Classic Ben Dunn Interview - Concerning IMAGE/SENTAI STUDIO's The Agents
Rasmussen - The last time we interviewed it was when MARVEL COMICS gave you and Mr. Gunstone the cold shoulder with their MANGAVERSE by shutting down the title you both were working on. What have you been up to since then?
Mr. Dunn - Well, I've created a new comic company called SENTAI STUDIOS that will focus on creator owned and well as company owned material. I've also been working closely with Kevin on THE AGENTS as well as doing covers and HOW TO DRAW sections for Beckett Publishing.
Rasmussen - On the creation of SENTAI STUDIOS, would you say it was easier to assemble a company now (or back when ANTARCTIC was "born")? Also, can you tell us the line-up of talent you have set at SENTAI STUDIOS yet?
Mr. Dunn - I personally think it was a lot easier back then. So much has changed since I first started and it's almost like trying to learn to walk again. I had so many people do different things for me that I had forgotten how to do most of them. As of right now the only talent I have lined up is Steve Gallacci and myself. Though I am in contact with several people who might be joining us.
Rasmussen - On the work your doing for Beckett Publishing, can you describe in a little more detail the kind of work your doing for them and where someone can pick it up if they're interested in doing so?
Mr. Dunn - I am doing mostly "HOW TO DRAW" stuff and an occassional cover. Most of it is for the POKEMON, YUGIOH and DRAGONBALL Z. You can buy most of their stuff on newstands.
Rasmussen - How did you go about looking for a place to publish THE AGENTS? What was the search like before you both finally settled down with IMAGE?
Mr. Dunn - I've always wanted to work for IMAGE. I have great respect for Jim and I think they are publishing some great material. I felt that I would be in good comapny with THE AGENTS.
Rasmussen - How was THE AGENTS created? What inspired the title's creation in the first place?
Mr. Dunn - I have always wanted to do this series for a long time. I was winding down on NINJA HIGH SCHOOL and MANGAVERSE so I pulled an idea I had wanted to do five years ago. Being fan of James Bond ,the Gerry Anderson Universe (THUNDERBIRDS, STINGRAY, etc) and spy movies it was not difficult to choose this as my next project. Plus when I read Kevin's script based on my plot and characters I was simply blown away.
Rasmussen - Speaking of the THUNDERBIRDS, are you aware that a movie is in production? (Directed by STAR TREK-TNG alumni Jonathan Frakes?) What are your thoughts on the movie? Also, if someone from the staff were to show up and ask to hire you to work on either the script or as a consultant would you be interested in that kind of project?
Mr. Dunn - I have heard of A THUNDEBIRDS movie being made. I think it will be great if done in the spirit of the original. If it is too dark then I think it will not do it for me. If someone were to come up to me and ask for my help, damn straight I would.
[image2]Rasmussen - How many issues is THE AGENTS slated for? And do you see any difficulties in keeping that issue count from changing, like what happened at MARVEL when they dropped an issue each off of the Captain Marvel/Doom storylines during the MANGAVERSE'S brief run as an ongoing title?
Mr. Dunn - It is scheduled for 6 issues. If it does well we already have second arc planned. I do not think we will have the trouble we had at MARVEL because we own the characters and can write it the way we please. IMAGE is very good at having a hands off policy.
Rasmussen - Of all the characters in THE AGENTS, which one would you have to say you liked working on the most (and why)?
Mr. Dunn - I guess I like Lady Pippa. She reminds me of Emma Peel , Lady Penelope and Barberella all in one.
Rasmussen - If you had to describe the elements of the series itself that set THE AGENTS apart as a series from other titles of it‘s genre, what would those elements be? What makes THE AGENTS unique?
Mr. Dunn - It combines elements that I think make it more interesting. Like THUNDERBIRDS mixed with IN LIKE FLYNT. You would not see that happening but in THE AGENTS it does. When I was a kid I watched my very first TV crossover: BATMAN and THE GREEN HORNET. That effected me forever. What Kevin and I are striving for is a look that is both familiar and unique at the same time.
Rasmussen - If THE AGENTS makes an impact on readers and they demand more, would you like to do more of the title? Also, do you have any predictions on how it'll fare when it releases in April?
Mr. Dunn - I am willing to do more because it is a lot of fun to do. If readers demand more of course I will oblige. As long as there is interest I will keep doing it. As far as how it will fare. Tough call. I hope it does well. I don't like to predict since I think it'll jinx it.
Rasmussen - Remembering back abit, should we expect any little in-jokes referring to other series' of yours (ala the MANGAVERSE), or maybe even a cameo appearance from another series of yours?
Mr. Dunn - Well of course. That's half the fun.
Rasmussen - Has Image shown any interest in other projects of yours (or of both yourself and Mr. Gunstone) that you can tell us about?
Mr. Dunn - All our attention is turned toward THE AGENTS. My goal is to create a universe as interesting as the NINJA HIGH SCHOOL universe was for me. It is important to me that it is playgorund that I will enjoy.
Rasmussen - When you talk about NINJA HIGH SCHOOL, you said "was" in terms of it being "interesting". Does that mean your no longer interested in doing NINJA HIGH SCHOOL? And if that is the case, have you put any thought of someone perhaps "inheriting" the writing/artistic chores of that title and maybe carry it on while you work on other things?
Mr. Dunn - Currently NHS is being well handled by Robby Bevard and Katy Baird. For the time being I have no more stories to tell with NHS. That does not mean I have given up on it. I just want to take a break from it. This has happened before in the past and I have returned. Just call it wunderlust. For me, I need to try something new now and again. No doubt in the future I will be doing NHS again.
Rasmussen - What about your other creator owned titles? Do you think you'd ever be interested in approaching IMAGE about bringing your titles from ANTARCTIC and so forth and publish them at IMAGE?
Mr. Dunn - Not at the present. All my AP titles will stay where they are for now.
Rasmussen - How would you describe your departure from MARVEL COMICS when they discontinued the MANGAVERSE ongoing? Would you say it was in a bad or good light that you left? Also, in light of that departure, would you ever consider any offers MARVEL might make to try and bring you back if they so desired, or do you see that as a door you'd rather not walk through again if you had a choice?
Mr. Dunn - I have no ill will toward MARVEL. What they did was based purely on financial reasons (I think). They probabaly acted no differently than I would. I would have liked a longer period to explore but there your go. I would not be opposed to working for MARVEL again. I don't really hold grudges.
Rasmussen - How have your fanbase reacted so far to your removal some months ago from MARVEL COMICS' MANGAVERSE? Would you say that there's been any backlash at MARVEL because of it?
Mr. Dunn - I haven't heard nary a complaint. If anything there were a lot of people who really dis-liked my work on MANGAVERSE. I mean I did a little 5th week event that got a 6 issue run. I wasn't supposed to anything beyond that. I was really lucky it sold well at first to get an additional run. I appreciate that they let me do a series and hope that will let me do one in the future.
Rasmussen - Now that MARVEL's first original manga/anime inspired title (EDEN‘S TRAIL) has passed the halfway point, do you have any opinions about how it's going and whether it might signal a stronger and more abundant presence of Manga style titles at MARVEL, or was it a whim that they might not do again?
Mr. Dunn - I have not read EDEN'S TRAIL but I hope it did well for them. Anytime I see the manga influence creep in I get a little smile. I hope they continue to allow manga artists an opportunity to break in the industry.
Rasmussen - How is working at IMAGE? Would you say it's a different experience than, say, working over at MARVEL COMICS? How different is it than MARVEL workwise?
Mr. Dunn - The biggest difference is getting clearance on your story and use of the characters. MARVEL is very much hands on from the get go. They had extrordinary veto power on us but to their credit I think they were only looking out for what they thought would sell. IMAGE has pretty much a hands off approach.
Rasmussen - If you had to compare your Editor at IMAGE to that at MARVEL, who would you say you like better and why?
Mr. Dunn - Well, each editor has his own style and priorities. Depending on the company you work with depends on what they think is important. I can't compare them really, but I do enjoy being able to do what I want.
Rasmussen - What do you think of IMAGE's titles, and is there any titles in the IMAGE line-up that you wouldn't mind either guest writing or drawing (if offered by IMAGE)?
Mr. Dunn - Hmmm. That's a tough one. Since almost all of the titles are creator owned it would be presumptous of me to want to do any of them. But I guess if I had to choose a couple I would like to do SHADOWHAWK and GI JOE.
[image3]Rasmussen - In light of the recent creator "exodus" from IMAGE (including "TEAM RED STAR" and Mr. Christian Gossett (THE RED STAR)) from IMAGE, what is it about IMAGE COMICS that you find makes them a good place to work as a comic creator. Alternatively, in your opinion, why do you think creators from IMAGE and other companies are being lured to groups like CROSSGEN and would you consider making such a move if it was offered to you?
Mr. Dunn - I don't know why they would leave IMAGE. Could be any number of reasons I guess. I assume most have to do with money or control (or both). I don't think I would be interested in CROSSGEN since none of their books really attract me. Their CODE RED imprint might hold some promise. I chose IMAGE only because I respect the company and I want to see if it will be a good working enviroment ( and to see if sales are good).
Rasmussen - Speaking of CROSSGEN, I notice from previews I've seen on CWN that it seems (from what I've seen so far) every other issue or so of THE PATH (CROSSGEN) has some form of shameless "cameo" by Lone Wolf & Cub. They pop in, pop out, walk past the characters, and that's just terrible.
Mr. Dunn - Well, I should talk. I put cameos in my work all the time. It's all in good fun I think.
Rasmussen - Uh. Not like this. They're scary. First, what is your opinion of their "use" of Lone Wolf & Cub in that way. Second, if CROSSGEN created a title in the near future, and then "cameoed" your creations in their book, what would your reaction be?
Mr. Dunn - I'll get a big kick out of it frankly. As long as they don't go overboard I am a big believer in fair use. What I find shameful is Congress re-writing the copyright laws for the big wigs so they can squeeze that much more out of Steamboat Willy.
Rasmussen - Can you tell us in more detail what it was about Congress' re-writing of copyright laws (in Disney's favor) which you disagree with? Why do you think Congress did what they did? Was it for all the right or wrong reasons?Also how do you see this rewrite of copyright laws possibly hurting the "little guy" out there?
Mr. Dunn - Well basically they extended the copyright for works before the 1930s (I think) so now those who would like to make use of those works cannot without paying for it. It's all about the money I understand but there has to be limit otherwise nobody will be able to use anything.
Rasmussen - With some of IMAGE's creators lining up movie deals (like Brian Michael Bendis' POWERS for example) if someone approached you from Hollywood with an offer to turn one of your properties into a movie, would you be interested? And, in your opinion, which of your properties would you consider most likely as movie script material?
Mr. Dunn - I would be lying if I said I wasn't interested. Of course, I would be because of of the financial reward and the exposure. As far as choice of material I would love to see WARRIOR NUN AREALA as a Matrix-y type of film.
Rasmussen - Same question, but different venue. If, instead, someone from Japan came with an offer to turn one of your properties into an Anime series with a movie possibility, would that interest you? And would the properties you listed above as most likely for a movie script change? (Would Japanese studio execs be interested in completely different titles for development than Hollywood studio execs?)
Mr. Dunn - I suppose it would change as the more people you involve in any project (unless you put up your own money) the more they want to put their imprint on it. However, I am willing to make changes provided they seem reasonable or appropriate. I think an anime would be cool.
Rasmussen - Would you ever consider getting the rights to a Japanese series similar to what Adam Warren did so he could write The Dirty Pair? And, if so, what Japanese series would you have your eye on?
Mr. Dunn - Geez, I don't know. I've done so many but nothing really attracts me now. I guess if I had to choose I would pick Urusei Yatsura.
Rasmussen - Any parting words for the readers?
Mr. Dunn - I want to thank all those who have supported my endeavors over the years. Keep reading comics!
Other Anime & Manga articles
This is a new anime series yet to be licensed, therefore currently not available in English. However, this series has really interested me from the very start. Whether it's because I actually take int...
Currently Playing by Yung Burnout
am I supposed to be serious here.... by Miketoms
HDMI cable by crihstyma
Satoshi Kon 1963 - 2010 by nikejersey0
Teams Of Pandora Charms by pandora2013