MARVEL's HYPERION 'In Exile' From Standard 'Superheroics' As He Explores 'Strange Terrain'

Hyperion #1
Hyperion #1
Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics

Hyperion may already be at the forefront of Squadron Supreme, but on March 23, he’ll strike out on his own in his first solo series from writer Chuck Wendig and artist Nik Virella. And though Marvel’s answer to the super-strong spaceman archetype has some big adventures in store, he’s coming down to Earth for a while first.

Newsarama spoke to Wendig about his vision of Hyperion, and what makes a story about a super-powerful hero roaming America’s heartland so unique in the Marvel Universe. Wendig also spoke about his working relationship with Virella, and gave some insight into the book’s supporting cast including Doll, Micah Hardiaken, and the ominous “Worm-Boy”.

As a bonus, Newsarama also has the first look at some finished pages from April 20's Hyperion #2.

Newsarama: Chuck, Hyperion's been around for decades, but hasn't quite gotten much in the way of deep character development to see who he is beyond his name, powerset and archetype. Are you looking to jump in and develop that here?

Chuck Wendig: Absolutely. What is it like to be an alien with god-like powers flung from a universe where you followed a rigorous moral code that doesn’t match the moral code of this world and its people? That’s part of what we’re doing with this book — we’re putting him in exile, getting him away (initially) from superheroics, and then seeing what we can see about him. But one of the ways we’re doing that is from an outside-in perspective — it’s less about getting inside his head and more about how other people see him, and what he reveals to them.

Nrama: Most superhero books are set in the big city, but Hyperion is roaming the American heartland. What does that offer to you as a writer?

Hyperion #1
Hyperion #1
Credit: Marvel Comics

Wendig: Cities are a great place for stories because you’ve got thousands of people on every block, and every character is a rabbit hole for a new story and a new encounter. But I grew up on a farm — we raised whitetail deer, of all things -- and there’s something interesting to me about escaping that intense concentration of people. You can see a show like True Detective (first season, because let’s pretend the second season doesn’t exist) and how it deals with the mindsets of people who are not part of big cities, who are in some ways cast to the margins. Plus, the American Heartland in particular is untapped potential. We like to call those states “flyover”, but that’s incredibly dismissive and undercuts huge swaths of people and lives and ways of life. And, as noted, people mean characters and characters mean stories. We don’t want to look away from those stories.

Nrama: Hyperion is sharing the book, at least for the first arc, with a young woman named Doll. Can you tell us about her?

Wendig: Doll is a teenage girl on the run from a pack of carnival freaks — they seem to think she’s “family” to them, and, well, she doesn’t quite agree. She asks Hyperion to help her. But, as things sometimes go, she may be there to help him, too.

Nrama: And with her comes the threat of a group chasing her named the Carnies. Are these in fact people from carnivals?

Wendig: Well, there’s a bit more going on than them being straight-up carnival freaks — let’s just say the carnival made them. Because there’s something in the funhouse that does very strange things to people…

Hyperion #1
Hyperion #1
Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: And what do they want with Doll?

Wendig: They want her back. They want her to “come home.” Because they say it’s time for her to take a trip through the funhouse and to become something new.

Nrama: Looking ahead, in the solicits to issue #3 they advertise the mystery of a man named Micah Hardiaken. I know you probably don't want to spoil that here in an interview before the book even debuts, but can you say anything about Micah? Hardiaken is a creek in Pennsylvania, right?

Wendig: Hardiaken is a creek around here, yeah! Well-played. Well-played. *ninja smoke-bomb* I won’t say too much about Micah, other than he’s an unassuming man with more power than you’d think. And he’s really the one driving the search for Doll.

Nrama: Just on the surface, Hyperion is a guy with a cape and a big radiation symbol on him. Let's get into that -- what kind of person is he to dress like that, and choose that symbol?

Wendig: Hyperion was raised to be a symbol, and so wearing a symbol on his chest is not an odd thing for him. We see radiation as being something sinister — though, really, sunlight is radiation. And I think sunlight is a good analog for who he is, or who he wants to be. He wants to be light, and heat, and warmth; a force of nature rather than an individual (And one that, if you turn up enough, becomes deadly with extreme exposure and elevated intensity). Thing is, despite what he’s been taught, despite what he was set up to be, Hyperion is an individual — really, the only individual who survived his universe. And that’s what we’re dealing with in this book — someone navigating that strange terrain between being a symbol and being (alien or not) a person.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: James Robinson is pushing Hyperion and the others down some dangerous roads in Squadron Supreme. How are you looking to stay true and take advantage of what he's doing there for your solo Hyperion series?

Wendig: Hyperion is I think dealing privately in this book with some of the fallout of all that. Robinson is walking him up to the edge and in this book we’re seeing whether or not he goes over or finds a way back.

Nrama: I was the first to interview you for Hyperion last year. Although the first issue isn't due out until later this month, I'm sure you're much further into the book -- and have seen more of Nik Virella's pages come in. You tell us -- how is it looking? How is it shaping up?

Wendig: My life is made infinitely more amazing by having Nik’s art come in. Her style really fits with the tone of the book and honestly, she’s making this book — I’m just trying not to screw it up for her! My goal is to put the crass lumps of clay into her hands and then she spins it into impossible vessels of wonder and horror. I mean, wait until you guys see Worm-Boy...

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