Last week, Dynamite Entertainment announced it had signed writer Cullen Bunn (Sixth Gun, Magneto) to pen a new story of its perennial period protagonist, the Shadow, as he meets the elusive magician Houdini.
How do pulp and presto-chango team up? To get the answers to that question and more, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer exclusively turned into a bar and questioned Mr. Cullen about the project.
No trick photography was used during this interview.
Cosmic Book News: The Shadow is having a zero issue! Cullen, how did you become involved?
Cullen Bunn: I’ve been talking to Nick, Joe and Molly at Dynamite for a while now. We’ve wanted to work together on something, but we were all waiting for the right project. When they called me and mentioned the Shadow, I knew this would make a great first Dynamite book! I mean… The Shadow! Talk about a character with meat on the bones!
Cullen Bunn: I can’t say much right now! I’m sworn to secrecy! But there’s definitely more in the works. In fact, there might be a few different things in the works right now.
Cullen Bunn: Well, what we learn is that Lamont Cranston and Houdini were acquaintances long before Lamont became the Shadow. To aid him in his quest for justice, the Shadow gathered a diverse set of skills. In this case, who better to teach him the art of escape?
Cullen Bunn: In this story, Houdini is a little older, nearing those final days and his mysterious death.
Cullen Bunn: Our villains in this book are members of a secret order of magicians, illusionists and escape artists. They want to know Houdini’s greatest secret—a secret he took beyond the grave—and they’re willing to kill to get it!
Cullen Bunn: I’ve always been interested in magical history and the great stage performers. Everyone thinks I’m joking when I say this, but my father was a very talented stage hypnotist for many years. So many elements of that lifestyle are fascinating to me. In this story, I try to delve into the “world” of performing magicians … and how it can seem somewhat otherworldly.
Cullen Bunn: I think every writer approaches the character a little differently while trying to be true to the pulp origins. This Shadow plays a little more mysteriously, I suppose, with an undercurrent of sardonic wit.
Cullen Bunn: Perhaps my earliest exposure to superhero stories was from The Shadow. My dad used to recount tales of the radio show he listened to when he was a boy. So, some of this story is drawn from those memories, as well as many of the pulp stories (The Shadow or otherwise) that I’ve read over the years.
Cullen Bunn: No way! Those folks are awful! But they know my “true name” and if I don’t do as they command, they’ll banish me back to the underworld.
Cullen Bunn: At this point, I don’t know who the artist for the book will be. Whoever it is, I hope he or she enjoys drawing crazy booby traps, esoteric artifacts, wild tigers, and lots and lots of gunplay!
Cullen Bunn: Absolutely! The Zero Issue really only whetted my appetite for more!
Cullen Bunn: I’ll give you points for trying! But I really can’t say too much about what’s in store. The projects on the horizon with Dynamite definitely play to my horror, pulp and action sensibilities, though.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank Cullen Bunn, even keeping his secrets, for taking time out of his busy convention schedule to talk with us. Thanks also to Nick Barrucci and Keith Davidsen who helped make this interview possible.