This coming Wednesday, April 25, is a big one for writer Cullen Bunn, as it’s the release date for both Wolverine #305 and Captain America and Hawkeye #629 (exclusive preview here), the first two issues of his first two ongoing series at Marvel Comics.
It doesn’t stop there for Bunn, though —in May, his original graphic novel, Spider-Man: Season One, is out, plus he’s joining Rick Remender as a co-writer on Venom. In July, he’s co-writing again, this time with Ed Brubaker on issue #15 of the flagship Captain America series. That’s all in addition to the work he’s doing on The Sixth Gun for Oni Press, which has earned him the impressive of accolade of an <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/2012-eisner-award-nominees.html>Eisner nomination</a> for the lofty title of “Best Writer” at this year’s awards.
Newsarama chatted with Bunn this past Sunday at his Artist’s Alley table at the C2E2 convention in Chicago, about bringing horror to his Wolverine arc (illustrated by Paul Pelletier), the dinosaurs-without-being-dinosaurs fun of Captain America and Hawkeye (illustrated by Alessandro Vitti), a Sixth Gun TV update and more.
cover.Newsarama: Cullen, during Marvel's “Next Big Thing,” you mentioned that you can still remember the first time you saw Wolverine in a comic. Which comic book was that?
Cullen Bunn: The first time I remember seeing Wolverine, I was in a little comic book shop in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and I saw a copy of . They were selling it for like 12 bucks, and my mom was like, "No!" I remember thinking, "He's such a cool looking character! He has claws!"
Nrama: So as a Wolverine fan, is there a "definitive" take on the character for you?
Bunn: I think that Jason [Aaron]'s — and this is not just because I'm following him — I really think Jason's run on Wolverine is the best the character's been in forever. There are a lot of stories I remember with Wolverine. "Days of Future Past" is one that jumps out in my mind. There are a lot of Wolverine moments that kind of become the definitive moments — when he's fighting the Hellfire Club, comes up from the sewer and everything. I think of that Silvestri cover where he's like crucified on the giant X . There are moments of Wolverine that I really remember, but I really think Jason's run has been one of the best runs on Wolverine ever.
Nrama: And it looks like you’re following what Aaron did on the book pretty closely, including using Doctor Rot in your first arc.
Bunn: The first arc definitely follows up on some of the elements that he introduced. When I was pitching the story, I asked [Wolverine editor Jeanine Schaefer], "I really want to make sure Jason's cool with me using Doctor Rot," because he created the character, and then I'm going to build on the character, so I wanted to see if he was supportive of what I was going to do with the character. And he was, he's been awesome.
cover.My second arc [following Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi’s “Sabretooth Reborn”] is treading some new ground for Wolverine. It's introducing some new characters in Wolverine's life, and it's going to be showing Wolverine in a different light. I want to honor what Jason's done — and I love Doctor Rot anyway, he's the kind of character who speaks to me. A lot of what I do has this horror vibe to it, and this Doctor Rot story, it's a horror story with Wolverine. A lot of people say, "superhero comics can't be horror stories," and that's BS. This is a horror story with Wolverine in it.
Nrama: Then on sort of the flipside of that is Captain America and Hawkeye, which looks like much more of a bright, fun, straight-up superhero story than what you’re doing on Wolverine.
Bunn: The Wolverine arc is a horror arc — but horror can be fun. But, I would say that Captain America and Hawkeye is definitely more superheroes doing their thing, having fun. There's lot of action, and Captain America and Hawkeye fighting dinosaurs — sorta dinosaurs. They have some connection to some Marvel history.
#630 cover.Nrama: It sounds like you're going back a ways, reaching for the old Handbooks.
Bunn: I am going back a little bit. I grabbed some old issues of other comics and scanned pictures, and said, "Look at this, these are the creatures I'm talking about;" dating back to the days of the original series.
Nrama: Does that come pretty natural to you? Are you a pretty big continuity buff?
Bunn: I don't want to be a slave to nostalgia. But a lot of this stuff is stuff I love about comics. I'm not going to write it in such a way that you have to read 30 years worth of comics, but I just want to give that kind of spirit to it a little bit; that spirit of fun. And I like that the idea that it's going to be able to connect to some stuff. The people who like the idea of connecting to other things that have happened in the Marvel Universe, they're going to like it. The people who don't care about that will still be able to enjoy the story.
Nrama: Right. That’s kind of part of the deal with superhero comics — the understanding that it’s a part of a bigger whole.
Bunn: It is a universe. It's a world. So I want to draw on the elements of that world, and introduce some new elements along the way.
and Iron Man
#633 cover.In the first arc, I'm introducing a character named Kashmir Vennema. She will be a recurring character in the "Captain America and" series. She's in the first arc, she'll be in the second arc. She's a thread that will run through the series.
Nrama: And the second arc is “Captain America and Iron Man,” right?
Bunn: Captain America and Iron Man, which, again, is a crazy arc. It's a three-issue arc, and I'm putting so much awesome in three issues. It's set in Madripoor, it features M.O.D.O.K., and it features Batroc's Brigade. "Batroc ze Leaper." The Brigade hasn't been seen too much recently.
Batroc was made so awesome in recent Captain America arcs, I want to follow up on that. He's a character who could easily be a joke — and has often been a joke — but this is cool Batroc again, Batroc being a real foil and a real challenge for Captain America and Iron Man.
Nrama: Moving to another iconic Marvel character, when is Spider-Man: Season One out?
Bunn: It's early May. They're going to release the first chapter of Spider-Man: Season One as a Free Comic Book Day Release. I think it's the next week or two the book comes out. It's about a month away.
Nrama: Last year at Comic-Con in San Diego, it was reported that <>The Sixth Gun was in development as a television series — any news on that front?
Bunn: I don't know anything, really; other than both Sixth Gun and The Damned, there is activity with them for television development, but the wheels run slow. If things come together, it could be very exciting, what's being planned, because I've got sort of a sneak peek at what they're doing, and it's awesome. That's stuff exciting, but I temper it back just so I don't get obsessed with it. Those wheels are turning, but I'm just going to try to focus on what I do.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!