Feature: The Damned Deluxe Omnibus Interviews 

The Damned Speakeasy: “The Damned” Deluxe Omnibus

By | June 3rd, 2024
Posted in Interviews | % Comments

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Welcome to The Damned Speakeasy, a column dedicated to Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s “The Damned” from Oni Press. We’ve been lying low for a few years, but we’re back with some good news. This coming November, Oni Press will be releasing a deluxe omnibus collection of “The Damned”, so pour yourself a drink and settle in while we chat with Cullen and Brian. Just so you know, we’ll be discussing a few spoilers for ‘Prodigal Sons.’


Cullen, you’re really revisiting the classics in 2024. First you’ve got “The Sixth Gun” coming out in four omnibuses from May to July, then for Halloween the original run of “Harrow County” is being collected in a single deluxe hardcover, and then, of course, there’s the reason we’re chatting, “The Damned” is being collected in a deluxe hardcover omnibus. What’s it been like for both of you revisiting this series to put this book together?

Cullen Bunn: It’s been a bittersweet delight. “The Damned” is where I got my start in comics, and it is a series I’m still very proud of and excited about. It’s amazing to see it all together in one place.

Brian Hurtt: Cullen and I have done several projects together over the years but “The Damned” is our baby–our first–and it holds a very special place in our dark hearts. Seeing it all together in one place is like going through a family photo album and brings back great memories. I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done on this series, to date!

Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn in 2006

I believe this collects the original 2006 miniseries, ‘Three Days Dead,’ and issues #1–10 of the 2017 series. Will it also include the ‘Three Days Earlier. . .’ short story?

Cullen: Absolutely! This collects ALL of “The Damned” comic book content that has been published thus far, so the short story will be there!

Obviously, a new collection needs a new cover. In this case, it’s a wrap-around cover that really needs to be seen in its entirety to be fully appreciated. I really love what you’ve done with the half that appears on the back of the book. Can you talk about how this one came together?

Brian: To be clear, no one asked me to do a wraparound cover, I did that to myself. When Oni asked for a new cover I immediately asked if I could make it a wraparound! I just couldn’t see a collection to the entire series (to date) having anything less.

I had a vague notion of the design of the cover pretty quickly but I couldn’t fully visualize it until I started looking at art deco posters and advertising for inspiration and workshopping the concept in my sketchbook. The art deco lobby of the Empire State was sort of the inciting image of inspiration for me as well as a couple of movie posters for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

I settled on this concept of a semi-radial, fragmented art deco design. Pretty quickly I realized that it would lend itself to alternating angles of buildings and, ultimately, reality. As the image wraps around to the back you see the “Purgatory” realm of The Damned alternating with the “real” world and I thought it all fit nicely with themes and tone of the series. I ended up being pretty happy with how this piece all came together!

It looks fantastic.

Among the stories collected in this omnibus is the three-issue arc, ‘Prodigal Sons,’ originally published in 2008, but republished in color in “The Damned” #6–8 in 2018. While the story itself didn’t change, it reads differently in light of ‘Ill Gotten,’ especially since it’s revealed that only those that have sold their souls can see demons. So the opening sequence, when Ediie and Morgan as children see their father talking to one of the Verlochin, takes on a whole new dimension because they’re children and somehow they can see a demon.

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Cullen: Oh, yeah. There are big implications there, aren’t there? I thought that was one of those neat little details that some readers might not consider. If you do notice it, though, you realize there’s something sinister in the works. I think “The Damned” is full of details like that!

Oh, I don’t doubt it. I feel like it makes a real change to Darcy Lang too. I mean, this moment reads very differently knowing that she’s not seeing a demon in this scene.

She’s great, by the way. I really want to see more of her.

Brian: I loved the introduction of Darcy! As Morgan is presented as a contrast to Eddie, Darcy is very much a contrast to Sophie. And in many ways, Darcy is the closest thing we have to an “innocent” in this world. She’s also positioned in such a way that she is like a bridge between Eddie and Morgan as the series progresses—I’m looking forward to exploring that dynamic between the three of them in the future.

Cullen: Darcy, in such a short time, has become one of my favorite characters. Part of that is because I know what we have planned for her. I’m very excited about the role she plays in the story that lies ahead.

Obviously a big part of ‘Prodigal Sons’ is the introduction of Morgan Tamblyn. This arc really feels like his more than Eddie’s. It’s actually rather fascinating to me that back when this series was first coming out, you guys basically took the main character from the first arc and had him spend most of the second arc dead. It’s a bold swing that I think really pays off.

Cullen: Well, yeah, we’re bold guys. At the time, we thought if we were going to do a sequel, we really needed to shake it up. And introducing Morgan and having him take the main story on his shoulders felt like something that would surprise readers. I mean, Eddie’s still there, but he’s doing his very best Weekend at Bernie’s imitation. And, not for nothing, but Morgan might not have been more than a little idea, a glimmer when we were working on the first series, but he absolutely has a HUGE role to play in the overall story of “The Damned.” Bigger than Eddie’s? Maybe.

Brian: Honestly, the conceit of the “dead Eddie gag” just tickled us. Funnily, it also felt era-appropriate in that it had a bit of a Buster Keaton vibe to it—if Buster Keaton had done ultra-violent, horror slapstick! We laughed a lot as we were working out this multi-issue sequence.

Going into this arc, Cullen and I had a lot of discussions about what we wanted to do in terms of tone and story and we both strongly felt that we wanted to undercut expectations of what readers might assume a sequel to “Three Days Dead” would be. Where the first arc was a moody, horror-noir, we quickly realized we wanted to counter-program by injecting some high-octane, pulp action into the series. And then, of course, there was the whole idea of learning more about our main character through the introduction of his brother, Morgan.

I’m really curious about those scars of Morgan’s. Obviously there’s a big mystery there you won’t want to talk about till the comic gets there, but just from a character point of view, there’s something fascinating about him getting a new star every time Eddie is resurrected. It means he’s always finding out that Eddie was dead yet again. That’s got to mess with his head.

Cullen: Oh, those scars! In the excerpt you posted, check out Bruno’s reaction to Morgan’s scar. It’s almost as if he knows something is up. And, if you read carefully, you’ll start to see just how important those scars might be.

Brian, I really like the visual contrast between the brothers, with Eddie being skinny as a rake while his younger brother’s built like an ox. Even before we see Morgan’s scars, he’s visually striking. What was the evolution of Morgan on his journey from an idea you and Cullen had to the guy we meet on the comics page?

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Brian: From a design point of view, Morgan is actually a holdover from another character we had started to develop for the series. I won’t go into the backstory of that character as he could still appear, but as Cullen began developing Morgan, the image of this other character kept sticking in my head. Then, once I started developing Morgan on the page, I kept thinking of my brother and I. Growing up, we had very different builds and features, yet we still looked like brothers so I ended up trying to lean into that idea of brothers who contrast each other in both physicality and personality.

The last two issues collected in the Deluxe Omnibus both leave us with cliffhangers, with ‘Bad Ol’ Days’ leading up to what will undoubtedly be a nasty period in the lives of Eddie, Morgan, Wyrm, and Sophie. And ‘Daughter’s Danse’ raises so many questions that’re just begging to be answered…

I know “The Sixth Gun” revival series starting 2025 will be keeping you and Brian busy for a while, but I’m hoping beyond that there’s a chance for more of “The Damned.”

Cullen: Brian and I talk about it all the time. In fact, we were just talking about it today. One day, it will happen.

Brian: “The Damned “has constantly been a victim of timing, but it is far from abandoned. It’s the first project that Cullen and I fully developed together and, like everything we do, there is so much lore and story that has already been worked out and is just waiting to be told.


“The Damned” Deluxe Omnibus will be out in book stores November 26, 2024.

Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Brian Hurtt
Colored by Bill Crabtree
Lettered by Crank!

November 26, 2024
432 pages, full color
ISBN: 9781637155189

In the gritty world of Prohibition–era underground crime, the streets are run not merely by bootleggers, but demon gang bosses bent toward decadent sin: greed, gluttony, and lust. Eddie Tamblyn runs the nightclub the Gehenna Room, with a strict no-demons-allowed policy, but he’s also cursed with the unique ability to return from the dead and transfer his mortal wounds to the first person who touches his corpse—an ability that places him in high demand for his city’s princes of darkness, who hold his heavy debt.

Collecting all three volumes of the groundbreaking paranormal noir from acclaimed creators Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt (The Sixth Gun, Hellbreak).

//TAGS | Damned Speakeasy

Mark Tweedale

Mark writes Haunted Trails, The Harrow County Observer, The Damned Speakeasy, and a bunch of stuff for Mignolaversity. An animator and an eternal Tintin fan, he spends his free time reading comics, listening to film scores, watching far too many video essays, and consuming the finest dark chocolates. You can find him on BlueSky.


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