Cullen Bunn has long been a favorite of mine. He had his first comic, The Damned, published by Oni in 2007. He has since gone on to write for all the major publishers, including Marvel, DC, Image, Boom, Oni, Dark Horse, and Dynamite. His Magneto run is probably my favorite and I believe while it was a short run it should definitely be considered one of the greatest Magneto stories. He's at his best, in my opinion, when writing horror book. He recently released a new series called Bone Parish through Boom Comics. It's about a family who deal a new drug made from the bones of the dead. I definitely recommend it to any horror fan. After reading it I decided to hit him up for an interview.
1. What made you want you write comic book?
I’ve always loved comic books, and I’ve always wanted to tell stories. I feel like it was just a natural progression for me to gravitate to the world of comics. It took me longer than I would have liked to “break in” to the comic book industry. Early on, I focused on prose fiction. But I always had comic book ideas rolling around in my head.
2. Which writers were your biggest influences?
There are many writers whose work I admire. Lovecraft, Howard, McCammon, Ligotti, Lansdale are all novelists who have inspired me. In comics, Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis and Bill Mantlo are all influences, but I think every time I read a great book or a great comic, I pick up bits of inspiration.
3. The Magneto series you wrote is one of my favorite books. I think you write villains really well (Magneto and Sinestro). What do you think makes a great villain?
I think the best villains have motivations that can be understood. That’s not to suggest that readers should agree with those motivations and ideals. Magneto, for example, wants to protect his people at any cost. Considering his tortured past, it’s easy to see why he resorts to such extreme methods. Sinestro, on the other hand, wants order. That’s easy enough to relate to. But he’ll do just about anything to get it. A great villain can trick the reader for a time, convince them that they aren’t a villain at all.
4. I just finished reading Bone Parish and loved it. The concept is really interesting. Can you tell us a little more about your plans for the book?
The series has been approved for a 12-issue run. It’s a supernatural crime story about the Winters, a family trying to make it big in the drug game. As the series progresses, you’ll see the family facing dangers and challenges both internal and external. Your family members can be stressful under normal circumstances. Throw a bustling drug business into the mix and it gets even more complicated. And that’s not to mention rival criminal organizations that are out to take the Winters business model over for themselves.
5. If you could write any book, what would it be? From any publisher.
I’ve long wanted to write a Man-Thing or Dr. Druid story for Marvel. For DC, I’d love to write Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, or the Demon. Really, any of the horror-based characters for Marvel or DC would be a lot of fun for me.
6. Are there any books you're working on that haven't been announced that you can tease yet?
There are several books that I’m working on right now. Some are creator-owned and some are established characters. I just sent out a couple of new pitches, both for established characters. One is for a horror-based hero, but I can’t really tell you which publisher without revealing the character.
7. Lastly, is there any advice you can give to an aspiring comic book writer?
Whether a writer wants to work on independent books, Marvel or DC, or both, I would suggest that he or she focus on first telling their own story. This should be a story that speaks to who the writer is. Find a smaller publisher or self-publish the book. Get it into the hands of readers however you can. No matter where your comic career goes from there, you’ll always have a comic book that you wrote.
Bone Parish #1 and other books by Cullen Bunn are in stores now available at your local comic shop