Through the Darkness with Cullen Bunn
When larger companies are locked in an ever-turning wheel of rehashes and reboots, from where will the literary pioneers go to find expression? Indies have proven time and again to be the vehicle for which fresh stories are produced and distributed to readers thirsty for new ideas and voices. Perhaps the indie company accomplishing this most successfully is the industry’s new rising star, AfterShock Comics. AfterShock Comics has already produced stellar, and original work, such as Animosity, Black-Eyed Kids, and World Reader. Now, AfterShock presents another ingenious concept to delight comic readers, called Dark Ark, by Cullen Bunn. Mr. Bunn has already proven his mastery over the craft of comic script writing with his outstanding work on titles such as The Sixth Gun series, Venom, and Sinestro. With AfterShock Comics, Mr. Bunn is offering readers something new and exciting. A tale that could only exist in today’s market through the facilitation of indie publishing.
So what is Dark Ark? Dark Ark is a series drawn from biblical lore. This series posits, “what if Noah’s was not the only ark that was built?” What if the building of this other ark was encouraged by dark forces to house all the monsters of the world to ensure that they all survived the biblical flood? What would life be like upon this dark ark? What kind of a man would build it? All these questions, and more, will be posed and presented in this new series. I, for one, cannot wait to find out!
Below are Cullen Bunn’s unedited responses to my questions. Enjoy!
Why is AfterShock Comics the perfect home for Dark Ark? Was AfterShock always the intended destination for this book?
Dark Ark is an idea I’ve toyed with for a while. I never really had a destination publisher in mind for it. Honestly, it’s such a strange idea, I was unsure if any publisher would be crazy enough to tackle it! Not only was AfterShock crazy enough to publish the book, they connected me with amazing artist Juan Doe, who is just making this book sing. As I was thinking about this book, I never imagined it would be so beautifully rendered. That’s one of the things I love about AfterShock. They take chances on their titles, and it so often pays off wonderfully.
Beyond the biblical story, what inspired the creation of Dark Ark?
I’m not exactly sure where this idea came from. Thinking about it now, I believe part of it was influenced by books like Animal Farm and Watership Down and even Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh–stories that put non-human creatures in situations that may seem very human, exploring the interactions between people, the intricacies of real life, through decidedly unreal eyes.
It seems filling an ark with the worst creatures of the world is asking for trouble. How has Shrae prepared for these inevitable dangers?
Shrae’s Ark is most certainly a dangerous place. These monsters do not like each other, and little circles and conspiracies are starting to take shape. Shrae has prepared as much as he can, and he is so powerful that many of the passengers, terrible though they may be, fear him. But there’s no way for Shrae to truly be ready for the danger that comes with putting so many of these awful beasts in one confined place.
You have stated that an aspect of this story is Shrae’s search for redemption. Redemption before which power? God or whichever dark force compelling him to build the ark?
I don’t think Shrae is looking for redemption in the eyes of anyone other than his family. He is the servant of the Devil, obviously, and he has done terrible things in his life. Now, though, he sees opportunity. If he performs this task, the dark powers will release his damned soul (or so they say) and the new world will be a place where his family might flourish. The love of his family has softened Shrae quite a bit. Now he just needs to keep them alive long enough for him to earn a second chance.
It is clear that God did not want the creatures of Dark Ark to survive. Is there a cost for attempting to circumvent its will?
We never specifically say that God intended to abandon the monsters of the world, but that’s a safe assumption. The cost for circumventing the will of God comes from those dark powers that are orchestrating the act. They are cruel and mercurial masters, and we can never be sure if they are lying to Shrae or not.
Will there be a confrontation between the Dark Ark and Noah’s?
That’s something that Shrae wants to avoid for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that his masters have commanded that Noah’s Ark must survive the voyage. After all, the creatures on board Shrae’s vessel will need prey when they get to the new world.
Will narrative focus remain solely fixed on Shrae or will there be shifting focus among the other creatures- almost ensemble style?
This is more of an ensemble piece. We’ll be seeing this story from the eyes of many of the creatures on board Shrae’s Ark. But there is more of a focus on Shrae and his family, in particular his daughter Khalee, and some of the human prisoner Janris.
What can readers expect to happen in upcoming issues?
There is trouble brewing on board Shrae’s Ark. The monsters are all plotting against each other and vying for power. Some of them are already seeking to gain power in the new world. Some of them even want a mutiny, and that’s going to play out in a very intense way.