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Interview: No Escaping the Nightwalker's Blood Lust

Interview by Nicki Faust

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As Nightwalkers #1 becomes available for pre-order, Writer Cullen Bunn celebrates by answering our questions about the upcoming series, horror, and Halloween!

Nightwalkers is produced in collaboration with Producer Aengus McLoone and Vertigo Entertainment (It, Doctor Sleep). Written by Bunn with art by Joe Bocardo (Phantasmagoria), colors by Colin Johnson (Winchester Mystery House), and letters by Justin Birch (Claim, Monstrous), Nightwalkers #1 will be available from Source Point Press in comic shops everywhere in January 2023.

The official synopsis of Nightwalkers #1 is as follows:

“Seren is an addict in recovery at a rehabilitation center secluded in the mountains, COMPLETELY ISOLATED from the outside world. When Seren and the other patients wake to find themselves locked inside and abandoned by the center’s staff, they must decide whether to wait or break out. The decision is made for them when a bloodthirsty monster enters the center, and begins to tear through them to satiate its lust for blood.”

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Source Point Press: In Nightwalkers, Seren is an addict in recovery who comes face-to-face with terrifying external nightmares. Could you tell us a bit about how her internal struggle gives her a unique position in the world of Nightwalkers?

Cullen Bunn: Seren finds herself in a world consumed by monsters. By demons. She’s not a hero. She’s not a monster hunter. But she has been battling demons for a long time. We’ll see her grow and change over the course of the series. When we first meet her, she is in a dark place, and she approaches the end of her world with a sense of welcome. She’s ready for the end. She’s tired of the world and the way she’s been treated by it. As she discovers more about the new, horrifying world around her, though, she begins to get her footing and her attitudes begin to shift. But she’s always approaching the things she is seeing and encountering for the first time through the lens of the things she has already experienced.

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Source Point Press: Readers might be forgiven for assuming that the titular creatures of Nightwalkers are simply vampires, though they’d be quite wrong. How are the Nightwalkers different from your run-of-the-mill bloodsuckers?

Cullen Bunn: Part of the fun of this series for me is playing with the expectations of vampires. There will be times, especially early on, when readers will think they have a pretty good understanding of these creatures. They’ll think they know where they are going and what they are up to. But we’re going to use those expectations against them as often as possible. The Nightwalkers have a kind of hierarchy, and the first ones we encounter are creatures called the Wretches. They are awful. And while they share some similarities with a traditional vampire, I think you’ll find they are something altogether different and more terrifying. They are body horror, taunting, vicious nasties. You’ll meet other members of the hierarchy as the story moves along. Again, though, I wanted to do something you won’t expect, in terms of physical characteristics, abilities, and motivations. With this book, I wanted to make the “vampires” more terrifying, more brutal, and more monstrous than those you may have seen before.

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Source Point Press: Joining you on Nightwalkers are Joe Bocardo (Inks), Colin Johnson (Colors), and Justin Birch (Letters). What makes this team right for Nightwalkers, and how do they influence the final product beyond their respective roles?

Cullen Bunn: A story like Nightwalkers needs a distinct visual style, something that sets it apart, something that gives it an almost dream-like… or, more appropriately, a nightmare-like… quality. This team embraces that and runs with it. There’s a real ghost story quality to this book, from the inks to the color to the way it is lettered. You can feel the isolation and loneliness in the art. And you can see the horror in the eyes and expressions of the lead characters. I feel very lucky to work with this team.

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Source Point Press: The first issue of Nightwalkers will be in stores in January 2023 launching a five-issue story arc. What can you tell us about the potential of the series beyond this opening arc?

Cullen Bunn: I have big plans for Nightwalkers. The initial five-issue arc is very focused on Seren and the immediate challenge she’s facing, but you will see small hints of another major player—his name is Valmont—sprinkled in throughout those issues. Valmont is our window to a deeper lore and a much larger world, a world that we’ll be exploring in future arcs. Seren and Valmont have a shared destiny, but we’re going to take our time to get there.

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Source Point Press: With Harrow County, The Empty Man, Unearth, and now Nightwalkers, your name has become synonymous with modern horror comics. What makes you gravitate towards horror? How do you navigate the unique strengths and weaknesses of horror within the medium of comics?

Cullen Bunn: I’ve always felt more at home with horror themes and dark storytelling moods. I feel as though I can tell almost any kind of story under the umbrella of horror. Comics is a different beast from either prose or film. Comics occupies a unique place straddling the two mediums. There are elements of prose. There are visual elements. But we’re dealing with static images. There are no “jump scares” in the book. Navigating that involves pacing and tone and mood. It involves a stylized approach to the visuals. It also means making the reader afraid for the characters. I want the reader to worry that Seren and her friends might not survive. Even if they do survive, they almost certainly won’t escape unscathed. With that in mind, I can generate fear in the hearts of the reader and create a story that will haunt them for some time to come.

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Source Point Press: Aside from your expertise in writing horror, your reputation as a horror movie aficionado proceeds you. What are some of your all-time favorite horror films and which, if any, have been an influence on Nightwalkers?

Cullen Bunn: My list of favorite movies and directors is vast and ever-changing. If you were to ask me this question again tomorrow, the answer would be completely different. The Thing, Alien, and Jaws hold a shared position as my all-time favorite horror movies, but An American Werewolf in London, Fright Night, Scanners, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Phantasm all hold high-ranking positions on that list, among many others. For Nightwalkers, I’d say there are bits and pieces of inspiration and influence sprinkled throughout. In addition to movies, novels and short stories play an influential role here. There’s a bit of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot here, as well as Robert McCammon’s They Thirst, in this story.

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Source Point Press: Nightwalkers is being produced in collaboration with Hustle & Heart Films, which you founded alongside Heath Amodio, and Vertigo Entertainment, which has produced films like It, Doctor Sleep, and many more. Do you see a potential for the series beyond comics?

Cullen Bunn: Absolutely! This is a world that I can easily see being brought to life and explored in other mediums. Not just TV and film. Prose and tabletop games spring readily to mind. Of course, my first and foremost concern is telling a great story in comic book form, and I’m thrilled to be working with this team to do just that.

Source Point Press: Do you have any fun Halloween plans this year?

Cullen Bunn: Oh, of course! I look forward to October every year! I mean, some would say my studio is decorated for Halloween all year long, and they’d be right! This year, I’ve been watching a ton of horror movies, mostly returning to favorites but also catching a few new ones. I’ve visited three haunted houses in the area with my son. And I’ve been doing horror-themed trivia nights once or twice a week. On Halloween, my son and I turn our garage into a haunted house for trick-or-treaters. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun

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Nightwalkers #1 (NOV221837) is available January 25, 2023 at your local comic shop. Reserve your copy with PREVIEWSworld Pullbox.

Keep an eye on PREVIEWSworld.com's TwitterFacebookYouTube, or Instagram for more artist spotlights! 

SOURCE POINT PRESS
NIGHTWALKERS #1 (OF 5) CVR B BOCARDO (MR)
(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Colin Johnson (A/CA) Joe Bocardo
Seren is an addict in recovery at a rehabilitation center secluded in the mountains, COMPLETELY ISOLATED from the outside world. When Seren and the other patients wake to find themselves locked inside and abandoned by the center's staff, they must decide whether to wait or break out. The decision is made for them when a blood thirsty monster enters the center, and begins to tear through them to satiate its lust for blood.
In a collaboration with Hustle & Heart Films and Vertigo Entertainment (IT, DOCTOR SLEEP), Source Point Press is proud to bring you Cullen Bunn's Night Walkers, a new comic book series with a terrifying, fresh take on a timeless horror sub-genre.
In Shops: Jan 25, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #374

SOURCE POINT PRESS
NIGHTWALKERS #1 (OF 5) CVR A BOCARDO (MR)
(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Colin Johnson (A/CA) Joe Bocardo
Seren is an addict in recovery at a rehabilitation center secluded in the mountains, COMPLETELY ISOLATED from the outside world. When Seren and the other patients wake to find themselves locked inside and abandoned by the center's staff, they must decide whether to wait or break out. The decision is made for them when a blood thirsty monster enters the center, and begins to tear through them to satiate its lust for blood.
In a collaboration with Hustle & Heart Films and Vertigo Entertainment (IT, DOCTOR SLEEP), Source Point Press is proud to bring you Cullen Bunn's Night Walkers, a new comic book series with a terrifying, fresh take on a timeless horror sub-genre.
In Shops: Jan 25, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #374

SOURCE POINT PRESS
NIGHTWALKERS #2 (OF 5) CVR A BOCARDO (MR)
(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Colin Johnson (A/CA) Joe Bocardo
Seren, Franny Jay, Deidre, and the rest of the survivors leave behind
a bloodbath at the rehabilitation center and escape into the woods. But the hunt
continues, and when they stumble upon an eerily quiet town, they'll learn what
true horror looks like.
In Shops: Feb 15, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #399

SOURCE POINT PRESS
NIGHTWALKERS #2 (OF 5) CVR B BOCARDO (MR)
(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Colin Johnson (A/CA) Joe Bocardo
Seren, Franny Jay, Deidre, and the rest of the survivors leave behind
a bloodbath at the rehabilitation center and escape into the woods. But the hunt
continues, and when they stumble upon an eerily quiet town, they'll learn what
true horror looks like.
In Shops: Feb 15, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #399

SOURCE POINT PRESS
NIGHTWALKERS #3 (OF 5) CVR A BOCARDO (MR)
(W) Cullen Bunn (A/CA) Joe Bocardo
Seren's ghost town safe haven quickly becomes a blood-soaked kill box, and as her dwindling group learns more about the monsters, one thing becomes clear: The nightmare is only beginning.
In Shops: Mar 22, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #402

SOURCE POINT PRESS
NIGHTWALKERS #3 (OF 5) CVR B BOCARDO (MR)
(W) Cullen Bunn (A/CA) Joe Bocardo
Seren's ghost town safe haven quickly becomes a blood-soaked kill box, and as her
dwindling group learns more about the monsters, one thing becomes clear: The nightmare is only beginning.
In Shops: Mar 22, 2023
SRP: $3.99
PREVIEWS Page #402

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Nicki Faust's heart is as cold as concrete in the Chicago winter. When not writing for PREVIEWSworld, Nicki is busy playing Limbo on Twitch, writing about the great robot uprising on Medium, and completing the untitled follow-up to the 2012 best-seller, Sue Storm: A Nude Photobook.   

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