Interview: Abnett & Lanning Unleash THE HYPERNATURALS

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The Hypernaturals are coming….fans of cosmic stories and the legendary DnA get ready for a universe completely owned, operated and created by Abnett & Lanning themselves. Marvel Cosmic collaborator Brad Walker joins them for no-holds-barred, intense, cosmic action where anything can happen, and does! Abnett and Lanning were kind enough to take time to discuss The Hypernaturals and what fans can expect from the series!

Aaron Long: Can you discuss how The Hypernaturals came to be? What was the journey to being reunited on a cosmic book with Brad Walker?

Dan Abnett: BOOM! very kindly invited us to build a new cosmic book for them, and we leapt at the chance to develop concepts and stories that simply could not be told within the frameworks of existing cosmic universes, or used int he sorts of cosmic books we’re known for. IT’s very exciting to get that kind of primary world-building opportunity, and we invited Brad in to join the fun.

Andy Lanning: Once BOOM! Gave us the opportunity to create our own cosmic universe and populate it with super-powered characters, it was a no-brainer to ask Brad to help out. Brad’s done some fantastic stuff with us in the past and we were more than happy when he agreed to help out with the designs and concepts for the Hyprenaturals and their future society. We were even more happy when he was able to squeeze some time in his hectic schedule to do some interior pages too! It was win, win for us all the way and he’s really helped us flesh out and build the world of the Hypernaturals.

Aaron: What is it about cosmic stories that keeps the both of you coming back to write more? Are any of the concepts in The Hypernaturals lingering thoughts that you had in the back of your mind from your Marvel cosmic days?

Dan: They come from the same same mindset, and clearly we keep coming back to cosmic stuff because it suits us and pleases our imaginations immeasurably. But these are really stories and ideas that couldn’t work elsewhere. They are things we could only do here by making a consistent universe that worked for us.

Andy: Dan and I both love science fiction stories and have always been drawn to the cosmic side of comics. We grew up reading 2000AD over here in the UK and it has left an indelible impression on us as we keep coming back to the more fantastical, science fiction side of comics. It’s a realm of endless possibilities and offers a chance to create and world build without limitations.

Aaron: Can you discuss who The Hypernaturals are and what readers can expect from the series?

Dan: You can expect huge concepts and big ideas. You can expect a pretty smart and pretty sophisticated story on a grand scale, with lots of interweaving strands and cool characters. In the future, human civilisation is star-spanning and known as The Quantinuum, a culture run by an AI computer of the same name. The Hypernaturals are that culture’s primary super hero defenders, selected to serve terms of office from all the “hyper” powered individuals who occur naturally in the vast human population. Only the best of the best get to serve. At the start of our story, something big and bad is about to happen, and everything the Hypernaturals understand about who they are and what their role is is about to change…

Andy: Because we have been given the chance to create the characters and their universe from scratch, we’ve been able to tell a much more complex and rich story which is driven by the characters themselves. The main story is driven and shaped by their interpersonal struggles and the events from their pasts. We’ve tried to make each new character as unique and interesting as we can; even ones that we don’t see for very, which is very difficult to do as we’re creating characters with cool looks and neat powers that don’t make it past the opening issues. We find ourselves wanting to know more about them, to see them in action but that’s what makes the world of the Hypernaturals so compelling. Hopefully reader’s will feel the same which gives the book an interesting edge as you really don’t know who will survive to the end of the issue, let alone the end of the story! This is something you don’t usually get from comics with established characters who have long complicated continuity and multiple titles on the shelves. You know they aren’t going to bite the big one any time soon, and if they do, they will always get better eventually. With the Hypernaturals; anything can happen and often does, just look at the Free Comicbook Day issue where we introduce a cool new super team and off them all in the space of 15 pages!

Aaron: This universe of The Hypernaturals is completely yours to do with as you see fit. Has this changed your creative process at all? Was the prospect of building an entire comic universe daunting?

Dan: A little daunting, but basically very inviting and very exciting. We’ve loved developing it. Each issue will feature back-up material around the main strip that fleshes the universe out. It’s allowed us to push our creative process further than ever before.

Andy: It’s a lot more involved than usual. Whereas before, writing an established title, you can always delve into past continuity and look things up on Wikipedia, with Hypernaturals whenever we reach a point of introducing a new element, however small or fleeting, we’re making it up on the spot. This is both creatively exciting as well as time consuming but, as Dan says, it is giving us the chance to flesh out and develop a whole universe of extra material which we will be seeding in the issues in the form of back-up pages of articles, ads, interviews, diaries etc. Hopefully, readers will find this material adds an extra layer of detail and interest which will enhance the stories in each issue.

Aaron: Any final words for Comicosity’s readers regarding The Hypernaturals?

Dan: Give it a try. We believe that if you like cosmic, you’ll love it. If you’ve always been put off cosmic because you don;t know how to get into such complex and esoteric continuities, then this book is built as a perfect jump on point for this kind of stories.

Andy: What he said. And it looks purtee too!

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