Posted by Decapitated Dan |

Deep Discussions with Decapitated Dan: Mike Wolfer

I recently had a chance to talk to Mike Wolfer about his upcoming OGN The Curse of Ragdoll which is now on Kickstarter. Check it out: 

Decapitated Dan: Hi Mike, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about Ragdoll. So lets start simple, who are you and what do you do?

Mike Wolfer: I am the one who brings your sexy nightmares to life. But seriously, I’m Mike Wolfer, comic book writer and artist. I’ve been in the business since 1987, and started out by self-publishing (WIDOW anyone?) before moving to Avatar Press, where I’ve written or drawn (or both) titles like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, FRIDAY THE 13TH, LADY DEATH and a slew of other horror-tinged projects like Warren Ellis’ GRAVEL, Garth Ennis’ STITCHED and Alan Moore’s YUGGOTH CREATURES.

DD: What is Ragdoll?

MW: THE CURSE OF RAGDOLL is the first in a series of RAGDOLL trade paperbacks which I hope to self-publish, with the help of my fans and Kickstarter. The first one will be 96 pages, with fully gray-toned, black and white interior art, and it’s a tale of supernatural vengeance from beyond the grave. The quick summary of the plot is that Ragdoll herself is a patchwork creation, like a female Frankenstein’s monster, whose body is stitched together from the corpses of many, many women. But because of the occult elements which gave her life, she has retained the “souls,” or life essences, dreams, and memories of all those from whom she was constructed… And she’s out for bloody revenge against those who killed the original owners of her individual parts.

DD: Where can we find the page to help fund Ragdoll on Kickstarter?

MW: The Kickstarter is “live” right now and ends May 30, 2014. You can find it at

DD: What kind of story can readers expect to find/read in this collection?

MW: I think that RAGDOLL can best be described as Gothic horror; it certainly has all of the elements: Late 18th Century European setting, despicable aristocrats, gorgeous women, romantic/sexual elements, etc. But I think it can also be viewed as a modern mystery/slasher tale, because there are copious amounts of gore and supernatural horror throughout. I like to think of it as a cross between any early ‘70s Hammer film, “The Abominable Dr. Phibes,” and “Friday The 13th.” Which is quite an interesting mix for horror fans like us!

DD: So if you were to give this a movie style rating, what would it be and why?

MW: Definitely an “R” rating, for gore, nudity and adult situations. It’s been toned-down from its original incarnation, but it’s still pretty strong stuff.

DD: Where was Ragdoll originally printed, and why come back to it after all this time?

MW: The story was first seen in short installments in an adults only anthology called RAW MEDIA QUARTERLY, published by Avatar Press in 1998. Of course, “adults only” means, “X-rated.” Because of the limited interest and marketability of adults only comics, very few of my current fans even know the story existed, and even fewer ever saw it. Those who did see it have always said that it was some of my best work, and that it’s a shame that no one knows about it, so since Avatar had no interest in doing a modern, trade paperback reprinting of it, I figured, “Why not me?” and that’s where I am today.

DD: Will anything be different from how it was before, to what we will get now?

MW: The story is still the same, but the presentation is very different. I’ve removed all of the pages and panels with explicit content, drawing new material to pop into its place; the only thing that’s been removed are the specifically pornographic images. But because I’m not constrained by page count limitations that were originally in place in the anthology format, I can expand however I’d like, so I’ve added completely new pages to each of the seven chapters that expand on the existing story, and I’ve re-infuse subplots which had to be excised back in ’98 due to lack of space.

DD: Why go Kickstarter with the project?

MW: Basically, I’m testing the waters to see if Kickstarter is a viable option for me, rather than working with established publishers. If publishers aren’t interested in a project, the only other option for the creator is self-publishing, which is always a gamble. Kickstarter takes the risk out of the endeavor. Take THE CURSE OF RAGDOLL as an example: What publisher would bite on a former X-rated story? Regardless of the quality, the stigma alone is enough for any major indy publisher to pass on it, so I’ll do it myself. I’ve wanted to Kickstart a project for some time, and was looking to do one for another project of mine titled MALISON PLAGUE. With that, however, I’d have to give Kickstarter a shot, and if it was successful, I’d then have to draw the entire thing, which is a huge undertaking and very time consuming. Contributors would have to wait probably 8 months to get the finished product. But with THE CURSE OF RAGDOLL,  the whole thing is practically done already, so for my first Kickstarter outing, I’m going to have a very fast turn-around, which will instill confidence in my supporters should I Kickstart another project that will have a more distant delivery window.

DD: Do you have any stretch goals planned if you hit a certain amount?

MW: For my first Kickstarter, I’m keeping it pretty simple and not offering a bunch of crappy, little rewards, things that you look at and say, “Wow, cool,” then promptly lose in a junk drawer. My rewards are books, books, books, a t-shirt, and original art. My goal is $5000, but I’ll have stretch rewards at $6k, $7k and $8k, each of which will be an 11”X17” full color, signed and numbered art print. Those are “The Siren,” “The Vampiress,” and “The Wolfwoman.”

DD: Is this a project you can come back again in the future, or is it all contained in this book?

MW: THE CURSE OF RAGDOLL is a complete story in itself, but it’s intended as the first of many stories. In fact, I’m already plotting the sequel, so if I reach my goal and readers like what they see, I’ll have already laid the groundwork for the next graphic novel.

DD: After reading the preview/sample pages, I am reminded of Warren/Skywald publications, did they have any kind of influence over style writing/drawing?

MW: Are you kidding? Of COURSE they did! Ha! Those mags were what I read growing up, and are what inspired me to do what I do today. And it was the flavor of the art in those publications that led me to do full gray-toned art for RAGDOLL; I wanted to emulate the unique feel of those great old magazines. As for the writing, I’m sure the style of some of the authors of those old stories has seeped into RAGDOLL. Those were the days when you were allowed to be literate, and sometimes flowery writing in captions could create an aura more akin to novels than comics.

DD: What are you hoping readers can take away from Ragdoll?

MW: Foremost, I want the reader to get that visceral thrill of seeing horrible people get what’s coming to them. It’s kind of EC Comics, in a way, but it’s a tried-and-true formula. And more subtly, I do hope that readers note the pseudo-feminist tone of the story. I won’t go into any detail here, but readers should remember what life was like for women 250 years ago, and what I’ve tried to capture is an accurate portrayal of the gender injustice which was once common in so many countries. And that’s yet another motivation behind the unique brand of vengeance which Ragdoll doles out.

DD: So why should we help fund this project (other than the fact that we are helping get an amazing comic we NEED to read be printed)?

MW: As I said earlier, the Kickstarter for THE CURSE OF RAGDOLL is a big experiment for me, to see just what kind of fan support I have. I’m currently working for Avatar Press on CROSSED, and writing INFERNO: RINGS OF HELL for Zenescope Entertainment, but there are other projects I’m not having success getting publishers to pick up, like MALISON PLAGUE. And if you’re a fan of my work, and want to see the true, undiluted Wolfer stuff, RAGDOLL and Kickstarter are what’s going to bring that your way.

DD: So again where can we find that Kickstarter page?


DD: Thanks so much for your time Mike.