IGN Comics: Anyone who has read your work knows that you have a penchant for villains, or at least anti-heroes or heroes with checkered pasts – Wolverine, Deadpool, Magneto, and even Drake Sinclair from your Sixth Gun series – so you writing Sinestro feels like a great fit. What makes Sinestro different from the other “bad guys” you’ve written before?
Cullen Bunn: I definitely have a preference for writing anti-heroes and bad guys, especially when they have motivations that the average “good” person can understand and get behind. Snake Plisken, Vick Mackey, Boyd Crowder, Walter White, Parker… these are characters I love (or love to hate), and they tend to be the types of characters I want to write. These folks do “bad things” but we can almost understand their reasons (if not their methods). I think there’s a kind of joy in dancing between wanting to see one of these villains succeed… and wanting to see them finally get their comeuppance.
My hope is that each of the villains I write will have his or her own motivation that readers can understand, whether they agree or disagree. In every case, I think there is a kind of personal tragedy behind these characters.
What makes Sinestro stand out is that he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. He legitimately believes that “his way” is the “only way” to save the universe. His pride has cost him everything, really, but he fails to see that. That’s what makes him so tragic.
IGN: How did you come to be on Sinestro's new series? Were you a fan of Green Lantern before or is this new territory for you?
Bunn: When editor Matt Idleson asked me if I’d like to write the series, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I always liked Green Lantern, but I wasn’t necessarily a diehard fan. I read stories here and there when I came across them. I did, however, follow Johns’ run on the character pretty closely, and I especially liked the “Sinestro Corps War” storyline. As mentioned, I like writing villainous characters, but I’ve also always wanted to write an epic space opera type story. So this was a natural fit for me.
IGN: Fans have been clamoring for a Yellow Lanterns/Sinestro Corps series for years. What was the thinking behind the decision to make this comic about Sinestro himself, not necessarily his Corps?
Bunn: Well, the Sinestro Corps will feature prominently in the book, but I believe that in this case, with a group of characters that is so vast, it’s important to have that one constant point-of-view character. While there will be many Yellow Lanterns at play in this book, we’ll be seeing the story through the eyes of Sinestro and a few key Lanterns. Another reason it’s important to see much of this story through Sinestro’s eyes is because we need to understand why he’s taking these drastic actions. Sinestro is a treacherous character, and he’s running a number of dangerous games, but I want the reader to have a pretty good idea of what he’s up to.
IGN: Could you clarify the time frame that this story takes place? It seems as though it’s post-Forever Evil because he no longer has Parallax.
Bunn: This story definitely takes place post-Forever Evil. A few months perhaps. As for Parallax, we’ll hint at what happened there, but you’ll have to wait until issue 5 or so to find out the whole story.
IGN: We see a quick glimpse of these awesome necro-priests that you call the Shepherds of a religion of Anti-Emotion. First of all, just seeing that page gave me chills, they’re pretty awesome, in a creepy way. Will they be the antagonists of the series?
Bunn: Ah, yes! The Paling! They are an extremely creepy bunch. When you’re dealing with bad guys like Sinestro and the Yellow Lanterns, you have to introduce foes who are much, much worse. The Paling will fit that bill, and they will be a constant thorn in Sinestro’s side for some time to come.
IGN: What were the conversations like that you had with artist Dale Eaglesham about how you wanted the book to look and feel?
Bunn: Dale and I always seemed to be naturally drawn to the same kind of tone for the story. We talked a little about it early on, and it was really exciting how we were on the same page from the get-go. I can’t remember which of us first spoke the word “Arthurian” in relation to this story. I think it was Dale. But that is a tone I’d always had in mind… sort of an Excalibur in space.
IGN: Anything you’d like to say to someone interested in picking up this title to get them excited?
Bunn: I think if you’re a fan of Sinestro… or of space epics… or of cosmic horror… or of the political intrigue… this book will have something for you. It’s a dark book, yes, but we’re also further developing Sinestro’s rich character and introducing a number of new Lanterns I think people will like. There’s plenty of interpersonal dynamics among this new iteration of the Sinestro Corps. Hell, there’s even some romance! And there are plenty of surprises in store for long-time Lantern fans and new readers alike!