At this year’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), there was no shortage of shining stars from the nerdy heavens at the convention. From Hollywood superstars Dominique McElligott, Karl Urban, and George Takei, to comic book pros Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Tom King, and Babs Tarr. Wall-to-wall fandom, being a nerd was the order of the weekend, and the excitement was tangible throughout the whole show.
Comic book writer and horror master Cullen Bunn was in attendance at this year’s event. Cullen is the mastermind behind some brilliant comics over the years, including Harrow County for Dark Horse Comics, The Sixth Gun for Oni Press and X-Men: Blue for Marvel Comics.
PopCultHQ sat down to talk with Cullen about two new projects he has coming out in the months ahead – the sci-fi/horror series Rogue Planet for Oni Press and his taking over of the Shadowman character for Valiant Comics.
Writer Cullen Bunn
PopCultHQ: You’ve worked on a lot of genres over the years for indie publishers and the Big Two. What made you decide to do with your newest project through Oni Press, a book that is a combination of both horror and sci-fi?
Cullen Bunn: So that’s Rogue Planet we’re talking about, and it’s something I’ve had in mind for a long time. I actually first pitched that to Oni, it’s been five or six years ago. It was something I wanted to do because I’ve always loved science fiction and horror. You know you think back to some of my favorite movies like Alien and The Thing and recently, well relatively recently, Event Horizon, things like that. I’ve always loved that combination of horror and sci-fi.
PopCultHQ: When you spoke to SyFy about this, you said “I wanted to build a new kind of terror. Something that really digs deep into the fears each and everyone of us has.” Could you please elaborate on that?
Cullen Bunn: Well, it’s kind of tough to elaborate too much because it kind of gives away sort of a secret of Rogue Planet. But I can say there are some parts of Rogue Planet that seem a little, it sort of starts out in a very familiar territory. But it goes into some things that are going to surprise you. And I think the piece that is probably what I was referring to is how we react to fear and how we deal with situations when we are under duress and especially when we’re experiencing terror. And the lengths that we’ll go to. And I think that’s what we’re gonna dig into with Rogue Planet.
PopCultHQ: This is the first time you’ve worked with Andy MacDonald on a series. How is the collaboration going so far?
Cullen Bunn: Oh, it’s great! Even before I was really working in comics, I was a huge fan of Andy. So the opportunity for him to do this book was hard for me to pass up. And that’s one of the reasons it’s kind of been in the process for a while, because we had to wait for Andy’s schedule to be such that he could take it on. But I thought it was worth waiting for him to take the book on.
PopCultHQ: Now to switch over to Shadowman and what you’re going to be doing at Valiant. What are your thoughts as a writer on tackling a series that is part superhero and part horror?
Cullen Bunn: Its something I feel like I’ve done it before. A lot of my books in the past have been superhero books that I’ve approached from sort of a horror angle. Magneto for instance with Marvel, I always said that was a horror book with Magneto as the lead. Same with Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. But I wanted this one to be a little different. Yes, Shadowman’s a superhero and he punches things and fights for us. But because of the nature of his powers and the nature of his role in the Valiant Universe, I really thought it gave us the opportunity to really lean into the horror elements. There’s no masking that this is a horror book. And every issue is sort of a different short horror story, really, that kind of connects to a bigger story and a bigger world.
PopCultHQ: Is there any kind of surprises or insane stuff that you can talk about that readers will get when that first issue hits the shops?
Cullen Bunn: Well, I think that there’s surprises every issue. And we are really leaning into some of the mythology of the Deadside, which is this other universe in the Valiant world that is sort of where everything goes when it dies. And we’re really playing with the mythology of that. I think readers will be surprised. Shadowman has sort of a partner in this series and I think readers are gonna really be surprised by who that is, because they will have seen this character before many times and it’s not going to be the kind of character you’d think Shadowman would be teaming up with.
PopCultHQ: It sounds likes we have a lot to look forward to with Rogue Planet from Oni Press and Shadowman from Valiant. Thank you so much for giving me the gift of your time.
Cullen Bunn: Thanks, man. I really appreciate it.
Be sure to check out the rest of our C2E2 coverage:
Adam Savage Sightings
Interview w/ Writer Gail Simone
Interview w/ Cullen Bunn
Friday Cosplay - Part 1
Friday Cosplay - Part 2
Saturday Cosplay - Part 1
Saturday Cosplay - Part 2
Saturday Cosplay - Part 3
Saturday Cosplay - Part 4
Saturday Cosplay - Part 5
Saturday Cosplay - Part 6
Sunday Cosplay - Part 1
Sunday Cosplay - Part 2
Sunday Cosplay - Part 3
Sunday Cosplay Masquerade
C2E2 has rolled up the red carpet for the year. There were a lot of memories created, a lot of laughs shared, and friends made. It was a time for fun, fandoms, and being true to the nerd that is within all of us. A big thank you to Cullen for scaring us all with his amazing comics and for taking time to chat with us, and a big thank you to the staff of ReedPOP for making this another successful C2E2!
Writer – Cullen Bunn