What got you into werewolves and how old were you when you discovered them?
We started liking (and drawing) werewolves when we were very, very young, like four or five years old: we “met” these mythical creatures thanks to the folk tales that our uncles and our father told us. Among ghosts and soldiers, there were also werewolves (“Lupunazzi” we call them in Sicily). In these stories our favorite horror characters were always looking like normal people, but with the full moon they transformed into beast-like creatures and, if they were not previously chained by their friends, wandered through the streets of the city (or, more often, in the countryside) and everyone just tried to avoid the encounter (but, of course, not always they could, or otherwise the stories would have been boring). Everyone knew that they were werewolves, but no one hated them for this, they also knew that werewolves could do nothing about their “illness”. It was in some ways reassuring: even if you turn into a werewolf, people would accept your difference and just run away from you when you’re dangerous. No one killed werewolves, in the folk tales that we heard! We also loved animals like wolves and dogs and the idea that a human could turn in something similar was so incredible that we got immediately fascinated by the concept! The oldest of our drawing that portrays werewolves that we could found is from when the older of us (that turns 24 this year) was 10. And then we watched Van Helsing (the movie with Hugh Jackman, you know). Van Helsing’s werewolves were just… ah, so fabulous! Majestic and beautiful (not like the raggedy werewolves of our folk tales… but still, we love raggedy werewolves) these ones grew up in size and they were muscular and with beautiful fur. It was immediate love and we started also writing about werewolves and drawing even more. We started playing the RPG “Werewolf: The apocalypse”. And we defined the first rudimentary rules of our fictional world in which our characters and our stories move. So, we could say that it was our family that got us into werewolves, but that this evolved through time into something way more complex.
Do you share the same love of other types of shapeshifters?
Definitely we like shapeshifter characters, even if our favorites are, of course, lycanthropes. Right now we are reading a beautiful book (Feline, by Sarah Bianca) in which there are different shapeshifters (the protagonists can turn into tigers) and we are absolutely loving it. Some times ago we wrote a story in which there were a tribe of people that could transform into giant goldfish, so, yeah, we like the concept of humans transforming into animals or even animals turning into humans. In 2013 we even started a funny comic, that later we abandoned because we had better ideas to work on, in which there were four tribes of animal shapeshifters: were-rabbits, were-hyenas, were-crocodiles and lycanthropes. We like the idea of giving to each of these tribes, these species, very different characteristics both psychological and physical. The best part of a shapeshifter species is the characterization, that should be in equal parts animal and human, so we study a lot of ethology. It’s fun!
What do you think it is that attracts you to werewolves?
Probably it’s the idea of a creature that is highly intelligent, like a human being, but has the characteristics of our favorite animals, dogs and wolves. Also, their design: long muzzles, fur, big teeth. They’re cool, there’s no other way to define werewolves… or, at least, the ones that we like.
Do you prefer a gory werewolf tale or a more serene, nature loving version?
Both. Literally, we prefer both: in our stories, in our world, there are both the variants of the werewolves and even more! They have different aspects, different origins… even different species. We have bloodthirsty scary and gory werewolves originated from ancient curses, but we also have serene, peaceful packs of naturally born werewolves and also created-in-laboratory werewolves that are different from both the supernatural and the “natural” ones. Even among the naturally born werewolves there are a lot of different appearences and characters and not all of them are mentally similar to the humans or even to the wolves… So, we cover all the spectrum!
What does the ideal werewolf look like in your opinion? Give some Cinematic examples if you have any.
Uh. That’s difficult. As we already said, we have a LOT of different werewolves in our stories and minds. We absolutely love any grade of mixing between the beast and the man. In the beginning of our artistic career, our main source of inspiration were Van Helsing werewolves: big beasts completely covered in fur, with highly animalistic-looking faces and big teeth. But we absolutely enjoyed also The Wolfman, a movie from 2010… short muzzles make werewolves look cute! Like big puppies. Big, very dangerous, very fast puppies.
What should a werewolf NOT look like in your opinion?
We like naturally looking werewolves, like… not too much exaggerated. Twilight saga werewolves are pretty cool to see (and we totally support feral-looking shapeshifters!), but we don’t like the fact that they can transform so fast in something so much bigger than their natural human forms. We have a sort of “scientific” approach to werewolves, even when they’re cursed! We don’t like when the “magic” component is so strong that they can turn without any counterpass. Shapeshifting requires energy, it requires time, and also substance. So, probably we don’t like enormous werewolves that totally change their fur color from one shape to the other. Also, we are not really fans of the werewolves from the Underworld saga… they’re not wrong or anything, it’s just that we like more furry and less puppet-looking beasts, with softer edges.
Give a cinematic example of a werewolf that didn’t quite meet your expectations.
Oh. We already did this in the previous answer. But we want, anyway, to say that the first time we saw Remus Lupin’s transformation in the movie “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, we were quite surprised! And not positively. But hey, lately we understood the appealing of an ill-looking werewolf, when they wanted to describe the lycanthropy as an illness, so… it’s ok.
Stepping away from the cinematic side of things, what is your favourite werewolf novel and why?
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. We liked how different it felt from other werewolves books, we liked the fact they mutate in completely feral wolf-looking beasts, impossible to distinguish from natural wolves, and we liked the concept that is the temperature that transforms them. Also, it was a pretty interesting story, even if it was mostly romantic, so… we just liked it.
Back to cinema, what is your favourite werewolf film?
Favorite werewolf film? Van Helsing. It’s flashy and trashy, but probably it’s that what makes us love it so much. There are epic fights, epic monsters, Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster, an adventurous trip and the best werewolves EVER. We like also the Ginger Snaps saga, but, well, nothing beats Van Helsing, we even bought a special edition with double cover just because on a side there was the werewolf form of Van Helsing.
Do you have any werewolf related songs to recommend?
When we hear “song” and “werewolf” in the same phrase, there’s immediately one thing that we think: “Of Wolf and Man”, by Metallica. Sometimes we listen to it while writing or drawing about some werewolves scenes and it’s really, really inspiring! Another song that we love, not necessarily related to werewolves (but it is, in our minds) is Nightwish’s “Seven days to the wolves”. There’s also another song, an Italian one (we’re Italian) that we can recommend… it’s a funny, totally non-serious one, and its title is “Licantropo vegano” (Vegan lycanthrope) by Elio e le Storie Tese.
Do you have a particular favourite werewolf artist, what is it about their art that you love?
That’s a difficult one, because we love a lot of werewolf art and artists. Let’s try to remember some of the best ones… hmm… there’s WolfSkullJack, a traditional artist with a highly contrasted and strong traditional style and a great attention to the details. Her works are not only beautiful, but also often full of metaphors and/or with a positive and clear message: looking at these drawing is absolutely inspiring. Also she draws a lot of female werewolves and, in a world so filled of male beasts, this is absolutely fantastic! Almost opposite in style, but still incredible, there’s Kyoht, an artist which werewolves (often males, this time) looks buff and fluffy at the same time, with smooth features and soft fur, but lethal claws and teeth. While WolfSkullJack often keep the works uncolored, to give that raw, primigenial feeling of power and introspection, Kyoth’s best works (in our opinion) are the colored one: her use of the colors and light are absolutely mesmerizing and as soft as her werewolves’ fur. But, hey, her black and white works are super-awesome too! And her composition skills are pretty good. Then we remember… Viergacht, with beastly, monster-like werewolves and great horror atmospheres, Kyndir with fluffy werewolves and a great digital color use, OrochiTiamat (an Italian artist, like us!) with absolutely great character designs (and ginger werewolves, yay!) and TeknicolorTiger that is good in… anything, from technique to character design.
What do you think of the way representation of werewolves has changed over the years? (In both literature and cinema.)
We actually like diversification. In origin, werewolves in book and movies were just non-social monsters, humans that with full moon became beasts with uncontrollable violent urges. Now the situation is different, there are a lot of representations and werewolves “work” in different ways. Yes, we still have pure cursed monsters, but now the idea that these creatures could have a sociality is more common and we absolutely like it! Both humans and wolves have high social instinct, they live in familiers, so why a creature that is half human and half wolf should be a solitary, vicious monster? We do understand (and like) the concept of “full moon madness”, but outside the full moon days… we do like our werewolves to be really half wolf/half human. And both movies and books are slowly stepping into this mindset.
Tell me something that makes the werewolves in your works unique. What makes them special?
Our werewolves are part of a very complex fantasy/sci-fi world, a saga that we call “The Way of Legends”, and as part of of a complex ecosystem, they have been studied to follow precise rules, but also to have a wide genetic and behavioral variability. Our werewolves (we prefer to call them “lycanthropes”, since in our stories werewolves are different creatures, that can not shapeshift into humans…) are social creatures, different from wolves and different from humans, but with a deep connection with both species. It’s difficult to explain in a few words (and in your non-native language…), but they’re pretty unique and full of surprises for the reader 😉 While, from the aesthetic point of view, they’re much the “stylish” werewolves that people is used to see from Werewolves: The Apocalypse (they can even have different forms, like in this popular role play game), just they can’t grow that much when they change from human to their “crinos” (someone calls it were form, we call it fullmoon form) shape… you can’t just go from 1,60 m to 3 m tall!
What are you other passions within the horror genre or out of it?
Horror is not exactly our favorite genre: we prefer fantasy and sci-fi. We didn’t become interested in lycanthropes because they are part of the horror culture, but we mostly took inspiration on the fact that “man-wolves” were part of old legends and mythology from several, different countries, including ours. Most of our works relies on myths and mythical creatures, so it’s more about lycanthropy being a common legend, and thus with more material to play with and recombine in our stories, than just for the sake of horror and\or gore. Although, we admit, portraying them as strong, scary creatures from the human’s point of view is something funny and interesting, and an important component in our stories. Outside the written and artistic world, we love animals (like, any animal, really, no exceptions), succulent plants, music, food, walking a lot (in the woods, of course), wrestling and some (but we’re really picky) tv series. Can we mention Hannibal? That’s the “horror” we’re looking for.
Tell me about your most recent werewolf related work.
Since we work on different projects simultaneously, it’s difficult to say which one is the most recent! But if we have to choose one… our werewolf coloring book! Or better, werewolf and tarots coloring book. It’s called LycanTarots and it features all the major arcana drawn with werewolves and wolf-related themes instead of people! It’s already out in digital form (https://gumroad.com/l/MGCEA ) with high resolution, transparent .png files, but soon (when we’ll be able to figure out the right format for making it look good) it will be available also as a physical, printed book! It’s our first coloring book project, but we think we did a good job. But we are also working on a short comic book, featuring the story of one of our least explored character, Blindfury, the dad of the “protagonist” of our werewolf-related stories (Furiadoro, a tall and rageful, but smart, blonde wolfwoman). This one will be also soon available as a printed comic, but for now it’s readable for free on the internet (and we still have to finish it).
Who is your favourite character within your own work and why?
That’s sooo difficult. We have lots of characters and we love all of them. We have really to choose our favorite? Maybe, among the females (but just maybe) is Furiadoro: she’s an aurolupus (an almost extinct breed of vicious, strong lycanthropes that are considered monsters even by other lycans and werewolves) that hides a secret so deep that even her didn’t know about it. She starts her “journey” with an amnesia and she won’t really re-gain her memories, but she will eventually find out more about this “secret”. She was one of the first lycan characters that we created and we wrote about her more than about anyone else. Among the males, it’s probably Mark McWoodland. He’s the contrary of Furiadoro: he’s very calm, quiet, and doesn’t like to kill anyone. He’s a werewolf, a non-shapeshifting one, but has also magic, so eventually he can look like a human (or a wolf or a bear) the same, but it’s definitely not an energy saving process and he prefers to stay in his natural form. While Furiadoro is literally refractory to magic, Mark is a magic-based being, deeply connected with the spiritual world. Also, Furia has a very spiky short fur, while Mark is soft and curly (our big ginger boy!). They’re very very different, but we love both. And we love also all our other werewolves, but we can’t talk about all of them here, right?
Do you have any big upcoming plans relating to werewolves? Any new works on the way?
Uh, yes of course! We are correcting our first book about Furiadoro (it’s an old one, so there are grammar mistakes) and we’re gonna publish it as soon as possible, with illustrations! Also, we are working on new comic strips of Werewolf&Cannibal (a webcomic of ours, a silly one, but it’s funny). And lots and lots of new drawings! For now we can’t say more about other new projects, but they are here and ready to be revealed when the time comes.
Will you be available to meet other werewolf lover and fans in the near future, are you doing any outings or signings, or attending any conventions?
Uhm… no. It’s not that we don’t want to, but we live in a very small city in Italy, there are no conventions in our zone and it’s difficult, right now, to travel. And also expensive. But we would love to meet more werewolf lovers!
Do you have any places online where other werewolf fans can contact you to discuss your work or anything lycanthropy related?
We don’t have much time to discuss, not only because we don’t stay a lot in front of a screen (it’s unhealthy! Much better to go out and have fun, running in the woods with our dog), but also because when we are working on the computer we are completely concentrated on the work itself! We have a lot of stuff to complete, you know… but if people is interested in coming and say “hi!” or just take a look to our work, you can find us on Deviantart (https://furiarossaandmimma.deviantart.com/ ), Twitter (https://twitter.com/FuriaMimmaArt ), Tumblr (http://furiarossa.tumblr.com/ ), FurAffinity (https://www.furaffinity.net/user/furiarossa/ … ) and even Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FuriaAndMimma/ ). For our Italian speaking readers, we’re available with the guys of the “Cactus di Fuoco” writing group on Wattpad (here: https://www.wattpad.com/user/CactusdiFuoco … ) with a lot of stories, also werewolf related! And there’s our blog (written mainly in Italian, with just some English, sorry…): https://fantasydiario.blogspot.com/ . Oh my, we’re everywhere on the net…
Vampires and zombies have both become seriously popular within the horror genre in movies, do you think that as technology continues to improve werewolves will eventually reach the same kind of status?
We don’t know if we want for them to reach the same popularity as zombies and vampires. The last vampire related movies that we saw were… ugh… not good. We don’t like modern vampires, they’re not monsters anymore and they don’t even look like vampires. Probably it all started with Anne Rice, but now vampires are all cute and considered even romantic and we just don’t… we don’t see dead bodies like that, just. Undead bloodsuckers should be treated differently. We hope that movies won’t treat in the wrong way werewolves and this is a possible danger if they become popular! But, well, they will probably become popular. They have to… we are sure that, one day or another in the future, we’ll see the movies of our saga, The Way of Legends (remember, believe in yourself and you are halfway to the success! We do believe). And then Hollywood will create a lot of ugly clones of our movies and werewolves will become awfully popular. But that’s another story 😉