Cullen Bunn dives into the surreal world of Parasomnia: The Dreaming God

Prolific author Cullen Bunn is preparing for a busy summer. Between his work on the next Valiant Comics movie book of shadows and his Godzilla vs. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series with IDW and BOOM! Studios, fans will have plenty of opportunities to read his comics in the months to come. In addition to all this, Bunn finds the artist Andrea Mutti to revisit the universe of their series Parasomnia. The four-issue mini-series Parasomnia: The Dreaming God, is set to be published by Dark Horse Comics on Wednesday, August 17.

Parasomnia: the dreaming god will continue to follow the unnamed hero from the first series as he explores a surreal dreamscape in search of his missing son. The fantasy world of the first series has been replaced with a cyberpunk dystopia, where a malware company called Damocles Worldwide seeks to take over. CBR recently spoke with Bunn about his experience revisiting the series, working with Mutti, and his appreciation of cyberpunk as a genre.

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CBR: Your approach to the world of Parasomnia changed heading in the new series?

Cullen Bunn: For sure! In many ways, everything about the series changes. Half of the first series took place in the dream realm, after all. If there’s one thing we know about dreams, [it is that] they are constantly changing. One second, you find yourself in a 17th century forest, [and] the next day, you’re in a dystopian cyberpunk future. From this series, we really explore the changing nature of dreams. But we don’t stop there. We also explore the changing nature of waking reality.

What made you want to start a new series to follow Parasomniarather than continuing digitally?

Parasomnia has always been designed as a series of limited series. I think it works well considering how the stories change from arc to arc. It’s a continuous tale, but we put a very fine point on the idea that they are very different types of stories.

What made you want to change the aesthetic and tone of the dream world?

That was always the idea. I have a list of settings and genres that I want to explore under the Parasomnia banner. As you’ll see in this series, the story gets weirder and weirder, not just from series to series, but from issue to issue, and sometimes from panel to panel. It’s a story about despair, hope, and the endless possibilities that surround these two states of being. We don’t hold back from making things happen. When this series ends, readers will know that the stories to come will be even crazier.

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How did you and Andrea Mutti go about designing this new aspect of the story?

I knew Andrea would be up to the challenge of just about anything I threw at her. We talked a bit about the new direction, and he sent me some big requests in terms of things that might appear in the book. I made sure to incorporate these ideas. At the same time, I wanted him to be surprised and excited by what was coming his way.

How has seeing his works influenced your writing?

From the moment we started working together, I couldn’t help but keep his style in mind on every page I wrote. I can’t name a specific story element, but I know it was all influenced by his unique view of the world, dreams, and characters.

Were there any particular cyberpunk stories that you drew inspiration from?

All? I don’t know if one cyberpunk story played a bigger role than another. I wanted it to feel like a new cyberpunk universe, something with its own story and style. I certainly drew inspiration from all the other books and comics I’ve read, all the movies I’ve watched, and all the paper and pen and video games I’ve played. I took that collective inspiration and tried to make something new out of it.

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How did your own dreams influence your work on the show?

Not so many events in specific dreams as the way my dreams feel, the way they shift and change, the way nothing is constant, and the way that when I wake up I’m sometimes unsure of what really happened and everything that was in my subconscious. This last piece plays a big role in this book.

What can you tell fans about Damocles Worldwide?

Damocles Worldwide is a mega-corporation and an antagonist of this series. They want our heroes to get a piece of software for them — a piece of flesh. This software has a personality and desires of its own. He is also almost omnipotent. Damocles would do anything to get his hands on this software, and if our heroes – No-Name, Kahnawake, and a new hero joining the mix – don’t cooperate, they will find themselves targets.

Can readers expect to see more cult mystery in this arc?

Oh yes. Fenny and her followers are the driving force behind this story. In this series, we will learn a little more about their obsession with dreams. In the first series, we saw them strike in the real world. In this series, they take a more active role in the dreams themselves.

Parasomnia: The Dreaming God #1 is due out from Dark Horse Comics on Wednesday, August 17.

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