Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Society: Wendigo

The Society is something I dreamed up a few years back and have off and on tweaked ever since. It was suggested to me that with the over-saturation of zombies and vampires in the comic market, werewolves were most likely to emerge as the next horror trend. At the time I was trying to put together pitches in many different genres, just to diversify my portfolio and always have something to pitch were the right opportunity with the right publisher to present itself. Given my love of the Old West, I decided to build a sort of werewolf story around that time period. What that original seed grew into was The Society: Wendigo, the first in what I hoped would be an ongoing series following the exploits of naturalist Joseph McCourt as he trod a path through the supernatural. The current version of the pitch is the most concise it's been, but I admit it doesn't quite pop the way it should. It's better now than it's been in the past, but I feel like it needs to be more concise still, with clearer examples of the action packed nature of the story coming through. Still, I believe this has legs. What do you guys think?

The Society is the story of naturalist and adventurer JOSEPH MCCOURT and his battle against the forces of old-timey religion, cannibalistic monsters and boomtown politics in the Old West.

Joseph, an Irish expatriate with an expertise in Indian affairs, works as a surveyor and investigator for an organization called the TRAVELER’S SOCIETY, a sort of Pinkerton Agency for the weird and unexplained. He is dispatched to the booming silver town of Johnstown to investigate town leader JOHN DAVIDSON’s claims that the Indian tribe surrounding his town is threatening his people and their livelihoods, a claim that comes on the back of the murder of the REVEREND JAMES GLASS’s wife and two children and the subsequent disappearance of the reverend. What Joseph finds when he arrives is a town ruled by a healthy dose of racist fear with Davidson at the heart of it all.

Since Johnstown has yet to be annexed by the United States, they make their own law. That law is enforced by WILLIAM TEAGUE, former Confederate soldier and appointed marshal, and his IRON DOGS, a group of former soldiers and gunfighters he uses as deputies. Despite his distaste for the town’s overall prejudices toward the Indian tribe, Joseph develops a deal of respect for Teague, judging him to be a just man. Regardless of his feelings toward Teague, Joseph finds that the town’s investigation into the murder of the reverend’s family leaves something to be desired. He launches an investigation that leads directly to a cover-up of the truth, that truth being that two of the Iron Dogs murdered the reverend’s family on a drunken bender and that Teague and Davidson protected the men and blamed the tribe instead.

While Joseph is discovering this, the reverend has retreated to the woods, driven mad by the slaughter of his family. He is intercepted by a rickety old woman, the malicious mother of all monsters from Native American myth. She offers him the truth about his family’s murder and the power with which to enact his vengeance. All he must do in return is give his life over to her, to become one of her “children.” Driven mad with rage, the reverend agrees, and through the old woman’s power is transformed into the flesh eating WENDIGO. As the wendigo, the reverend terrorizes the LONGBOAT SALOON, favorite watering hole of Teague and his men. The slaughter is brutal and swift, leaving Joseph no choice but to intervene. He battles and kills the reverend and exposes the truth about Davidson and his cover-up, leaving the townspeople to decide what to do about their regent. He leaves Teague’s name out of it though, choosing to confront the marshal on his own.

The story ends with Joseph leaving Teague with a pistol loaded with a single bullet, inferring that the man should use it to kill himself so that justice will be served. As Joseph walks away a single BANG! is heard, but we never see Teague’s body, leaving the man’s fate up in the air. If the series is picked up, Teague will return as Joseph’s toughest adversary.

The Society: Wendigo is a five issue mini-series of Hellboy meets Hex, a Deadwood/Beowulf mash-up that could appeal to fans of both horror and Western comics, with a strong possibility for continued stories featuring the main character, Joseph McCourt. If an ongoing series were greenlit, I see it following Joseph as he explores the truths behind some of America’s great myths and folk legends, battling monsters and tracking the man he once thought he could befriend, William Teague, as Teague himself embarks on his own misguided and bloody path through the strangeness of the Twisted West.

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