Review Fix chats with Robert A. Multari Creator/Writer, who discusses the origin and creative process behind his series, Night Wolf.
Review Fix: How did you know a career in comics was for you?
Robert A. Multari: It all started back in elementary school; I was struggling to pay attention in class. Any sound or flash of light would instantly pull my focus away, and it was hard to get back into my lessons. The other kids in my grade were already reading at the appropriate level for our age or better. It was frustrating for me. I remember feeling overwhelmed during tests when all the other kids were done and talking, while I struggled to finish. There were many times when I would just bury my head in my arms and cry. Other times I sat frozen with my face beet red and frustrated from the over stimulation surrounding me. Worried, my saint of a mother took me to a specialist who diagnosed me with Attention Deficit Disorder and Dyslexia. After the diagnosis, my mom made a deal with me to encourage me to try harder in school and help me to read. If I could raise my grades and improve my reading, I would get 3 comic books and 30¢ a week. Late at night, I remember struggling to get my homework done, but I was determined to do it. I have to say thanks to my mom, because her plan worked quite well and really paid off. The comic books weren’t just an incentive to try harder, they literally helped me learn to read. The pictures in the comics put the words into context, helping me to see the words for what they actually were and not what my dyslexic brain made me think they were. Even now, smaller words are more recognizable, but larger words still give me trouble. The context of how the words are used helps me to decipher the word.
My first comic books ever, were the three-part Untold Legend of the Batman comic books with read along cassette tapes. My next set of comics were some of the Incredible Hulk comics, during the Grey Hulk/Joe Fixit period in the 1980s, which was way different than what I expected after watching the 80s Hulk cartoon series on VHS. After that, I then moved onto Spider-Man for a while, until I discovered Wolverine, while watching the X-Men pilot Pride of the X-Men. I immediately gravitated toward Wolverine and was obsessed with the character. At the time, I didn’t realize what DC or Marvel was; I just knew the heroes and their individual cartoons or comics. One day, I was sitting with all my comics, and I saw the Marvel logo on the Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine and X-Men comic books. I started to put together that they were all made by Marvel, and after reading some crossover issues, I realized that these characters live in the same universe together. It blew my mind! I thought that was the most amazing thing ever! This helped to spark my interest in becoming a comic book creator. Surprisingly, what really hammered home the idea that I could be a writer happened in Junior High while reading Where the Red Fern Grows. In class, we discussed how the writer, Wilson Rawls, based the story on part of his own childhood. For some reason that resonated with me and brought it home that I could be a writer, too. When I was 14 years old, I wrote fan fiction for the X-Men and submitted it to Marvel in hopes that Stan Lee would read it. Someone from Marvel was nice enough to write back to me saying that Stan loves to hear from his fans and encouraged me to keep up my writing. As naive as I was at the time, it spread my passion for the business like a wildfire. This inspired me to go to art school at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Applied Media Arts. Which is basically a fancy way to say Graphic and Web Design Degree. Being a graphic designer helps when it comes to putting my book layouts together and lettering.
So, the moral of my very long story is that comic books have been very influential in my life and helped me to overcome my learning disabilities. Currently, I’m a full-time web and graphic designer as well as a part-time comic book creator. I would like to rearrange those two paths in the near future.
Review Fix: Who inspires you creatively?
Multari: I started reading comics in the late 80s/early 90s, so Chris Claremont, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane were big influences. From a non-comic standpoint J.R.R. Tolkien was a big inspiration as well. The world building in his books pushed me to create a world and mythology around my characters before getting too deep into writing their stories.
Review Fix: How are your comics different or special?
Multari: My comics have a unique take on the supernatural, theology, mythology, and fantasy. It’s not your typical cookie cutter superhero series, which I think a lot of people are tired these days. My books are also produced with quality in mind from the story and art to the printing as well.
There also aren’t a lot of werewolf focused comic book out there. Most media represent werewolves as mindless beasts or villains. I wanted to create a character who was born a werewolf and not cursed, who can change at will and keep his own mental faculties.
Review Fix: Working with a few different people in this one, what had the process been like?
Multari: When I first started looking for an artist in 2013, I was searching on multiple artist sites like DeviantArt. I put out a job post and got samples from several artist, but none of them were quite what I was looking for my story. Finally, I came across Carlos Herrera’s profile and fell in love with his art. I messaged him about the project, and he messaged back saying that he loved the concept. Carlos was also working fulltime job, so it took some time, but he produced several gorgeous character designs, a cover and the first few pages for me doing both the illustration and coloring.
Unfortunately, during that time he started a new job for some mythical monster trading card game that was paying way better than me, so he had to leave my project because he didn’t have time to finish. So the artist hunt began again until I found Oscar Choquecota Ale to take over illustration and Ross A. Campbell to do the coloring to finish the first issue of Night Wolf.
When it was time to produce Night Wolf Issue 2 Oscar was on board, but Ross was pick up by DC Comics and was unavailable. Oscar is also the owner of Bokuman Studio, which is a Digital Art provider for comics, animation, illustration, and art assets for video games. He offered to have one of his colorists to take over for Ross, so the who issue was done under the Bokuman Studio banner. I liked the art that they produced, but I wasn’t 100% on board with the coloring.
When I was ready to produce Night Wolf Issue 3, I approached Gat Melvyn, who I had been following, about coloring the issue. It turns out he had been following me and Night Wolf as well, so he was excited to work on the project. Oscar was so supposed to be the illustrator on the book, but the style changed slightly, so I sure he had one of his Bokuman team members doing the art instead.
Which led me to reach out to Carlos again. I thought since time has passed, he might be available again to at least work on the illustration for Night Wolf Issue 4. Sure enough, Carlos had a more stead job where he could do the illustration for the book. Now he is vested in the project and is in for the long haul, so for the foreseeable future Carlos and Gat will continue to work on Night Wolf as my amazing artists.
Review Fix: Any challenges?
Multari: So many challenges I almost don’t know where to start. I’ve already mentioned the changeover of artists in the first few issues. Glad to be past that, knock on wood. The obvious one is finding the time to keep up a production schedule since I am a family man and work a full-time job. Any free moment I can get I’m hustling to keep this dream of mine going.
A big challenge I had when I first started out was my first attempt at launching a Kickstarter back in April of 2016. I had launched a failed Kickstarter campaign for Night Wolf Issues 1-3 with only the character designs, the cover and the first 5 pages of issue 1 that Carlos had finished. I played the game on hard, setting a $20,000 goal. However, I did manage to raise over$5,000, but Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform. It took a few months to pick my head back up, but I didn’t let that failed launch stop me, so I decided to raise the money on my own by doing freelance web design jobs to pay the artists. After self-publishing Night Wolf Issues 1 and 2, I decide to come back to Kickstarter in October 2019. Since then, I’ve had four successfully overfunded campaigns for Night Wolf Issues 3, 4, 5, and the volume 1 trade paperback collection all four issues.
Distribution to retailers outside of my driving range is my biggest challenge that I haven’t been able to solve yet. I’m still too small time to approach the large distribution companies and I barely have the time to reach out to individual retail locations on my own.
Review Fix: What about this comic? Sell us. Sell us hard.
Multari: Do you love stories about anti-heroes and supernatural beings like werewolves, vampires, demons, witches, zombies and more? Then Night Wolf is the comic books series for you!
Night Wolf is an Urban Fantasy Werewolf Coming of Age Drama about a young man discovers that he was born a werewolf and is reluctantly thrown into a supernatural war.
Born into the outcast breed of werewolves known as the Monoki, eighteen-year-old Rodney Marcelli is reluctantly pulled into an ancient war between good and evil, during a modern time where the line has blurred.
With the help of Snow Paw, the Pureblood Monoki, and the supernatural evil slayer, Night Hunter, Rod must learn to master his newly found lycanthropy and mysterious kinetic energy power that only he possesses. Rod must fight the Dark Covenant in order to avenge his friends and family, and to save the girl he loves from the master vampire, Lord Malice.
Rodney Marcelli is Night Wolf!
Review Fix: What else inspired this comic?
Multari: I’ve always been a fan of werewolves in all media, but I felt like none of them got the werewolf right visually. That was partially why I wanted to put out my own werewolf comic. I started writing my first draft of Night Wolf and drawing my original character designs the summer because my Junior year of high school. During my Senior year I was telling a friend about my story and lore. He then mentioned that it sounded similar to a RPG game series. That was the first time that I had heard of Werewolf the Apocalypse. My friend showed me the gaming guide and I instantly fell in love with the illustrations in the book. I was like this is it! The aesthetic and the lore were everything I wanted in a werewolf story. Unfortunately, they were gaming books instead of comic books, so I was even more determined to make my own comic book series come to life.
Review Fix: Who do you think will dig it the most?
Multari: Anyone who likes unique takes on the horror, supernatural, theology, mythology, and fantasy genres. Particularly fans of Werewolf the Apocalypse, Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Underworld and other anti-hero monster horror stories. Also, collectors of high-quality modern independent comic books full of gorgeous art and a compelling story.
Review Fix: How do you want your books to be remembered?
Multari: As a great story accompanied by amazing art that can entertain everyone for years to come.
Review Fix: What are your long-term goals for your work?
Multari: I have long-term plans to keep this series on going and would eventually love to cross into other media like Robert Kirkman did with the Walking Dead.
Review Fix: What do you feel you need to do that you haven’t yet, in order to make this comic as successful as you want it to be?
Multari: Network with the right connections to take Night Wolf to the next level, so I can generate enough profit to make this a full-time job instead of just a part time gig. I made it this far on my own in my spare time. Can you imagine what I could do if this was a full-time gig?
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Multari: In case there was any question about Lone Wolf Comics, it is my self-publishing company that I started. I have a universe of characters that
Review Fix: What’s next?
Multari: We are constantly in production. Carlos has already started working on Night Wolf Issue 6 which I estimate to have a spring Kickstarter launch, so keep an eye open for the launch date. In the meantime, I’m about to release a Night Wolf spinoff series called Snow Paw. It’s about the origin story of Night Wolf’s mentor, Snow Paw, during 19th century in the Scottish Highlands. The launch date is October 13 and you can visit the Kickstarter prelaunch page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/multari/snow-paw-1-a-19th-century-scottish-female-werewolf-fantasy
Review Fix: Where can people find out more?
Multari: You can learn more about Lone Wolf Comics and Night Wolf at https://www.lonewolfcomics.com/ and you can follow me on Social Media.
Review Fix: How else can people support you?
Multari: If anyone is interested Night Wolf Issues 1 – 5, the Volume 1 trade paperback, and a variety of merchandise are all available at https://shop.lonewolfcomics.com/. However, they can get a FREE digital copy of Night Wolf #1 today at https://lonewolfcomics.com/offer/ by signing up for my email list.