Interview: All Aboard the DARK ARK with Creator / Writer Cullen Bunn

Cullen Bunn is no stranger to taking on big characters and big ideas.  His work for Marvel alone practically covers everyone from Captain America to the merry mutant mayhem that is the X-Universe.  Along the way, Cullen has self published, worked with indie publishers such as Oni Press, Dark Horse, Dynamite Entertainment and IDW.  Now, Cullen takes on a story that features God, the Devil, a man called Noah, a boat of two by two and a boat full of demons on the following tide.

We caught up with Cullen  for a quick chat to discuss Dark Ark, how is it working with Juan Doe and the differences between franchise and creator owned books.

Comic Crusaders: Hi Cullen.  Let me start by saying how enjoyable Dark Ark #1 was to read.  Of all the stories in the Bible, what made you think of giving Noah a demonic twist?

Cullen Bunn: Well, I didn’t sit down with the idea of paging through the Bible to find a story to re-work. A while back, I was just doing a little brainstorming. I was sitting around, just jotting random ideas in a notebook. Outside, it was pouring rain. I remember jokingly thinking that if the house flooded, I’d want to save my monster statues first. That’s where the idea of someone saving monsters during the Biblical flood came from. So I started imagining what that would look like, started thinking about how a ship full of horrible creatures would work. That was the birth of DARK ARK.

CC: You are no stranger to both franchise books and creator owned ventures.  How is the approach to both avenues, different?  Is it a case that working on X-Men for example gives you the opportunity to perfect your craft?

CB: With franchise books, there’s a lot more give and take. Many ideas are left behind and many avenues are left unexplored. This is because I’m working within the confines of plans for the character, stories that other creators are working on, etc. It’s the nature of working in a shared universe for a big company. You have to play nice with others and work together to do the best you can. There’s a lot more outlining, vetting ideas, making sure stories don’t interfere with other short and long-term plans. With creator-owned books, the creators are on their own. The stories usually come out just the way they intended from the beginning, because they aren’t forming inside something with so many other moving parts. There might be editorial feedback on stories, but the final decision lands at the feet of the creators.

I wouldn’t say I used X-Men (or any of my Marvel or DC work) to perfect my craft. Yeah, I think I learn something new with every issue I write, but I wrote tons of creator-owned series before I was ever hired by Marvel or DC. Those include THE DAMNED and THE SIXTH GUN, a couple of series I would rank as some of my best work.

CC: Which avenue (creator/ franchise) do you prefer?

CB: The two avenues scratch different itches, really. I’ve always loved Marvel Comics. I grew up reading those characters and I dreamed of adding to those stories. So it is a delight that I have the chance to do so now. I love that I can contribute to something as big and exciting as the Marvel Universe. But with creator-owned titles, I’m telling a story that comes solely from my collaborators and me. We’re building these characters and events from the ground up. We’re telling our own stories. And that’s hard to beat.

CC: What made AfterShock the go to place for Dark Ark?

CB: DARK ARK is a weird book. It’s a story I’ve been thinking about for a while, but I knew in my heart that I’d either have to self-publish it or find a publisher crazy enough to give it a try. I sent AfterShock a number of pitches when we started working together, and I included Dark Ark even though I didn’t think they’d ever accept it. But it was one of the first titles they gravitated to! I guess they were the “crazy” publisher I needed! And I appreciate that they were willing to take a chance on the story.

CC: Finally, the book looks great – how was working with Juan Doe?  How did you two manage to create such a dark, yet entertaining world?

CB: Juan is amazing! I’m a fan of his work, so when my AfterShock editors suggested him for the book, I couldn’t have been happier! The pages he’s turned in so far are dark and exciting and full of personality. That’s important, because one of the keys to making a series about monsters surviving on an Ark hinges on the distinct personality of each of these beasts. Juan helps to bring that out.

CC: He certainly does.  You feel the oppression of being stuck in a confined space seeping off the page.  And the colors are fantastic.  Cullen, thank you so much for your time, Its been great chatting with you.

Dark Ark #1 is released by AfterShock Comics on 20th September.  For an advance review, please click the following link :

In addition, Cullen Bunn fans can also check out his other work at AfterShock , Unholy Grail, which can found at::


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