|CULLEN BUNN - Part 1
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Cullen Bunn is one of the busiest writers in the comic book world … and also one of the most accessible. In the years since I have been interviewing the top talent in the industry, Cullen has become one of those few you can really depend on.
In Part 1 of our two-part interview with Cullen Bunn, we examine his new Empty Man book out of BOOM! Studios, which hits in June.
Dynamic Forces: Disease scares everyone, so you have something terrifyingly close to the real world here. Tell us about the "Empty Man" disease.
Cullen Bunn: The Empty Man is a disease that surfaced several years ago. It is a kind of contagious insanity accompanied by horrible hallucinations and suicidal or homicidal tendencies. How the disease spreads is not clear, and the pattern appears to be almost completely random. Since the first recorded case of the disease, numerous fringe religious groups have started worshipping it as if it were some kind of primordial god.
DF: How did you get attached to this launch, Cullen? Was it something you pitched?
Cullen Bunn: The Empty Man is a story that I’ve had in my head for several years. When I first started talking to BOOM, I thought it might be something they would be interested in. I was really thrilled to see that they were.
DF: Do you think a crime procedural will go in a comic book?
Cullen Bunn: I’m of the mind that almost any kind of story can be told through comic books. There have been plenty of terrific crime procedurals in comics already—Powers and Gotham Central are just a couple of examples. This story follows in those footsteps, but with a healthy dose of surreal horror thrown into the mix.
DF: Tell us about the limited series' protagonists.
Cullen Bunn: Our heroes for the limited series are agents Walter Langford and Monica Jensen. They are part of a joint FBI/CDC task force investigating both the disease and the cult activity associated with it. This is definitely an “odd couple” partnership, and both of the agents have a very personal connection to the Empty Man that will be revealed over the course of the first six issues.
DF: Aside from the circumstances created by disease and response, are there any individual big-bads?
Cullen Bunn: There are villains in the series, but not in the sense you might expect. I don’t want to say too much about them. I will, however, say that the name “The Empty Man” applies to more than just the disease.
DF: Why is Empty Man the kind of book you like to do?
Cullen Bunn: I’ve always been drawn to horror and dark fantasy story. I think those are just the types of stories I’m most comfortable telling. That said, I’m excited about this story because it’s such a different approach to horror. The scope, the setting and the characters are different than any other horror story I’ve tackled in comics.
DF: What was your inspiration for the book? Today's headlines?
Cullen Bunn: Inspiration for this book is drawn from a number of sources. Current events, sure, but also many of my favorite comics, books and movies. The work of Junji Ito and Koji Suzuki and H. P. Lovecraft, Japanese horror flicks like Ringu and Ju-on, and American thrillers like Jacob’s Ladder all have a stake in the origins of this story.
DF: What do you hope readers will take away from your story at the end of the limited series' run?
Cullen Bunn: My hope is that readers will feel a bit unsettled when they’re done reading the series. I want this story to haunt readers for some time to come. There are questions that will remain unanswered when the limited series is finished, and I hope that readers may even scare themselves a bit by trying to fill in the blanks.
And, of course, there’s a much bigger world and story to explore. Hopefully, readers will like this one enough that they want to read more!
DF: What does Vanesa R. Del Rey bring to the table?
Cullen Bunn: Vanesa’s art strikes a perfect balance of realism and surrealism. She does a terrific job establishing the mood of the piece. She also dances along a fine line with the more horrific elements, showing enough of the ghastliness to cause the reader’s mind to race with chilling possibilities.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Cullen for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Next up, Part 2 of our Bunn interview in which the scribe discusses … Godzilla! Empty Man #1 hits stores June 11th!
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5. 01/14/2020 - JON TSUEI