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Exclusive Interview: Abnett, Lanning Discuss The Ending Of Their Cosmic Saga: The Hypernaturals

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Contributing Editor
created 05/16/2013 - 5:37pm, updated 05/16/2013 - 6:58pm

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It doesn’t seem like that long, but for years now fandom’s favorite spinners of cosmic tales – at DC, at Marvel, at BOOM! and now at Dynamite – have been Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, collectively known as DnA.

Last May, they took cosmic fandom by storm with their saga of a future world where the heroes were called “Hypernaturals,” creating a whole universe in the BOOM! publication of the same name.

Its final issue hits stands next month, and collectively as DnA these fan faves answer exclusively some very timely questions from Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer.

Cosmic Book News: Now that you both can take a breath, can you look back beginning at last year's Free Comic Book Day until now and tell us what you hope readers got out of The Hypernaturals?

DnA: We hope that they’ve enjoyed reading the story as much as we have enjoyed writing it. It’s rare you get the opportunity to create your own superhero universe and tell a complete story from start to finish. We’ve said before that we considered this our attempt to do a “cosmic Watchmen” -- by which we meant a story that was immersive and gripping and told in long form but with a definite ending. That’s what we were able to do with The Hypernaturals and we’re grateful to BOOM! for giving us the chance.

CBN: What was it about the story of these adventurers and their semi-tragic circumstances that made the tale worth telling?

DnA: Again, it comes down to being able to create characters, events and worlds whole cloth. We’ve built the universe of the Hypernaturals and populated it with a variety of colorful heroic characters all set in our own cosmic setting. We were drawn to these characters and their setting and really enjoyed creating an immersive experience by using the extra editorial material to flesh out the universe, the characters and the society of the Quantinuum.

CBN: You had some very shocking moments in Hypernaturals, chief among them (for me as a reader) the Faux Sublime's henchmen really being the Century Iteration we met in the FCBD issue. Who came up with that and ... well, wow!

DnA: Thanks, it was a great card to have up our sleeve; we’ve always enjoyed ending issues on a cliff-hanger of some sort and that was a doozy! It harks back to the sort of comics we read growing up and is something of a trademark of our writing style.

CBN: I loved the use of the beginning few pages, at first handled by co-creator Brad Walker, to cue readers into the past while making it pertinent late to the "present." How did this storytelling manner come about?

DnA: It was by necessity to begin with because Brad was lined up to work on the series but due to other commitments was unable to draw a full issue so we created the prologue sequence as a way to get him to draw as many pages in the series as possible before he had to leave. We decided that if we were going to do it then we would make a stylistic choice to have every issue begin that way (all except the last issue which has a flashback sequence later in the story; you’ll understand when you read it!). It became a great way to add some historical context to the story and flesh out the characters’ back story and establish the other iterations of the Hypernatural team in a quick “pre-credit” action sequence. It was also fun as we were able to create and use a whole slew of wacky heroes with weird and wonderful looks and powers.

CBN: We have met many characters since climbing about the HN train a year ago. My personal favorite is Thinkwell. Any choice HNs past or present for you guys?

DnA: That’s like asking to choose your favorite child! But we have a fondness for Poul too and Sublime surprised us both by becoming much more of a major player in the story: rather than the ultimate villain, he developed into a much more complex character and could even be viewed as being somewhat heroic in his own, twisted, megalomaniac, unhinged way!

CBN: What inspired the idea of the Clones all sharing the same power, and all being connected across time/space? That was very Twilight Zone-ish to me.

DnA: Really? We never thought of it like that but hey, TZ was a hellova show, so that’s great! The concepts for all the heroes were determined by us wanting to create cosmic heroes with an interesting array of powers that were shown or used in ways that were not obvious or seen before; hence the Clones, who are a riff on the Super Soldier trope but with a sci-fi twist and Bewilder, a super speedster at heart but with a slightly unusual take.

CBN: At the time of this interview, the penultimate #11 has just hit shelves and #12 is waiting to explode next month. After Hypernaturals ends, will there be any life -- at BOOM! or anywhere else -- for the HN characters?

DnA: We always wanted The Hypernaturals to be a complete story but the fact we were allowed to created such a rich, developed cosmic continuity has left the door open for us to revisit the HN universe again and tell more stories from past and present at some point.

CBN: As said, Hypernaturals comes to an end with issue #12. If it could have been extended in its present format, what would we have read about in #13 onward?

DnA: That’s a moot point as we never really wanted this story to continue. If we were to revisit a hypothetical issue #13, it would continue the events following the conclusion of #12 and see how the ramifications and fallout from what happens in #12 plays out with whoever’s left, always assuming there’s anyone or anything left to tell the tale!

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CBN: We hit on this before but, at the end of the day, do we look at Sublime as a force of evil, misunderstood force for good, or just a man trapped by his own weaknesses?

DnA: As we said, Sublime became a main player in the story, which was not necessarily how we’d planned to use him at the start of the story. His character developed and grew so, in some ways, you could argue, the story is all about him: his role in the universe, his origin and how he chooses to act or not act when he is given the opportunity to realize the single defining goal of his existence. He’s a fascinating character and is actually all the above: evil, misunderstood, trapped by weaknesses as well as his awesome powers!

CBN: Any other projects current or future you would like to discuss?

DnA: At the moment we’re writing a 5-issue Battlestar Galactica mini-series for Dynamite. It’s set in the “classic” continuity and is part of a celebration of 35 years since the first episode aired on TV. We’re having a blast writing it as we were both fans of the original series growing up and are really enjoying the chance to add something to such a classic epic saga.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning who took time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions in a very timely interview. We would also like to thank Filip Sablik and Brianna Hart who helped make this interview possible.

“The Hypernaturals” #12 hits stores in June!

 
 

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