I am not by any means a prude, but I should have never read Werewolf Jones & Songs: Deluxe Super Fun Annual. Or any of these comics, really. It is rude, crude, disgusting, and occasionally funny. It is as if Kevin Smith’s brain were a comic book, scrubbed of most pop cultural references and drawn by a 12-year-old. I’d say it pushes the envelope, but after decades of the Internet existing, I don’t think there are any envelopes left to push. But if there are, this book pushes it off the table, takes a big crap on it, then lights it on fire.
Werewolf Jones & Sons (Jaxon and Diesel – there is a daughter Vejonica, but I guess she doesn’t rate, or maybe “Werewolf Jones & Sons & Daughter” doesn’t roll off the tongue) are characters in the long-running Megg, Mogg & Owl comic series. It was created by Simon Hanselmann who usually does all the writing and drawing but he is assisted here by Josh Pettinger and HTML Flowers. It is actually unclear if they helped with the writing or the drawing. I’ll collectively blame all of them for this mess.
Werewolf Jones is usually a side character in the Megg, Mogg & Owl comics, wiki articles call him an agent of chaos. He is a literal werewolf who lives amongst humans (something that is never commented on, at least not in this book). He is selfish, mean to everyone including his children, a drug addict, a sexual deviant, and generally a horrible person all around. The book revels in his misbehavior.
It opens with the two sons, standing outside a door asking him to hurry up. The next frame shows Werewolf Jones on the toilet shouting “For Fucks Sake! Always Fucking Rushing Me!” Moments later, he takes the boys outside wearing a wife-beater shirt, big boots, and what appears to be thong underwear. Someone on the street – human, not wolf, were or otherwise – sporting what one can only assume is an enormous erection berates Werewolf Jones with a homophobic slur. Jones then proceeds to beat the man senselessly, calling him the same slur when he sees that the man uses Google Pixel.
Later the boys find their father laying naked and unconscious on the street. They assume he is dead and cry out. The art, for its part, gives us a closeup of his anal sphincter with a glob of what one can only assume is semen oozing out. When Werewolf Jones awakens, he notes that he was “bumming this dude” then everything went blank. When he realizes his stuff was stolen, he berates the policeman for not writing down that someone dressed as Baby Yoda stole his stuff after the mutual bumming.
In a story entitled “Spit Game,” the two boys are sitting on their bunk beds. The boy on the top bank leans over and spits down, aiming for the boy on the bottom bunk. He hits him in the face, eyes, and mouth. He then encourages bottom bunk boy to try his hand at it. But the rules of gravity dictate that spitting upwards only ensures that the spittle only goes up so far and then falls back down onto the bottom bunk boy. The story ends with the top bunk boy masturbating with his semen hitting the other kid in the face.
Ho Ho! HIarious.
Again, I’m not a prude. I wasn’t offended by any of this. I didn’t dig through my jewelry box in search of pearls to clutch. But neither did I find it funny. I mentioned Kevin Smith earlier and that comparison seems apt. That’s a man who loves his off-color, his scatological, his sexual humor. Lots of people find him hilarious. I’m just simply not one of those people.
There is a way you could read this comic as a commentary on poverty, addiction, and abuse. There are moments of pathos within the book. Several panels include one of the children with a tear in his eyes. One could argue that the jokes are simply a way inside this world in which real people do sometimes live. I wouldn’t fight that argument if you made it, but I’m not sure I buy it either. These stories are trying to shock you into laughing, nothing more.
The art is fairly rudimentary but it works for what the strip is doing. The pages are made up of small square or rectangle boxes, similar to what you’d find in most newspaper comic pages. There were times when I struggled to make out exactly what was happening inside each box, especially the smaller ones, but mostly it all works well for the stories being told. Fantagraphics has done its usual stellar job of binding these stories into a beautiful package.
So, yeah, this book was definitely not for me. But if you find Kevin Smith Funny, or if you enjoy jokes about dicks, or shit, or rape, or cum – basically if you never developed past the 14-year-old boy stage of your life, then this book might be for you.