Billjohn O’Henry, the fan favourite character from “the early days” of Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s The Sixth Gun has always been a character readers have wanted more of. In Dust to Dust, readers are getting just that – a look at Billjohn’s days prior to getting embroiled in the drama of the guns, and we got a chance to pick the brain of the scribe of The Sixth Gun and Dust to Dust about what this series has in store for Billjohn.
Aaron Long: The Sixth Gun tie-in mini-series have been a great way to flesh out the world of The Sixth Gun. How was the decision made to focus on Billjohn with Dust to Dust?
Cullen Bunn: I’ve made it no secret that Billjohn is my favorite character in The Sixth Gun. As we draw closer to the end of the main series, I felt like Billjohn deserved a farewell of sorts. We’ve seen him primarily as a husk creature, but I wanted to spend a little time with him during his human days. It also gives us a chance to show off the wide range of stories we’re capable of telling in this world.
AL: As is the case with many of the characters in this series, Billjohn lives on the edge of being a “good guy”. What he does isn’t necessarily good, but he’s not a fully lost soul. In your opinion, what makes The Sixth Gun such a great platform to dig deep into these flawed characters?
CB: I’ve always seen Billjohn as a hero, but you’re right. He dances a fine line between hero and outlaw. I think the world of The Sixth Gun is a great platform to explore these characters because there’s a lawlessness in the wild west. Sure, there were peacekeepers, but you don’t see many of them in this story. That means it falls to the individual character and the choices they make to cast them as hero or villain. The supernatural elements in the story just enhance that a bit. I’ve always seen magic as neither good not evil, but a tool that could be used for either one.
AL: I’ve been obsessed with The Guns since the first issue of The Sixth Gun, as the desire to possess them tells a lot about a character. Through the duration of Dust to Dust, will Billjohn be seeking The Fourth Gun as his primary mission? Does he really want the Gun, knowing what it’s possession may entail?
CB: I don’t think he really wants the Fourth Gun, but he’s desperate to save his daughter. He likely doesn’t fully understand the nature of the weapon, but he’s willing to take a chance since it could mean saving his little girl.
AL: This isn’t the first time you’ve worked with Tyler Crook in the world of The Sixth Gun. Is your approach to scripting different for Tyler than Brian, or do you have a specific way you work on Sixth Gun scripts?
CB: I don’t really change my script process from project to project. Even though I’ve worked with Brian for so long I could write in more of a shorthand, I still write full scripts. Same with Tyler. We’ve worked on several projects together and we know each other fairly well, but I still write a fully detailed script for him.
AL: Any final words for Comicosity’s readers regarding The Sixth Gun: Dust to Dust?
CB: This story is a bittersweet goodbye to Billjohn O’Henry. While the story takes place before Billjohn got embroiled in his adventures with Drake Sinclair, I think everything that happens in the book informs all the decisions Billjohn has made over the course of the main series, both as a man and as a “monster”. What does that mean? As Dust to Dust continues, that statement will become more and more clear.
The Sixth Gun: Dust to Dust #1 is in stores now, issue #2 hits stores April 15, 2015.