Type: Alien world

Environment: essentially Earth-like, although the realm exists on the inside surface of a cylinder, which is populated 360 degrees, and has gravitation towards its outer surface. The realm narrows to a distinct end, after which there exists a hole into an unknown void.
Tunnelworld has a high incidence of magic

Usual means of access: magic

Dominant Life Form: a large number of alien races, including the Buzzard People, the Ixhoohxi, the Nilffim, the Nya, and the Sputs, as well as an undetermined number of unidentified races.
Monstrous creatures dwell within storms, although these may have been created or summoned by the Unnameable.
Winged Ones are the creations of Ytitnedion

Significant Beings: Aeroika, Xhoohx, Ytitnedion
Unnameable once held sway over Tunnelworld, but there is no evidence that this was his native realm;
Nilffim-Riders were fragments of Arisen Tyrk sent to Tunnelworld.
Arisen Tyrk was also last seen in Tunnelworld

Significant Locations: Ogeon, valley of the Nya, Xhoohx's castle-fortress

First Appearance: Defenders I#71 (May, 1979)


History: The origins of Tunnelworld are unknown.

(Defenders#79 (fb) - BTS) - The Unnameable brought Ytitnedion, a sorcerer of Tunnelworld, under its control. Ytitnedion established the fortress of Ogeon, from which he created the Winged Ones and began to spreads the Unnameable's power. Relatively few beings, such as Xhoohx and the Nya, could resist the influence of the Unnameable, although they did manage to keep a few realms shielded from its power.


(Defenders#71(fb) - BTS) - Arisen Tyrk, the tyrannical God-King of Other Realm,  was fragmented, and in the process, his fragment forms fell under the sway of the Unnameable. Three fragments of Tyrk were sent to Tunnelworld, where they became the Nilffim, who joined forces with Ytitnedion.

(Defenders#71-73) - The Defenders traveled to Tunnelworld to investigate the power behind Lunatik. They reformed Tyrk, who attacked the Unnameable until the Defenders and Xhoohx defeated Tyrk. They also learned of the existence of the Unnameable.

(Defenders#78-83) - The Defenders, alongside Aeroika, defeated the Unnameable and Ytitnedion, freeing Tunnelworld from their influences. In the course of the struggle, however, Xhoohx was slain.

Comments: Created by Ed Hannigan and Herb Trimpe.

    I just found your site. I am amazed by the fact that SOMEONE really liked that stuff, and also by the fact that I actually created that whole world. I had forgotten most  of it!  The Sputs!  I  haven't thought of them in decades! I guess I'll have to dig those issues out
and reread them.
    I had a lot of fun doing those issues but I have to say most of the powers that were at Marvel in those days hated the Tunnelworld stories.  They were glad to see me off of the Defenders.  Oh well.
    And thanks for the comparison to Steve Gerber . He was a mentor of sorts in those days, though he could never seem to remember just who I was...


Ed Hannigan

Clea cast a translation spell shortly after entering Tunnelworld to allow the Defenders to understand to Sputs. You can assume that none of the natives of Tunnelworld spoke English or anything remotely like it, but that similar spells made it all clear.

The Tunnelworld saga is one of my favorites of the original run of the Defenders. There are still a few points that deserve explanation (and responses by Tunnelworld's creator, Ed Hannigan, in italics)

  1. Arisen Tyrk was left in an inert state under the care of Xhoohx, who was subsequently captured and slain. I'd guess the Nya continue to watch over Tyrk, but he's a powerful guy to just leave lying around.
        Don't know. See below. One assumes if the saga had continued he would have escaped or been revived or whatever. Make a good Sauron type villain.
        Lunatik sort of morphed into Lobo at DC.
    --And from Lobo into Keith Giffen's Lunatik, @ Marvel Comics Presents#172,
                    who came to Earth and slew a Tyrk fragment Lunatik in his own series--Snood.
  2. Ytitnedion went mad after losing contact with the Unnameable and it was suggested that those who served the Unnameable had surrendered their own identities, and had nothing left without him. Is this true of all who served the Unnameable? Were there dozens or hundreds of crazy Ixhoohxi left rampaging through Tunnelworld? What happened to them? What about the Buzzard People? They seemed to retain some degree of intelligence, and its not clear if they were just nasty servants of Ytitnedion, or whether they were actually under the Unnameable's power. If so, they might have all gone mad and the city of Ogeon could have been quite a bloodbath.
        Probably. But  I think I would have had a certain faction that regained their sanity and some who were permanently warped, making for convenient  bad guy foot soldiers or whatever. Maybe  I would  have introduced a successor to  Xhoohx or something along those lines who could be fighting to reclaim the Ixhooxhi.
  3. What's the power structure in Tunnelworld now? You'd think Aeroika might have risen to a position of power, but a lot of the people were left with a lot of hostility towards tyrants, and were suspicious of any leader.
     Sorry to say I really don't have any good answers for you. First of all, it has been so long since I worked on that story line that I hardly remember what it was about. I do remember there was a lot of pressure to just end it and get on with something else.
        My attitude has been that this is a slice of the history of Tunnelworld which is ongoing, and just like life here on Earth there are always lots of loose ends. Even World War II which had a distinct "end" with the good guys winning and all, really left many unresolved issues, some of which continue to play out to this day.
        To bring up another example of my attitude in the Defenders, I had Kyle Richmond unfairly hounded and ultimately sentenced to jail for tax reasons. When I was leaving the book I was questioned about how I had intended to resolve this. How was Kyle going to get out of jail? Who framed him, etc.? My reply was that he was not going to get out. He was going to serve his sentence. No super-villain was behind the whole thing, he was just unfairly persecuted by the IRS. You can imagine how this went over.
        Now, If I had stayed I might have used this situation for story material. I never thought much of Nighthawk as a hero anyway but  he might have been interesting as a jailbird or even  as a villain, which is how he started out originally I believe.
        The questions you bring up would make a good springboard for a return to Tunnelworld  yet again, but no one ever picked up the threads. I don't remember if I had  ideas at the time how things would continue. Probably
    no more than vague notions. To a certain extent I was making it up as I went along. If anyone had shown any interest in continuing  I would have  gladly gone on. I think Tunnelworld could easily have been a series in itself. But...
        I don't know if you saw my League of Justice series at DC. It was a  failure too, alas.  I used  some of the same kinds of themes as in Tunnelworld. Retreads!
        Failure? I think not. I'll always get a kick out of that saga, and it definitely made a big impression on me.
        By the  way, you might know that Beethoven's Third Symphony was called Eroica and was supposedly inspired by Napoleon.  Sooo...

Tunnelworld has a full entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1980s Handbook.




While the fragments of Arisen Tyrk were referred to as the Nilffim, I think the Nilffim were actually the giant flighted birds they rode. The fragments would be more correctly referred to as the Nilffim Riders. Alternatively, they may have been seen together so frequently that the term could refer to either the birds or the riders. After defeating all of the Tyrk fragments, the Defenders rode the Nilffim to Xhoohx's castle. Ytitnedion apparently regained the birds after defeating and capturing Xhoohx, as they were again seen in the city of Ogeon (which was also referred to as the Nilffimhold). The Hulk rode one of them while under the control of the Unnameable.


--Defenders I#71 (72, 73, 82, 83






Not quite dwarves, not quite elves or hobbits, they were the Sputs. They were a peaceful, small folk who dwelt in villages outside of Ogeon. They opposed the Unnameable, and were prepared to attack the Defenders when they first suspected they were in league with it.

They were skilled archers and managed to enhance their range by using their legs to hold the bow while they stretched back the string. This enabled them to strike at the airborn Nilffim and their Riders.

Bozqwip, Filvot, Oguot, and Stalwag were named

--Defenders I#71 (72, 78





He ran the Inn in which the Defenders met up with Aeroika. He employed Filvot (not seen).


--Defenders I#78







were two of the Sput refugees who were fleeing the evil stain of the Unnameable. They encountered the Defenders shortly after their first travel to Tunnelworld, when they were attacked by the Nilffim-Riders.


--Defenders I#71 (72


Defenders I#71 (May, 1979) - Ed Hannigan (writer), Herb Trimpe (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Allen Milgrom (editor)
Defenders I#72-73 (June-July, 1979) - Ed Hannigan (writer), Herb Trimpe (pencils), Fred Kida (#72) & Mike Esposito (#73) (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Defenders I#78-79 (December, 1979 - January, 1980) - Ed Hannigan (writer), Herb Trimpe & Ed Hannigan (#79) (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Defenders I#80-81 (February-March, 1980) - Ed Hannigan (writer), Herb Trimpe (pencils), Dan Green (#80) & Jack Abel (#81) (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Defenders I#82-83 (April-May, 1980) - Ed Hannigan (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Last Updated: 09/21/03

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