Deadpool Kills the
Marvel Universe #1.As we near the half-year point, it's safe to say that 2012 has been a big one for writer Cullen Bunn. Not only is he nominated for "Best Writer" at this year's Eisner awards for his work on Oni's The Sixth Gun, his profile continues to rise at Marvel. He's credited on eight books scheduled out from the publisher in August, including all four issues of the weekly Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe miniseries, a "What If?" type story in which, as you may have surmised, Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe.
As of August's issue #23, Bunn is taking over Venom after co-writing the current "Savage Six" arc with initial series writer Rick Remender. Plus, Bunn is co-writing a Captain America arc with Ed Brubaker starting in July, and continuing work on his "Captain America and" series, which after the upcoming Captain America and Iron Man arc transitions into a one-issue story of Captain America and Namor in World War II.Newsarama talked with Bunn in-depth about the latest phase of his career, starting with Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe and Venom. Courtesy of Marvel, we're debuting new interior art from the first two issues of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe and Venom #23. Venom #23 cover. Newsarama: Cullen, your name is on eight different books scheduled out from Marvel this August — is this officially the busiest period of your career as a comic book writer? Cullen Bunn: By far, this is the busiest I've been as a writer. There was a time a couple of years ago when I was working full-time at a more than 40-hour-a-week job and I was writing, and that was pretty busy. But this is getting close to that.
It looks like there's a lot of stuff coming out right now from me, and there is, but a lot of that stuff I've been done with for a little bit, too. Like Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe — I've been done scripting that thing for six months or so. Things like that make it look like I'm probably a little busier than I am, but even with that said, it's definitely a busy time for me.
Nrama: Let's talk about Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Obviously the name calls to mind the famous Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe story from the '90s, written by Garth Ennis — how much does that influence what you're doing here?
Bunn: The editors called me, and they uttered the title, "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe." At that time, it was something they mentioned in passing — "We may be doing this book." They gave me nothing except the title, and said, "Based on that title, what would you do?" I went back and read the classic Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe story again, just to see what was done there. It's difficult to say that book doesn't influence what I did, but I definitely read it with the intent of, "I want to make sure I'm doing something different." I didn't want to tread the same ground.Whenever someone says "[blank] Kills the Marvel Universe," people are going to think of that classic Punisher book, and I even make reference to that in Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. There's a nod to that fact that Punisher has sort of become synonymous with the mass murder of all the superheroes.
Nrama: And it looks like the Punisher might play a pretty big role — he's on one of the covers.
Bunn: He definitely plays a role. I don't know if I'd say it's a huge role, but he definitely has his moment in the spotlight with Deadpool.
Nrama: You've written Deadpool before, but how different is this interpretation of the character for you?
Bunn: I've written Deadpool in Deadpool Team-Up, I've done a couple of Deadpool short stories, but I've not written this Deadpool before. This guy is completely new to me. People have this pre-conceived notion of what a Deadpool book is, and this is not that book. It's definitely a little darker. It still has its funny moments. It's still written with that bend, the way Deadpool sees the world. But when I set out to write the story, I set out to write a Deadpool that would be just as sinister and creepy as he is humorous. The things that have made Deadpool humorous in the past set this story in motion in a very dark way.I think there are moments that are going to be disturbing, maybe even upsetting. But I think there are some moments where readers will laugh — and some moments where readers will laugh nervously because of what's happening. This is a very mean Deadpool.
Nrama: That sounds closer to how Deadpool was portrayed in his earlier appearances, where his humor was more of an undertone and he was generally more serious and straight-forward.
Bunn: It takes him back towards some of those more serious notes. In the beginning, you probably see the Deadpool that we're currently accustomed to, and then there's a catalyst that changes all of that.
Nrama: Moving on to Venom, you're taking over as solo writer in August. We talked before about your approach to succeeding Jason Aaron on Wolverine, how your first arc follows what he was doing more closely and your second is going to be more of a departure. How close are you sticking to with what Rick Remender has done on Venom? Obviously the dynamic is difference, since you just co-wrote a Venom arc with Rick.
Bunn: With Venom, there are some departures, because Rick has set up a number of supporting characters and a cast of villains, and has built up Venom's world a little bit. I am going to depart a lot from that, because there are a number of supporting characters who are not going to play a major role in my run on Venom, at least initially. There are some characters who do not feature into my Venom story. I start introducing an entire new cast of supporting characters, but I wanted to keep it similar in tone to what Rick has been doing. That's the kind of tone I like for that character. I like these fast-paced, frantic stories, but then at the heart there's the story of Flash Thompson, and how he is dealing with becoming a superhero, and how, frankly, he's been failing at it. He's had some major wins, but he's definitely fumbled the ball more than a few times. And people have paid the price — he's paid the price, and then other people have paid the price as well. I wanted to make sure that I stayed true to that core of seeing Flash Thompson as a human being who is also a superhero. But I definitely wanted to throw him into some new challenges that are a little different. He's had his run with Crime Master and the Savage Six. Now he's going to be introduced to a whole new world of villain and characters who will start entering his orbit. But there are threads that are going to be let over from Savage Six, and I already have plans to address some of those in Venom. But just initially, he's going to be dealing with some other things.
Nrama: When you say "supporting characters," it sounds like Betty Brant might not be long for the book.
Bunn: She's important to Flash's life, so I'm not going to write a story where he just has forgotten Betty Brant. But she's not as heavily in the series as she has been, for various reasons. She's not as big of a part of Flash's life as she has been, maybe not as big as he wants her to be.Check back with Newsarama later in the week for more with Cullen Bunn, on co-writing Captain America with Ed Brubaker and his own "Captain America and" ongoing series! More from Newsarama:
- Writer's Workshop #8: THE SIXTH GUN Man Cullen Bunn
- Cullen Bunn Scares WOLVERINE, Teams Up with CAPTAIN AMERICA
- Rising Star Cullen Bunn Explores WOLVERINE's Solitary Side