Cullen Bunn has made a huge splash at Marvel. Whether coming up with new adventures for the Star-Spangled Avenger in “Captain America and…,” destroying Marvel’s finest in “Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe” or taking over for Rick Remender on “Venom,” “The Sixth Gun” creator certainly has a lot of work on his hands. And with “Wolverine” also on his plate these days, it seemed high time for an X-POSITION to discuss his plans for Logan and beyond.
In this week’s installment of X-POSITION, Cullen Bunn gets down to brass tacks, answering all comers about what he has in store for “Wolverine,” his take on the character, possible Marvel NOW! developments and some discussion about the other Marvel characters under his care.
To kick things off, skincaid832 has a few questions about Wolverine and his relationship to the rest of the Marvel U.
Hi Mr. Bunn!
1) Wolverine is a really complex character. What have you found to be the most challenging aspect so far about writing him?
The danger with Wolverine is that if you handle him wrong, he can seem like a one-trick pony — the tough guy who does whatever it takes to get the job done. That’s really only one aspect of his personality, though. Admittedly, it’s fun and I like when that surfaces, but it must be tempered with the more human elements of the character.
2) How will your future story arcs play off of what’s happening to Wolverine in other parts of the Marvel Universe, like in “Wolverine & the X-Men” or “Uncanny X-Force?”
My next story arc is titled “The Dreaming Maiden.” As with the Dr. Rot story, I wanted to write something that was solely focused on Wolverine without relying too heavily on characters or plot lines from other books. That said, I’ll be introducing some characters, especially the Dreaming Maiden herself, who could have an interesting role to play at the Jean Grey School.
3) I really enjoy your work on the “Captain America and…” team-up series. Is there anybody from the Marvel U you’re interested in getting your hands on?
Thank you — I’m glad you like the series. There are a number of Marvel characters I’d love to do something with. Valkyrie, Nightcrawler, Union Jack, Morbius — I mean, how cool would it be to see Union Jack, Morbius and Captain America running around the fog-shrouded streets of London, searching for a Baron Blood copycat? Other characters I have a fondness for are more obscure characters, like the Enigma Force, Devil Dinosaur and Blackwulf. Come to think of it, at least two of those will feature in future stories — maybe not with Cap, but future stories nonetheless.
Marcus is craving some spoilers for Marvel NOW!, specifically, Wolverine’s role in the upcoming Marvel U shake-up.
1. Given the status quo change for Wolverine in Marvel NOW! as a member of the Uncanny Avengers, will that be reflected upon your run in the “Wolverine” on-going series?
Looking though these questions, I see that you guys really want me to reveal what I know about Marvel NOW! Wolverine. I’m trying to dance around some of these questions, because I’m sworn to secrecy about what I do and don’t know. With anything I write, though, I’m going to want there to be some connectivity to what’s going on in the rest of the universe. One of the things I like best is the “shared world” aspect of Marvel. So, even when you hear me say something like, “this is solely Wolverine’s story,” I want it to be rooted in what’s happening in other books.
2. Speaking of Marvel NOW!, I am truly enjoying the concept of the Captain America team-up series you’re writing. Given the status quo change of Marvel NOW!, will we be seeing any future team ups between Captain America and his new “Uncanny Avengers” buddies?
I’m glad you like that series. It has been a lot of fun. When I first started working on it, I pitched a number of potential story arcs. A few of them definitely featured Cap’s Uncanny Avengers teammates. For various reasons, those stories were put on the back burner so I could focus on the Hawkeye/Iron Man/Black Widow cycle (which together tell a much larger story). Beyond that, who knows? I’d love to tell those tales.
3. My next question is about Venom and his role in the upcoming “Minimum Carnage” Crossover. The Venom and Carnage symbiotes have a bit of a hate-hate relationship for each other. How can Flash control the keep the Symbiote in check without it getting completely out of control?
That’s something Flash will be struggling with throughout “Minimum Carnage” and the rest of my run on the series. Right now, the Venom symbiote has been “neutered” by the Secret Avengers. That keeps it in check and gives Flash a great deal of control, but it also means Flash can’t rely on some of Venom’s more — lethal characteristics, even if he needs them.
4. Venom’s got an upcoming fight with Daimon Hellstrom. How is he going to fight a guy that has the ability to summon Hellfire given the Symbiote’s weakness for anything fire related?
Great question. The answer to that reveals something new about Agent Venom. When Venom and Hellstrom lock horns, we’re going to discover something really sinister brewing behind the scenes. When Hellstrom “went bad” in “Fear Itself: The Fearless,” there were a lot of questions about why he would turn on his allies. We’re going to delve into that a bit — and we’ll learn that Venom is at least partially responsible.
5. Will Venom be a part of Marvel NOW! or play a role in the upcoming “Amazing Spider-Man” #700?
I have a big plan for Venom, and the book will be continuing. There are some significant changes coming Venom’s way. A change in supporting cast, a change in attitude, a change in destiny and a change in — I’ve said too much already. Suffice it to say, I’m shaking things up a little for Flash. While he will not be playing a role in “Spider-Man” #700, Venom’s story will have some significant ramifications on the Marvel Universe as a whole — and I think you’ll be seeing him running into the wall-crawler again soon.
jedijay505 has a question about the Marvel women on your “Fear Itself: The Fearless” miniseries.
I really enjoyed your work on “Fear Itself: The Fearless.” It was a fantastic example of a Marvel super-woman at work. Do you have any follow up plans for Valkyrie or Sin?
Thank you! That series started a number of gears turning. I definitely have plans for Valkyrie, Sin and the D.O.A. There are a few different angles through which I’m approaching these characters. We’ll see what happens, but if nothing else, Valkyrie will be showing up as a supporting character in Venom from time to time. The D.O.A. resurface in my very first arc of “Venom,” and their antics will be a constant thorn in Venom’s side. Surely, it can’t be long before Flash finds himself running afoul of a skull-faced mercenary with a very bad attitude.
Renaldo has a laundry list of questions covering everything from “Wolverine” to your creator-owned series “The Sixth Gun.”
1. Cullen, considering Jason Aaron did the Wolverine solo series and then his ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ title after Schism, how are you going about differentiating Logan from these varying iterations? Will “AvX”-Logan be a prominent factor into your run?
My hope is to put Wolverine into stories that are, I dunno — Wolveriney. I want to tell stories that are solely Logan’s. There will be guest stars, of course. Kitty and Rachel made cameos in the Rot arc. Elsa Bloodstone appears in the Dreaming Maiden story. But for the most part, I want these to be challenges only Wolverine can handle.
2. Romulus, Daken, Cloak and Dagger are all some key contemporary figures in Logan’s history, and with Loeb/Bianchi reviving Sabretooth, how do you as a writer go ahead dealing with your editor and sourcing villains to stamp your own authority on the title?
It involves a lot of back and forth. For my first two arcs on “Wolverine,” I think I pitched eight different stories before we settled on two that would work. In some cases, my ideas were too similar to stories other writers were working on at the same time. In others, editorial thought some of the ideas would be better served by appearing later in a run. Dr. Rot ended up being a great first choice because he was concretely a Wolverine villain and I could do some fun things with him. In my second arc, there are some new players who will be plaguing Wolverine. A little prep for that arc might involve the Captain America and Namor issue I’ve got coming up.
3. You’ve tackled Captain America recently. Any chance of a pure Bunn-written team-up with Rogers and Wolverine after Cap finishes with Stark and Barton?
That would be kind of great, wouldn’t it? Right now, though, there are no plans for a Wolverine team-up. After Cap & Iron Man, we’ll see Cap & Namor crossing paths in WWII. That will be followed by Cap & Black Widow in the craziest of science fiction adventures.
4. “Spider-Man: Season 1” and “Venom” are books you dabbled in recently, so any plans to have any of these characters swing over into your Wolvie tales?
I think there’s a very good chance Wolverine and Venom will meet up — if not in “Wolverine,” then in “Venom.” I think those two would make for an interesting team.
5. Romance-wise, Logan has not had the best luck. Which did you originally envision: a more gory run or an arc mixed with a little romance and a little violence? Perhaps involving Domino? (I love her chemistry with Logan)
I like Domino and Logan together, as well. For now, though, he’s going to be caught up with trying to mend his tragic relationship with Melita. This isn’t necessarily about him trying to rekindle a romance. At this point, Melita has been erased from his mind, and she represents something he’s lost in more ways than one.
6. Lastly, “The Sixth Gun” has been such a grand book. What’s the difference between your process and the pressures of working for Oni Press as opposed to the “bigger” companies?
Cover by Kaare Andrews
The biggest difference is that with “The Sixth Gun,” I can do pretty much anything I want. The story, the world and the characters all belong to me. In some cases, my co-creator and editors have no idea what I have planned for the next issue of the series. Heck, in some cases, I don’t even know! The over-arching story is planned out, but there’s quite a bit of wiggle room in the details. Brian, the co-creator and artist of the book, called me a few days ago after reading part of a new script. He wanted to know if I was planning on killing off a major character in that issue. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. But it was my call to make.
With bigger companies, it’s a little more difficult. Especially if you’re using a character that appears in more than one comic, you have to “play well with others.” Working for Marvel takes the collaborative nature of working in comics to a whole new level. Other writers and editors may be working on specific stories or with specific characters. There may be company plans for a character. I know with Wolverine at least a couple of stories I pitched were a little too close to Greg Pak’s plans for “X-Treme X-Men” and some of Jason Aaron’s plans for “Wolverine and the X-Men,” so those tales had to be nixed.
For now, at least.
CommanderX hopes you can shed some light on the overall tone of your “Wolverine” run.
I’m a big fan of your work so far, especially the silent issue of “The Sixth Gun.” Do you plan to bring some of those types of quirky and cool ideas to your “Wolverine” run at all?
One of the things I love about “The Sixth Gun” is that I can do a lot of world-building. I can add in histories and back stories that make the world come to life even before the characters take the stage. I love developing the idea of “hidden” events that have been going on in the world. These may be things that we haven’t seen before, but these events and characters could have been playing a role in the world for a long while. Or these events may just be surfacing, but their significance sends ripples through the entire world. I like developing the idea that the world has always been and will always be growing, changing, and evolving.
I’m starting to work some of those elements into my Marvel work. “Wolverine” and the Captain America book will definitely be a staging area for some of this, but my hope is I’ll be able to incorporate those ideas into my other work at Marvel, giving it a more cohesive feel.
Also, what do you hope the tone of the book will be? More action-oriented or more introspective?
The next arc is a pulp adventure, and it has a lot of action in it. I think, though, that you’re going to see something a little different with Wolverine, especially in terms of his relationship with Melita. And since I’ve messed with Wolverine’s memories again, we’ll see a little of how he’s dealing with that — and how he’s dealing with things he would prefer to forget forever.
Zaki hopes to discover a little more of your plans for Wolverine’s extended family.
As a current “Wolverine” writer yourself, Mr. Bunn, what do you think of the family dynamics between Logan, Daken, & Laura?
I thought of Daken and Laura as yang and yin, devil and angel sides of Logan brought to life; Daken being the natural-born son who embraces his dark side, while Laura is the “unnatural-born,” a remorseful former killer trying to reject hers.
I think that’s an interesting way of looking at it. They are reflections of what Logan could have been and what he could become. I also like the idea of natural vs. unnatural, because they reflect two aspects of Logan’s life — pre- and post-Weapon X. And it raises another interesting question. What is Logan’s “natural” state? Is it the violent killer? Is it the penitent loner? Those two characters definitely represent his internal struggle.
Cover art by Kalman Andrasofszky
What are your personal opinions on this and how soon will we see a family reunion between Logan, Daken and Laura?
I can tell you this: Logan, Daken and Laura will be having a reunion of sorts in the third issue of “Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe.”
Sean is curious about the boundaries of continuity within the Marvel Universe.
All the X-related books seem like they’re changing really drastically after “AvX.” Will there be changes for “Wolverine” after the event or is it sitting slightly out of continuity?
While my first couple of arcs are “official” stories, they definitely sit apart from the bulk of continuity. Remember, in some cases, I’m writing these stories without knowing all the details of the events and the aftermath of the events, so my best bet is to do something that impacts Wolverine in a significant way but can be placed fairly seamlessly into the main story once the chips fall.
Have you found it challenging to stay somewhat in the confines of continuity while writing Wolverine as a character?
It can be a struggle. The danger in writing a story that is too continuity heavy is that you potentially lose a reader who is joining the book for the first time. On the flip side of the coin, if you don’t include elements of continuity, you lose that feel of a story being part of something bigger. What I have tried to do with “Wolverine” is tell new stories and build Wolverine’s own mythology. At the same time, though, I want to honor those things that have gone before (the relationship with Melita, Dr. Rot, Weapon X). I want to show the school as an important part of his life, for example, but I don’t want to dwell on it too much because I’m afraid I’ll lose Logan’s story. In the second arc, elements that have appeared in other books I’ve written start to surface in Logan’s life, but my hope is I’ve written them so that they seem brand new.
Finally, Jon has a hankering to know what’s coming up next in Wolverine’s life.
Dear Mr. Bunn,
I’m a huge Wolverine fan. Is there anything you can tell us about your upcoming run to get us even more excited about it?
Let’s see. The coming issues are gonna be really, really crazy. Expect to see Melita, Elsa Bloodstone, kung fu brawls, mystic portals and other worlds, ex-girlfriends aplenty, secret lairs, ghostly visitations, clandestine societies and a band of “antagonists” who are hell-bent on saving the world.
And of course, here’s our “Behind the X” question, which gives readers a better idea of the writer behind the hero. What is your favorite way to stay cool during the summer?
I work in a dark, dank basement. It’s always cold there.
Thanks to Cullen Bunn for answering this week’s questions on “Wolverine” and beyond!
George Tramountanas is back from his extended vacation next week, ready to receive your question for next week’s guest: “Wolverine and the X-Men” writer Jason Aaron! Be sure to email him your questions this week with the subject line X-POSITION. Otherwise, he’ll probably think you’re wondering how his vacation was.