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DF Interview: Cullen Bunn takes us down the aisle with Brides of Helheim
By Byron Brewer
Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Joelle Jones discovered a bloody, violent recipe for success when they teamed on Helheim in 2013. They enjoyed themselves so much, in fact, that they recently reunited for a new miniseries.
Brides of Helheim continues the adventures of their undead Viking warrior Rikard (engaged at one point in a beautifully violent battle with a truly monstrous bear) and more sorcerers than you can shake a sword at!
Dynamic Forces met with Bunn to get the 411 on this second Helheim series from this prolific writer.
Dynamic Forces: Cullen, we are already well into this six-issue miniseries and the question looms: Why MORE Helheim?
Cullen Bunn: As I was writing Helheim, I knew there was more story to tell. I knew I wasn’t done with these characters in any way, shape or form. The first series was met with a tremendous reaction, so my hope is that readers wanted more too. The war between the witches might be over, but I created a big, dark, dangerous world. There were a lot of questions left unanswered. For example, what caused the witches to go to war in the first place? And why did Kadlin raise Bera and Groa from the dead? Why did the girl bring Rikard back too, even though he had finally found the peace of death? We’ll be answering those questions in Brides of Helheim.
DF: Now that Rikard has calmed down witches Brea and Groa and is living in peace with them, where do we go from here?
Cullen Bunn: The real question is … how much peace can you expect from a couple of witches who were so adamant about killing each other that they were summoning the legions of Hell, raising the dead, and poisoning the Earth itself. For now, Kadlin and Rikard seem to be “at peace” but Kadlin has been cooking up a plan that will bring Rikard face-to-face with a vile magician named Raevil.
DF: What timing! Next question -- Will Raevil be rearing his ugly head in this mini? What can you tell us about any other big-bad coming our way?
Cullen Bunn: Raevil indeed shows up at the end of issue #2, and he becomes a major player in the series as of issue #3. Raevil is a charmer. A seducer. He’s very much a devilish character, making promises rather than threats, plotting every step of the way. He’s so evil that the forces of nature react angrily to his presence. And as #3 closes, we see that he has surprising allies of his own that might be more than a match for Rikard.
DF: Tell us about the storyline for this series. Will there be actual nuptials, and who is/are the lucky couple(s)?
Cullen Bunn: In Brides of Helheim, we’re following Rikard, Kadlin, Bera and Groa a few years after the previous series. They are dwelling in some secluded ruins, keeping to themselves. But Kadlin has been quietly hunting for the warlock who corrupted not only Bera and Groa, but her own mother. This man—Raevil—is ultimately responsible for all the horror that has befallen the land. As Kadlin sees it, Raevil owes a “blood debt” to her, and she is sending Rikard to collect.
DF: Cullen, you are certainly no stranger to the supernatural. What is it about the genre that fascinates you so as a writer?
Cullen Bunn: I think supernatural and horror stories are simply where I feel more comfortable. These are the types of stories that have always captured my imagination. If you look at the bookcases in my office, you’ll see my most treasured books are collections of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert Bloch and Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard … Joe R. Lansdale and Stephen King and Dean Koontz and Ramsey Campbell. I could go on and on about my favorite supernatural writers.
I can’t really tell you what, exactly, draws me to these types of stories. I like that you can mix the supernatural into almost any other genre with exciting results. I like that through these strange, fantastical tales we can maybe get a different angle on the real world. I like that supernatural stories allow for a kind of world-building that I really enjoy.
DF: Are you glad to be reuniting with artist Joelle Jones?
Cullen Bunn: Lord, yes! I think Joelle is one of the most talented and exciting artists in the industry. No matter what she’s drawing, I’m never bored by it. And I think she and Nick Filardi on colors make an amazing team. They have done so much to bring the world of Brides of Helheim to life. I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better job than those two.
DF: Who is Sigrid?
Cullen Bunn: Sigrid’s a would-be shield maiden. She is a brave young woman who comes to Rikard for help. After encountering the walking dead man, though, she becomes fascinated with him. She sees Rikard as a friend, although he keeps her at a distance. Sigrid has a very important role to play in the series. I don’t think anyone suspects where her story is headed.
DF: You were careful to really wrap your first Helheim series with a wallop of a twist that led directly into Brides. As we look to the final issues of this miniseries, how are you hoping to set things off for more in the future … or is this it for our beleaguered monsters and sorceresses?
Cullen Bunn: There is a planned third series. While we’ll wrap things up in issue #6 of Brides, we will be teasing the next arc.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Cullen Bunn for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Brides of Helheim #3 his shelves today, December 10th!
Get your copy of Empty Man #1 signed by Cullen Bunn right here!
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