Whether he’s taking on the rest of the Marvel Universe, the Ideaverse or himself, Deadpool has had some crazy adventures at the hands of Cullen Bunn — but lately, Bunn’s managed to walk the Merc with a Mouth right into the zombie apocalypse in “Night of the Living Deadpool.” The new series with art by Ramon Rosanas sees Wade Wilson amidst a classic zombie movie plot: the zombies are beginning to overrun the world, and there’s only a few dedicated survivors left. The kicker? Deadpool may actually be the only superpowered “hero” left on Earth.
The news also recently came that Bunn is set to write a new “Magneto” series with artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta focusing on the solo adventures of the Master of Magnetism for All-New Marvel NOW!, as he splits off from the cast of “Uncanny X-Men.”
With so many irons on the proverbial X-Men fire, X-Position caught up with Bunn to discuss his love of the horror genre — and especially zombies — as well as crafting a new story for Deadpool and his plans for Magneto in All-New Marvel NOW!.
Renaldo kicks us off this week with some questions about — surprise — Deadpool and zombies.
1) I love asking Deadpool writers this: How’s it like writing him? He’s so perverse, violent and a ball of crazy. Do you get to live out the inner-crazy when you put him to paper? Seriously, what’s the process of writing this chap?
Cullen Bunn: I should be asking the real question here. What’s it like having a cool name like Renaldo? I can only imagine that you lead a laugh of chandelier-jumping swashing buckles, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, stealing hearts and leaving roses behind to soothe broken hearts left in your passing. I had a D&D character named Renaldo the Fox one time, and that’s how he rolled.
But I digress.
Writing Deadpool can be a lot of fun. When I first started working with the character, I wasn’t sure I’d like him. I quickly realized, though, that a writer can do pretty much anything with him — comedic stories, serious stories, completely nonsensical stories. And, yeah, I get to cut loose a bit when writing him, letting him do things that other characters would simply never do.
2) How much do things like George Romero’s work, “Marvel Zombies” or “The Walking Dead” pop into your mind writing this? I ask because it seems the geek-culture market is becoming super-saturated with zombie stories.
When I was younger, my goal in life was to work in special FX makeup. Liquid latex and fake blood! That was the dream! And like every other teenager who was deranged enough to have that goal, I was obsessed with horror movies. In particular, Romero’s movies, with those meaty Tom Savini effects, but also “Return of the Living Dead” and Fulci’s “Zombie.” There was a time, as a young comic book reader, that I would have proclaimed “Deadworld” my favorite series. I’ve been lucky enough to run with the horror writer crowd and call many of them friends. Skipp and Spector’s “Books of the Dead” were huge influences on me as a writer. I was reading zombie novels like Brian Keene’s “The Rising” and “City of the Dead” when the zombie “craze” started kicking again. And, of course, I’ve written my share of zombie stories.
Here’s a quick one that I wrote during a horror writer’s meeting. We challenged ourselves to write a zombie story in less than a minute. This one is inspired my Monster Squad.
There are zombies.
Signed, the kid.
We are zombies.
Signed, the army.
So, yes, all of those things are influences on me, and you’ll see nods to those stories and tropes in this book. That said, I tried to do something a little different with the zombies — something that would give them their own creepy flavor.
3) Is “Night of the Living Deadpool” Rick Grimes gone batcrap-crazy? How do you make your story stand out as something that isn’t a reiteration of some other zombie story?
This story could easily be summarized as “Night of the Living Dead… with Deadpool thrown in to the mix.” But, as you know, as soon as you add Deadpool, everything changes. Even though I embrace many of the tropes of zombie stories, I had to think of how the addition of Deadpool would change everything. I think the story will take some really unexpected turns as it progresses.
4) The black & white feel of the book adds a density of horror and suspense so what’s it like working with Ramon [Rosanas]? The art seems more indie yet great for this kind of narrative. Did you guys go for that indie-feel?
We didn’t set out to give this book an indie-feel. The original idea for making it black and white was as a nod to the original “Night of the Living Dead.” Having Deadpool appear in color gives us the chance to do some really interesting things in terms of storytelling, though. You’ll be seeing some really prime examples of that in issues 3 and 4.
Marcus is up next with some questions about your upcoming “Magneto” series for All-New Marvel NOW!
1) The recent news of your upcoming “Magneto” on-going has got me puzzled, given that his motives are often a bit violent. How are you planning on making him look like a hero for this comic?
Hey, Marcus. Thanks for the question. I don’t know if people will like this answer or not, but honesty is my only excuse.
With this book, I’m not terribly concerned with making Magneto look like a hero. His mission is a “good” one. He wants to protect mutants from threats large and small. But his tactics are completely ruthless and extremely violent. In fact, I’d suggest that because his powers have been diminished, he’s resorting to even more vicious methods.
For this reason, I think different readers will have different opinions of Magneto. Some will see him as a crusading hero. Others will see him as violent killer.
2) I enjoy the idea of the upcoming “Deadpool vs Carnage” mini, as it’s never been done before. Given his connection to both characters, will Venom will make an appearance or two?
Venom will not be appearing in this series. I toyed with the idea of having him show up, but he really doesn’t fit into the story I have planned. There may be some references to him, but he’s not going to show up to help Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth is on his own.
Nathan’s got a query about your dream X-Men team to write.
Considering the great job you did with Dani Moonstar in “Fearless Defenders”, do you have any plans or desire to write an X-Men team book, if so, which X-Men are you most wanting to write?
That’s really nice of you to say, Nathan. I think a lot of people will say that I didn’t do a great job with Dani Moonstar at all. She got a little lost in the shuffle of the other characters. I had huge plans for her in future stories. Alas, low sales put an end to those ideas… for now!
Aside for the dream of writing the core X-Men team, I think I would love to write an Excalibur book. I’m talking about something close to the original team, with a few minor changes, of course.
Finally, Derek wraps up this week’s X-Position with a few questions about the state of Magneto when your series begins.
A plot thread that [Brian Michael] Bendis just re-introduced into X-Men was Mutant Growth Hormone. We saw Magneto take a big issue with these “phones” as well as the mutant sympathizers. Will this thread be followed up in the new solo series?
I won’t be following up on the Mutant Growth Hormone immediately, because there are a number of threats Magneto is targeting. But it is on his radar and could show up as a plot point down the line.
Magneto seemed to burn his bridges with Mystique, Blob and Sabretooth in Uncanny. These characters would have been fairly obvious choices for Magneto’s new group. Is it safe to say that the make up of his new Acolytes will contain some fresh faces?
It’s safe to say that no one — least of all Magneto — is expecting this new incarnation of Acolytes. Thus far, I’ve seen no speculation that even comes close to what I have in store.
The death of Magneto’s family obviously impacted the man he ended up becoming. The death of his first child, Anya though seems the most pivotal in his development as a “villain” as it made him aware of his powers, ended his marriage and resulted in his first mass murder. With this in mind what’s your take on him abandoning Polaris as a baby when her magnetic powers killed her mother? It felt like a poignant moment for him as it was his second chance at fatherhood and his reasons behind him leaving her could be interpreted in a myriad of ways.
This is something I’d like to explore, because it touches on many of the themes I have in mind for the series. How does one’s past decisions impact the present? How can one’s actions be interpreted differently by different people? Do second chances really exist? What happens when one of the biggest threats to mutant kind is another mutant?
We’ll be seeing plenty of glimpses into the moments and decisions that made Magneto who he is today.
Will we be seeing any new love interests for Magneto in the new series?
There’s a character who is showing up around issue 5 that I think people will want to see as a love interest. Maybe she will be… maybe not.
Special thanks to Cullen Bunn for taking on this week’s questions!
Next week marks the end of “Vendetta,” and “Uncanny X-Force” writer Sam Humphries is on hand to answer questions about his run with Marvel’s Merry Mutants as the series comes to a close. Have any pressing questions about the upcoming end of “Vendetta” or the full series run of Sam’s “Uncanny X-Force?” Send your questions over via e-mail with the subject line “X-Position or in a 140 character question via Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!
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