5/30/2006 05:02:00 AM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P|Yesterday, my wife and I saw X-Men: The Last Stand. Usually, I avoid movie theaters like the plague, but I make exceptions every now and again. Since the X-Men have always been one of my favorite superhero teams, I knew I couldn't wait for the DVD. The movie was pretty good. I think it was probably the weakest of the trilogy, but it still had plenty of merits. Like the rest of the X-movies, it deviates significantly from the comics, so if you can't get past that, don't watch it. This one really takes some liberties with the source material. Even I was almost ready to stand up and shout, "That never happened!" a time or two. But I kept my cool by chewing a few Sour Patch Kids and reciting the mantra, "It's an alternate reality. It's an alternate reality. It's an alternate reality." It was great to see Kitty Pryde (who surprised me as my favorite mutant this time around), Juggernaut, and Beast on screen, and some of the action scenes were awesome. My major complaint with all of the movies is that none of the characters (besides Wolverine) get enough screen time, and this one was no exception ... but what are you going to do with a cast of hundreds of mutants? As I watched the movie, I was inspired to pursue something new. I want to write those announcements that roll with the previews. You know, the ones that inform you in some clever way to turn your cell phone off. Those I create would be connected to the movie in question, of course. Imagine if you will ... A movie theater lit only by the flickering light of the projector. The seating is auditorium style, and two friends sit near the back of the room, overlooking a standing room only crowd. JOE, a rather small fellow in a faded New Mutants tee shirt circa 1985, and HAROLD, a big fellow in a "Magneto Was Right" tee shirt, munch handfuls of popcorn and sip sodas as they watch X-Men: The Last Stand. A couple of rows in front of them, a man's cell phone rings, unleashing its disturbing synthesized ringtone right in the middle of an important scene. The man tugs the cell phone from his pocket and reviews the caller ID, letting the phone ring for several seconds before shrugging and putting the phone away again. JOE and HAROLD shift uncomfortably in their seats. A few minutes later, the man's phone starts ringing again. Once more, the man lets it ring as he checks the caller ID. JOE looks at HAROLD in frustration. JOE: I can't take it any more. You know what to do! HAROLD: You mean-- JOE: Do it! HAROLD rises and hoists JOE into the air. JOE shoves his fists out in front of him as HAROLD hurls him towards the man and his cell phone. JOE: Fastball special! But HAROLD's aim is off, and JOE crashes into the seat just in front of him. As JOE sinks into a twisted pile on the sticky floor, HAROLD sits down again, face red. The caption rolls: Don't let this happen during your movie-going experience. Please, turn off your cell phones.|W|P|114899142219763807|W|P|The Last Stand|W|P|5/26/2006 07:32:00 AM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P| Yet another Broken Frontier column has been posted, this one about an ill-fated horror comic that's near and dear to my heart. Marvel's Druid only lasted 4 issues ... but so much potential was packed into those pages I still read the series over every now and again.|W|P|114865447526410932|W|P|Funny ... She Doesn' t Look Druidish|W|P|5/23/2006 12:14:00 PM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P| Futurequake Press has released the first issue of Something Wicked, a horror comic anthology featuring the short weird western tale "Dark Rider, Pale Horse" written by Shawn Lee and myself and illustrated by Johnny McMonagle. Give it a look if you're in the mood for some good, old-fashioned creepy comics.|W|P|114841227544350008|W|P|Something Wicked|W|P|5/22/2006 07:56:00 AM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P| I read about one novel a week. I wish I could get through more, but it's kind of tough to do when there are short stories and comics and tv shows and magazines and my own writing to worry about. This week, I read Wolf's Trap by William Gagliani. A murdered friend. A descent into the darkness of the porn world. A cop whose tragic past includes a terrible secret and a horrible burden. A serial killer with depraved obsessions and a blood grudge. They will meet in Wisconsin's dark and chilly North Woods. But who will be the hunter, and who will be the hunted? And how many innocents will have to die? I'll admit, this isn't my usual cup of tea. Werewolf (or vampire ... or zombie ... or mummy) cop books have been done really badly over the years. But I met Bill at World Horror Convention, and he was such a nice guy I couldn't help but buy a copy of his book. I'm glad I did. Not only is Bill a nice person, he's a helluva writer as well. Nick Lupo, the main character, happens to be a werewolf, but the story is much more of a crime drama/serial killer tale. We've got good guys matching wits with a demented villain, a bit of romance, a trio of ne'er-do-wells ... and a werewolf to boot. The story never degenerates into a superhero story, and I was pleased to see the lycanthrope legend returning to its roots. (And Nick's origin as a werewolf was a very chilling part of the book for me.) It's a page-turner, and the final payoff is worth it. For my money, there are two people who do the crime drama meets werewolf story justice. One is my friend Curt Hoffmeister, and I have no doubt you'll soon be reading his work. The other is William Gagliani. If you're in the mood for a good crime thriller with a sprinkling of lupine fury, give Wolf's Trap a read.|W|P|114831084340862248|W|P|60-Second Book Review - Wolf's Trap|W|P|5/22/2006 09:05:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Mike|W|P|A book a week? Damn, dude, I'm lucky I get one a month in with all I've got going on.

And only two people who do crime drama meets werewolf? What am I, chopped liver? ;p6/10/2006 05:57:00 AM|W|P|Blogger Cullen Bunn|W|P|Open mouth, insert foot. What I SHOULD have said was "only two people do werewolf as cop stories justice." You know I love me some WEREWOLF: CALL OF THE WILD. Anyone reading this would be smart to pick up that comic ASAP.5/18/2006 07:32:00 PM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P|The latest POW! Moments column is posted and available for your consideration. For the next few weeks, I'll be covering horrific moments in the funny books, and I figured I'd start off with an issue of Swamp Thing that gave me the heebie jeebies. Hope you enjoy it!|W|P|114800617380232209|W|P|Hey! You got your horror in my comic book!|W|P|5/17/2006 01:20:00 PM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P|Back when I edited Whispers from the Shattered Forum, I used to get some strange little nonsense stories. They were never right for the magazine, but as a goof I wrote a few myself. Most have been lost, but as I was cleaning out my office, I found one. I thought I'd share it here.
CE MC MR ON/C
I noticed fingerprints on the leys of my desktop calculator. I wondered to whom these prints belonged. Perhaps it was an astronaut, calculating the distance to some far off planet. Or perhaps it was a bookie, working on some mob boss's finances. Then I realized the fingerprints were mine!!!!!!
So I sat, chewing at my fingertips, wishing my shoes were clean.
|W|P|114789754501049502|W|P|Today's Flash Fiction: CE MC MR ON/C|W|P|5/17/2006 08:48:00 AM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P|Here we have a partial cover image for my upcoming novel Blood Feud: A Vampire Yarn ... With Spiders. My partner on The Damned comic series, Brian Hurtt, whipped this up for me after reading the novella on which the novel is based. The image was used on t-shirts passed out at the 2006 World Horror Convention. Brian has further plans for the piece before it will grace the cover of my work. I can't wait to see what he comes up with.|W|P|114788169043933410|W|P|It's a Feud!|W|P|5/15/2006 07:54:00 AM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P|Last week, I spent a few days in San Francisco at this year's World Horror Convention, a gathering of some of the darkest minds in the business. While the best part of any lengthy trip for me is the return home, I thought I'd share some of the highlights of the journey, the city, and the convention. I was pretty pleased with the show. It wasn't perfect, but I've never been to a convention that went off without a hitch. All in all, the organizers did a nice job. Even if the event had been a total mess, it's always great to see all my good chums at the convention (you know who you are). Wednesday JimmyZ of Still Water Press and I headed out bright and early to make our 8:00 flight. Once we arrive in Oakland, we realized we had no idea how to get to our hotel in San Francisco. No problem, I thought. This town has one of the greatest public transportation setups in the world. So, I asked the nice lady at the information desk. Without skipping a beat, she rattled off a litany of shuttles and cab rides and something called the Air BART that required exact change. My eyes glazed, I nodded, and staggered away to find a change machine. The cabs and trains and shuttles and trolleys--they're second nature to the folks in San Francisco, but I don't have the cognitive capacity to handle such exchanges. For me, it's like trying to solve some difficult puzzle. After trying to figure it out on my own, I went back and asked for directions once again. This time, with the help of JimmyZ's map-reading skills and a couple of quick phone calls, I made it to the hotel without incident. Once we got checked in, we walked around a few blocks in search of something to eat. We settled on a little Mexican cafe called (I think) Pancho's. They didn't serve margaritas, but the food was all right and it filled my empty stomach. Once back at the hotel, we met up with a bunch of early convention arrivals and had a great time until the wee hours of the morning. Thursday Before registering for the convention, JimmyZ and I walked down to Fisherman's Wharf, then to Chinatown. Only after we had already started walking on this sunny day did I realize my shaved head had no protection, so for the next few days I sported a bright red dome. We walked for 4 or 5 hours, I think, but missed the uber-tourist spots like Pier 39. We ate lunch in Chinatown, because that seemed like the thing to do, but I was kinda unimpressed. We probably picked the wrong restaurant. Jimmy got his hair cut in Chinatown because, again, it seemed like the thing to do. The girl who cut his hair asked if I wanted a haircut, too. Did I mention I have naught but stubble atop my head? As we headed back to the hotel, we were serenaded by thousands of annoying metal crickets in cardboard boxes. Every little shop in Chinatown carried these things. Back at the convention, I registered, bought a shirt featuring a cool illustration by Brom, and quickly browsed the dealer's room. I thought the dealer's room was pretty impressive this year, but I didn't stay long before going to take a quick nap. At dinner we hit the House of Prime Rib and they lived up to their name. The food was delicious, if a bit pricey, and I ate much more than I needed to. Perhaps because of the full belly, perhaps because of all the walking, perhaps because of the previous late night, I retired relatively early that evening. Friday During my reading Friday morning, I read "Beneath Black Boughs My Darlings Slumber," and I hope everyone enjoyed it. Christopher Golden burst in early on to attack Kelly and Kelli from Horror-Web with a water gun, but from what I could tell, they deserved it. Besides, the spray of the waterguns added to the atmosphere of the seaboard-based tale. At lunchtime, I found myself at a delightful Thai cafe with a group of cool folks. That afternoon I participated (if that's what you want to call it) in a panel on horror in comics. Later I dined at Crustacean Euro-Asian Cafe, where I felt very underdressed. Friday night was the infamous Borderlands Books party, and it was as crowded and entertaining as should be expected. Those folks know how to throw a shindig! Saturday I awoke relatively early and finished my Gross-Out contest entry. I read it a couple of times, hated it more and more with each reading, then decided it was as good as it was going to get. I ripped the sheets out of my notebook and tucked them in my pocket to be read that night. Along with Curt, Karen, and JimmyZ, I took a cab to Pier 39 and took in some of the tourist attractions. But our real objective was to buy matching pirate shirts that read "Surrender the Booty!" That's right, I'm not afraid to admit it. Curt, JimmyZ and I wore matching pirate shirts. Now you're upset that you didn't go, aren't you? If only we could have gotten the other attending members of the Midwest Writers of Horror to don booty shirts!

That night at the Leisure party, I was the victim of mistaken identity. A woman came up to me, clutched my arm, and said, "Oh, good. I was hoping you would be here!"

Since I didn't know her, I smiled politely and said, "Thanks. I'm glad I could make it, too."

"And you're feeling okay?" she asked, at which point I realized she wasn't an adoring fan of my work and she, in fact, thought I was God-knows-who.

"Yes," I said. "I feel great."

"Good, good." She then asked if I had seen someone around. I couldn't make out the name, though, so I pointed towards the balcony.

"They're right outside," I said.

Across town, there was a fireworks show, which could be seen from outside the party. Very nice. To build my courage for the Gross-Out Contest, I indulged in a few (by few I mean many) libations, then headed to the ballroom in which the event was held. Cody Goodfellow talked a good deal of smack, and Jeff Strand seemed confidently subdued. I knew those two would be my primary competition, but I didn't know which one worried me more--Cody, with his evil laugh and threats of utter humiliation if I walked the walk to the bouncer-surrounded podium, or Jeff with his subtle smile that hinted at secrets of such blasphemous levels of disgustitude that I wondered if the audience would even be able to handle his tale of grue. In the end, I thought they both unleashed hilariously gross entries. I took first place, though, and won a Tickles the Tapeworm t-shirt and a surprise cash award from Flesh & Blood!

I went just a little over time on my entry, though, and bouncer Steven Shrewsbury hurled me over his shoulder and carried me bodily away from the stage. I think I'm retiring from the competition. I've entered three times and conquered three times. And as much as I enjoyed having dozens of itty bitty rubber chickens thrown at me by the audience this time, it's only a matter of time before someone unlocks The Cullen Code and discovers the secret of my gross-out success. So I'm out ... unless Cody or Jeff or any other yahoo wants to start some smack-talking, in which case I'm gonna have to lay down a heaping helping of learning they just can't get in school.

Thanks to everyone who threw a chicken at me, to Flesh & Blood Press, and to the judges and hostess. Sunday The morning was filled with tearful goodbyes (both to my good friends and to my last few dollars in the dealer's room) before we hopped in a cab to the Air BART station to the shuttle to the airport. A nice trip came to an end ... but I was thrilled to get home to my wife. And I mean it when I say I won't go to another WHC without her.

As always, I returned from the convention both tired AND energized. I'm ready to get to writing ... and that, along with all the cool people I got to see again or meet for the first time, makes the trip well worth it. Here's a list of stuff I bought at the convention (because I know you want to go out and buy the same cool things as me):

Hopefully, I'll be able to direct you to some photos soon!

|W|P|114770649139493918|W|P|Nothing or Double, Jack - World Horror Convention 2006 Report|W|P|5/18/2006 10:15:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Jon wants a "Surrender the Booty" shirt too!!! :P
~Jen5/07/2006 08:37:00 AM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P|Just a short post today because I'm swamped trying to get ready for this week's World Horror Convention. I'll take my few sentences today to rant a little. Now, I admit that Love Monkey is a terrible name for a television show ... but regardless of the title, this is the type of show that deserved to make it on network television. But due to less than impressive ratings, CBS pulled the show after airing only three episodes. Hey, I can understand their reasoning. They've got to make money, and the average television viewer would rather watch another re-treaded season of Survivor or the (hard to believe) even more godawful Unanimous--two shows that in my opinion only prove that people will lie, cheat, backstab, and worse for a buck. Love Monkey isn't the type of show I expected to like but--by God--it made me feel good. And I'm a pretty pessimistic guy at heart. Thankfully, VH1 is showing the original three episodes and the remaining five. Just too bad the viewing public didn't really give it a chance.|W|P|114701675705845753|W|P|Stupid, Stupid TV Viewers|W|P|5/04/2006 02:33:00 PM|W|P|Cullen Bunn|W|P|The latest installment of my Broken Frontier column is up for your reading pleasure. I promise--this is the last time I write about the Micronauts for at least a week. Check it out right here.|W|P|114677897268427607|W|P|So Long, Micronauts!|W|P|