The Who Behind ‘Where Wolf’
A crowdfunded story of furries, journalism and murder: Film programmer-turned-comic book artist Robert Saucedo tells us about his creation.
Sorry, Waldo, but folks won’t ask for your whereabouts this time around.
In Robert Saucedo’s horror-comedy graphic novel Where Wolf, a lycanthrope is racking up quite the body count in College Station, prompting journalist Larry Chaney to track it down. The hunt also provides Chaney relief from the occupational “ennui” he’s experiencing. His search soon puts him in touch with the local furry community, where the part-man, part-canis lupus assailant has gone to blend in—and to feast.
A real life furry emailed Saucedo when the first chapter (of the 12 in his book) went live as a webcomic on the horror publication Fangoria. This furry reader asked if his inclusion of that subculture stemmed from hatred.
The reaction had him recalling when he was the features editor of the Battalion, Texas A&M University’s student newspaper: “I assigned a story to one of the reporters about the local furry population. That was one of the most controversial stories in the paper—we had hate mail coming in for months!”
He countered the assumption by sending a link to Where Wolf’s first four chapters and earned an admirer who would also give him self-created fan art and that from others. He added, “I never thought I would get erotic fan art of something I wrote, but I’ll take it!”
The graphic novel is Saucedo’s first—and a self-financed—leap into the world of sequential art, one that also features illustrations and coloring from Debora Lancianese plus lettering from former Marvel staffer Jack Morelli.
To the latter, Saucedo has captured lightning in a bottle. Over email, he wrote that “The body language and facial expressions are flawless, as is the storytelling, all moving seamlessly from horror to humor to pathos to gore and back again.”
Saucedo, a Port Arthur native who has spent time in McAllen, Bryan/College Station, and now lives in Houston, said three figures served as inspirations for Where Wolf’s Larry Chaney: the protagonist and the actor playing him in the 1941 film The Wolf Man, the namesake of Gregory Mcdonald’s Fletch series, and the author’s own experience.
Indeed, Saucedo worked for a Bryan–College Station Eagle as a reporter for about a year until dissatisfaction reared its head. He wasn’t confident enough in his writing. The switch to copy editing also didn’t work out. He added, “Larry is kind of like an avatar of where I thought I might be, professionally and emotionally, had I stayed in journalism, which is, to say, also not happy.”
His initial vision for the project was, in fact, a tribute to the journalism profession.
“When Larry finds out that there’s a werewolf attacking the town,” Saucedo said, “he sees this as a big chance to get all the fame and glory he has been chasing his entire life. That’s where I was at in my life—I spent most of my 20s and 30s chasing that ‘fame and glory’ before realizing you kind of have to work for what you want to get.”
Saucedo found plenty of time to work on Where Wolf in 2020 when COVID hit and the Alamo Drafthouse, where he had programmed films, furloughed him. He applied the “a chapter a day” mantra and finished a full draft in less than two weeks. At this stage, his work was an online novel. (“No one was reading it—I could see the traffic on my website”). He briefly considered turning it into a podcast, but plans were scrapped after he realized he would need a sound editor (and an industry pro he met quoted him $10,000).
A graphic novel, then, became the best medium for Where Wolf. He could invest in artists and nourish his love for cinema.
“Having watched as many movies as I have, you kind of think in a very cinematic way when you’re trying to tell a story,” Saucedo said. “The rule of thumb I basically had when I talked to Deb was, ‘Even if you take out all the dialogue, the page still needs to look funny.’”
Here are two examples from the first chapter: One is a panel transition that has a chunk of human leg becoming chunks of meat on a plate, the other sees Larry interacting with an editorial “CENSORED” tag.
Lancianese, the artist he chose as a collaborator, enjoyed taking on the project despite the theme and style (it’s in black and white) being somewhat new to her. She shared that a planned sequel will be in full color.
“I fully trust the process as I love Rob’s writing,” she wrote over email, “so I’m sure this volume is gonna be more funny, gritty and surprising than the previous one.”
Yes, Saucedo already has completed the sequel to Where Wolf—sans graphics at the moment, again as a self-financed endeavor. Its release will be dependent on the current installment’s sales.
Already, Where Wolf has been optioned to become a series, a feature film and—in a full circle moment—a podcast. Stay tuned for the results. Saucedo said he’d be open to an animated version of Where Wolf, too.
“But that’s [something] that’s either gonna happen or not gonna happen, so I don’t want to spend all my time trying to will that into happening,” he added. “I’m really happy with it as a comic, and that’s the version of it I’m really confident to release to the public—more than the novel, more than the podcast, or any future iteration of Where Wolf.”
And so, akin to an investigation, Saucedo would be taking things one step at a time with his work. With the Texas portion of his book tour finished, he will now focus on those in other cities and states. Not before a small break, though.
“I started off the tour with almost 300 books in my inventory and I have sold everything,” he said. “It’s been great getting to meet werewolf and comic fans from all over [Texas] and talk to them about the book. It’s been an even bigger privilege being able to reunite with some of the folks who inspired characters in the books, such as my college roommates or my journalism advisor from the Battalion.”