Archive for Cullen Bunn

A Passage in Black

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror with tags , , , , on October 19, 2018 by Occult Detective

Sketch

I had the opportunity to illustrate a 12 page story in Cullen Bunn’s homage to classic horror anthology comics, A Passage in Black, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out. My friend Anton Kromoff delivered a terrific script that captured the essence of Cullen’s short story, putting his own spin on it. I added my 2¢ and I think we ended up with something pretty cool.

The kickstarter is live now, with about 20 days left as of this writing.

So, you can back us on kickstarter and bring a trade paperback home for $25 (excluding shipping of course), but for those of you wanting something special, for $150 you get the trade AND a one-of-a-kind original sketch from my drawing board to your door.

Best of all, YOU pick the subject.

Here’s a small sample of the kind of work I do:

sketches

You can check out all the amazing rewards for Cullen Bunn Presents: A Passage in Black on kickstarter. The campaign ends on Thursday, November 8.

My Review of The Sixth Gun #28

Posted in Archive with tags , , on January 31, 2013 by Occult Detective

I have an addiction. I guess acknowledging the fact is the first step in the road to recovery. I buy comic books. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but I have a tendency to buy books even when I know they’re not for me. I buy them out of curiosity, then fume over how poorly executed they were. I should know better. I really should. What message did I send the publisher? That crap sells. You’ve got to vote with your wallet. Kill the completest mentality. Believe me, if you’re not buying then the publisher’s get the message load and clear. I’m turning over a new leaf… starting next week.

Here’s this week’s pull list —

From DC Comics:

Batman & Robin Annual #1
Justice League Dark #16

From Dynamite:

Dark Shadows #13

From Marvel:

Avengers #4
Journey Into Mystery #648
Young Avengers #1

From Oni Press:

The Sixth Gun #28

What I wanted but didn’t get: Daredevil #21, Courtney Crumrin #9

Dropping: All Avengers titles

Four of my favorite books came out this week. Well, five really, but my LCS didn’t and doesn’t order Courtney Crumrin. I’m forced to snag it online (which I’ll soon be doing with all my books). Anyway, of the four I did pick up (and yes I’m ignoring the other books I pulled, as the Avengers books are just awful and, though Batman & Robin was a fun issue, it’s not a title I follow with any real interest) one of them was a major disappointment (Justice League Dark), two were really good (Dark Shadows and Journey Into Mystery), and one was everything I ask for out of a comic book. Let’s talk about it a bit, shall we?

6thgun28The “it” in question is Oni Press’ The Sixth Gun. Issue Number 28 to be precise. In May of 2011 I was asked to sit on an Alternative Markets panel at Mo*Con alongside Lucien Soulban and The Sixth Gun’s co-creator and wordsmith, Cullen Bunn. I picked up the Volume One TPB: Cold Dead Fingers and my obsession began. The Sixth Gun is a weird western, taking place shortly after the Civil War, centered around six supernatural pistols, each imbued with its own unique dark power. The story follows anti-hero Drake Sinclair and Becky Montcrief, wielder of The Sixth Gun, as they vie to keep these weapons out of the hands of various and nefarious villains intent on procuring the weapons and using them for their own evil purposes.

Awesome, right?

Well, in the latest issue, Part Five of their Winter Wolves arc, Bunn and Hurtt continue to deliver a solid, entertaining, and edge-of-your-seat thrill ride across the Old West. Expertly juggling a large cast of characters, split between our world and the Wendigo’s Endless Winter, Bunn’s tale is expertly complimented by Hurtt’s awesome visuals — from Asher’s two separate beatdowns on the Sword of Abraham to Gord Cantrell’s conjuring up restless spirits out of Dredmond’s Double Cross — and the breakneck pace and nail-biting tension culminates in a marvelous twist at the end that simply leaves you begging for the month to pass by quickly so you can get the next issue in your hands.

The Sixth Gun is everything a comic should be, and now that there’s word an NBC pilot is in the works… well, the world just took a grim and dark turn. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Review: Oni Press’ Helheim #1 by Bunn & Jones

Posted in Archive with tags , , , on January 8, 2013 by Occult Detective

helheim

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Cullen Bunn’s work. I thoroughly enjoyed his all ages novel Crooked Hills (Earwig Press), his recently released short story collection Creeping Stones (Evileye Books), and all of his comic work on titles such as The Damned, The Sixth Gun, Superman/Batman: The Sorcerer Kings, Marvel’s Fear Itself, and what I thought was an absolutely amazing run on Wolverine.

And that’s really just scratching the surface. Bunn is a breath of fresh air and I felt an immediate connection to his writing from the start. We’re of a similar age, with similar influences scattered throughout pop culture.

Nowhere is that more evident than in his latest project from Oni Press — HELHEIM, a “weird viking” comic set in 580 AD in “The North”.

Bunn has crafted a fantastic tale, pitting a beleaguered band of Norsemen, led by a seasoned warrior named Rikard, against a sinister witch and her undead minions. Invoking Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, Bunn delivers a story that is unrelenting, thundering along at a breakneck pace and culminating in a terrific twist ending (that’s somewhat spoiled by the cover art unfortunately).

Speaking of art. This what not something I expected from Joelle Jones, let me tell you. I’ve had my eye on Jones ever since her two issue run on Vertigo’s Madame Xanadu a few years back and boy, does she deliver on Hellheim. This young lady knows her craft. Her line work is fluid, with a great blend of realistic and fantastical elements and there’s some real weight to the characters. And Jones does not shy away from the gore, of which there is plenty.

Helheim is slated for a March release from Oni Press and I really think this is going to be one of the stand-out books of 2013. I mean, it’s got Vikings, Witches, & the Undead? Talk about your match made in… well, I guess you’d have to say Helheim, now wouldn’t you.

Between this and Bunn’s forthcoming The Fearless Defenders from Marvel Comics in February, this looks to be his year (and that’s saying something after the impressive run he’s had for the past several). As far as I’m concerned, if it’s got Cullen Bunn’s name on it, I’m bringing it home. It’s really that simple.

Day Four of the 3rd Annual Occult Detective Awards

Posted in Occult Detective Awards with tags , , , , , , , on December 20, 2012 by Occult Detective

Four days into the Third Annual Occult Detective Awards and we’re getting down to the meat of it. As if you couldn’t tell, I read a lot. Not nearly as much as I once did, but I still managed to pore through nearly 80 books this year.

Best Novel

ENTOMBED by Brian Keene

“The dead are determined sons of bitches.” I’m not a fan of zombie fiction. Never have been. Doubt I ever will be. So how the hell did a “zombie novel” make it all the way to the top of the heap of  novels I read this year? By being one vicious, claustrophobic, psychologically draining mother fucker, that’s how. Keene does not write elegant prose, stitching together poetic words that elevate literature. He spins a yarn that punches you in your stupid face, drags you through the blood and mud and holds your head up to a mirror and makes you take a long hard look at yourself.

Best Novella

TORN by Lee Thomas

Read my review of Torn HERE

Best Short Story

COME AGAIN, HALLOWEEN by Cullen Bunn

Cullen Bunn’s love letter to Hallowe’en struck just the right chord with me. It’s my favorite day of the year. Bunn’s too, I imagine. There’s a definite homage to Bradbury here, something the author readily admits in a post-story note to readers, but in the end, it’s Bunn doing what Bunn does best. There’s a true sense of loss and real heart in Come Again, Halloween, but there’s also a shovelful of dread that will satisfy anyone with a thirst for such things.

Best Collection

GATHERED DUST AND OTHERS by W.H. Pugmire

Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire’s collection of Lovecraft-inspired fiction is quite simply — brilliant. Pugmire is in his element, with delicious prose that pays homage to Lovecraft’s literary legacy, along with that of many other literary heroes, but the heart of these works is all his own. From “Gathered Dust”, his inspiringly provocative sequel to J.V. Shea’s “The Haunter in the Graveyard”, to his spot-on delivery of H.P. Lovecraft’s Richard Upton Pickman and Robert E. Howard’s Justin Geoffrey in “Depths of Dreams and Madness”, the author’s words are pure poetry, dripping from his pen with an alluring decadence and infernal eloquence, I wholeheartedly encourage the purchase of this collection by anyone and everyone who appreciates clever, unique, and atmospheric fiction that not only honors Lovecraft, but redefines it.

Best Anthology

OCCULT DETECTIVE STORIES, VOL. ONE: A CAT OF NINE TALES edited by Tracy DeVore and Thaddeus Sexton

I had a hand in this one, tackling the art chores for Rookhaven Publishing and offering up an introduction of sorts, so there’s a part of me that thought I should pass A Cat of Nine Tales over as best anthology, but the heart wants what the heart wants. This one’s so bloody good. Four classic occult detective tales, from H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Algernon Blackwood, and Aleister Crowley, are joined with fresh takes from five superb storytellers — William Meikle, Greg Mitchell, Christine Morgan, Joshua Reynolds, and Steven Shrewsbury — in this outstanding collection that does the genre proud.

Best Audio Series

EDICT ZERO-FIS by Jack Kincaid and Slipgate Nine

With a deep and rich mythology and insanely compelling characters, Edict Zero-FIS is a crowning achievement in audio serials. The production values are brilliant, with a perfect marriage of sound effects, music, panning, and voice acting that makes this something really special. Best of all, the story itself is complex, labyrinthine science fiction that blends elements of a police procedural and psychological drama. Think Fringe meets NYPD Blue on the set of Blade Runner. If you’re not listening, you bloody well should be.

Best Audio Short

CLICK-CLACK THE RATTLEBAG by Neil Gaiman

My son and I gave Click-Clack the Rattlebag a listen a few days before Hallowe’en and were both equally thrilled and chilled by Neil Gaiman’s expert narration and masterful telling. Absolutely love love loved it. What a perfect seasonal treat, honoring one of my favorite causes — All Hallow’s Read.

Best Occult Detective of 2012

JAKE HELMAN

(The Jake Helman Files, Vol. 4 — Tortured Spirits / October 2012, Medallion Press)

Gregory Lamberson’s Jake Helman series kicks all kinds of ass. There. I said it. Personal Demons. Desperate Souls. Cosmic Forces. Tortured Spirits. And coming next year — Storm Demon. What do you need to know about Jake Helman? He’s a hard-boiled, tough as nails private investigator who so far has battled everything from demons to Lovecraftian beasties and worse. Last year, in my review of Cosmic Forces I said “Greg Lamberson is the most cinematic author writing today and The Jake Helman Files are nothing short of the most awesome movies that have not been filmed yet.” I stand by those words.

Occult Detective Classic

SPECTRE by Robert Weverka

One of my most prized possessions. My wife snagged this for me this year after I’d been searching for it since the late 70’s. Weverka’s novelization of Gene Roddenberry’s failed tv pilot is wonderfully written, capturing the spirit of the episode but adding depth to an already rich and compelling story. Occult Detective William Sebastian, a world renowned criminologist, along with his comrade in arms, Dr. Hamilton, travels to England to confront the demon Asmodeus. It really doesn’t get any better than that. The pilot is one of my favorite tv movies, and the book is more than equal to it. Hard to find, and quite costly when you do, but worth every penny.

Mo*Con VI: The Return of the Mo?

Posted in Archive with tags , , on May 14, 2011 by Occult Detective

A week from today, Saturday May 21, I will be attending Mo*Con, the “little-convention-that-could” put on annually by Maurice Broaddus and Indiana Horror Writers. I will, of course, have books for sale, plus a few little special treats for those in attendance.

Maurice has asked me to take part in the Alternative Markets panel alongside Cullen Bunn and Lucien Soulban. I’m looking forward to chatting up comics and gaming, and I plan to interject a bit about esoterica as well.

This is the one event each year that I refuse to miss. It’s a small, intimate gathering of writers, with a few fans thrown in for good measure — why would you want to miss out on that?

Crooked Hills

Posted in Archive with tags , , on July 1, 2010 by Occult Detective

This fall, fan favorite horror writer, Cullen Bunn, and Evileye Books bring to life the otherworldly legends and ghost stories of the fictional Ozark town of CROOKED HILLS in a multi-book supernatural series for the kid in everyone.

For Charlie and his brother Alex, an unexpected trip to visit their Aunt Mary in the haunted town of Crooked Hills turns into a life-changing adventure, forcing them to confront local bullies, hell hounds, dead witches, and girls with slingshots! A throwback to classic adventures like that of the Hardy Boys, mixed with the creepiness of GOOSEBUMPS and CIRQUE DU FREAK, Cullen Bunn’s CROOKED HILLS blends mystery and adventure to weave a fun an unforgettable story of will, friendship and family bonds.

Book one of the prose series is scheduled for release in various editions beginning this fall, in time for Halloween, and continuing through 2011. In addition to the novels, a web comic and graphic novel editions are in development. According to the terms of the agreement, one new book in the series will be published annually.

For Evileye Books, CROOKED HILLS is the first of a number of new prose and comic book series to be announced that are aimed at kids and young adults. The move into books for younger readers follows the launch of the imprint late last year by Pulp+Pixel Entertainment Co. to publish series-oriented prose and graphic novels in various genres. Its first release, THE PACK: WINTER KILL, by Bram Stoker AwardWinning Author Mike Oliveri, was published in December 2009.

For Mr. Bunn, this is the second series collaboration with Evileye Books. The first, a dark fantasy titled, RAZE, (co-created and written with Shawn Lee) is aimed at adult prose and comic book readers, and will debut in various formats later this year.

Promo Illustration by the one and only Brian Hurtt

“Crooked Hills, Missouri, is a combination of many of the small towns in which I grew up,” said Mr. Bunn, “from Newton Grove, North Carolina, to Thayer, Missouri. (Thayer in particular helped to form a template for Crooked Hills.) Those towns were rich with interesting people and even more interesting urban legends and ghost stories. With CROOKED HILLS, I imagined sitting in the heart of a dark forest around a campfire, telling kids those kinds of spine-tingling ghost stories. So it seemed to me that having a witch come back to life to kidnap kids and be eaten by a hell hound would scare the living daylights out of almost anybody. But in that nightmare, I also saw a chance to explore what happens when kids face their fears; to overcome them can be incredibly liberating and empowering.”

“The wonderful thing about supernatural stories is they can be told to different audiences in different pitches and still come off creepy and haunting, no matter what the age. With CROOKED HILLS, we saw the opportunity to capture the spirit of the classic campfire story,” said A.N. Ommus, Editorial Director of Evileye Books.

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