tricky, mainly because I am dealing with cryptids and attempting to connect them with legitimate anthropology. I tied in the sasquatch action with reported attacks and encounters, but the more I tried to develop a sasquatch face, the more I thought, "what if this doesn't line up with someone's encounter, or what if we actually find proof of sasquatch?" So I took the safe route, shrouding them in darkness. So if anyone ever finds clear, definitive proof of sasquatch, hopefully my approach will still ring true!
Horror News Network: Where can our readers find out more about this book?
Erik Evensen: For starters, www.wolfesbay.com — plus it's on facebook. You can follow me on twitter @eevensen, where I have been sharing links all over the place. I have a pretty solid presence on goodreads and you can buy the book at amazon, too. It will also hit the e-reader market soon, so stay tuned!
Horror News Network: In closing, what would you like to say to our readers about The Beast of Wolfe’s Bay?
Erik Evensen: If you like nerd culture, the X-File, Ghostbusters, or Finding Bigfoot, I think you'll dig this. I feel like I've written one of the nerdiest graphic novels ever. I know that's kind of a redundant statement, but isn't it enough to pique your interest?
Horror News Network: Thanks for your time Erik! Best of luck with this book.