Werewolves are a centuries old monster, representing everything from change to the animalistic tendencies of humans. Werewolves of some sort are seen in almost every culture across the globe. Shape changers are something that has captivated and horrified for years, so how does one create a spin on the time old story?
Coey Kuhn, an artist stationed out of Columbus, Ohio, has managed to not only change a key part of the werewolf lore, but also created a rather loveable monster in the process. Lucille is a short-form comic (available for sale in physical copies or through his Patreon) that follows the titular through the consequences of her attack and subsequent first transformation.
GenderTerror was lucky enough to interview the artist about not only Lucille‘s creation, but the deeper meanings to the work and Lucille’s special attributes.
GT: What prompted Lucille’s creation?
CK: As most of my comics and stories – it started with a doodle. This time it was a suggestion from a request on my Patreon of a werewolf. While drawing my mind took off in a direction, running away with it and started formulating a story as I drew her. Strange scars, depressed skull, tangled patches of unwashed hair, gross saggy dog jowls turned into what caused it, who was she, why had this happened. My mind often wanders like this when drawing new things. Both a blessing and a curse as far as story creation. It means everything probably has a backstory and reason to it… but also that I have so many untold stories that I’d like to share.
GT: So when it comes to Lucille’s specific type of deformation, there was no plan to make her that way? It just happened?
CK: There were elements I knew I wanted to include, others just worked their way out as the story took shape. I knew I wanted her change to be irreversible, that eventually took the form of the scars that she wouldn’t reverse and built on that from there.
GT: Was there a particular reason you wanted Lucille’s transformation to be irreversible?
CK: The irreversible elements of Lucille’s story are heavily linked to my own. Overall I think it’s easy to compare my experience transitioning with that of Lucille’s. A huge change in the making, not knowing how family, friends, loved ones would take it. Having to come out as this new person and how they would treat you. Would they keep you away from family to try to shelter them from what they couldn’t or had trouble explaining? Would you feel like more of a monster at the end because it’s not what you expected? What you thought it would feel like? No one’s experience is the same no matter how much you think you know or try to inform yourself. How will your new scars shape your future and how will you move forward? Essentially transitioning in a lot of ways is something that’s irreversible for better or worse. Lucille’s ending best reflecting my own experiences- someone who had those who loved and supported them from the start (in the story Mizu, in life my loving wife and close friends) but also had to reconcile with a family who were just afraid and unsure what to say or do. Family who eventually had an easier time understanding through long educated talks and heartfelt discussions.
GT: What do people connect with when it comes to Lucille? Have people seen meaning in her that you didn’t intend?
CK: I actually haven’t heard much on that front. I’d love to hear more though! Lucille’s story could be easily interpreted different ways based on an individual experiences and I don’t think it should be limited to just what intent I put into it. If it speaks to you it speaks to you and I think that’s really wonderful. That being said- I’ve had a lot of positive response from the comic though! Everyone loves her and wants to see good things happen to her and I couldn’t be happier.
GT: What is your favorite part of Lucille’s character?
CK: Finding new ways to reinvent old traditions is always an inspiration. That sort of creative problem solving to figure out how to tell and shape a story is probably my favorite part. Knowing you want to tell a story but then the journey to finishing it is really rewarding. I wanted to avoid just sticking to groundwork that was already told and find my own way to tell the story. I wanted to convey a short and simple story that was still engaging and fresh.
GT: Lucille’s comic has a happy ending, so to say. Was this done on purpose or did you fall into it?
As a positive reflection of my transition and wanting to show that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel I wanted her story to end on a rocky positive. Her story is simple but shows that even happy endings take work. If you want to repair bonds, help people understand and make a positive future it’s not as simple as a fairytale ending.
GT: Any plans for any different types of ‘deformed’ werewolves or more Lucille comics?
CK: I’d like to do another short comic that explores how Mizu was turned. Also think it would be interesting to explore how other experiences in life would reflect through the lens of change. How something like mental health might translate for example. Definitely a possibility for the future.