Famous John Urban is the writer and illustrator of a whimsical story about werewolves called, “Ward the Wolf Boy, Night Terrors.” We asked John to tell us about his book, and what he’ll be sharing at Gulf Coast MakerCon.
“All his young life growing up at the Home for Young Gentleman Orphanage a talented but misunderstood boy named Ward was told that he was different than the other boys because he had recurring dreams about half men, half wolf monsters and obsessively drew them, ” explains John. “But were these visions dreams or memories? Was his diagnosis of having sleep tremors accurate or was he in fact starting to turn into a werewolf? There is truth to all myths and legends, and sometimes the worst monsters are not the ones hiding in closets or under beds.”Ward the Wolf Boy” explores overcoming abuse and neglect and embracing your true inner self, and Ward finds out that being a werewolf doesn’t make you a bad person. ”
John wears a Mickey Mouse watch on one wrist and his Official Kiss Army Membership wrist band on his other wrist, and also wears many hats. He has a degree in commercial art and has been a professional caricature artist for local theme parks, zoos and aquariums in the Tampa Bay FL area since 1999. His cartoon “Behind Bars” has also been published in The Big Guava Magazine, Music Magazine and Thrust Magazine.
Famous John’s other claim to fame is that he was the bass guitarist and lyricist for a Tampa Bay cult metal band back in the 80s that was called Brat. Their CD, “Sword and Stone”, is still available on retrospectrecords.com , say John.
John is also a recognized music journalist for various music publications including Aardschok America Magazine, The Tampa Tribune newspaper, Music Magazine, Feedback Magazine, the Tampa Bay Weekly, his own music publication The Last Word, and was the Art Director, Contributing Editor, Cartoonist and Senior Writer for Thrust Magazine.His preference for artwork has always been whimsical creatures and monsters. Growing up in the 60’s he was captivated by classic monster movies such as the Wolfman, Dracula and Frankenstein as well as the Munsters and Addams family TV shows. His dream was to become a writer and illustrator of children’s books.
“Ward the Wolf Boy, Night Terrors” is the first of a series of books about a boy that is shunned for being different, and is loosely based on his own childhood where rather than play sports with his older brothers he preferred to stay indoors and builds monster or dinosaur models or draw strange creatures. While he was loved by his family and not bullied, neglected, or mistreated, he says he understands what it’s like to be different and not fit in and this book reaches out to any child that feels that way, to encourage children to embrace their individuality.
“The werewolves in this series are not monsters,” says John. “just shape shifters who must hide in secret communities because men fear what they don’t understand.”
At the “Ward the Wolf Boy” exhibit, Gulf Coast MakerCon guests can meet Famous John along with a life size replica of Ward the Wolf Boy for photo opps, see samples of his artwork, and kids can get images of their own to color and enjoy.