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Heavy Metal is going to hit two milestones this year. As the horror and sci-fi publisher prepares for its 300th issue, it'll also be dipping its toes in a new avenue altogether: podcasting.
The company will release WonderWerk, a narrative anthology series planned to be an “immersive experience” for podcast listeners, in the words of CEO Matthew Medney, on Aug. 4 — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive two-minute first-listen right here.
Featuring an original score, intense sound design, and other flourishes, the hope is to create an experience on par with films. (Remember those?) WonderWerk is a joint production with DIGA Studios, which has worked on MTV’s horror series Teen Wolf and Scream. For programming producer Patrick Smith, the desire was to emulate the sensation of scary stories told around the campfire.
Written by Bart and Michelle Sears, the debut episode, “The Black Ruins of Aramoor,” tells the tale of a hunter named Barran (otherwise known as a Gundishman). Though this is their first time writing for the world of Aramoor, the pair are quite experienced otherwise — Bart previously drew for Justice League and GI Joe, and after Michelle transitioned from running a nonprofit for children’s art education, they began working together at Ominous Studios, creating art assets for game studios. (Heavy Metal is also publishing its upcoming project, Maiden.) It’s a passion project for them both, birthed by their love of the fantasy genre and the stories they read growing up. “The amazing thing about this story wasn’t the writing, it was the listening,” they told SYFY WIRE in a joint statement. “This is a one-man radio play that is simply mesmerizing.”
The first season of WonderWerk will include episodes written by Medney and Heavy Metal’s chief “creative overlord” David Erwin. Also writing episodes will be other comics creators such as Ron Marz, George C. Romero, Blake Northcott, and more. Each episode will also be narrated by music professional, sound engineer, and composer, Kyle Perrin, and the series' visualizer and logo design are by Voodoo Bownz.
Check out two minutes of WonderWerk's first episode, "The Black Ruins of Aramoor," below.