Monday, February 23, 2015

The Kitchen Sink: Fearful Hunter

Sometimes, the best way to break through a creative block is to write and/or draw a story that has elements one simply enjoys playing around with. In creating Fearful Hunter, Jon Macy decided to draw and write about things that he liked and figure out how they connected later. In his case, that was punk rock, boys, druids, werewolves and trees. The result was a much looser, freer and more expressive work than what I've seen from Macy.. This is hindered in part by the ridiculous, fantasy bodies that speak to the sillier end of wish-fulfillment: six-pack abs and asses so curvy they would put Milo Manera to shame. Still, unlike his previous book Teleny & Camille (in which he added a ridiculous, tacked-on happy ending), Macy here is able to unite his "star-crossed lovers" themes in a way that was organic, exciting and entirely related to the plot.

In brief, the story is about a young, emerging druid who falls in love with a werewolf, and the jealous master that seeks to have the werewolf for himself. Along the way, there's an epic conspiracy designed to make a particular druid all-powerful over their gods, a werewolf caravan, various friendly animals and sex scenes that not only aren't jarring to the reader, they are integral to the story. The more mundane aspects of the story, like the daily lives of werewolves and the sexual and platonic friendships of the book, help balance out some of the nonsensical fantasy/magic-speak.

Every character has solid motivations and the fantasy elements of the story are well thought-out, fascinating and manage to avoid familiar cliches while still trumpeting "the power of love". Indeed, the book is one long exploration of sex as a function of love vs. sex as a function of power. This plays out in how the druids interact with their "allies" (the elder gods), including an excellent plot twist at the end that saves the day. At its core, this is a simple "outside forces conspire to break up an ideal couple" story, but Macy's storytelling instincts make these obstacles interesting to read about and far from arbitrary. By placing part of the conflict as one as professional duties vs romance, Macy hit on a point that will resonate with many readers. There is joy on every page of this book, as Macy's enthusiasm for his favorite subjects sings on every page. If Teleny and Camille felt clinical and slick, this book is personal and delightfully sloppy.

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