The Hypernaut: The Secret Files
The Hypernaut was originally co-created by Stephen R. Bissette for the Image Comics series ‘1963′ (1993); The Hypernaut, Queep, Curtis Slarch and all related characters and concepts are © and TM Stephen R. Bissette, per contractual arrangement with the original co-creator; all rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, all art is ©1992, 1993, 2009 SR Bissette, all rights reserved.
The Hypernaut: Origins
(art above ©1992, 1993, 2009 Stephen R. Bissette, co-created by Stephen Bissette; Hypernaut is © and TM Stephen R. Bissette per contractual arrangement with the original co-creator. All rights reserved.)
Here Comes — The Hypernaut!
The Silver Age Hypernaut was introduced in a one-shot back-up story in Astro Adventures #39 in 1956. The science-fiction anthology comic Astro Adventures (formerly Atomic Adventures, 1949-1955) had never featured a continuing character before, and the editor was surprised at the mail generated by “I Became — the Hypernaut!” This mail included letters from readers claiming to have also been abducted by aliens, which redirected the comic in a new direction almost immediately.
In short order, eccentric pulp sf freelance writer Curtis Slarch was assigned to the character, and within three issues, a more timely UFO and alien encounter theme took over Astro Adventures completely. Front and center in this new direction was The Hypernaut in a series of outrageous stories scripted by Slarch, who scripted half-a-dozen backup stories before The Hypernaut was promoted to the cover and lead story spot. During Slarch’s run on these back-up stories, the character’s initial adventures began to incorporate elements of the bizarre supposedly true South American tales of UFO abductees, including the long-haired androgynous aliens peculiar to those reports. This direction was soon discouraged by the editors, and Slarch and future writers took the series far away from the confines of planet Earth.
In 1961, Astro Adventures was retitled Beyond Time & Space Soars… The Hypernaut!, and the character’s origin was completely revamped for that new-format issue. He also began to appear regularly in the pages of Tales of the Uncanny that same year, alongside the adventures of N-Man.
What Is — Queep?
Queep first appeared in the initial Astro Adventures phase of Hypernaut‘s adventures, introduced in the story “The Queer Quase of the Quivering Queep!”, prior to the peculiar South American adventures.
Persistent reports of an invasion of “purple monkeys” in a remote Indiana town lead to the Hypernaut‘s investigation. Once there, he finds there is indeed an invasion — or, more precisely, an infestation — of ‘alien’ beings: tiny termite-like invaders planning on establishing a super-colony in mid-continent, from which they will take over North America and eventually consume all life on the planet. The ‘purple monkeys’ — Queep‘s fellow race of primate-like exterminators — are in fact there to nip the infestation in the bud and save Earth!
The Hypernaut joins forces with them, and during the decisive final conflict Hypernaut saves Queep from certain death in the jaws of the supersized queen ‘termite.’ According to the code of Queep‘s culture, he thereafter owes his devotion to his saviour, and the Hypernaut welcomes Queep into his super-secret orbitting Hyperbase One. They were together as a team throughout the 1960s run of the series.
Into HyperSpace With The Hypernaut!
After leaving the Earth-bound initial arc of his comicbook appearances, the Hypernaut launched a series of cosmic adventures aboard Hyperbase One, eventually exploring the far reaches of many galaxies via portals between a number of Hyperbases spread across the universe.
Here are just a few of the Hypernaut stories fondly remembered by fans of the series:
* “O Bring Back My Bodies to Me…”: Hypernaut‘s body units activate and take off from the station, infested by miniscule aliens using his bodies as ships — in an invasion fleet bound for Earth! Hypernaut defeats the armada by sinking into a meditative state; reaching nirvana, the ‘body/ships’ shut down. Hypernaut‘s sidekick Queep sends out a homing beam, bringing the body/ships back to the station, where Hypernaut incarcerates the invaders in an energy soup for safe keeping.
* “Let There Be –”: While testing his surrogate bodies, Hypernaut integrates them into a single ‘superbody’ to repair the exterior of the space station, inadvertantly attracting a sentient robot race in search of their ‘Messiah,’ as prophesized in their religion — and Hypernaut‘s Hyperbody fits the bill!
* “Dread — The Hyper-Haunt!”: While in the ‘learning soup’ of his techno-meditative chamber, Hypernaut suffers a time-displacement that results in a ‘kickback’ of his past selves, which quickly move to inhabit Hypernaut‘s reserve bodies and begin to move about the station, stuck in the action of their respective past selves & events. Negotiating the obstacle course of ‘stuttering selves,’ Hypernaut calculates the time frames necessary to bring each ‘self’ to the present, and speeds them to that destination — reuniting them as ‘his’ single self.
* “Any Portal in a Storm”: Hypernaut‘s space station becomes a portal to another universe — and a curious, sentient mass of stellar dust is moving through, seeking fresh horizons in OUR universe!
* “When Harvests… THE HARVESTER!”: Hypernaut discovers an alien ‘harvest’ of Earth citizens eerily close to his own encounter that created him. But this force is led by a bizarre patchwork creature who calls himself “The Harvester,” and his need for fresh human organs — needed to keep his own ragtag organism functional! — means that the Hypernaut must intercede to stop the alien visitor.
Note: If you are interested in licensing The Fury, The Hypernaut or N-Man, or any of their concepts or characters, click this link to visit the Hollywood Comics website!