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Academy Illustration Alums Evoke Industry Buzz With New Web Comic

Academy of Art University Illustration students and alumni are consistently recognized for their work in the comic book and graphic novel world. The Academy has one more addition to their list of accolades with the buzz Jon Colton and Kevin Shriver are receiving for their newly published comic Projekt Werwolf. The web comic, an exciting mix of horror fantasy and historical fiction, was recently featured on The Pulse, a website about the comic book industry. Jon wrote and inked the comic while Kevin did the layouts and drawings. Jon’s wife Kathryn, also an Academy of Art University alum, served as the colorist. 

Jon learned about the Academy when some of their reps came to visit the school he was attending at the time. Bill Maughn, the Director of Graduate Fine Art Painting led demonstrations of technique and discussed color theory. Jon was sold – he knew the Academy was the right school for him. Within the Illustration program, he found a faculty of the highest caliber.

“They are all actually out there in the marketplace, which gives them a more genuine insight into not only the techniques, but also the business side of things,” he said.

A Bay Area native, Kevin had attended the Academy’s Pre-College Summer Art Experience while in high school. After graduating, he attended a state school but found its programs frustrating. He decided to transfer to the place where he’d already had a great experience: Academy of Art University. Kevin had no doubt that he wanted to study Illustration.

“All my favorite artists were illustrators,” Kevin said. “They were my inspiration and they did the type of work I wanted to emulate.”

When Jon came up with the idea for Projekt Werwolf, he knew his friend Kevin would be the perfect artist to collaborate with. The two BFA Illustration students had a couple of classes together and after a few conversations they found that they shared a common love of comics and movies. Kevin’s knack for historical illustration was vital in the development of the comic.

“If you want someone to draw a historical comic book, you’d have a hard time finding anyone better suited for it than Kevin Shriver,” commented Jon.

Jon came up with the concept after a special he saw on the History Channel about WWII. A Nazi resistance group, codenamed “Werewolf,” terrorized Allied forces occupying Germany. The comic was born from the idea that this group actually was a pack of werewolves.

Projekt Werwolf is inspired by old EC Comics, a series of books from the 1940s and 1950s specializing in horror and military fiction.

“I think both Jon and I like the old EC Comics sensibilities: lots of action, mayhem, and gore but with a playfulness and humor to take the edge off,” remarked Kevin.

The comic is currently electronically published under Komikwerks, the leader of web comics. Both Jon and Kevin see web comics as the future for the comic book industry.  Soon after Projekt Werwolf was published, it appeared on The Pulse in conjunction with Comicon.

“It’s amazing how fast it was featured after the book was posted on the web,” said Kevin.

In terms of a sequel, both Jon and Kevin are open to the possibility, especially if Projekt Werwolf continues to garner attention.

“I have an idea for a sequel, but it’s only at the outline stage at this point,” said Jon. “ So, we’ll wait and see.”


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