With the many changes brought by DC Comics‘ impending launches coming in June and July — 24 new series, with a stated intent of being more inclusive, accessible and diverse — one thing is clear: There will be even more Cullen Bunn.
Already the writer on “Lobo” and “Sinestro” at the publisher, on top of his work at Marvel, Oni Press and other publishers, Bunn adds to his workload in June when he takes over “Aquaman” alongside recent “Batwoman” and “Klarion” artist Trevor McCarthy. Plus, he’ll be launching “Green Lantern: The Lost Army” with artists Jesus Saiz & Javi Pina, a book set to take the place of “Green Lantern Corps,” following the rather literal disappearance of Green Lanterns from the DC Universe.
CBR News spoke with Bunn, McCarthy and “Sinestro” artist Brad Walker last month during a press event at DC’s Burbank offices to discuss what the post-“Convergence” future holds for “Sinestro,” world-building Atlantis in “Aquaman” and the core group of characters that comprise the “Green Lantern: The Lost Army” cast.
CBR News: Let’s start with “Sinestro,” since that’s a book that’s going to be continuing in June after “Convergence” wraps up. What can you say about what’s coming up, and where things pick up in June after the two-month layoff?
Cullen Bunn: Some time will have passed, but we’re continuing the story we’re setting up right now — the Mongul storyline that Brad and I have been working on. Sinestro, after “Godhead,” has decided he’s been thinking too small, and is starting to broaden his horizons. He’s stretching out in a big way. We’re going to revisit some of the story elements from the beginning of the series, with “The Paling,” this villainous, anti-emotion group that he’s run afoul of. They’re going to come back into play. We’re going to bring all those threads together. At the same time, there are bigger wheels turning in the Green Lantern universe. That’s going to open up some doors for Sinestro.
The Green Lanterns are vanishing from the DC Universe, and that puts the Sinestro Corps in the perfect spot to take over.
Brad Walker: I think “Sinestro” is a fun book, because as a character, he’s very proactive in his methodology. Issue to issue, even, and certainly arc to arc. It’s fun to see him put together the building blocks of what he thinks a Lantern corps should be like. That’s something that you can’t really explore with a Green Lantern Corps, where the readership probably expects you to return to a certain status quo. But Sinestro really can move towards the grand scheme of a group of people with the most powerful weapon in the universe. By the end of issue #11, leading into “Convergence,” he puts a big piece of that puzzle together, and makes a really big move. Then, with the Green Lantern Corps disappearing — what a great happy accident for, in his mind, the perfect Lantern corps.
It sounds like there’s a lot of inherent creative freedom — there’s been no “Sinestro” solo book before, so there’s no pattern for what that should be like.
Walker: As long as he acts in character, I think the sky’s kind of the limit as far as what you can do with a character like that. As long as he’s a jerk, and an arrogant, pompous windbag who is acting out his own concept of morality, we can go anywhere.
Let’s also talk about Aquaman, which is a new book for both of you, Cullen and Trevor. What are you looking to do with that series?
Trevor McCarthy: It’s going to be a big change for Aquaman, tonally, maybe a bit of a shift from where he’s been. Visually, I definitely am going to do some tweaks and changes. We haven’t settled on a particular thing yet, but we’re bouncing around different ideas of costuming; have it work organically within the story.
Bunn: One of the things that I’ve always liked about Aquaman is, there’s such a big history when it comes to Atlantis. Thousands and thousands of years of history and mythology, and this sort of epic quality of all of those elements. Those are things that I really want to see us play up in the new series. Really do a lot of world-building with Atlantis, but also how Atlantis and the surface world interact — what it means for Aquaman, his connection to both of those worlds.
It’s going to be more of a weird fantasy adventure type story. We’re going to see Aquaman — he’s in a different situation. He’s on the run from Atlantis itself. Atlantis has turned on him. He might be flexing some new muscles he hasn’t used before.
McCarthy: Literally and figuratively.
Bunn: It seems that things have moved past the point where you have to acknowledge, “Oh, it’s Aquaman, he’s kind of a silly superhero” — that’s something Geoff Johns dealt with very directly at the start of the New 52. Now, Aquaman feels very central to DC’s superhero rosters — his comic, “Justice League,” the movie slate — there’s a notion to run with the concept and embrace it.
McCarthy: I’m really happy to be on Aquaman when he’s at a place like he is now. I feel like he’s finally getting his day in the spotlight, in a way. He’s at the beginning of that, I feel. Our hope, obviously, is to elevate him even further.
He’s always been, “Oh yeah, he talks to fish, blah blah blah.” I just saw the “Throne of Atlantis,” which obviously was based on the comic book — that really put a good spin on Aquaman, for me, at least. It really showcased the idea that Aquaman is not just somebody who is going to become a joke. He’s a more elevated character, I think, and hopefully we can do something with that.
Bunn: I think Aquaman is a great character. I think he can stand up to really tremendous threats, and really, in my opinion, stand shoulder to shoulder with the other great heroes. We’re putting him up against some pretty significant threats, and he’s going to have to show how tough he really is in order to survive it.
Then there’s “Green Lantern: Lost Army,” which is taking the place of “Green Lantern Corps” — what can you share about that at this point?
Bunn: As I mentioned earlier, the Green Lanterns are going to disappear from the DC Universe. “Green Lantern: The Lost Army” is their story. It’s very literal. They are lost in another universe that they have never seen. It’s a completely alien, alien universe. It’s all-new for them. They have to learn to survive and figure out if they can make it home. They have to change the way they’ve done a lot of things. They’re scattered through this universe, so they have to find each other, and come together again in order to make it through this ordeal.
Which characters are you planning on focusing on?
Bunn: Most of the Green Lanterns from the DC Universe are over there, but I am going to focus on a core group of characters: John Stewart, Kilowog, Arisia; some new characters that you haven’t seen before, and some characters that you haven’t seen in green for a while.
Cullen, you have four monthly books at DC now, not to mention all the ones you’ve got going elsewhere —
Bunn: If you count “Wolf Moon” at Vertigo, that’s five books.
So, five book at this publisher alone — elsewhere, quite a few more. How are you handling all of this?
Bunn: It’s a little deceptive, because “Wolf Moon,” for instance, I’ve been done with for so long. It’s deceptive, because some of the books I’ve been finished with, some of the indie stuff I’m working so far ahead; it’s not like I’m writing a book a day.
This is the job I’ve dreamed about forever. If it were a chore, it’d be different, but this is work I really enjoy doing. I kind of think I’ve got my stuff together when it comes to managing my schedule. I’ve figured out outlining methods — I’m always trying to experiment with how to be more efficient. I don’t know what to say other than, I love what I’m doing.
“Aquaman” #41 and “Green Lantern: The Lost Army” #1 are scheduled for release on June 24. “Sinestro” #12 is scheduled for release on June 17.