Azzarello Targets "Brother Lono" for "100 Bullets" Spinoff

Announced at Emerald City Con in March, the Eisner award-winning team behind "100 Bullets" -- writer Brian Azzarello, artist Eduardo Risso, colorist Trish Mulvihill, letterer Clem Robbins and cover artist Dave Johnson -- have reunited for a new eight-issue miniseries from Vertigo Comics, featuring arguably the biggest, baddest Minuteman of them all, "Brother Lono."

But Azzarello told CBR News that readers shouldn't expect a sequel to "100 Bullets." "Brother Lono" should be considered a spinoff, much like "Laverne & Shirley" was to "Happy Days" -- recognizable characters featured in a new chapter of their life. 
And though the last time readers saw Lono Dizzy Cordova had just shot him through the chest, Azzarello says four years have passed since then, and that moment in "100 Bullets" lore will not be revisited in this new series.

Azzarello also shared his thoughts on what makes Lono tick after his multiple brushes with death, the type of music fans of "100 Bullets" associate with the series and how the extra-sized first issue opens when it is released on June 19.

CBR News: "100 Bullets" was critically acclaimed, a New York Times bestseller and ended after telling a complete story after 100 issues. Why return to the scene of the crime?

Brian Azzarello: Because we can. [Laughs]

We're not rebuilding "100 Bullets." We're not adding to "100 Bullets." We're creating something new with one of the characters. We have a completely different approach, both visually and in terms of the narrative. It's a new animal.

You've moved with Eduardo from "100 Bullets" to "Batman: Knight of Vengeance" and from "Spaceman" to this. If he weren't on board, would you have done this series?

No, it wouldn't have happened. Absolutely not. Those characters belong to both of us and I wouldn't be doing them with somebody else.

Were there any reservations about returning to this universe?

No, there were no reservations. Not at all. We want to tell more stories. Look at it this way: "100 Bullets" is a novel with characters. This is another novel that we're telling featuring one of the characters. This has no affect on "100 Bullets" at all. It remains an entity unto itself. I'm not worried about it. People can hate this book and I don't think it will change their opinion of "100 Bullets." And if they love this book, it's not going to change their opinion of "100 Bullets."

Were you particularly fond of Brother Lono during "100 Bullets" or is he simply a character with more story to tell?
We left with the question of whether or not he survived in the original series, but to be honest, he was Eduardo's choice. There were a few other characters that I mentioned but he said, "No. I want to do Lono," so we came up with this story. We talked about doing a prequel, looking at what Lono was like before the series, but we settled on, why do something before hand? Let's move the story forward.

It's four years later.

Will you return to his final scene in this new series and explain what happened to him and how he survived?

Nope. We're done with the story. This is not a sequel to "100 Bullets." I cannot stress that enough. It's not a sequel. It's a different story. It's a spinoff. It's "Laverne & Shirley."

[Laughs] Has Lono grown or at least evolved as a character since we last saw him?

Sure. He's a changed man. I'm not going to tell you how he's changed. You have to read the book to find that out.

But I will say: The question is, "How much can one man change and still remain true to what he is?"

While you're moving forward, will you be revisiting his origins, as well? His life before "100 Bullets"?

There's a bit of that.

Will we recognize the same Brother Lono from "100 Bullets" or has he changed too?

He is [Laughs] not like you remember him. Like I said, we are taking a different approach here. This is not "100 Bullets." It's "Brother Lono."

You say this is a new animal with a different approach to storytelling, both in terms of visuals and narrative. Can you expand on that idea and explain what that means and how you're approaching this series?

I think that it definitely has a different tone. A lot of times, people come up to me and say that reading "100 Bullets" is like listening to jazz. There is a certain rhythm to the language and the art, so people equate it to music. If "100 Bullets" is jazz, "Brother Lono" is punk rock/mariachi.

I know you hate these spoiler-y type questions a month before the series comes out but can you tee it up for us? How does "Brother Lono" open?

[Laughs] The story opens with a man being tortured.

Of course it does. Is Brother Lono being tortured or doing the torturing?

Read the book!

Besides Lono, who else joins him in the cast?

Lono is the only character from the original series. It's Lono and a bunch of people that are worse than he is. It's the story of a man's life going south.

And Lono already starts pretty far south --

I don't think he would agree with you, but that's what this story is all about.

The extra-sized "100 Bullets: Brother Lono" #1, by Brian Azzarello and featuring art by Eduardo Rizzo, hits stores June 19.

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