A Legacy of Terrifying Horror Comics - An Interview with ANDREA MUTTI & CULLEN BUNN
Here at Comic Book Yeti we cannot get enough of both Andrea Mutti and Cullen Bunn. Contributor Tyler Whitton interviews both about A Legacy of Violence following his interview with Andrea Mutti and Neil Kleid about The Panic. You can also find more Cullen Bunn on the Cryptid Creator Corner podcast. Read on though, as this is a fantastic chat about their new series with Mad Cave Studios.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Greetings Cullen and Andrea! I just want to thank you for joining me here in the Yeti Cave to discuss A Legacy of Violence, which will be in Previews on July 20th, 2022 and can be found on store shelves October 5th, 2022.
A Legacy of Violence is about a doctor that joins Doctors Without Borders to escape from a recent traumatic event, where a serial killer potentially waits for his arrival in Honduras. This seems to merge the doctor’s flashbacks with reality in a really cool horror story created by one of the best creative teams today.
CBY: Knowing how horror-centric you are as creators, and the fantastic horror stories you’ve been a part of in the past, how does this book differ from your past work on horror projects?
ANDREA MUTTI: This is a story of true terror, in the sense that the story is inspired by the true story of UNIT 731 .... the human being, without monsters or demons, is always the most monstrous creature that exists, when he wants.
CULLEN BUNN: It’s certainly a different kind of story for me. Most of my horror work has a supernatural element. This story, though, is a little more rooted in reality. It is not a story of supernatural monsters, but of the worst monsters of all—humankind!
CBY: Andrea, it’s evident that you’ve been a key artist in horror comics with books you worked on such as Bunny Mask, The Maniac of New York, and Parasomnia to name a few. Your artwork really brought more horror power to each project through your unique and very cool style of art. Is there something different you’re doing as an artist on A Legacy of Violence?
AM: Here I tried to be accurate in the environments of Honduras, I wanted to perceive a distant, little visited, remote ... dangerous place ... I have documented a lot and the pages with the environments are all real ... nothing is invented ... then there is the flashback in black and white ... here I referred to the Hitchcock movies or the Twilight Zone ... something mysterious, incorporeal but real at the same time ..
CBY: As this project is supposed to be released just a few weeks before Halloween, what are each of you trying to accomplish with this book that will amplify the feel of Halloween?
AM: First of all a good book to read..a story to read, grab the readers into the story..and, hey, you have to read at midnight when outside there is a full moon! Halloween mood!
CB: For me, entertainment is always the primary goal. I want readers to be thrilled and frightened by this story. It’s dark and brutal and disturbing on a visceral level. That said, I think there are questions the book might stir in the reader’s mind. Questions about the sins of the past. Questions about guilt and penance—even for those sins that are not your own.
CBY: Were you inspired by any other books, movies, or TV shows when it came to your part in creating A Legacy of Violence?
AM: I can say The WARD of John Carpenter, one of my top favorite directors of all time….and many of the Twilight Zone’s episodes about hospitals…super creepy moody vibe!..Just here and there—FRAGILE, SESSION 9….
CB: I’m glad Andrea brought up SESSION 9! I definitely think that was an influence, even though we didn’t really talk about TV shows or films when we first started on this project. I watched a lot of slasher movies in preparation for this, especially slashers from the 70s. And I watched a lot of David Cronenberg movies.
CBY: Cullen, your complete vision within your vast line of horror comics has been amazing to say the least. How did you go about creating Dr. Nick Shaw as a protagonist and a serial killer antagonist relationship that’s unique to this story?
CB: For this story, I wanted Nick to feel a little incomplete. I wanted there to be plenty of blanks for the reader to fill in. I think readers will start to incorporate some of themselves into Nick’s character. This was by design, because I wanted a feeling of immersion. Now, yes, we flesh Nick out a lot more with every issue, but my hope is the reader will already be invested and connected to him by that point.
The killer… I don’t want to say too much about… because there are some big, big twists ahead. His method of murder… and his end goal… is unique, I think. Something that will horrify and surprise. I will say that Andrea’s design for the killer is so great.
BY: When it comes to horror comic books and the stories therein, I really enjoy how a reader can tell there’s great chemistry between the writer and artist. Your strong chemistry is shown in the creative work Parasomnia. Why do you enjoy working together on projects like this?
CB: For a guy who draws these horribly creepy scenes, Andrea is one of the nicest guys in the business. He’s just a joy to work with. He’s super excited with every page he sends my way. And I feel like that shows through on the page.
CBY: Cullen, you stated that you had to rely on a different set of skills for this project, which helped to create something different from the rest of your work. What set of skills did you need to utilize to create such a unique story, that you haven’t used in previous projects?
CB: Well, the lack of a supernatural element meant I couldn’t just “magic” my way out of a potential problem. Sometimes, that’s what it takes. So, I had to make sure I was plotting the story tightly enough that there could still be surprises, still a sense of the surreal, without the power of magic.
CBY: In witnessing you two show lots of appreciation for each other around this project, what quality or strength did you most cherish about each other that made this project fun to work on?
AM: Communication and enthusiasm first of all! We are together to make a special, fun, and disturbing book, there is full mutual respect and we understand each other perfectly .... I always feel at ease with the script, precise and concise writing, a sign of the great trust that Cullen puts in me, and I am honored, and reciprocate with pleasure! then there is great humility ... we do not work for glory by feeling like champions ... but you can see the determination to entertain the public with intellectual and artistic honesty, this is an important thing that I am sure the readers perceive.
CB: Yeah, there’s trust and admiration and appreciation there. There’s great collaboration here, which makes almost any project you work on all the better. And, look, getting a new page… sometimes more than one… of amazing art every day from Andrea certainly brightens my days!
CBY: What are some comic books, movies, and/or television shows you’re enjoying currently?
AM: I’d love: KATLA-POSTMORTEM-CHESTNUT MAN-MARIANNE-THE RITUAL..and many more!
CB: I’ve been digging WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS and EVIL. I loved HEART EYES from Dennis Hopeless.
CBY: When it comes to being inspired by other creators and artists, who would each of you place on your own Mount Rushmore of creators and artists in the comic book industry past or present?
AM: OHH! Too many names!Roy Thomas, Jim Starlin, Mike Mignola, Ivo Milazzo, Scott Snyder, Jason Aaron…but I have to say, I worked and I actually work with AMAZING writers, and I want to thank all of them….Elliot, Paul, Anthony, Ryan, Zack, Chris, Jonathan and…of course my brother Cullen! I am blessed!
CB: I just want four statues of myself on that mountain.
I’m kidding! I’m kidding!
There are far too many for me to list. Keeping it to four is nigh impossible. Bill Mantlo is definitely up there for me. Starlin, as Andrea mentioned, and Mike Mignola. Grant Morrison, maybe? I don’t know! Too much stress! I’m spinning out!
CBY: I can’t be any more thankful in being able to interview you both on a book that I know will highlight my pull list in October. Thank you for your time and I’m looking forward to this book and others you two will work on together in the future!
CB: Thank you so much!