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MOONSHINE Creator Brian Azzarello Talks Werewolves and ’20s Gangsters

MOONSHINE Creator Brian Azzarello Talks Werewolves and ’20s Gangsters

Some things just go together perfectly. Chocolate and peanut butter. Coffee and donuts. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. Prohibition-era gangsters and werewolves. That last one may seem like a stretch, but once you read the first volume of Image Comics’ Moonshine, it’s clear that werewolf mythos and 1920s crooks are a match made in hell. We talked to writer Brian Azzarello to get the scoop on all things gangsters, werewolves, and whether or not the series has the greatest pun title in the industry.

Moonshine tells the tale of a slick New York City mobster sent to the backwaters of West Virginia to find a legendary moonshiner and negotiate a deal to bring his sweet brew up north. What the city slicker finds turns out to be more than he bargained for and when the full moon rises, things get bloody. “Well, that’s what the biggest and the baddest always seem to do; underestimate the bigness and the badness in the opposition,” Azzarello told us. “Doesn’t matter where they’re from hubris is hubris, and it’s always a thrill to watch it fall.”

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Azzerallo and Risso craft a better fall than just about anybody in the industry, and their collaborations often feature some pretty nasty characters. “It is our mistakes that make us interesting, right?” Azzarello said of his rotten protagonists. “I think, personally, it’s our flaws that define us to us–or maybe it’s just me. That makes writing therapy sometimes.”

When it comes to Moonshine, the flawed characters generally fall into two camps: werewolves and gangsters. There’s some crossover there, but the elevator pitch could be nestled in there somewhere. Azzarello told us, “It started with me wanting to do a take on the werewolf mythos. What to call it? I don’t know… Moonshine? Then the dominoes fell.”

Obvious pun aside, Moonshine works incredibly well as a werewolf story and a Prohibition-era story. Azzarello said he wasn’t pulling from any specific werewolf tales, just the general mythos of the beasts, but the gangsters were a different story. “Believe it or not, but White Heat and Little Caesar keep dancing around in my brainpan while I’m writing Moonshine,” Azzarello said.

One of the most stunning aspects of Moonshine is the stunning artwork from Eduardo Risso. This is, without a doubt, some of Risso’s best work to date, and considering how amazing the man’s output has been, that’s saying something. What really sets Moonshine apart from his previous works is the fact that Risso also jumped in as the series colorist, something he turned out to have an incredible eye for.

Before we started, Eduardo said he was going to color Moonshine himself, so I was interested in seeing what he came up with,” Azzarello said. “As the pages came in I just got more and more impressed with the scope of my partner’s talents. Moonshine has some of his best line work, but who knew he had such a fantastic color sense as well? It’s stunning, and arguably the best work he’s ever done.”  

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The first volume is now available, but where will Moonshine go from here? “[We’re planning] 30 or so issues at this point,”Azzarello said. “Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s certainly meat on the bones of Moonshine to go longer. But there will never be another 100 Bullets. One is enough.”

Moonshine Vol. 1 is now at fine comic shops everywhere and you can check out an exclusive preview below.

 Images: Image Comics

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