EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Cully Hamner Co-Creator of RED
Cully Hamner is a comic book artist and writer. He co-created RED with Warren Ellis, and had a substantial role in redesigning the DC characters for the "New 52."
Cully, what are you most well known for?
Probably at this point I'd say RED. Which is a comic I did with Warren Ellis back in 2003, 2004, and it was recently made into a film with Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and Helen Mirren. And it did really well.
Now you've seen the movie. Are you happy with it? Are there any elements that were left out that you really wish were in it? Or, anything that was added that was new, that you didn't think needed to be included?
I was very happy with it. Obviously it's very different than the book that we did, the tone of it is different. The story is greatly expanded in scope and that sort of thing. The first fifteen minutes or so, are very similar to our book. And, I'm happy with it. I thought it was a great movie. A lot of fun!
I know they are making a sequel. Do you know anything about it?
Ummm, I don't know anything directly, but from a few people that I can get into contact with, I think their looking to start in January to shoot, the later part of the month. I know it's mostly the same cast. I've read a script. I'm not a liberty to discuss the script, obviously.
You are also involved with Jim Lee on the new 52. As for the new 52, have you gotten a negative reaction, a positive reaction, or not anything?
The reaction that I've gotten has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact a lot of people have been, like, 'I didn't think I would like it, but in context it really kind of works.' The worst reaction that I've gotten from anyone, which has been kind of rare, a kind of middling reaction. Most of the people that I've spoken to have been really high on the thing. Especially since the books have been good. The books have come out and people have seen what were doing, and the fact that there selling really well, people are excited.
And I've had a former Marvel editor and chief come up to me and he said, 'You know this "New 52" thing just may have saved comics.' And I'm like wow! That's a pretty cool thing to say.
From my perspective I think a little bit of controversy is a good thing. What specifically, that you worked on the "New 52" that you're most proud of? And no wishy washy answer, I want something that you really liked specifically.
Specifically? It's hard to like, nail it down to one specific thing, because I was involved in the entire redesign of all the characters. As far as the ones I designed, I liked Apollo a lot. Actually several of the Stormwatch characters I liked a lot. From some of the stuff that I weighed in on, that I didn't actually necessarily design from the ground up. I thought Jim Lee's Green Arrow was really cool.
I think the Superman outfit, people need to give it a second look. I think people immediately looked at it, and you know, saw that it was a little different. And ran screaming from the room without really giving it a shot. I think it works! I think it's a cool outfit, and it works for Superman.
As for the "New 52" I'm proud they asked me to be involved in it. It showed a lot of trust and respect in me. And I was happy to be apart of it. Like you said the pot needs to be stirred every now and then. Obviously comic book fans are not known for embracing change, but in this case we were hemorrhaging readers every month, and something had to be done. At least in the short term its been a huge success.
Whats new? What do you have coming out in the pipeline?
I'm doing the first arc of a series, called The Shade. With a writer, named James Robinson, who wrote Starman and a lot of other great comics. And he is bringing his character from Starman back that is called The Shade. And I'm doing the first arc of that. The first issue came out recently, and seems to have gone over pretty well. I've got one more issue to go on that and then I'll be finished in mid November. And then I'll spend the rest of the year doing what is called the style guide. For all the DC characters. I have to do, what we call a turn around of the character, front and back. So, all the other artists who work on the books can refer to it as for the definitive look of the costumes are.
What's the tone of The Shade? What type of fans of other comic books and television shows would like it?
I tell yah, in a lot of ways he is like The Shadow. He is kind of like that dark, that kind of anti-hero in a way. But, he also has a lot of charm. He also has these shadow powers, and he's immortal. He's a really cool character, I think people will really like it.
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