I started making this series after platonically dating someone and watching them destroy themselves. I wanted a romantic relationship but settled for a friendship, and as that slowly evolved, I came to understand the person I fantasized about as a person responding to circumstances that he couldn’t control, instead of some unfulfilled romantic fantasy. I wanted to and tried to help, but realized it really wasn’t up to me.
In my head, I started to think about a narrative where a werewolf was trapped in the walls of a fraternity watching a bro drink himself to death, become a zombie, and literally fall apart. I align with werewolves as tragic figures, suffering from circumstances that they can’t control and hiding a part of themselves deemed as monstrous; monsters with desires and body hair, ultimately prone to violence. I saw the connection between werewolves and fraternities first as arbitrary, but somehow fitting—that is, until I started writing about this series and suddenly remembered Big Wolf On Campus.
Now, that show doesn’t hold up, really, but I vividly remember watching it as a tween, fantasizing about having the powers of Tommy P. Dawkins (played by Brandon Quinn) to fight evil, right at the pivotal queer developmental moment where there’s no difference between wanting to be with someone I looked up to and wanting to be that someone. I also remember this show as the daytime answer to my obsession with Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Where Buffy was a wildly accurate depiction of growing up with trauma, Big Wolf on Campus was light and slapstick.
Both Big Wolf on Campus and Buffy gave me the ability to deal with things fraught with uncertainty through turning them into demons, werewolves, or zombies that can be either fought or loved. They both showed me how you can create alternate universes to give answers when real life doesn’t. So when I wanted to find love but didn’t, or when I wanted to help but couldn’t, I created a werewolf trapped in the walls of a fraternity instead. —Robert Hickerson
All photographs by Robert Hickerson. Follow more of his work here.
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