Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have been in the comic game for a long time now, first at DC — where they co-authored and launched subsequent ongoing series — and later at Marvel, where they collaborated on , , and more.
Now the co-writing team is bringing their take on the cosmic genre to a world of their own creation, with The Hypernaturals from BOOM! Studios. It's another ensemble book, where the Hypernaturals are an intergalactic superhero team — who have gone missing, leading to former members stepping up to find them.
Readers can get a first look at The Hypernaturals this Saturday, May 5, as a preview book is the official BOOM! offering for this year's Free Comic Book Day. Newsarama talked via email to Abnett and Lanning — answering collectively as "DnA," as is their custom — about the FCBD release, how The Hypernaturals compares and contrasts to their past cosmic work, and reteaming with artist Brad Walker.
from the FCBD issue.Newsarama: Dan, Andy, The Hypernaturals has been promoted as "Abnett & Lanning Do Cosmic At BOOM!" — so, given that, what would fans of your Marvel and DC cosmic work like and recognize in the new book? And on the other side of that, in what ways is The Hypernaturals distinct from what you've done before? There are obviously different freedoms involved in a creator-owned title.
DnA: Fans of our cosmic runs at DC and Marvel will find plenty to love here because, hey, it’s cosmic!
The similarities? It’s a team book about cosmic superheroes in a spectacular future universe, and it’s written by us with our trademark wit, brilliance and imagination , and artist Brad Walker has helped us visualize this universe.
The difference is that it’s all new — BOOM! invited us to come and do cosmic for them, and for that we had to build a universe from scratch. This isn’t one of our previous projects in disguise, given a facelift or dressed up in new uniforms, this is a whole new thing. Strong characters, powerful storylines, and a really compelling universe... and because we’ve had to construct the setting as well as the characters, we can do all sorts of stories that would simply never work in established-continuity universes like the DCU or the Marvel Universe. These are big stories we simply couldn’t tell anywhere else.
Nrama: Since the series is wholly of your own creation, how lengthy was the development process — building not only the main cast, but an entire fictional world?
DnA: Quite a while, as you’d imagine, though it’s a very organic process and we found it very rewarding. It refines as we write more of the series too, and expands as we develop new wrinkles and details. The setting of the series is one of the most attractive “characters” in it, and matters to the story flow.
Nrama: You're reuniting with Brad Walker for this series — how does the work he's doing here compare to your past collaborations, and ?
DnA: Brad’s great, and he’s creating the look of this with us — developing a visual style and tone that he could only do to a certain extent in the “big” universes we’ve worked in before. We’re seeing his creativity like never before — and it’s awesome! We are also really excited to have Andres Guinaldo as co-artist on the book, his art compliments Brad’s and together they are knocking it out the park! Not only do we have two great interior artists we have some great cover artists like Trev Hairsine, Phil Noto, Tim Green, Francesco Mattina and Wes Craig doing some seriously cool covers!
Nrama: What can you tell us about the issue out this Saturday for Free Comic Book Day? Is it essentially a first issue, or more of a prologue?
DnA: It’s both, really. The most important thing to note is that it’s sixteen pages (twenty plus, including the back up material) that we’ve created especially for this FCBD issue. It’s not a pre-print of material that will then form issue one. It’s great value for money, even for a free comic! You’ll be able to read and enjoy the series from issue one without reading this, but it contains more set up for the characters and the world, and more build up to the story. It’ll be collected with the series eventually, but this stuff is not a preview.
Nrama: Even within your work in the cosmic genre, your projects tends to vary from free-wheeling to much more serious. How would you describe the tone of Hypernaturals?
DnA: It’s a big serious story, with real human drama and danger and stuff, but that’s not to say it won’t have elements of humour and likable, funny characters. So it’s not frivolous, comedic and silly... it’s epic, character-driven drama. It just might have a few frivolous, comedic and silly moments.
Nrama: Big space adventure doesn't work if there aren't strong characters at the heart of it — what can you share about the cast of Hypernaturals?
DnA: We agree, and we think the main characters in this are very strong. As with the setting itself, it’s great to be able to create characters specifically designed for their roles rather than having to create roles for long-established characters (or rehabilitate long forgotten ones). The interpersonal relationships of these characters is going to be part of the fun here, though the powers are so cool: Clone 45’s mastery of any weapon or skill thanks to the inherited memories of all the clones that have gone before; Thinkwell’s cryptomathmatical magic, and the “living ink” he uses to compose the arcane equations; Bewilder’s... bewildering-ness. And wait till you meet the villains.
Nrama: Clearly, being the Free Comic Book Day release for a company is a major sign of confidence. What does it mean to have The Hypernaturals get that kind of a debut?
DnA: It’s a huge compliment to get this support from BOOM! We know they’re extremely excited by this, and they’re very committed to it.
Nrama: To digress a bit — it's been a bit since the last DnA cosmic book at Marvel. Are you getting your cosmic fix for now solely with Hypernaturals, or might there be a chance of more such material at Marvel?
DnA: Anything’s possible.More from Newsarama:
- 10 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2012 Releases to Watch For
- Abnett & Lanning Prepare NEW MUTANTS For EXILED Crossover
- Abnett and Lanning Round Up the ANNIHILATORS