Cullen Bunn on what’s to come for Kid Kaiju, including Fin Fang Foom… times two!

With big monsters, comes big responsibility…for Kei Kawade, at least. When you can bring massive behemoths to life just by drawing them, people start to take notice. Kei, AKA Kid Kaiju, currently enjoys his own ongoing series-MONSTERS UNLEASHED, from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Andrea Broccardo-and soon, he gets to join the Marvel Legacy initiative too.

In MONSTERS UNLEASHED #7 (out this fall), Kei and his colossal compatriots find themselves in the Savage Land, the classic Marvel locale untouched by time and populated by unfriendly beasts. Talking to writer Cullen Bunn we learned that the first arc will focus on classic creatures like Fin Fang Foom while also setting up important new developments for the future of the Marvel Universe. Can you talk a little bit about how this issue will directly tie into the Marvel Legacy initiative? 

Cullen Bunn: MONSTERS UNLEASHED started off as a bit of a love letter to all the classic monsters in Marvel’s vast history. With the new series, we’ve been focused on our new monsters. In this arc, though, we’re putting the spotlight back on one of the classic monsters in a big way. In addition, this story focuses on the idea of a kid struggling with powers that are new and unusual and scary to him. That’s the kind of story that made me love Marvel when I was a kid. Going off that, what kind of throwbacks can we expect to Marvel’s legacy of monsters from the Kirby era and the like?

Cullen Bunn: We’re spotlighting one iconic monster–Fin Fang Foom–in this arc. He’s arguably the most popular of the classic Marvel beasts, and he’s definitely one of my favorites. Wait. Did I say we were spotlighting one monster? I meant two. But they are both Fin Fang Foom. What does that mean? It means that while we’re honoring the legacy of Marvel comics, we’re also looking toward some very important things coming in the future. What about the Savage Land makes it so well-suited for a MONSTERS UNLEASHED story? 

Cullen Bunn: Besides the fact that the Savage Land is one of Marvel’s most legendary locales, there is an important reason that this story takes place there. When we first arrive in the land of prehistoric beasts, it is because Kei has a big secret he wants to reveal, but for various reasons he wants to be far away from modern civilization. How will Kid Kaiju’s band of world-saving monsters get along with the ones we’ll meet in the Savage Land? 

Cullen Bunn: They will not get along at all. In terms of an antagonist, what kind of threat are we looking at here, both to this land untouched by time and the world at large? 

Cullen Bunn: The threat in this story is huge–and not just physically. This creature is a threat to Kei, a threat to the Savage Land, and–if Kei and Elsa Bloodstone don’t stop it–to the world as a whole. As I mentioned, as much as this story honors Marvel’s past, it also looks to the future. The villain in this issue is just part of something much, much bigger and more terrifying. How does Andrea Broccardo’s artwork on this correlate to the story you want to tell?

Cullen Bunn: Andrea draws some great monsters and dinosaurs! He also draws great action and adventure. Most importantly, though, Andrea never forgets to keep the artwork fun. We’re telling an important story, but MONSTERS UNLEASHED is still a book you’ll have a good time reading. Will this experience be enough to turn Kid Kaiju into Man Kaiju?

Cullen Bunn: This might be a harrowing enough experience to age Kid Kaiju. It’s definitely going to open his eyes to the enormity of his abilities a little more. But I think he’ll still be a kid when it’s all over–a kid with some big responsibilities.

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Cullen Bunn provides a character sketch for a key figure in the upcoming event!

Remember the joys of sitting down with a notebook and doodling for hours? Maybe you copied some of your favorite comic panels from memory or turned a teacher into super villain without many changes. Well, what if your drawings conjured the subjects to life and threatened the world? That’s the problem facing Kid Kaiju in the pages of MONSTERS UNLEASHED.

The character actually first appeared in the pages of TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #3 in which he seemingly brought Fin Fang Foom to Hawaii after drawing the giant green dragon. Now, catch a glimpse of Kid Kaiju’s new look thanks to Terry Dodson.

The upcoming event features the return of many Marvel mega-creatures created by geniuses like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. The five-issue series will ship bi-weekly starting January 18 and feature a story by Cullen Bunn with the artistic talents of Adam Kubert, Steve McNiven, Salvador Larroca, Leinil Yu, and Greg Land.

We caught up with Bunn to discuss some of the finer points of this new character, the card designed by Dodson, and how all of this plays into Monsters Unleashed. What can you tell us about Kid Kaiju’s abilities and how they play into Monsters Unleashed?

Cullen Bunn: Kid Kaiju—or Kei Kawade, if you prefer—is something an enigma in Monsters Unleashed. He has a unique and potentially very dangerous ability. He is a talented artist who happens to be obsessed with monsters. So far so good. Nothing out of the ordinary there. The trick is that any monster he draws manifests physically. He draws Fin Fang Foom, for example, and Fin Fang Foom is summoned from the depths of space. Kei has no control over these monsters. Once they get here, they are free to do as they please. As you can guess, that could lead to some fairly sizable problems for the world as a whole.

Once Kei’s abilities are discovered, the heroes of the Marvel Universe scramble to better understand these fantastic [powers]. What are the limits? Can Kei summon heroes as easily as he summons monsters? Can he banish monsters as easily as he summons them? What happens if he draws Fin Fang Foom as a dead creature? A new power set has now appeared, and figuring out its intricacies will be a key to solving the crisis the world is facing.

But Kid Kaiju’s powers have deeper roots than anyone could possibly imagine. He’s only 11 years old, but he has a connection to an interstellar force of destruction that has destroyed countless planets.

Kid Kaiju by Terry Dodson

Kid Kaiju by Terry Dodson Even though Kei’s abilities sound like the stuff of childhood daydreams, it also seems like a lot for a kid to handle. How does he stand up to that pressure?

Cullen Bunn: Kei is just now coming to understand that this is how his artistic ability impacts the world. His abilities both terrify and excite him. That can be a dangerous combination. He doesn’t quite grasp just how much influence he has on the world. It seems at first that it’s all fun and games. As he comes to terms with just how much is riding on his shoulders, he begins to feel a little more pressure and fear, especially when he realizes that his own life is in the gravest of danger. By then, though, there will be no turning back.

Kei’s parents are a little more frightened by his abilities. When we first meet the Kawade family, we discover that Mom and Dad have some inkling that all is not right with the world. They’ve moved several times, always not long after the appearance of some giant monster. They are coming to the realization that their son might be responsible for the arrival of these monsters. What was the design process like for putting Kid Kaiju together with Terry?

Cullen Bunn: We’ve glimpsed an early incarnation of Kei before in the pages of TOTALLY AWESOME HULK. But that was just a couple of panels, and we really didn’t delve into the character. I wanted this to be a complete overhaul and reintroduction of the character. Terry really just took the few descriptive lines we gave him and ran with it. This is a character I think readers are really going to fall in love with and, considering where we’re heading with Kid Kaiju, I can’t imagine a better design.

The catastrophic chaos of Monsters Unleashed kicks off on January 18, 2017 with MONSTERS UNLEASHED #1!

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