Story and Art by Rich Tommaso
Bringing an alternative comics style to the more mainstream Image audience, Rich Tommaso delivers a surreal and somewhat confusing story in She Wolf #1. Although, I'm sure the confusion in She Wolf #1 is intentional. Tommaso uses both supernatural and mundane elements, which blur the line between reality, the supernatural world, and what might be existing solely in the protagonist's head.
The story's protagonist is Gabby, a high school senior in small town America. Gabby also seems to be a practicing witch who was turned into a werewolf by her boyfriend (who she may have turned into a werewolf initially, before he was killed by the police).
I'm not overly familiar with his work, but Tommaso has an impressive resume of alternative press and independent comic work behind him, including an Eisner for Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crowe. And while there are similarities to the style of art he used there, he gives She Wolf a pretty different look.
Tommaso's art here is somewhat simplistic in structure and detail, but rich in mood. Elongated figures, especially the wolf figures, give the art a distinctive style that lends itself well to the surreal nature of the story, but it's Tommaso's coloring technique that really stands out.
Using a watercolor-like technique, Tomasso's colors give the art a washed-out feel that suits the horror aspect of the story, but also gives great depth to some of the every day life scenes. Tommaso's use of color also seems to indicate that this story is not exactly as presented. It could just be a horror standard to give certain intense scenes a two-tone color treatment, or it could be an indication that what we're seeing isn't the reality of the story.
I don't often write about covers when I review a book, but the cover to She Wolf #1 deserves praise. The white, elongated wolf on top of a deep red background, right at the bottom of the page is striking. The dripping script title font and the simple white border around the cover add to cover's impact. It's a simple but highly effective design - it definitely stands out.
Tommasso is giving us more than merely a teenage werewolf story with the surreal She Wolf #1. What's happening in this comic is sometimes confusing to the reader, but it also seems to be confusing and distressing to Gabby as well. This isn't a comic that spoon feeds a simple horror story to the audience. She Wolf #1 blurs the line between what's real and what isn't and challenges the reader to think about the nature of the protagonist's reality.