and Hawkeye #629
cover.Cullen Bunn got the attention of the comic book industry through his Oni Press series The Sixth Gun, which sees its 20th issue later this month. In the past year, he's written Fear Itself: The Deep for Marvel, as well as taking lead on the co-written maxiseries Fear Itself: The Fearless, plus penned the Spider-Man: Season One original graphic novel due out in May.
Spring sees the writer's Marvel profile rise even higher, as he's taking over the monthly Wolverine solo series from Jason Aaron, and also landing on Captain America and Bucky. The latter book is getting a bit of a makeover with Bunn's arrival on April's issue #629, as it's changing titles to Captain America and Hawkeye, with the avenging archer stepping up as Cap's new co-star — while keeping the legacy numbering.
It'll only be Captain America and Hawkeye for the first arc of Bunn's run, as Steve Rogers will then be joined by another fellow Avenger, Iron Man, with other characters both likely (Black Widow) and less expected coming in and out of the series — essentially, it's "Captain America Team-Up."
Newsarama spoke to Bunn about his plans for the series, and his increasingly busy Marvel schedule — which includes co-writing Venom with Rick Remender for an arc starting in May. (Also, we talked a lot about Stegron the Dinosaur Man.) Courtesy of Marvel, we're debuting exclusive interior pages from Captain America and Hawkeye #629 by artist Alessandro Vitti.
Newsarama: Cullen, you're less than a year into your exclusive deal at Marvel, and in a lot of ways, it seems that Captain America and Hawkeye is something of a dream gig type of book. You're getting to write big-name characters, different ones in each arc, in a series that's connected to current continuity but not necessarily directed by it. Do you sort of see it that way?
Cullen Bunn: When we first started talking about it I was super-excited, for all the reasons you just described. One, I get the chance to write Captain America, who's a great character. But two, I get these short stints of other really great characters. I always loved team-up books when I was growing up.
It's a great book, I think, for newer readers or readers who may not be following all of the continuity-heavy stuff. They can see these characters, and maybe be exposed to some characters they aren't familiar with.Interior art from
#629.Nrama: You've talked in the past about being a fan of both Captain America and Hawkeye. Are there any past runs of interpretations of the character that you're drawing on for this series?
Bunn: I don't know that any of the past incarnations really are shaping what I'm doing with them in this arc, or maybe it's more like every incarnation that I liked is kind of shaping it.
I started liking Hawkeye as a character during West Coast Avengers, and I think I still kind of see him in the light that he's a little more — I don't want to say easygoing, but definitely a little more laid back in terms of superheroing. He's got this confidence that comes across that probably rubs some people the wrong way, and is definitely a big difference when compared to Captain America, who has a confidence, but in a completely different kind of way. His confidence is both understated, in that he doesn't have to prove anything, but it's also the kind of confidence that really inspires those around him. Hawkeye, to me, always seems like he's got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, and he definitely feels the need to prove how good he is.
They both have a big responsibility to those around them, they wouldn't be superheroing if they didn't have responsibility to others. But I think that responsibility probably weighs more heavily on Cap than it does Hawkeye.
Nrama: Captain America and Hawkeye are definitely a pretty classic pair, and we've seen their dynamic explored recently on books like Secret Avengers.
Bunn: It's fun to write both of those characters, and put them in these situations. The difficulty with it is, they have been seen together a lot lately. I'm trying to give a different side of the story, or side of the story that readers may not have seen up until this point.Nrama: Now, I don't want to assume anything before the first issue is even out, but it looks like there's a pretty free-wheeling tone to the book — Captain America appears to be turned into a dinosaur on the cover of Captain America and Hawkeye #631.
Bunn: Isn't that cover awesome?
Nrama: It really is! Is that an important factor to you — making the series one that maybe doesn't take itself too seriously?
Bunn: Going into it, I didn't want to write a story that was too dark, and too depressing. I wanted to write something that was really a lot of fun. One of the reasons I wanted to do this is because I'm hoping some people who may not read all of the Captain America books, or Avengers, they can pick this book up and have fun with it, and I really wanted to get the idea across that comics can be fun. Captain America turning into a dinosaur on the cover of the third issue is pretty indicative of the kinds of stories I want to tell in this series.
Nrama: So what inspired using a character like Stegron and the sort of general dinosaur motif in the opening arc?Interior art from
#629.Bunn: I think that's my 12-year-old Cullen coming out. I love dinosaurs, and I love monsters. When you think about that first arc, there's sort of a dinosaur motif, but there's just as much, without spoiling too much about what's going on, of a monster and sort of horror motif as well.
When we first announced it, I think I said, "The way I pitched the story was, 'Captain America and Hawkeye go out and fight dinosaurs.'" I had a lot of people saying, "Oh, the Savage Land." I promise that the Savage Land doesn't feature into this story in any way, shape or form. It's a dinosaur story without dinosaurs.
I remembered reading Stegron stories way back when, and I liked him. So I was looking up Stegron, and thinking of dinosaurs and the story I was telling, he kind of fit in and would make a good catalyst. But I wasn't sure if he worked, because Stegon, I remember in the early days, was kind of this goofy looking guy. But then I was doing some research on him, and I found these images of him [by Angel Medina], of this big, hulking, nasty-looking Stegron creature perched like a gargoyle over the city. He looked really menacing and really scary, and as soon as I saw that, it cemented in my head that Stegron can actually be a really kind of cool character.
I had no idea that he had a following. [Laughs.] There apparently is a group of Stegron fans out there that got really excited. So I'm glad people like him, and I hope they like what he does, and how he interacts with Captain America and Hawkeye.
Nrama: Between this story, and your work on Fear Itself: The Fearless and even Fear Itself: The Deep, it looks like there's a recurring theme of exploring some exotic locales and less-charted areas of the Marvel Universe.Interior art from
#629.Bunn: It's definitely something I like to do. Mainly I want to make sure I'm telling stories that are set in visually interesting locales. I want to make sure that the artist isn't just having fun with the characters and the action, but also the setting, and the crazier the setting I can get away with, I'll try to do it.
Comics are such a visual medium, I want every part of the story to have that visually interesting component. I don't write talking head comics, but if I am going to write a talking head comic, I want something really interesting to be going on around the people who are talking.
Nrama: Speaking of visuals, how has working with Alessandro Vitti been thus far?
Bunn: It's been great. I was a fan of his work on Secret Warriors, so when they told me he was going to be doing this first arc, I was super-excited. I'm asking him to draw some really insane things — in the first issue, even, there's a lot of crazy stuff going on. And he brings this fluidity of action; it definitely pops off the page and comes to life.
His creature designs are amazing. I have not at this point — he's nearing this page very rapidly — seen the first image of Stegron of him yet, but I'm super-excited to see what he does with it, just based on all the other monsters, and the creatures, everything he's done. He's not holding back on anything he's done so far.
Nrama: So coming up after the Hawkeye arc is Captain America and Iron Man, right? And also Black Widow in the future?
Bunn: The Avengers are going to feature in it in a big way, at least right now, but I definitely have plans for stories that maybe feature some characters who aren't as readily thought of when you think of Captain America. Captain America and Hawkeye, Captain America and Iron Man, those pop into mind immediately. When I first started pitching ideas for the book, they were two of the first ones I came up with, just because they fit. They work together. But I have some others that I definitely think will be pretty cool if readers stick with the book and enjoy it.
There's a one-in-done issue coming up that features a character who's not a stranger to Captain America, but is not an Avenger. I want to vary it up a little bit.Captain America
#630 cover.Nrama: The series format seems to kind of naturally allow for that — similar to the current Avenging Spider-Man title.
Bunn: I wanted to challenge myself a little bit with some of these stories. I don't care what anybody says, team-up books are hard to write. It has to make sense that these characters are teaming up, and for Captain America and Hawkeye, why they're teaming up and not calling in the rest of the Avengers. And not only that, each character needs to carry their own weight and be a fully fleshed-out character in each arc. You want to give them their own voice. And then I'm also trying to challenge myself with a few one-in-done stories, which I'm fascinated by, because they're very difficult.
Nrama: So since you're writing a Captain America team-up book, and you're also writing Wolverine, any chance we'll see the two of them together? They've got some history.
Bunn: That would be awesome, and they've got kind of a history. I think they play well off of each other. I think at some point it would definitely make sense.Wolverine #306
cover.Nrama: So in May, Captain America and Hawkeye is double-shipping, Wolverine is double-shipping, and you're also co-writing Venom with Rick Remender, which also happens to be double-shipping. Is that pretty much your busiest month in comic books ever?
Bunn: May's going to be a crazy month. It's kind of weird. I'm not used to the double-shipping yet. Schedule-wise, it's fine, but usually I can turn in a script and there was a little bit of time before the next one had to get started, but now it's, "This one's turned in, get started on the next one." Right now's as busy as I've been in the past year, which is awesome. I'm not going to complain about being busy, especially when I'm busy writing these characters that I've loved for forever.
Captain America and Hawkeye in terms of tone is going to be so different from Venom, and they're both so different from Wolverine. There will be a lot of different takes on where I am mentally on each book. [Laughs.] The good news is that all these characters have their own voice, their own style, so it makes switching between the different books pretty easy. Years ago, when I was just thinking about even trying to write comics, I remember reading somewhere, if you can take one character out of a story and plug them into another story — if you can take Captain America and plug him into a Wolverine story — you've done something wrong as a writer, because those characters shouldn't be interchangeable.
- Rising Star Cullen Bunn Explores WOLVERINE's Solitary Side
- Cullen Bunn Talks Newly Minted CAPTAIN AMERICA AND HAWKEYE
- Writer's Workshop #8: THE SIXTH GUN Man Cullen Bunn