Skip to Content

Exclusive: Cullen Bunn seeks no escape from Shadow #0 featuring Houdini

Exclusive: Cullen Bunn seeks no escape from Shadow #0 featuring Houdini


Last week, Dynamite Entertainment announced it had signed writer Cullen Bunn (Sixth Gun, Magneto) to pen a new story of its perennial period protagonist, the Shadow, as he meets the elusive magician Houdini.

How do pulp and presto-chango team up? To get the answers to that question and more, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer exclusively turned into a bar and questioned Mr. Cullen about the project.

No trick photography was used during this interview.

Cosmic Book News: The Shadow is having a zero issue! Cullen, how did you become involved?

Cullen Bunn: I’ve been talking to Nick, Joe and Molly at Dynamite for a while now. We’ve wanted to work together on something, but we were all waiting for the right project. When they called me and mentioned the Shadow, I knew this would make a great first Dynamite book! I mean… The Shadow! Talk about a character with meat on the bones!

CBN: We understand that this zero issue is not all the business that Nick Barrucci and Dynamite are having with you. Care to comment on the big future mystery project?

Cullen Bunn: I can’t say much right now! I’m sworn to secrecy! But there’s definitely more in the works. In fact, there might be a few different things in the works right now.

CBN: OK, OK, back to Shadow #0, how does our Dark Master become involved with the great performer Houdini?

Cullen Bunn: Well, what we learn is that Lamont Cranston and Houdini were acquaintances long before Lamont became the Shadow.  To aid him in his quest for justice, the Shadow gathered a diverse set of skills. In this case, who better to teach him the art of escape?

CBN: Can you tell us at what point in Houdini’s career this piece takes place? He was a very different man at different points during his career.


Cullen Bunn: In this story, Houdini is a little older, nearing those final days and his mysterious death.

CBN: And the big-bad is … ?

Cullen Bunn: Our villains in this book are members of a secret order of magicians, illusionists and escape artists. They want to know Houdini’s greatest secret—a secret he took beyond the grave—and they’re willing to kill to get it!

CBN: Are you a student of magical history or a fan of the late performer?

Cullen Bunn: I’ve always been interested in magical history and the great stage performers. Everyone thinks I’m joking when I say this, but my father was a very talented stage hypnotist for many years. So many elements of that lifestyle are fascinating to me. In this story, I try to delve into the “world” of performing magicians … and how it can seem somewhat otherworldly.

CBN: What is the difference between Cullen Bunn’s Shadow and other versions we know?

Cullen Bunn: I think every writer approaches the character a little differently while trying to be true to the pulp origins. This Shadow plays a little more mysteriously, I suppose, with an undercurrent of sardonic wit.

CBN: Where did you get your inspiration for your Shadow character and for this special story?

Cullen Bunn: Perhaps my earliest exposure to superhero stories was from The Shadow. My dad used to recount tales of the radio show he listened to when he was a boy. So, some of this story is drawn from those memories, as well as many of the pulp stories (The Shadow or otherwise) that I’ve read over the years.

CBN: Have you enjoyed working with Nick and the folks at Dynamite Entertainment?


Cullen Bunn: No way! Those folks are awful! But they know my “true name” and if I don’t do as they command, they’ll banish me back to the underworld.

CBN: Cullen, do we know anything about the artist on this work so far?

Cullen Bunn: At this point, I don’t know who the artist for the book will be. Whoever it is, I hope he or she enjoys drawing crazy booby traps, esoteric artifacts, wild tigers, and lots and lots of gunplay! 

CBN: Is this a character that you would like to work with again?

Cullen Bunn: Absolutely! The Zero Issue really only whetted my appetite for more!

CBN: Cullen, any projects current or in the future you wish to discuss? One, say, coming up with Dynamite? (wink wink)

Cullen Bunn: I’ll give you points for trying! But I really can’t say too much about what’s in store. The projects on the horizon with Dynamite definitely play to my horror, pulp and action sensibilities, though.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Cullen Bunn, even keeping his secrets, for taking time out of his busy convention schedule to talk with us. Thanks also to Nick Barrucci and Keith Davidsen who helped make this interview possible.