Hideaway of Horror : Interview with Cullen Bunn

by lucstclair on March 29, 2017

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Hideaway of Horror and do I have a treat for you this week. An interview with comic book writer Cullen Bunn!!! Cullen was nice enough to answer a few questions for CTG, he talked about how he got into the comic book business, his love of horror movies and his upcoming projects including his new horror comic series Regression, coming out this May from Image. Enjoy!

1.     Your upcoming comic Regression deals with hypnosis and the possibility of past lives. What was your inspiration? 
My father was a professional stage hypnotist for a while, and for many years he would conduct semi-private hypnosis shows where past life regression was part of the performance. I’ve always thought about those regressions and wondered at the idea of a past life regression gone wrong. The earliest form of the idea would have been “what if something followed you back from a past life regression?”

2.     Every good horror story has an iconic villain. Who's the villain in Regression and what's his motivation?
In the beginning, the villain in the story is Gregory Sutter. This is the past life that our protagonist Adrian visits during the regression. The thing is, Sutter knows he is being viewed from some faraway time, and he wants to use this as an opportunity to escape death.
Note that I said “in the beginning” because the primary villain in this series does change more than once. There’s a much bigger story here than you might expect.

3.     How difficult is it to bring a horror comic into an industry dominated by super heroes?
 It’s difficult to bring any independent comic to the market. There are a lot of publishers out there putting out great books, and the average reader can’t afford to buy and read it all.   

4.     What came first for you? Horror movies/books or just regular comics?
Superhero comics came first for me. But as a kid, I would sneak out of my room to watch the late, late horror movie on TV, and I was fascinated by monsters and ghosts and haunted houses. I had a record of spooky sound effects that I would play over and over while pretending to be in some horror scenario. I did read a lot of horror comics, too. I remember reading huge stacks of DC and Charlton horror anthologies, and I even had this idea of a anthology of my own called KEEPER OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE. When I was 9 years old, I drew dozens and dozens of monsters and ghosts to be the denizens of the house. Most of my drawings were lost over the years, but I still have a few of those. Later in life, I got really into horror movies, mainly because I had a dream of becoming a special effects makeup artist. And a while after that I really got into horror novels, because I enjoyed writing horror stories of my own.

5.     Your series The 6th Gun has a Wild West setting with supernatural elements. Have you ever been approached by DC to do a Jonah Hex series? Seems like a perfect fit for you.
No, DC has never approached me about Jonah Hex. I agree, though, that would have been a perfect fit for me!

6.     Horror movies of today seemed to be plagued by reboots & remakes, but occasionally there are gems like Split and Get Out. Do you ever foresee this problem happening for horror comics?
I guess it is a problem that could happen in any genre. One type of story is successful, so others try to emulate it. But I also think there are a lot of talented horror writers out there, all with their own crazy ideas. I think there will be plenty of new horrific territories explored in comics. 
 7.     Last week we lost comic book legend Bernie Wrightson. What are your thoughts on the legacy he left behind?
I vividly remember the first time I encountered Mr. Wrightson’s work in the pages of Plop! from DC. In that short little story about a sculptor whose statues came to life, Wrightson changed the way I would look at comics forever. I think he had that effect on pretty much everyone who encountered his work. He was a master of bringing mood and darkness to the page, to having his characters truly emote. He was dedicated to pushing the limits on every story he worked on. He didn’t just change horror comics. He changed comics as a whole. 


    8.     Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers or Leatherface?
            I’m a Michael Myers guy, but I like all those slashers for different reasons.

9.     Last great horror movie you watched?
Well, I haven’t had a chance to see Split or Get Out, which I’ve heard are great. I guess the last few really great horror flicks I’ve seen were The Witch and The Babadook (which is a little older now, but still something I think about). I also watched Rob Zombie’s 31 a few night ago, and it had a kind of weird carnival mayhem that I really enjoy. 
10.Last purchase at the comic book shop?
Last week, I purchased three Frank Miller Daredevil collections, a handful of new issues, three issues of 60s X-Men comics, and a set of the old Marvel Battlestar Galactica series.  

11.  What steps did you take to become a professional writer?
I started considering the idea of writing professionally while I was in high school. I wrote tons of short stories and attempted at least a few novels. In college, I majored in creative writing. Since I loved comics for so long, I naturally wanted to write them, but I never understood how to “break in” to the industry. I guess my big break came when artist Brian Hurtt and I decided to pitch a series called THE DAMNED to Oni Press. That book—a noir crime story with demons—opened the door for me. Even though THE DAMNED got a ton of critical praise, I spent the next few years still trying to introduce myself to other publishers without a lot of luck. Then Brian and I did a book called THE SIXTH GUN which got a little more attention. Other publishers started contacting me to see if I would be interested in working with them.
THE DAMNED, by the way, is coming back. The initial 5-issue series has been re-released by Oni Press in a $10 trade, and a new ongoing series is starting up soon!  

12.  Thank you very much for your time, this was fun. If I could just wrap this up with one more question.    Besides your upcoming Image title Regression, what other projects cans fans expect in the future?

In addition to REGRESSION and THE DAMNED, I'm continuing to work on HARROW COUNTY from Dark Horse. I also recently announced THE UNSOUND from Boom! It's a horror/fantasy that takes place in the bowels of a haunted asylum. I'm pretty excited about that one. I'm also writing X-MEN BLUE and MONSTERS UNLEASHED for Marvel. I have a couple of more creator-owned titles in the works, too, but they haven't been announced yet.



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