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Exploring Voodoo Lore – Talking Punk Mambo with Cullen Bunn

Interview conducted by James Ferguson

Punk Mambo is starring in her first solo series from Valiant Entertainment. The first issue, available now, starts with a bang and delivers some pretty creative kills and even more creative monsters. The series is written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Adam Gorham, colored by Jose Villarrubia, and lettered by Dave Sharpe. I had a chance to speak with Bunn about the project. With all the horror comics he's involved in, it's always a fun chat.

James Ferguson: Where do we find Punk Mambo, physically and mentally, as this new series starts?

Cullen Bunn: Punk Mambo really just wants to be left alone. But, although she would never tell anyone, she has too much of a sense of duty to the world around her to just ignore supernatural dangers. So, she is being as reclusive as she can while still dealing with the things that go bump in the night. She has a loa that is grudgingly bound into her service. The powerful spirit makes life much easier for Punk Mambo. When the loa is kidnapped, though, it’s the magical equivalent of knocking a chip off Punk’s shoulder. It pisses her off, and she wants to find the culprit. She sets out to track the kidnapper down, and that leads her away from her home in New Orleans and straight to Haiti. 

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JF: The creatures in Punk Mambo are varied and terrifying. How did you select these monsters and how did artist Adam Gorham's designs come about?

CB: I did a lot of research into the folklore of New Orleans, which is where the Grunch came from, as well as the spirits and monsters of Voodoo lore, which gave birth to a wide variety of horrors, not the least of which is Uncle Gunnysack. As I wrote about those creatures, I tried to give Adam just enough description to sink his teeth into, keeping in mind that I wanted to create a specific look and feel for Punk Mambo’s world. From there, Adam just went crazy. There was not a lot of back and forth on the designs. Adam just rocks like that. I’m sure he toys with many different possibilities, but the version he settles on is almost always what we go with. 

JF: Punk Mambo has a pretty...interesting way of creating weapons. Where does an idea like that come from?

CB: Haha! I’m not even sure where that came from! I wanted to make sure that every aspect of Punk Mambo’s magic felt true to her attitude and mannerisms. Magic, after all, is a very personal thing. In Punk Mambo’s rough-and-tumble world, a fight is nasty business, so creating weapons needed to be an equally nasty affair. 

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JF: Punk Mambo is getting into the supernatural gun-for-hire business.  How would she interact with other characters in that field like John Constantine?

CB: I’m pretty sure Punk Mambo and John Constantine would drive each other to madness... or they would be the best of friends... or both! Also, I think the supernatural world would turn against the two of them very quickly. Magical forces likely wouldn’t care for so much recklessness coming together in one place. 

JF: What else do readers have to look forward to in Punk Mambo's first solo series?

CB: We’re just getting started! There are some big surprises ahead! When we reveal who is really behind the trouble Punk Mambo is facing, we’ll be introducing a new villain into the Valiant Universe. This villain has a very special gift which will make him quite dangerous to someone like Punk Mambo. I anticipate that he will be causing trouble for Valiant heroes for some time to come... if Punk Mambo doesn’t kill him. 

Punk Mambo #1 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through the links below. Horror DNA would like to thank Cullen Bunn for taking the time to speak with us today.

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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