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Byron Brewer

Exclusive CBN Interview: Abnett and Lanning hype The Hypernaturals!

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Early birds at BOOM! Studios shipped the anxiously-awaited Hypernaturals #1 by fan fave cosmic scribes Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning a week early, and it has been met with smiles and cheers (especially in the Cosmic Book News offices!).

Here now, after the launch of their initial issue (not to mention a sensational all-new Free Comic Book Day issue), the writers answer CBN Managing Editor Byron Brewer’s questions about what lurks in the Quantinuum for the Hypernaturals.

Cosmic Book News: What is it like to have the freedom to create a whole cosmic universe with Hypernaturals?

Dan AbnettBrilliant. It’s very liberating but also very scary. When you work in an established comic universe, the continuity often answers questions for you. You know what you can and can’t do and how things have to be. With this, we are building from the ground up. We had to make sure the universe worked for our story. And it’s a story we could not tell in the Marvel Universe or the DCU.

Andy LanningThe freedom to create a universe and characters of your own is very tempting and rewarding, but also, as we’re finding, very challenging too! We’re really enjoying fleshing out the world in which our characters live. From its history to the way it looks, everything has to be designed from the ground up and as daunting as that is, we are having a blast making it up!

CBN: This is kind of going back to our last interview, but why no aliens in this Hypernaturals Universe? Is this just for now to get us used to the concept of mutated humans around the cosmos, or for the foreseeable future?

Dan: I think that’s more than enough to play with. There’s no sense that we’re missing interesting alien races. There are alien life forms, though, just nothing sentient. However, it leaves us with a card to play, if we want to ...

Andy: It’s a way of giving ourselves extra story potential down the line. From the potential big first contact moment to developing explanations for the wild and crazy looking characters we have running around. It’s all grist for the mill.

CBNCan you name some similarities and differences in the Earth of today and the Earth of the HNU?

Dan: It’s basically very similar. This is not the far, far future. This is a world -- a pan-galactic culture -- that happened overnight. Human life was transformed. The Quantinuum AI computer was built to look after human interests. The moment it was turned on, it achieved singularity, and everything became possible. Worlds were terra-formed, quantum tripping began, people were able to change themselves. It’s like a switch being thrown. It could happen to our world tomorrow ... or the moment a benign AI goes live.

Andy: Despite all the fantastical technological advancements on display in the Quantinuum, it’s still populated by human beings, really weird and bizarre looking human beings, but humans all the same and they are still subject to all the personal and professional problems that we have to deal with today. If your boss is a jerk and making your job a misery it’s still the same even if he’s a 30-foot toad mutant (well -- almost). It gives the notion of a tongue lashing another feel entirely!

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CBNIs there a major big-bad coming that you can tell us a bit about?

Dan: There’s a big threat that will remain a mystery for now, but the personification of “big bad” is definitely Sublime, the greatest super-villain of all, who they defeated eight years ago. He’s wonderfully dangerous.

Andy: We’re having to play our cards close to our chests as there’s a central mystery to the story at the moment that will unfold as the series progresses. We’d like it to be a surprise so any clues now may scupper that reveal later on. All we can say is we’re hoping no one will see it coming!

CBNWill the former members who are coming to the rescue be the main focus of the book, or will the newbies be back and the focus? Can you tell us how that will play out?

Dan: No, it’s a surprise.

Andy:----..

CBNDo you have favorites yet?

Dan: Yes, all of them. I love Thinkwell, and his look and powers, but I’m very fond of Clone 45 and Bewilder too, and the kids -- Shoal and Halfshell -- have real personality. And Sublime, of course.

Andy: Like Dan says, that’s a tough call, like asking you which of your kids you love best.

CBNTell us a bit about the art and how that will work.

Dan: We have a “flashback” sequence each issue relating to the past, and then a main sequence, which gives a distinction to the art split.

Andy: We’re using the story split to give us an insight into the past of the characters which will inform how they are in the present day story. Having a six-page “prologue” has also given us the opportunity to work with several great artists like Brad, Andres and Tom and will give us the opportunity to hopefully tempt potential artists to come on board down the line as a six-page commitment is easier to fit into a busy schedule.

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CBNWhat can readers expect from future issues of Hypernaturals?

Dan: Full immersion in an amazing world, great characters, a huge adventure and some cosmic ideas. 

Andy: We’re hoping people will want to stick around and see more of this new world we’re developing and are drawn in by the characters and their story. We’re really proud of what we’ve created here and hope readers will be interested in the depth and complexity of what we’re trying to do. From the main story to the back-up features, we’re doing some cosmic world building on a scale that we’ve never attempted before.

CBN: Thanks, Dan and Andy, and good luck. We are looking forward to next month’s issue of Hypernaturals. And Cosmic Book News would also like to thank Bryce Carlson, DnA’s managing editor at BOOM! Studios for helping to make this interview possible.

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