A Passage in Black: The Graphic Novel

Azzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs a kid, I often went fishing at the creek with my old man. He had a nice fishing boat, lots of expensive rods and reels, and he often took the family out on ocean fishing excursions. But he still liked taking old fashioned cane poles out to the creek to fish for catfish. I went with him frequently. (One of his favorite fishing spots was near a country club, and we often squeezed through a break in the fence and snuck across the golf course to get there.) For some reason, I always took a big stack of horror comics with me to read on the muddy bank. House of Mystery, Ghosts, House of Secrets, Creepy, Eerie, Haunted Library, you name it. I never brought superhero books. Only horror tales seemed right while sitting in the eerie, early morning light. I loved those anthologies so much. They absolutely played a big role in the writer I would become.

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve written many short horror stories. Many of those stories were collected in the book A PASSAGE IN BLACK from Omaha Bound. That
book, if you haven’t read it yet, has some of my earliest work in it, but I wanted to showcase everything so readers could see who I am and where I came from.

And now—right here!—I’m announcing that my love of horror comic anthologies and my love of horror short fiction is coming together like peanut butter and jelly! In just a couple
of weeks, I will be launching a Kickstarter for CULLEN BUNN PRESENTS: A PASSAGE IN BLACK! This book will feature comic book adaptations of some of my short horror stories from the prose collection. I have brought together an amazing group of writers and artists to bring these stories to life. Just check out the list!

Cindy Bunn and Baldemar Rivas – “Why Sing the Sirens”

Kevin Watkins and Adam McLaughlin – “School for the Dead”

Anton Kromoff and Bob Freeman – “Dance, Dance, Upon the Night of the Ball”

Heath Amodio and Daniele Sera – “Last Night of the Fair”

Josh Roberts and David Moscati – “Feast of Crows”

JimmyZ Johnston and Isaac Crawford – “Piasa Dreams”

Jeff Lawler and Fran Strukan – “Still Waters”

AE Steuve and Arjuna Susini – “For Her Love”

Sonica Ellis and Rowan MacColl – “Someday Dolls”

Tim Mayer – “A Passage in Black”

And yours truly working with Marcos Marz on something new!

With special appearances by Blacky Shepherd!

A logo designed by the Kucharek Brothers!

And a cover by Kyle Strahm!

Omaha Bound is once again helping with the design and printing of the project, so I’m confident it is going to be a fantastic book!

I want this book to represent amazing talent that readers might not be familiar with, and I think these folks have accomplished something amazing. They took these prose stories and ran with them. They made them their own and did something special with them.

And here’s some more exciting news. Assuming the Kickstarter, which launches around the first of October, is successful, I plan on making this an annual project. The next volume, though, will feature all new stories by the various collaborators (and myself). This will be a way for me to contribute to the legacy of horror anthology comics in my own way. CULLEN BUNN PRESENTS A PASSAGE IN BLACK is my Creepy, my Eerie.

I really think we’re on the verge of something exciting here. All the stories are written. All the art should be complete by the end of September. I hope you will all join me on this journey! Stay tuned for the official launch-day announcement!

Posted by cullenbunn on September 15, 2018  /   Posted in Comics, Feature

WITCH HAMMER from Aftershock Comics!

Today’s big announcement! From the official press release–

AfterShock Comics has announced Witch Hammer, a new original graphic novel from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajic, the first in a new line of OGNs from the publisher.

Witch Hammer tells the story of two agents drawn into a murder mystery when someone starts killing witches. It will consist of 64 pages.

Witch Hammer is a different kind of horror story,” said Bunn. “In this original graphic album, we are thrown headlong into a dark and bloody mystery. Someone is hunting people down, murdering them in cold blood. The connection between the victims–they are all practitioners of witchcraft.  The killer is a terrifying figure–armed to the teeth and wearing a ghastly goat mask–and he is made all the more frightening and more dangerous by one simple fact. He believes in what he is doing. Emboldened by the awful power of conviction, he is on a one-man crusade. He is pursued by a group of federal investigators hellbent on stopping his killing spree. These investigators, though, are faced with a dreadful conundrum of their own. What if the victims actually are in league with demonic forces?”

“This is a bloody, violent, frightening thriller, and I can’t wait to hear what readers think about it,” he continued. “On the surface, the story is fairly straightforward–a murderer is at work and must be stopped–but I think this book will challenge readers. Who are the heroes? The villains? The victims? The answers will change as the story progresses.”

Here’s the full solicitation for the OGN, available November 28:

$19.99 / 64 pages / Color / on sale 11.28.18
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Dalibor Talajic
Colorist: Seb Camagajevac
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Cover: Dalibor Talajic
Witch. The word conjures images of hags in black robes and crooked hats, standing over cauldrons of bubbling brew. But witches are among us, and we do not realize it. They are our friends and neighbors. They are our family members. They are our idols.
And someone is murdering them.
Agents Frontenac and Guinness are on the killer’s trail. But as they delve deeper into the hidden, magical world around them, they are haunted by a terrifying question. Is the killer doing the right thing?
Presenting the first in a unique collection of compelling stories crafted by master storytellers and told in the way they were meant to be told.

Posted by cullenbunn on August 16, 2018  /   Posted in Comics, Feature

Lost Highways – “Outrunning the End”

I am thrilled to announce that my weird (and I mean WEIRD!) horror tale “Outrunning the End” will be appearing in the pages of LOST HIGHWAYS: DARK FICTIONS FROM THE ROAD.

The book features some amazing talent, and I am proud to be in their company. The collection features–you guessed it!–stories of terror from the road.

For up-to-date details on the project, follow the LOST HIGHWAYS Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/LostHighwaysBook/?fref=mentions


Posted by cullenbunn on June 06, 2018  /   Posted in Feature, Fiction

Gone Fishin’ – A Mrs. Friedly Halloween Story

Here’s another old story about the delightful Mrs. Friedly!

If you like these stories, now would be a great time to order my new collection of horror tales, A PASSAGE IN BLACK AND OTHER STORIES. Everybody loves spooky stories on Halloween!


“Another year,” Mrs. Friedly piped, “another Halloween Festival!”

The Elk Ridge Community Center was decorated with paper jack o’lanterns, dancing skeletons, and dozens of orange and black streamers. Children in costume—goblins and witches, vampires and ghouls, princesses and ninjas—scurried around the large chamber, and their laughter and squeals formed a constant din.

Mrs. Friedly clucked her tongue as she watched the children. Maybe she was old-fashioned, but some of the costumes just didn’t seem very… Halloweeny… to her. Ghouls and ghosts and monsters—those were fine. But the princesses and cowboys and monkeys just didn’t seem to fit the spirit of the occasion. Halloween, as the elderly woman saw it, was supposed to be a spooky night.

What on earth, she thought, is a ninja anyway?

The festivities were in full swing. Music swelled as a group of older children (and more than a few parents) took part in a cake walk. Screams and giggles rose from the make-shift haunted house the local Industrial Arts club was putting on behind the curtain on the auditorium stage. Groups of kids were playing Pass the Pumpkin and Candy Corn Catch. All around the perimeter of the massive chamber were small booths featuring all sorts of attractions and games. Fortune tellers, face painting, apple bobbing—there was something for everyone. There was even a kissing booth, sponsored by the Elk Ridge High School cheerleaders, and the line of teenage boys waiting for a smooch was impressive.

A pudgy little boy approached Mrs. Friedly’s booth.

“What’s this all about?” he asked.

Mrs. Friedly looked the boy over in disappointment. His only attempt to get into the spirit of Halloween was to wear a t-shirt that read, “This IS my costume!” Still, she forced a sweet smile.

“This is the fish pond.” She motioned to the curtain wall behind her. The curtain was decorated with dozens of swimming fish, many with sharp, fearsome-looking teeth. “You cast a line over the curtain and fish for a prize.”

“What kind of prize?”

Mrs. Friedly eyed the boys round belly and smiled. “Usually something good to eat!”

“I’ll give it a try,” the boy said.

Mrs. Friedly giggled happily. “Oh, goody!”

The boy looked around the booth. His brow furrowed. “Where are the fishing poles?”

Just then, he noticed something large moving behind the curtain. It was the shape and size of a gorilla, but the head was misshapen and covered in what might have been wriggling snakes. The grotesque figure made awful grunting sounds as it approached.

“W-what’s that?” the boy asked.

He had his answer soon enough. The shadowy figure moved behind the curtain. A fishing line dropped down next to Mrs. Friedly. At the end of the line was a large, rusty hook. Mrs. Friedly grabbed the hook. Without a second’s hesitation, she flicked her wrist and drove the hook through the flesh of the boy’s mouth.

The boy screeched and trembled, pulled at the hook and flailed.

Mrs. Friedly looked around. No one else seemed to notice.

The elderly woman gave the fishing line two quick tugs. The line was quickly retracted, and the little boy was hoisted up. He vanished over the top of the curtain. The last Mrs. Friedly saw of him was his kicking legs flopping over the edge.

Mrs. Friedly smiled and hummed to herself as she waited for her next customer. Within a few minutes, she saw a princess walking her way, and she felt a little rush of Halloween excitement.


Posted by cullenbunn on October 16, 2017  /   Posted in Feature, Fiction
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