BEVERLY — Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolfman are at it again.
The artists behind the unlikely couple have relaunched a Kickstarter campaign aimed at funding a 48-page comic book called "Tales of the Wolfman."
The illustrated book will read much like a romantic comedy, with Little Red Riding Hood married to the Big Bad Wolf. Only instead of a wolf, the groom is actually a Wolfman from the classic Universal horror films.
David Gruba, of Beverly, and Rene Castellano, of Mayfair, are the artists behind the comic. The pair teamed in 2009 to publish "Bride of the Wolfman." Chicago-based Instant Press Comics produced the first book, as well as the sequel, "House of the Wolfman," in March 2012.
Castellano works for a large office supply company by day and serves as the publisher of Instant Press Comics on the side. Gruba works as a legal assistant and moonlights as the editor of the independent comic book company.
In May 2014, the pair launched a similar Kickstarter campaign to fund "Tales of the Wolfman." The effort fell short of its $5,000 goal and thus was scrapped.
Gruba said he waited a little more than a year to relaunch the online fundraiser. He feels the campaign is better organized this time around as several stories have already been written and illustrated.
Howard Ludwig says the artists feel they're more prepared for Kickstarter:
Gruba and Castellano will author three of the 10 stories within the book. It will feature color cover art with black-and-white drawings inside. The other stories will be submitted by fellow artists and writers the two have met on the comic-con circuit.
The mash-up of the Brothers Grimm's Fairy Tale and the classic monster movie has become a favorite of independent comic book fans. It features Wolf and Red living in grandma's house in the woods. Only in Gruba's version of the story, Wolf didn't eat the homeowner. Rather, grandma ran off to Las Vegas.
Wolf is most commonly found playing poker with his buddies, which include the Mummy, Dracula and Frankenstein. The story is really more of a romantic comedy than a horror story.
The small but enthusiastic fan base for the Wolfman comics has fueled the creators' passion for the characters and their drive to produce "Tales of the Wolfman," Gruba said.
So, he's confident that the latest fundraising effort will reach its $5,000 goal by July 20. To do so, the artist has also offered some enticing incentives to potential donors.
For a $75 pledge, donors can be drawn into the comic as a guest character. This was one of the first "rewards" to sell out on Kickstarter. But there are plenty of other motivators, such as donors receiving original art from the book, signed copies and variant covers.
Should the effort be successful, Gruba hopes to have "Tales of the Wolfman" printed and available sometime in December. As for long-term goals for the characters, Gruba believes his family-friendly book would also work as a television show on Cartoon Network or elsewhere.
"Even when I write it and with Rene's style, I always picture it as a cartoon," Gruba said.
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