Nightmare Fuel, Issue 213

Nightmare Fuel, Issue 213


As mentioned in previous newsletters, my decision to move Nightmare Fuel away from Substack changed my plans for the Outer Shadows newsletter. I decided that, instead of two newsletters, I'd just roll the Outer Shadows updates into this publication. Today's newsletter, then, is very Outer Shadows focused. Which is good... because there is super exciting news is on the horizon! Buckle up!

First up... 

THE FARAWAY is a dark, DARK fantasy story. The set-up may sound familiar, but check your expectations at the door.

We know the story, right? While playing a fantasy role-playing game, a group of friends accidentally transports themselves into a fantasy world. Therein, they meet a friendly magical gnome who grants them magical weapons and guides them through their adventures. They face dark forces, but they rise into the roles of heroes and reaffirm the lifelong bonds of friendship in the process.


This isn’t that story.

Our heroes are transported into a magical kingdom of warriors and wizards and dragons and catacombs, yes. They meet a friendly magical gnome, yes. They are granted magical artifacts of great power, yes. But, within minutes of arriving in the fantasy world, this group of five college students finds themselves thrown into an adventure that is more horror than high fantasy.

Our heroes have arrived, you see, in the DARKEST if dark fantasy worlds, where the “evil overlord” has already successfully conquered the realm and enslaved all of the free peoples. It is a nightmare realm populated by the most awful monsters and the most cruel sorcerers and warlords.
Trapped in this violent, vicious, unforgiving, terrifying (and terrifyingly lethal) realm, our heroes struggle for survival as, at every turn, they are faced with malignant monsters, foul magic, and fiendish foes.

Written by yours truly and illustrated by high-energy artist Vitalii Kalchenko, THE FARAWAY takes the familiar tropes of “gamers trapped in a fantasy world” and turns them on their decapitated head.

 The Kickstarter for the project starts in:

It will be an abbreviated campaign, so your best bet to make sure you don't miss out is to follow the pre-launch page now! 

THE FARAWAY is part of a much bigger, much more exciting comic book initiative!

Last year, Outland Entertainment announced my horror imprint, Outer Shadows. Through Outer Shadows, three prose projects (SWORDS IN THE SHADOWS, RAZE, and CROOKED HILLS) have been published. While more terrifying prose projects are in the works, Outer Shadows will also be pushing into the comic book publishing arena with an aggressive, exciting, and horrifying initiative.

Several comics are currently in production for Outer Shadows, with a variety of styles and horror subgenres being tackled. In addition to THE FARAWAY, a new erotic horror thriller titled BUMPING UGLIES (illustrated by Ann Marie Cochran) will be serialized under the imprint. 

While these are series, Outer Shadows will also be releasing one-shot horror tales titled NIGHTMARE FUEL PRESENTS. These stories will be self-contained tales of pulse-pounding terror.

NIGHTMARE FUEL PRESENTS one-shots will include DEATH DUEL WITH THE CHAINSAW WITCHES (illustrated by Diogo Carvalho), LONG PIG AND AZRAEL (illustrated by Emmanuel Casallos), and THE WINDOW (illustrated by Luay Garwan).

The apocalyptic vampire epic NIGHTWALKERS (illustrated by Joe Bocardo), which was previously published in single issues, will join the line-up. It will be released in a collected edition and the series will be continuing through Outer Shadows.

And there's more. We have several other comics and graphic novels in the works. Terrifying giant monster stories? You bet! Stories about infernally-possessed knickknacks? Of course! There are so many stories in the works, and I’m excited to make Outer Shadows a home for horror and dark fantasy comics.”

Upcoming non-comics offerings from Outer Shadows include I’LL KILL YOU LAST, an anthology of horror tales inspired by 80s action movies; GOBLINVILLE, a dark fantasy novella series; and THE COMPLETE SHORT FICTION OF CULLEN BUNN, a three-volume collection of my prose short stories.

All in all, pretty exciting stuff. 

And, yes, this comic book initiative is part of the 2024 FIVE I’ve mentioned previously. 

Where, then, does the 2024 FIVE stand right now? We have:

  • BONES OF OUR STARS, BLOOD OF OUR WORLD, my horror novel.
  • The OUTER SHADOWS comic book initiative.
  • It’s a secret!
  • No peeking!
  • Shhhhhh!

The 2024 FIVE, if you aren’t aware, are five game-changing projects I’m undertaking this year.

More will be revealed soon!

There have been a few other cool announcements over the past few days, too!

The amazing EC Comics line is returning from the grave! Oni Press will be publishing all new comics in the infamous line of books. EPITAPHS FROM THE ABYSS and CRUEL UNIVERSE are among the first publications. As you are probably aware, EC Comics mean quite a bit to me, and I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be one of the creators bringing these stories to life!

Mad Cave has announced their formal plans for GATCHAMAN. I’ll be writing the main GATCHAMAN ongoing series. There will also be a number of one-shots and limited series that Tommy Lee Edwards and Steve Orlando will be writing. We’re telling stories IN the GATCHAMAN universe. These are in-continuity stories, but we have so much freedom and so much support in adding new elements to the world!

Cindy and I have recorded and released a new episode of THE BUNNGALOW. We’re still finding our groove and figuring out the platform and such, but we’re having a lot of fun with it. And it’s a nice way to just sit down and spend a little time together in these hectic times. 

The rest of my week was spent writing comics, doing lettering passes, editing a screenplay, putting some pitches together, recording podcasts, doing interviews, getting comics ready for Planet Comicon (which is under two weeks away), preparing my taxes (boo), going to my son’s musical performances, and…

…developing a role-playing system?

Out of the blue on day, with no preamble, I opened a Word document on my computer and started typing out an RPG rules system. I wanted something that was light on rules, easy to pick up and play, and focused on role-playing and fun. Something that I could post online or in a zone-like publication. It needs a little more work, but I think it is close.

Sometimes, wild hairs just sprout up when you’re not expecting them and, sometimes, it’s best just to chase them down when inspiration strikes. 

I am starting a new comic book series in the next few days. It’s been outlined, and I am excited to be working on it at long last. I’m also starting on a new project that’s really new for me, a kind of project I don’t write often. With my schedule, I probably shouldn’t have taken it on, but it was too cool to pass up!

Cindy and I did a lot of sorting of books this week. There are boxes of comics and graphic novels stacked up everywhere! After Planet, I think I’m going to do a big online sale in order to clear out some stock and, if I’m being completely forthright, to help us pay for our son’s violin camp this summer. He’s been accepted to a really exciting musical camp. It’s a great opportunity, but it is not cheap. It’s especially not cheap when money I’ve been expecting for months simply isn’t coming in the way it should. 

The studio has also become a landscape of stickers. Cindy is building her sticker empire. It’s something she’s excited and passionate about, something she is going to be sharing with others. She hasn’t figured out exactly how that will look, but she’s working on it! 

With all the running around we’ve been doing, it feels like we’ve just been go-go-go, and it might be starting to take a toll on my already frayed sanity. I’m hoping the next week is really productive AND really stress-free.

Stress free especially!

No spoons in the garbage disposal, so to speak. No wrenches in the monkey. No murder in the lemonade.

I finally started re-watching MOLDIVER this week… but only managed to watch two episodes. I like the show, but every time I watch it, I realize I’ve only ever watched one or two episodes. And it’s never really the show I remember. The tone is always different than I think it will be. This time, I hope to get to the third episode before I shelve the DVD for another year or two. 


Who are these characters? Well, they’re drawn by Joe Bocardo. That’s about all I can tell you right now, but you’ll meet them… and their siblings…a little later in the year. 

My pal Mr. Macabre contributed “Macabre Thoughts” to the Outer Shadows newsletter, and he has graciously agreed to continue to share these words of… wisdom?… with us in this new format. Here’s his first. He always surprises me. 

When I look out into your eyes out there,
When I look out into your faces,
You know what I see?
I see a little bit of Horror
In each and every one of you out there.
Lemme tell ya...
Horror is everywhere
Horror is everything
Horror is everybody
Horror is still the king
Man o man
What I want you to see
Is that the big H’s
Inside of you and me
Horror is everywhere, man!
It’s in everything.
It’s in everybody...
It’s in your jeans.
It’s in your cheeseburgers
It’s in Nutty Buddies!
It’s is in your mom!
It’s in Comics!
Especially comics!

Frankly some of the best horror to ever be created has been in the funny books! From EC, Charlton, Golden Key, DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, IDW, and now Outer Shadows! So get under the covers with a flashlight and gaze at those terrifying panels of nightmarish goodness! The Horror Renaissance is upon us!

Banner - things to come
Banner - events

All events are subject to change at a moment’s notice, but here is where I’ll be appearing in the next several months!I 

May 31 - June 2, 2024 - TREMENDICON, Springfield, Missouri

Banner - where to find me

PATREON - Here, I post a serialized novel, a serialized comic book, short stories, and other cool materials.

CULLEN'S AMAZON STORE - Listen! If you have a local comic shop or bookshop, PLEASE visit them and order your books from them. If you don't have a shop, though, or if you can't get my books from your local bookseller for some reason, this Amazon shop has tons of options. 

RAZE - A place for fans to hang out and talk about comics, books, movies, games, collecting, and whatever else strikes their fancy.

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