We recently spotted Cullen Bunn, while hunting quail in British Columbia, and here’s what happened:
Q: Did you find it difficult to tell a new take on Spider-Man’s origin, when that story is one of the most re-told stories?
A: It was a lot more difficult than I expected it to be. The goal of the book is to introduce readers who are new to comics (or new to the character) to Spider-Man… not only his origin but also a little bit about what the character’s all about. The trick, of course, is to write something that would also be fresh and interesting for long-standing readers. I worried over the story quite a bit before I ever started scripting. The good news is, Spider-Man is a lot of fun to write as a character, so once I got to scripting it became a little easier.
Q: What’s it like working together with illustrator Neil Edwards?
A: Neil is great. One of the things I wanted to do with this book is get this sense of fun and adventure across. Neil draws FUN scenes. I couldn’t have been happier with what he and Karl Kesel did with this book, and I really hope I get to work with them again.
Q: Which of the many Spider-Man villains are you most looking forward to having some fun with, and why?
A: I don’t want to give away the villain just yet, but there is a long-standing villain who shows up and faces the newly powered-up Spidey in the book. My choices were limited, though, because this story is not intended to replace Spidey’s existing origin. I had to keep the story very true to the original Spidey stories.
Q: You’re given an acre of land, and you’re given everything you’ll need to farm the land. What crop do you choose to grow, and why?
A: Are Juicy Fruit trees a real thing?
Q: The Sixth Gun is lots of fun. Where did your inspiration for the character of Drake Sinclair come from?
A: I think he comes from a lot of different places: Han Solo, Rhett Butler, the Man With No Name… even Eddie (from the other book I did with Brian Hurtt, The Damned) contributed little pieces to Drake’s character. My favorite characters are almost always complete jerks, and Drake definitely fits the bill.
Q: What was it like, fighting for your life against mountain lions?
A: Somebody’s read my bio… or been around me when I’ve had a few drinks. The mountain lion story is 100% true. When I was 18, I was attacked by a cougar… but there’s a little more to the story than that. It was a wild experience. A little too lengthy to get into here. If you run into me at a convention, let’s get a drink and I’ll tell you all about 8-Ball the Cougar.
Q: You performed on stage as the World’s Youngest Hypnotist. How young were you, and what was that like?
A: I was 3 or 4, I think. I only barely remember it. My dad worked as a stage hypnotist for many years. Part of his act was to bring me on stage as “the World’s Youngest Hypnotist.” My routine was to give the subjects carrots and have them try to smoke them as cigars.
Q: Are you still a hypnotist today?
A: Oh, no. I never really had the knack for it. My dad was the one with the powers of mind control.
Q: Getting back to Spider-Man for a moment, how young would you say Peter Parker is, in your Season One tale?
A: He’s in high school, but I get the idea he might have been skipped ahead a year or so. I’m thinking he’s around 15.
Q: Will you stick with the classic “THWIP” sound-effect for the webs, or do you have a new sound effect in mind for that?
A: I definitely use a few “Thwips,” but I love sound effects, so there are plenty of others in the book.
Q: You’re a mechanic on board a spaceport, and you repair spaceships. What’s the name of your mechanic garage?
A: “In Space, No One Can Hear Your Squealing Brakes.”
Q: What’s a film you’ve seen recently which you would recommend for others to see, and why?
A: I just watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. I really enjoyed both of them. They both have connections to my childhood. As a kid, I loved the Planet of the Apes movies, and the TV movie version of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark terrified me. Both of these modern interpretations are really solid movies in my opinion.
Q: What’s a film you’ve seen recently which you would NOT recommend for other to see, and why?
A: I’m not the guy to come to for recommendations of things not to watch. I used to bitch about movies and books and comics relentlessly, and then I realized it just made me a bit of a jackass. Are there movies that I wish I hadn’t spent time watching? Sure. But someone else might enjoy the heck out of it.
Q: Who are some of your favorite comicbook writers in the game today?
A: Jason Aaron, Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, Scott Snyder, Chris Roberson, Dennis Hopeless, Rick Remender, and Ray Fawkes are some of the names that immediately spring to mind.
Q: What is your all-time favorite comicbook story?
A: Hmmm. Tough question. A few that seem to stick with me include the first and final arcs of The Micronauts, the Dark Phoenix saga, Camelot 3000, and the New Mutants Demon Bear story.
Q: You just opened a new fast food chain. What’s it called, and what sort of food do you serve?
A: Fajita Bunns…. but we don’t serve fajitas. We only serve margaritas. Like 31 flavors of margaritas. We’d be the Baskin Robbins of tequila.
Q: You just traveled back in time and joined Al Capone’s gang in Chicago. What’s your mafia nickname?
A: Cullen “Please Don’t Shoot Me” Bunn.
Q: The Hourly Planet hands you a roll of quarters at a random street carnival, and says “Ok Cullen, knock yourself out”! What do you spend the money on?
A: I’d find the arcade tent. I’ve got Pac-Man fever and those carnivals always have the best old games. Maybe Victory Road or Space Harrier.
Q: What do you have planned for Mary Jane Watson in your Season One tale?
A: Well, this may be upsetting for some people, but she doesn’t appear in the book. Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy didn’t appear until later in the Spidey mythos, so they don’t show up here.
Q: Fear Itself: The Fearless must be tons of fun to write with Fraction and Yost. What’s it been like, writing together with them?
A: That book has been great fun, and I think that shows in the final product. It’s a rip-roaring adventure. Working with Matt and Chris is a real treat, because they are such creative, talented people.
Q: Tell us a little about “Pappy’s Deep Fried Deep Ones”?
A: Talk about a blast from the past! Years ago, I saw submission guidelines for a horror-themed cookbook. I whipped up a Lovecraftian-themed recipe, and it appeared in the book. I guess I misunderstood the guidelines, because this recipe was one of the only “fake” recipes in the book. That said, you could substitute catfish for “deep one” and make a mean mess of fish.
Here’s the recipe as it appeared in the book.
Pappy’s Deep Fried Deep Ones
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This is a recipe passed on to me by my granddaddy, who was known lovingly by his friends and relatives as Pappy. Now Pappy considered himself to be something of a master chef, especially when it came to dishes that no one else had even heard of. This recipe, found in his personal cookbook, which he called his “Book o’ Secrets,” was his specialty. Alas, Pappy vanished one day while gathering the ingredients for this very dish. Members of the search party that combed the salt marshes looking for him claimed that they found only his clothes, neatly-folded, laying alongside the bank, and a trail of strange footprints, both human and otherwise, leading through the muck of the bayou, headed towards the sea.
1 Tub of cooking oil
2 bags of salt
3 sacks full of dried breadcrumbs
4 Dozen eggs, slightly beaten
1 Deep One, thoroughly beaten until dead
1 baseball bat or similar implement, just in case the beating was not thorough enough, for the deep One, not the eggs
First things first, you’ve got to find yourself a Deep One. Now, those critters are most often found in the depths of the ocean, performing foul rites to their scaly gods. Don’t you let that worry you none, though. If you’re lucky enough to live in or around certain coastal towns, you may be able to find yourself a Deep One just by looking real close at your friends and relatives. Now, you need to be real careful before passing judgement on someone as a fish-headed beastie. You don’t want to find yourself frying up a mess of Deep-Fried Deep Ones only to find out what you’re cooking isn’t a Deep One at all, but just some gal with a bad case of the bug-eyed, flat-lipped uglies. Usually, you can spot an honest-to-god Deep One by whether they got gills or not. Once you’ve found a Deep One, you need to figure out how to catch it. I find that day-old raw fish makes as good a lure as any, but keep your baseball bat handy. There’s a few things to keep in mind as you prepare your Deep One for frying. Most importantly, don’t even think of scaling it. They got hides so tough you’ll waste every piece of cutlery you own. Besides, cooking them with their scales softens them up a bit and gives the dish a satisfying crunchiness. Coat the Deep One from head to toe with the eggs, then roll its carcass around in the breadcrumbs. Then, all you got to do is plop the Deep One in the fryer. At this point, you may want to have your bat close at hand, because quite often the boiling oil will revive the critter and, as you can guess, it will be awful mad. Fry for five to ten minutes, bashing the thing in the head or holding it under the oil as necessary, until the critter does the dead man’s float and its black eyes as have turned white. Daub-drain over paper towels and serve immediately. Please note, some people have experienced fierce stomach pains and bad cases of the back-door-trots after eating Deep-Fried Deep Ones.
Q: What’s your RPG of choice?
A: I’ve played a bunch of different games in my time, but Call of Cthulhu is my favorite.
Q: What’s your ice cream flavor of choice?
A: I’m not a huge ice cream eater, but I like black cherry concretes.
Q: What’s one far out idea for a comicbook that you would love to get around to writing someday?
A: Namor, the Sub-Mariner and King of Atlantis, goes to the Ozarks and finds a long lost branch of backwoods Atlanteans living in the rivers. It’s Deliverance and Next of Kin in the Marvel Universe.
Q: What’s your favorite way to defeat writer’s block?
A: For me, it’s a matter of “writing through the block.” I just keep writing until I make some headway. Another great way to defeat writer’s block (for me) is to read great short stories or other comics that inspired me.
Q: If you could be Spider-Man for a day, what would you do?
A: Am I still married to Mary Jane in this fantasy?
Editor’s Note: Watch for Spider-Man Season One, coming to better bookstores everywhere on May 8th! Step lively and reserve your copy today!