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CULLEN BUNN
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DF Interview: Cullen Bunn unleashes horror inside an underground hospital with ‘Invasive’

 

By Byron Brewer

 

Dr. Carrie Reynolds was a veteran trauma surgeon with a godlike mastery of muscle and bone. But outside the operating room, her rigidly ordered life spiraled into chaos when her daughter, Heather – a recovering plastic surgery addict – suddenly disappeared, only to mysteriously reemerge in a catatonic state, her vocal cords removed . . . the latest in a series of victims scarred by a battery of brazenly cruel medical procedures that have baffled police and left an alarming number of once-ordinary citizens maimed, mutilated, or dead on arrival. Deep beneath the streets of Carrie's city, a new kind of underground hospital has just opened its doors . . . and, once inside, there are no rules, no oaths, and no taboos too deep to not be broken. Together, a new class of surgeon has sworn to pierce the final threshold of accepted medical orthodoxy one incision at a time. The scalpel is their tool. The alleys are their operating theater. Murder is their medicine. And only Carrie can stop what they're planning next.

 

Beyond excess, beyond ethics, beyond science . . . Enter a terrifying new experiment in pain with Invasive from Eisner Award nominee Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun, Basilisk) and acclaimed illustrator Jesús Hervás (The Empty Man).

 

All I have to hear is Cullen’s name and I am there. This is what we discussed.

 

Byron Brewer: Cullen, before we diagnose, if you will, your latest hop into horror, Invasive, tell readers what you can about the banner theme under which this is published: namely, Oni Press’ ONI 2024.

 

Cullen Bunn: I think Oni is introducing a lot of new, exciting material, works that compliment each other, comics that bring readers in and help them find other stories they will love. I'm thrilled to be part of this endeavor – both with Invasive and some other projects – and I think some of Oni's announcements in the months to come are gonna amaze folks. I know I can't wait!

 

Byron: Meanwhile, back in Cullen’s Corner, what was the exact monster muse responsible for inspiring Invasive? Is there a backstory?

 

Cullen Bunn: I wish I could explain exactly where Invasive comes from. I'm not sure. I do know – for certain – that I don’t want to delve fully into the inspiration, because I think it would take me into some very, very dark places from which I might not be able to return. It's a corner of horror that I've danced around in before – grim, pseudo-scientific body horror – but never have I embraced it with such carefree (reckless?) abandon.

 

Byron: Introduce us to Carrie Reynolds: who was she, who is she when we meet her, and where does fate seem to be sending her?

 

Cullen Bunn: Carrie is a physician, but she has been on leave in recent weeks. Her daughter Heather has suffered terrible injuries at the hands of an unknown rogue surgeon. Heather survived, but her injuries have stricken Carrie. When we first meet Carrie, we see that she is conducting her own investigation. She’s getting in very, very deep in this strange underworld culture of surgery addiction and back alley procedures.

 

Byron: Talk about the importance of Carrie’s relationship to her daughter, Heather.

 

Cullen Bunn: The relationship between mother and daughter for these two is everything. Has it been strained in the past? Very quickly, you’ll find that the answer to that question is a resounding YES. But now, with Heather having suffered a terrible fate, Carrie’s entire focus is on her daughter. She wants to help her, of course, but that’s not completely in her control. So, she wants to find the person responsible. One, to stop them from doing this to anyone else. Two, she wants revenge.

 

Byron: Can you tell us a bit about others who reportedly have suffered the same fate as Heather – maybe worse – and are there any clues you can give us to be looking for as to this “new class of surgeon”?

 

Cullen Bunn: You’ll meet several characters who have undergone these rogue surgeries—some unwillingly, some willingly—and a lot of the horror of the story comes from them. I don’t want to reveal much more about the Murder Surgeons or why they conduct these procedures. Their activities, though, start out on a strange level, then move into the area of surreal nightmare.

 

Byron: What other characters besides the Reynolds who are important in this four-issue miniseries might we watch for? Can you intro some of them here?

 

Cullen Bunn: The other lead character in the book is Vic. He’s a detective who has been put on administrative leave because he went too far down the rabbit hole on this investigation. He runs in similar circles as Carrie now, and that brings the two of them together. They are going to get into a lot of trouble by each other’s side.

 

Byron: Talk about the art of Jesús Hervás.

 

Cullen Bunn: Jesús creates stunning, haunting visuals for this book! There is so much dread, doom, and horror on every page! And he doesn’t shy away from the more ghastly elements of the story!

 

Byron: Cullen, what other works might we be looking for soon from you?

 

Cullen Bunn: I have many, many more projects in the works, most of which haven’t been announced yet. Just this week, I wrapped up a new screenplay, worked on an outline for a novel, and received the green light on three new comic book projects. The absolute best way to keep up with all the material I’m developing is by subscribing to my free weekly newsletter, Vicious Shivers. You can find it at https://cullenbunn.substack.com/.

 

Dynamic Forces would like to thank Cullen Bunn for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Invasive #1 from Oni Press is slated to be on sale Dec. 6!

  



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