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DF Interview: Ghosts around every corner in Cullen Bunn’s Harrow County
By Byron Brewer
Co-created by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Tyler Crook, Harrow County – a book upcoming from Dark Horse Comics -- follows the story of Emmy, a teenager on the verge of becoming an adult, who realizes that the ghosts, ghouls and goblins that surround Harrow County and her secluded farm are real, all too real!
Part coming-of-age tale and part horror story, Harrow County promises to present a unique take on traditional horror.
To learn more about the book, Dynamic Forces met with Bunn in the Harrow County Bus Station. Here is what he told us.
Dynamic Forces: Cullen, you co-created Harrow County. Tell us a little bit about the property and what inspired it.
Cullen Bunn: Harrow County is a coming-of-age horror story set in rural 1930s North Carolina. It follows Emmy, a girl on the verge of adulthood, who is seemingly surrounded by strange, ghostly apparitions. In her world, every house is haunted, goblins lurk in every rotted old tree, and ghouls dwell in every shadow. Emmy is starting to realize that she is more connected to these “haints” than she ever suspected. That connection, though, may have marked her for death.
This story started out long ago as a serialized novel I was writing on my blog. The novel was titled “Countless Haints.” While I shelved the novel in order to focus on other projects, the story—one of witchcraft and mystery and lots and lots of ghostly creepy-crawlies—has always stuck with me. When Tyler Crook and I started to talk about working on a book together, I threw the idea of “Countless Haints” out there. Together, we tweaked the concept a bit, and Harrow County was born.
DF: Who are your main protagonists in the story. Tell us a little bit about the characters.
Cullen Bunn: Emmy is our protagonist. She’s about to turn 18 years old, and she’s grown up in a world in which she sees “haints” lurking in every corner. She lives in something of a fairy tale world… if the fairy tale world was a haunted corner of backwoods North Carolina. She is coming to realize that she possesses a great power. She doesn’t understand her gifts. They are frightening to her. To make matters worse, these burgeoning powers make her a threat to the folks who live in Harrow County, and they’ve decided that the girl must die. So, she embarks on an adventure to discover who she is, all the while pursued by townsfolk who wish to kill her. As she flees her persecutors, she runs headlong into encounter after encounter with the strange ghosts that populate her world.
DF: This is another book in the growing horror genre in comics right now. Is that a genre you enjoy writing within?
Cullen Bunn: Horror and dark fantasy are the genres I’m most comfortable with. Even my “non-horror” stuff usually has a few darker elements thrown into the mix.
DF: How does Harrow County differ from The Sixth Gun and some of your other delvings into mystery and the occult?
Cullen Bunn: Harrow County and The Sixth Gun couldn’t be more different. The Sixth Gun is an action adventure story with lots of gunfights and swashbuckling. It’s high fantasy set in the Old West. Harrow County, on the other hand, is very much a horror story with supernatural elements lurking just underneath the façade of the real world. If anything, Harrow County is a close relative to The Remains, the book I’ve been doing with Monkeybrain. Even then, the world of Harrow County is much more magical than the world of The Remains.
DF: Tyler Crook co-created this book concept and is on art. Tell us a little about your team-up with Tyler and your feelings on his art, what he brings to the table.
Cullen Bunn: I’ve been a fan of Tyler’s work for a long time, and I’ve been fortunate to work with him on a few issues of The Sixth Gun and on a short story for Creepy. He is a terrific storyteller and a great collaborator. I can’t wait to see what he does with this story.
DF: What would you like to see fans take away from this creation of yours?
Cullen Bunn: First and foremost, I want readers of this tale to get a chill. I want them to like the characters and worry about their wellbeing. I want them to be entertained. If the story makes them think about the corruptive nature of power, that’s great, too.
DF: Where to next for Cullen Bunn? Any present or future projects you would like to discuss?
Cullen Bunn: As always, I have a number of projects in the works, both creator-owned and otherwise. The Sixth Gun is barreling into its final issues. Brides of Helheim will be coming out soon, as will an all-ages book titled Terrible Lizard. I’m also working on Magneto, Sinestro, Lobo and a new Army of Darkness series, among other projects.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Cullen Bunn for taking time from his busy schedule to answer our questions. Harrow County #1 hits stores in May 13th!
Pre-order your copy of Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars #1 signed by Cullen Bunn right here!
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