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Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

I’m going through a werewolf phase right now. A week ago while sitting in the bathtub, my favorite thinking spot, I pondered my next story. I know I want the stage to be the setting, so I can play with the idea of outer life, performance, with inner life, what it takes to put forth that performance. I want to inject a supernatural element into the story, but the first thing that naturally comes to mind, haunted theater, has already been done so much, and I just finished 80,000 words about a haunted object with The Charm Quilt. I want to do something new now.

My sister Kristi has been working on a werewolf painting for months, and she just finished the canvas. 

So werewolves are on my mind, and I think it fits with what I have envisioned. A performer who’s werewolf, whose art and stagecraft improves with the ebb and flow of the moon and peaking pheromones, where erratic behavior is almost expected of the artist.

After my bath, I hurriedly scanned my bookshelves for werewolf literature, which I seem to be severely lacking in, and found Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf, a book I haven’t read since I was a teenager. It is a lean and mean work and seems to be a smashup of graphic novel and novella, with illustrations by Berni Wrightson of the story’s climactic scenes and remarkably brief prose by Stephen King, who usually lets it all hang out in his writing. Cycle of the Werewolf is set in a small Maine town, Tarker’s Mills, populated with vivid characters: an obese woman who dreams of love and sends herself valentines from Ace Frehley and John Travolta; a small-town constable who talks too much and listens too little; and a ten-year-old boy in a wheelchair, Marty Coslow, who confronts the monster and lives to tell the tale.

The illustrations remind me of artists Stephen Bissette and John Totleben when they were illustrating Alan Moore’s run of the Swamp Thing. (The spider monkey story with the Ouija board still scares the bejesus out of me.) And now that I look at my graphic novel of The Saga of the Swamp Thing, I see that Berni Wrightson created the original horror comic Swamp Thing, so that makes sense. Must find more werewolf literature. And good werewolf movies. Any suggestions would be welcome.

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