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CULLEN BUNN
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DF Interview: Cullen Bunn returns to ‘Manor Black’ with ‘Fire in the Blood’

 

By Byron Brewer

 

The powerful and ancient blood sorcerer Roman Black has taken a young fire mage under his wing after she has done the impossible – taken her magic house's totem spirit inside herself. But the totem is powerful, and may be impossible to control, especially when Roman's children begin to see the young mage as a threat.

 

From the creators of Harrow County and The Sixth Gun, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt, comes Manor Black: Fire in the Blood, the next chapter of this gothic horror fantasy about a family of sorcerers in crisis. As soon as you say three words – “horror” and “Cullen Bunn” – I am there with the reporter’s pad. Here is what scribe Bunn had to say.

 

Byron Brewer: Cullen, I love how you never completely abandon your comics properties, and there is always that next thread, either looking back or going forward. Why was this the right time for your and our return to Manor Black?

 

Cullen Bunn: We actually always intended for Manor Black to be a series of miniseries. We wanted to jump right into this arc straight away. Sadly, the pandemic threw a huge wrench into those plans and delayed us for a bit. I’m thrilled, though, to be returning to this story now!

 

Byron: Your re-teaming with artist Brian Hurtt is certainly something to celebrate, as readers of Harrow County and The Sixth Gun know well. Talk a little about your collaboration.

 

Cullen Bunn: Brian is one of my oldest friends and one of the most talented artists in the business. If I have my druthers, we’ll be teaming on projects for years to come. In fact, we’re cooking up some stuff right now. With Manor Black, he co-wrote the original story arc with me. This time around, I’m handling scripting and Brian is handling pencils and inks. Tyler Crook is handling colors and letters. I definitely let them know what I was cooking up story-wise, but I tried to keep as many secrets as possible. I wanted to surprise them when they read this script.

 

Byron: For readers awakening from under a rock (and who could blame them today?), summarize where we were when last visiting Manor Black, and were there any threads there that lead readers now to Fire in the Blood?

 

Cullen Bunn: Manor Black is the story of a family of blood magicians who live in a sprawling gothic mansion. Magic is secret to the world at large, and the family hopes to keep it that way. Roman Black, the patriarch of the family, is at a point in his life when he must choose a successor, but he’s hesitating. And that hesitation could be disastrous. The longer he waits, the more at risk his own sanity becomes. Complicating matters, a young fire mage named Ari has arrived at Manor Black, and Roman has taken her under his wing, much to the dismay of his family.

 

Byron: Give us an expanded elevator pitch, if you will, for this saga’s overall storyline.

 

Cullen Bunn: In Fire in the Blood, we will be following a story from Roman Black’s past. We’ll be seeing exactly why he is hesitant to give up his power, and we’ll be seeing the dangers that decision might bring to light.

 

Byron: Shine a little more spotlight on Roman Black for us, as we prepare to pick up #1 in February.

 

Cullen Bunn: Roman, as we have seen him in the previous story, is struggling with his decision to Descend. This is the event when the leader of the household abandons their power and the living world to become one with the Totem of Blood—the House of Blood’s center of power. Why Roman hasn’t given up his power yet is a bit of a mystery. In this story, we’re going to see Roman as a much younger man, returning home as his own father faces the Descent. It’s a story of tragedy and horror that helps us see how Roman became the man he is today.

 

Byron: Can you give us a little more background on Ari, the fire mage Roman is helping along, and what effect this has on his children?

 

Cullen Bunn: Ari arrived at the doorsteps of Manor Black under a cloud of bloodshed and mystery. The house of fire from which she originated had been wiped out by the Stranger, a powerful wild magician. In order to protect her, Roman shared a little of his blood with her. It’s gross, but not as gross as it sounds. This, though, sets Ari up as having a foot in both the House of Flame and the House of Blood. Roman decides to train her. This seems off to Roman’s family. Could he possibly be preparing Ari to be his successor? And there are more concerns. Roman’s father, years ago, made a deal with a fire mage to extend his own life. It was an event that almost destroyed the family completely.

 

Byron: This may border on a spoiler, but can you explain what is involved with Roman’s acolyte taking her totem spirit inside herself? What does that mean for her as an individual? Good or bad?

 

Cullen Bunn: Ari has taken the Totem of Flame into her own body. Very few people, not even most fire mages, could do such a thing. The totem could very easily burn Ari alive from the inside out. It makes her powerful, but it is a dangerous power indeed. Roman is trying to help her control the fury of the flame.

 

Byron: Cullen, what other plethora of publishing do you have headed fans’ ways that you can discuss?

 

Cullen Bunn: So many! I have several new creator-owned projects in the works! I also have a few new licensed comics that will be announced soon! I think 2022 will be an exciting year. Folks can follow me on Twitter (@cullenbunn) or sign up for my e-newsletter to keep up to date on all the latest!

 

Dynamic Forces would like to thank Cullen Bunn for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Manor Black: Fire in the Blood #1 from Dark Horse Comics is slated to be on sale February 2nd!

 

For more news and up-to-date announcements, join us here at Dynamic Forces, www.dynamicforces.com/htmlfiles/, LIKE us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/dynamicforcesinc, and follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/dynamicforces.

 

 

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