Justin Heggs is the writer and co-creator of WOLF HANDS, one half of a creative team that has embraced comics as its own medium to turn common tropes on their head. They tell their serialized story at breakneck pace, yet Wolf Hands never feels rushed. Justin’s witty dialogue pairs splendidly with the cartoon physics of Vaughn’s transformation and artist Nick Johnson’s animated designs.
Bonus points are also awarded to Wolf Hands for having a strong female character in Jenny Rose, who rejects traditional love interest tropes without breaking out of her archetype. Wolf Hands is an indie comic that reminds us why we should stop by every indie booths we can find at conventions.
Take a chance, support local creativity, be delighted.
Justin and Nicholas were kind enough to answer a few questions about the series and their process recently, during the early stages of Wolf Hands being developed into a film adaptation.
CAOTICA: You’re one half of a mind-melting creative power duo. What’s your role on Wolf Hands?
JUSTIN HEGGS: I think the proper comic term is, the idea comer-uper-wither, after that it’s all Nick. Oh, I also bring pens to shows if we’re doing signings, those are my two jobs.
C: Think fast! Give me a genre and a 30 word (or less) logline for Wolf Hands.
JH: Action-comedy? Vaughn Miller is scratched by a dying werewolf and transformed into a bloodthirsty savage, in his hands.
C: When did you begin writing, and what got you into the trade?
JH: I’ve always been writing stories in some form or another. I think It really picked up when I was in film school in 2001, I did a lot of scripts back then. After I realized that there were places online that you could find comic artists to work with, comics have been my writing focus ever since.
C: How did you two meet and begin this comic?
JH: I initially wanted Nick to work on a short 5-page story with me but the timing wasn’t right. Then I set out to try and come up with the type of story that I’d want to see in Nick’s style so I could pitch him on something else. He said the only way he could do it is if we waited until he was done ACAD.
I could only picture Nick doing the story so I told him we’d wait.
C: Could you describe your production schedule for the comic?
JH: Wherever the wind may take us. That’s why we’ve never really announced dates for issues to come out. No one gets paid for this, so it needs to fit in between things that do pay. The agreement has always been, it happens when it happens.
C: There’s a lot of werewolf in the market right now. Bitten, Wolf Cop, Hemlock Grove, and so on. Is this helping your comic?
JH: Yeah and when we started, I hadn’t heard of any of that stuff, the Teen Wolf remake hadn’t even started. I just wanted to do something that wasn’t vampires.
I don’t think the other stuff makes much of a difference, It’s not a traditional werewolf story. I’ve never really tried to sell it as a werewolf story, I mean, it is of course, but I see Vaughn as more possessed than anything.
C: Who do you see as the Wolf Hands audience?
JH: People who like over-the-top action and some comedy in their comics, people that don’t need all their comics to be grim and dark with heavy shadows on everything. Probably super good looking too, if I had to guess.
C: Where did the inspiration for Wolf Hands come from?
JH: Three things 1) I’ve always loved the Universal Studios Wolf Man 2) My love for 70’s Marvel comics where stories moved faster than today’s super drawn out story arcs 3) Wrist Hulk, the crappiest quality video on youtube.
C: Who’s your favourite character to write for?
JH: Hudson is fun, I feel like I can hear his voice pretty well. Vaughn is getting much more manic, that’s fun too.
C: What are you reading right now? What should we all read?
JH: I really like Kaijumax and Tokyo Ghost that are coming out now. I recently finished the Chrononauts trade, that was really fun.
C: Without spoiling anything, what can you tell me about Vaughn’s curse progressing?
JH: Well, things are definitely progressing, the real trick will be a willingness to accept and control.
C: Any interesting trivia about the series you wish people knew?
JH: Not really, the Wrist Hulk thing is pretty much the only thing that feels like a bit of trivia. I guess other than the fact that when I was first emailing Nick about this, I kept changing back and forth between calling the main character Vaughn Miller and Vaughn Harris.
I have no idea why, sometimes my brain just typed the other name, I actually always intended for him to be named Vaughn Harris, which I got from the spine of my Ex Machina trades near my desk, no clue where Miller came from.
C: What else are you writing right now?
JH: I’m trying to get a 70’s style Kung Fu comic off the ground right now. I’m also writing a story for the second issue of Midnight Feature, a horror anthology put out by Broken Key Comics.
C: How can fans help support Wolf Hands? Patreon, anything like that?
JH: No, nothing like that. If you see us at shows, buy Wolf Hands or whatever else we’re working on, that’s the best way. The coolest thing in the world is having other people be excited for the work you’ve done, it makes it that much easier to want to do more.