Cullen Bunn on "Captain America & Hawkeye"

It started last week with the announcement of "Avengers vs. X-Men: Versus." Then, Rick Remender and Gabriel Hardman revealed details about their upcoming "Secret Avengers" run. On Tuesday, Brian Michael Bendis and Walter Simonson spoke about their collaboration on "Avengers" during "AvX." Today continued the trend of Marvel's Next Big Thing series of press conference calls with yet another big announcement from the House of Ideas: the conversion of "Captain America & Bucky" to "Captain America & Hawkeye." Moderator Junior Sales Administrator James Viscardi was joined by series writer Cullen Bunn, who shed some light on the upcoming series.

The book will be written by Bunn with art by Alessandro Vitti continuing the numbering of "Captain America & Bucky." "The 'Cap and Bucky' series was going to go through this change in stories that didn't focus on Cap and Bucky in the past and shake things up a bit," said Bunn. "They contacted me to see if I'd be interested in writing this series. Hawkeye was one of the characters that I love the most, so I jumped all over that. The interesting thing about the series is that it is going to be Captain America and Hawkeye, but it is going to be a rotating cast." After four issues the cast will change to Captain America and somebody else. There will be both arcs and one-shots featuring Cap and other characters.

"The short and simple of it is Captain America and Hawkeye go out and fight a bunch of dinosaurs," said Bunn of the first arc. "That's pretty much how I pitched my initial story. I wanted to get into the dynamic of these two characters who have been Avengers for so long." The writer also said he wanted to play off their previous relationship and explore how they see each other in terms of how they handle different situations.

Bunn also spoke a bit on his enjoyment of Hawkeye as a character. "He's a character I've always connected with and always really liked. He's got that Robin Hood thing going on," said Bunn. "I think for some reason, the archer character is always interesting. He's a rogue, he's got a big personality, he's a smartass and all those things help him along. I also thing the fact that -- it's always tough to say. He's a regular guy, but he's the greatest archer in the world and he's loaded with all these trick arrows. But he's a regular guy ... that in the face of all these crazy situations, he never backs down. He's as close to an everyman as you can get in a universe where people can knock down buildings with a punch."

In terms of the relationship between Cap and Hawkeye, Bunn said readers will "definitely see the differences."

"In many ways, they're the best of friends ... but they get under each others' skin like nobody's business," he said. "I get along with my brothers, but man can they irritate me sometimes. I think I channel some of that into Cap and Hawkeye in this series."

Bunn is joined by artist Alessandro Vitti, who Bunn was positive about working with. "I loved the stuff he did on 'Secret Warriors,'" said Bunn of Vitti. "His style is very distinct. It stands out and I like that, but when I saw the first pages he turned in -- the few pages he turned in were this action scene." The writer described Vitti's work as having a fluid quality to it.

The dinosaurs in the first arc may also include appearances from either Devil Dinosaur or Stegron. "I will neither confirm nor deny that. Possibly. One of those characters may play a big role in the first arc."

In terms of the tone of "Captain America & Hawkeye," Bunn said the book would be a different type of story than "Cap & Bucky." "It's more of a high-octane action story, a little more light-hearted," he said. "I really want these stories to be a lot of fun. I've written the first arc and I'm really going for something fun and entertaining with a lot of action. A real superhero story."

"Captain America touches on all these corners of the Marvel Universe. There are limitless possibilities, really," said Bunn. "I know a couple of characters that will be joining the roster initially. I can't name all of them because I haven't gotten approval ... but there is going to be a 'Captain America & Iron Man' and a 'Captain America & Black Widow.' There are going to be other characters and definitely some non-Avengers."

Bunn said he wanted to try to play a little bit in continuity and out by keeping things grounded in the Marvel Universe, but also accessible for new readers. "I want the book to have relevance and be important and reference things in the Marvel Universe," he said, "but I also want it to be strong enough for people to just read those stories and enjoy those things for what they are."

When Bunn started making his little list of every character he wanted to have Cap team up with, Captain America and Hawkeye came pretty close to the top of the list, but there are definitely more that he's hoping to push for. "Captain America and Union Jack is one I'd like to push for," he said. "I think Union Jack's a great character, but I love the idea of those two working together. There are a lot of obscure characters I'd like Cap to team up with. ... If I could get Captain America and the Enigma Force team up, my dreams will be fulfilled."

While Bunn did not have access to the "Avengers" script, he did mention Hawkeye will be appearing in his new costume, which is influenced slightly by the film. "As far as the tone, since I don't have any access to the 'Avengers' script or anything, it's the tone of a Captain America & Hawkeye that I would like to read. I think the book I would like to read is going to be accessible to most of the public. I think it's probably in a similar vein [to the film]."

Bunn also wants to see characters who don't have their own books will also be teaming up with Cap. While the Iron Man arc follows directly after the Hawkeye arc, "there are definitely characters that will surprise readers if I get to do it." "There's going to be some new characters introduced in this book that will have an impact on the arc they appear in and on Captain America going forward."

While Hawkeye may be the window character in this arc, Bunn is "not sure that's going to be the case with every arc. There may be situations depending on who Captain America is teaming up with, there will definitely be situations where Captain America becomes the window character -- but where Captain America is the most recognizable, Hawkeye is the most relatable, so he becomes the window character."

Bunn also mentioned the Captain America in each issue has the potential to change as well. "I love that Captain America has existed in other times and has been other people," he said. "I definitely want to play around with that a little."

The call closed out with Bunn saying he would like to do a Captain America & Venom team-up at some point. "I think that's something -- keep that love going because I'd love to see that happen."

"Captain America & Hawkeye" begins in April.

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