Cullen Bunn is one of the busiest comic writers in the world today. His work has been seen literally everywhere including huge titles like X-Men, Captain America and Star Wars. Working on those high profile comics haven’t stopped him from doing what he truly loves though, horror.
We caught up with writer, Cullen Bunn to talk about his new series from BOOM! Studios, The Unsound.
Horror News Network: Can you talk a bit about how you came up with the concept for The Unsound?
Cullen Bunn: I think it is fairly obvious if you read a lot of my work that sanity (or the loss of sanity) is something that I’ve always been fascinated and terrified by. I live in mortal terror of losing my own mental faculties. When I first started brainstorming this book, I wanted to explore the idea of a deepening madness under the auspices of a haunted house story. Over time, the “house” became a mental hospital.
Horror News Network: What can you tell us about the protagonist of the series, Ashli?
Cullen Bunn: Ashli is a young nurse embarking on her first job. She just has the bad luck of taking that job at Saint Cascia, an asylum with a dark history. The thing is, Ashli has some secrets of her own, some that she doesn’t even know about herself. The revelation of these secrets will be a key element to this series.
Horror News Network: Can you give us a little more information on the Saint Cascia Psychiatric Hospital?
Cullen Bunn: Saint Cascia is overpopulated and understaffed. It was open decades ago, but was closed down in the 80s due to lack of funding. The rumor is that all the patients who were in the asylum at that time were just released into the world. As with Ashli, there is a hidden part of Saint Cascia, something (literally) beneath the surface. The exploration of this dark side of the asylum will illuminate Ashli’s own secrets.
Horror News Network: What does Jack T. Cole’s artwork bring to the series?
Cullen Bunn: The Unsound is a slow burn. It relies on mood and a slowly-building creepiness to lure the readers into the mounting horror. Jack really sells the real world qualities of the story, right along with the increasingly surreal elements.
Horror News Network: Is The Unsound set to be an ongoing or limited series?
Cullen Bunn: Well, that depends on reader response I guess! In all seriousness, every series is limited unless it is supported by readers. But, yes, I have a bigger story planned. The first arc is only scratching the surface.
Horror News Network: The last few years we have seen you expand to write different genres other than horror. Do you feel spreading your wings has helped you become a better horror writer?
Cullen Bunn: I don’t know that I ever thought about it in those ways, but yes. Exploring other genres and toying with other storytelling techniques reveals new avenues for building terror in a story. It might be that a technique from another genre might help to put the reader at ease or take them off guard. It might be that thinking about another story frees the mind a bit so that solutions and ideas for a horror tale just pop into my mind. But–just as I would encourage a writer to read genres outside their preferred playground–I would encourage writers to write different kinds of stories. It helps to keep the ideas fresh.
Horror News Network: In closing, what would you like to tell our readers about The Unsound?
Cullen Bunn: The Unsound is one of the creepiest stories I’ve ever written. Saint Cascia is a dreadful place and we’ve gone to great lengths to make this book as surreal and unsettling as possible.
Horror News Network: Thanks for your time, Cullen! Best of luck with the series.