Review Index


By JAMES HAVOC, DANIELE SERRA (Creation Oneiros; 2009)

This relentless psychotic nightmare in graphic novel form concerns an individual identified as Billy the Wolf Boy. Also known as "Ass-Destroyer," he’s a homicidal shape-shifter who started out as a depraved 18th Century French libertine and executioner for a society of blood-drinking Americans. In his latest incarnation Billy is brought up amidst a traveling freak show run by a deranged preacher, and becomes a lightning-addicted, graveyard-dwelling practitioner of “Gun Magick.”

     Billy runs with a crowd known as the Teenage Timberwolves. Its ranks include Caril, Billy’s like-minded girlfriend, and Yuki, a Samurai trained Japanese babe. Yuki is kidnapped by a band of lesbian vampires, but Billy is able to track her by the breeze-blown scent of her menstrual blood. Later the Timberwolves commence a raid upon the Louisiana institute of Dr. Le Fanu, a loony shrink who happens to be the grandson of one of Billy’s century-old benefactors.

     That’s a severely abridged summary of this unspeakably demented epic, which also features a serial killer who’s declared war on women after having his left testicle bitten off and devoured by a whore, radical feminists residing in a house made of men’s putrefied eyeballs, a religious sect in which “an organless human anatomy fuses with the root matter of protostars to postulate a godless concept of divinity,” and the only depiction I’ve ever encountered of electric chair sex (giving a whole new meaning to the term “Riding the Lightning”).

     England’s James Havoc is among the most extreme writers there is. Fairly prolific throughout the nineties, he was alleged to have “mysteriously disappeared” following an epic 1999 drinking binge in Tokyo. Luckily for us, Havoc has reemerged after a decade of inactivity with this unforgettable work, expanded from his 1991 story “Love Comes in Fragments” (from the anthology RED STAINS) and stunningly visualized by the veteran illustrator Daniele Serra.

     Readers unfamiliar with James Havoc’s earlier fiction (found in the compilation volume BUTCHERSHOP IN THE SKY) may have a difficult time with TEENAGE TIMBERWOLVES. The narrative is related in Havoc’s usual stream-of-consciousness style, freely incorporating poetry, innumerable cultural and historical touchstones (including THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM, Yukio Mishima, Wilhelm Reich and Aleister Crowley), and a greater succession of depraved acts than any sane person could possibly conjecture, all packaged for maximum sensory assault into a mind-roasting 74 pages (the website helpfully details the backgrounds of the characters and settings, which aren’t always fully fleshed out in the book itself).

     Adequately visualizing this torrent of insanity can’t have been easy, but Daniele Serra has met the challenge. The visuals are bold, colorful and appropriately slip-streamy, all-but dripping dementia; a portion of nearly every page is literally spattered with blood. Serra often lets Havoc’s darkly poetic prose speak for itself (lines like “Blood, shit, heat, blue light, a feral eye of flowers pulsing in that nocturnal arcade of eviscerated wraiths and martyrs” don’t exactly lend themselves to illustration) and at other points fleshes out the descriptions in spectacularly gruesome detail (it’s hard to mistake those hanging torsos and severed heads!).

     Obviously this volume isn’t for everybody, i.e. the easily offended or anyone under 18. But for those of you who can appreciate a work of extreme psychosexual imagination pushed to its absolute breaking point, welcome to Nirvana.