Wolf and Man is an independent web comic by artist Jordan Kroeger. The plot depicts the tale of an unnamed male protagonist, who has been separated from his partner and tribe. Venturing through nomadic lands with the threat of feral obstacles, the unnamed character befriends a wolf who travels with him in support. It is a unique comic whose style matches the many tribal elements within, and while on the surface it may seem lacking, ultimately it is a rewarding read.
Originally, I found some of the decisions surrounding Wolf and Man to be arbitrary, even to the point where I believed some of its unique features to be unrewarding. For example, there is no dialogue present whatsoever. However strong the imagery and structure of the narrative, it is eminently difficult to progress the development of characters without involving speech in some manner. Moreover, Wolf and Man is an ongoing web comic, meaning that pages are released over time. In some ways this makes it difficult for a consumer to warrant a continuing interest, especially with such an abstract approach to a comic. It is probable that the comic will be published after it is complete, however.
But after appropriately sinking my teeth into Wolf and Man, it is the abstract in which I find most light after all. After analysing the comic objectively, stripping down all preconceived concepts I have of comic work, it is then I realise that the complete lack of scripting compliments the tribal themes and notions of the comic. The absence of dialogue is a language within itself. These decisions work as an aesthetic within themselves; it is not the characters that we are immersing ourselves in, but rather their journey and experiences in an intense unknown universe. The relationship between the unnamed protagonist and his wolf companion is symbolic in many ways, and to me it represents the intricacy of communication, which alludes to the comic itself. Pages being released separately over time may have been a production choice, but after my own speculation and reading over the available pages multiple times, this decision could whimsically connote to the journey that main protagonist is on. Having to make the viewer wait puts them at an uncertainty for what is going to happen next, just like the main character in Wolf and Man.
Just as with the narrative themes, the art is also complimentary to the overall tribal aesthetic that Kroeger is trying to represent. The art style has a spirited water colour like portrayal, which works well with Kroeger’s unique panel work. The colours are all of dark, rich varieties giving the comic an earthy presentation. A lot of the work is left purposely sketchy, leaving it with a rustic, worn feel.
Wolf and Man is a familiar story of man opposing any and all odds to achieve what is just. Kroeger has done well to approach this classic style of tale without it feeling generic. With gritty imagery and interpretive storytelling, Wolf And Man would make for an interesting comic if it were to be published fully. This is a comic worth hunting down indeed.
Wolf And Man is freely available to read at WolfAndManComic.com.