Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the launch of Unioverse: Reyu! As the founder of Hex Publishers and the co-writer of the comic book series, what are you most excited for readers to experience with this first exploration of the Unioverse world beyond the video games?
Joshua Viola: Thank you! It's been an exciting journey, and we're thrilled to finally share Unioverse: Reyu with the world. One of the things I'm most excited for readers to experience is the unique characters we've created. Our heroes are not your typical caped crusaders; they have a more complex, science fiction edge that sets them apart from other comic book series. The world-building in Unioverse is also something I'm eager for readers to explore. The triad star system of Helios Nexus, and the technological marvel of The Masson Zero—which instantly transports a consciousness into a cloned body or other "skin" across the cosmos—offers a rich landscape of storytelling possibilities that readers won't want to miss.
BD: The creative process of approaching an adaptation of an existing world and characters - especially one as beloved as Unioverse - can be a daunting experience. How would you describe your shared approach with co-writer Angie Hodapp to bringing these comics to life, and what did you find to be most rewarding/challenging about the process?
JV: Adapting a complex videogame series like Unioverse can definitely be daunting, but we were lucky because we were part of the videogame story team developing the overall Unioverse narrative with Brent Friedman (Halo, Call of Duty, Star Wars). Angie and I were also fortunate to share a similar vision and creative approach, which made the process very smooth. The most rewarding part was seeing our ideas come to life on the page, while the biggest challenge was making sure we did justice to the existing world and characters.
BD: What makes Hex Publishers the perfect home for these new stories?
JV: Hex Publishers has a reputation for producing transmedia projects, and Unioverse was a perfect fit for us. Our collaboration with Random Games and co-founders Tony Harman (Donkey Kong Country, Grand Theft Auto, Crackdown) and Wyeth Ridgeway (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Terminator, South Park) allowed us to bring this incredible world to life in a way that fans and newcomers will love.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Unioverse: Reyu’s story will connect with both existing fans and those new to the property?
JV: We wanted to make sure that Unioverse: Reyu was accessible to both new and existing fans, so we approached the storytelling with that in mind. New readers will see just how inviting Ben Matsuya’s artwork is, and find the story easy to follow, while existing fans will enjoy the little surprises we've included that tie into the larger Unioverse world. We believe that everyone will be able to connect with the story and characters on a deeper level.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
JV: I'm working on several exciting projects at the moment, but I can't reveal too much about them just yet. One project I'm excited about is a transmedia collaboration with Hollywood musician Klayton (Celldweller/Scandroid). I'm also working on a comic book tie-in for a beloved “haunted” attraction, and a new comic book series with a popular horror author, among other things. Stay tuned for more details!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Unioverse: Reyu and your other work with Hex Publishers?
JV: Thank you for having me! To learn more about Unioverse, visit www.unioverse.com. You can find the Unioverse comics on Amazon for ComiXology and order print copies here. Check out the entire Hex catalog at hexpublishers.com.
*Cover art by AJ Nazzaro