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Catching Up With Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

The superstar writing team DnA return to the Outhouse to talk about Annihilators, New Mutants, Heroes for Hire, and more!


With their start on New Mutants beginning this week, Marvel superstars Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning met up with Outhouse podcasters B.K. Thomson and SuperginraiX to update readers on their recent and upcoming work. Check out their first Outhouse Interview here!

The Thanos ImperativeSuperginraiX: When we last interviewed you, you couldn't talk much about Thanos Imperative. Now that it's done, how do you think the story played out?

Dan Abnett: I'd say we're very happy with how it worked out. It's a very big, dramatic story combining some great elements of Marvel Cosmic. It's something we have been working towards for a long time, and I think it had a really satisfying conclusion to itself and to the story, and as a punctuation point to what we were doing. It paved the way towards The Annihilators and Rocket and Groot. Every now and then, you need a good bit of closure, and that was a good bit of closure. I loved the reaction.

Andy Lanning: It's always a real buzz for us when we get to see the really nice hardcover collections that Marvel do. It's got a nice arc to it, that story which we feel tied up a lot of the ends of the story.

Super: When did you know that Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova wouldn't be continuing? Did that impact how you were ending Thanos Imperative?

Andy: Marvel was letting us tell the story how we wanted to tell it, and play it out the way we wanted to play it. Taking both Nova and the Guardians into hiatus gave us the opportunity to tie up all the story points that we wanted to at that point, rather than have those issues just end abruptly and nothing be explained, which can often happen when a book goes away. Lots of story points can be left hanging in the air or arbitraily tied up very quickly, in a rushed manner, in the final issue.

Marvel was very generous with us in that they let us play out our big story in an event book. Whereas before we had done things like Annilation or Annihlation Conquest where we had a miniseries with the other titles going alongside it, we thought it would be much more satisfying as a story to have it run through just one story in one book. So as soon as we realized we were in a position where Nova and GotG would be ending at that stage, that, to us, was the best possible way to go out.

The AnnihilatorsDan: I don't think the ending of Thanos was determined because the books were canceled. The drama of the ending was not a response to being told these characters weren't coming back. It was more a case of being sure that ending was tidy. We've had a wonderful response to the cosmic books with a lot of hardcore fans, but a book like Nova was not a guaranteed big hitter every month, and therefore I think it's better to do manageable story chunks and end things properly, rather than risk running it into the ground and getting a book canned mid-story, which is the most unsatisfying thing that can possibly happen.

So there was a sense of renewal with the Annihilators coming out of this. It's a sense of tidying up and getting a fresh jump on things. There's also all sorts of internal structural and strategic decisions within marvel about where characters are going and what's going to hapen to them, but the dramatic ending of Thanos Imperative was not just us throwing our hands in the air and saying "oh, well that's it". It was a thing we were working to for a long time.

Super: With every series there are things that don't get tied up. In War of Kings, there was a second Nova Prime who was captured by the Shi'ar, and he met an evil Nova Prime. Did that ever get resolved?

Dan: It doesn't. It's a fairly standard operating procedure, and this sort of blows in the face of what I was saying just now about tidying up loose ends, but one of the processes of writing an ongoing book like GotG or Nova that Andy and I always followed is to deliberately build loose ends in so you always have interesting characters and plotlines you can pick up and run with organically as the book progresses, so there were inevitably things that we seeded into the story, and that's a very good example, that haven't yet been concluded, because when it comes to tidying up loose ends with Thanos Imperative, there are much more integral loose ends that need to be sorted out first. With Supernova, that storyline is the sort of thing you might see resolved at some point in the Annihilators. A storyline may move from one cosmic book to another. There's a grand scale cosmic continuity. Just because a story starts in one place, it might not finish there.

The AnnihilatorsAndy: We were juggling a lot of plot points that we threw out there and it's only when you decide to pick one up and run with it, like the Thanos storyline... we've mentioned this in our last interview: we didn't know what was in the cocoon. What was in the cocoon kept changing. The Supernova story is another one like that. You throw these things out there because they're dramtic and create a sense of cliffhanger, and how they play out... you want to keep going until you tell all the stories you want to.

In the greater cosmic scheme of things, we've shifted gears in going on to the Annihilators book to tell a different set of cosmic storylines, but we still have a great deal of affection and a great deal of stories to tell about those other characters. So we try to pick up those threads and weave them in as much as we can. The cold hard truth about the whole thing is that Nova and GotG weren't selling enough to maintain them, and it's always a better bet to relaunch with something new and try again. We're lucky that we're still getting the opportunity to write the stories and keep our own sense of cosmic continuity going within the Anihilators book.

Super: When did you know that Annihilators would be following the Thanos Imperative?

Dan: It was part of our plan early on, which is one of the reasons we gave them a dry run in the Thanos Imperative, moving from the small-scale, misfit team of Guardians of the Galaxy to a full scale cosmic Avengers level team of the Annihilators. At that point, it was a case of whether or not the Thanos Imperative worked as a book. If it didn't sell well and people didn't like it very much, Marvel wouldn't come knocking on our door looking for anything else. When it did sell well, that was the top of their list for us to run with.

So we had that in our pocket ready to go, but we had to wait until Thanos Imperative was well underway and getting a great response to get the green light to move on it, which is how things normally happen. You know what you'd like to do next, and you have suggestions ready to go, but you wait to see whether what you've done already is working to allow you to build on it.

The AnnihilatorsBK: With Rocket Racoon and Groot, what is it about these two that seems to have picked up a lot of fan interest?

Andy: If we knew what it was, we'd bottle it and be millionaires by now. You don't really know what people will pick up on. We like them, we think they're fun, we think they're quirky and bizarre characters and we're fans of Bill Mantlo's Rocket Racoon run, and fans of what Keith Giffen did when he put them in Annihilation Conquest: Star-Lord, so in some respects we've got a lot to thank Keith for there. He did the alchemy of putting those characters together and we developed them during the course of the Guardians books in a way that seems to have struck a chord with people.

We were desperately trolling through the Marvel Universe looking for obscure, unused or forgotten characters from the cosmic universe that we could put in and dust off, mainly because no one is using those characters so you can do whatever you want. There's a sense of danger because these characters don't have their own books, so anything can happen to them. In the course of doing that, you tend to write stories that amuse yourself and play with characters that you're drawn to, and we seem to have struck a chord with Rocket and Groot because they're a lot of fun.

Dan: I think we wrote them with the enthusiasm that we would write any character with. We thought they were funny and a lot of fun. We didn't expect them to become that popular. It's the very unlikeliness of a walking, talking tree that says the same thing over and over again and his buddy that appeals to people as being preposterous and representative of the sort of "anything goes" stuff that can happen in a cosmic book. I think that's really what we played with.

BK: Is Rocket Racoon and Groot going to be more of a buddy storyline separate from the main storyline in Annihilators, or are they two storylines that interconnect?

The AnnihilatorsDan: Without giving away anything, the Rocket and Groot miniseries was orignally slated to be its own miniseries. Marvel came up with the idea to combine the books into one miniseries, which is a great sales move, because though the book is a little bit more expensive, you're actually getting two comics for $4.99, which is actually cheaper than buying two books. It also gives exposure to the Rocket and Groot story which only hardcore fans might have picked up, and hopefully people will now be exposed to it. So it was always written as a complete story, but it's against the backdrop of the Thanos Imperative and hopefully sets the stage again for things as we're moving forward.

BK: Are they the Annihilators or the Cosmic Avengers?

Dan: We used the term "Cosmic Avengers" to express the sort of level of team that they really were, and Marvel joked at San Diego last year that they were the Cosmic Avengers but making them in any way, shape, or form an official Avengers team is frought with all kinds of problems, so we wanted to take the name that related to the legacy of big cosmic events, and the idea that Star-Lord wants to put together a team of heavy hitters that he described as "Annihilators" because that's the best way of dealing with the super heavy problems that come out of the cosmic neighborhood. As Ronan points out in the story, although Annihilators is a fairly aggressive and provacative title, so is Avengers. So I think it's entirely appropriate.

Andy: And it starts with a giant letter A!

BK: With the Annihilators storyline, you've reintroduced the Space Knights, who had a limited series as well a few years ago. What is it about those fringe characters that appeals to readers?

Dan: I think there's a remarkable popularity there. I think that whenever you talk to people about cosmic books and cosmic characters, people mention them. That original series and character that we're not mentioning (because Marvel no longer holds the trademark for him) is really beloved and people have incredibly fond memories of it. They're always asking why we don't bring them back and why we're not putting them in the story.

Well, as you point out, there was a limited series. I think it was James Fallon and Chris Batista who did the limited series a few years back. We actually acknowledge the continued existance of the Space Knights and Galidor in Annihilation Conquest. They make a brief appearance there. So as far as we're concerned they're still part of the cosmic community. Their culture exists and it seemed a nice thing to do, a new direction to step in. A new race to encounter, to make them the focus and personality of the story.

The other thing of course, is it's not just the Space Knights. What's very cool about the Space Knights is that they have such a marvelous bad guy in the Dire Wraiths. They are one of the all time great Marvel monsters, with continuities extending to so many other things, particularly the X-Books and that kind of stuff. They are very, very interesting, very, very popular, very, very cool monsters. It'd be difficult to do a story that brought them back without acknowledging the continuity of the Space Knights, so it was as much about bringing both parts back together in conjunction as it was about "wouldn't it be cool to see Space Knights again?" And it's all a part of that thing Andy and I love, which is delving into this pre-existing continuity. It's the idea that the universe is there; you've just got to go looking for the bits that we haven't seen in a while.

The AnnihilatorsAndy: And it's up and down the line so far with cosmic stuff we've been able to dig out and play with, characters that we read and enjoyed as kids. The Rom stuff, at the time, was fantastic. To get to play with that stuff, and some of the continuities, is just great fun for all of us.

BK: It's been great to see the Space Knights and hopefully someday we'll be able to see them going up against the Raptors as well.

Dan: Another one of those loose ends, isn't it? More loose ends!

Super: We've got one more cosmic question since we're on the topic before we move on to other thing. Outhouse reader Victorious Squid wanted us to ask, "If Marvel Cosmic characters like Galactus and Thanos wear pants, it stands to reason they wear underwear, but where do they buy them?

(laughter)

Dan: That brings up all sorts of images, like blackholes.

Andy: And gas giants!

BK: Oh, gosh, what really are gas clouds?

Andy: That's a very good question, unfortunately, almost all the answers I thought of immediately aren't fit for broadcast.

New Mutants #25Super: And if we tried to put them in the interview, Marvel would probably say no.

As far as the New Mutants go, I know it's early on, so I'm just going to leave this broad to start out with, but what can you tease us with about the New Mutants?

(fight between Dan and Andy over who goes first)

Dan: I'm as vague as you are with stuff like this. I'm trying to think of what we can say without blowing things up. First of all, let's just say, as a starting off point, we're delighted to be writing that because we are big fans of the X-Books and of these characters in particular but also because just the opportunity to be working in that different corner of the Marvel Universe is very attractive. Also the fact that the X-Books, I'm incredibly impressed with the way they are orchestrated as a unit. That they are, of themselves, a very closely policed continuity of characters that cross very freely from one book to another, giving a sense of immediate community which is working together or at odds.

One of the loveliest things about this is when the editor, Nick Lowe, asked us to work on this book, the characters were already in positions where they needed to have their stories continued. It wasn't a matter of "what can we do with these characters," it is "this is where the character is. Can you pick up the strand?" So it was a matter of us fitting into their structure in a way, and I think that that's an interesting thing to do, creatively speaking, because you get to plug in and almost immediately in our first issue there are major X-Men characters who are just there because they're there at the same time and that was a fun thing to play around with.

The New Mutants themselves are very attractive, interesting characters and what we're doing to begin with is a storyline called Unfinished Business, where the team essentially takes on the mantle of being the unit that goes and sorts out the stuff. It's funny because it's the loose ends again. It's the bits and pieces that, in the general course of things, the X-Men haven't had time to finish up and tidy up. Cyclops has become more aware of the fact that some of these loose ends, every now and then, come back and bite them in the arse quite badly because they don't have a chance to sort them out. So the New Mutants is the team that has to go and find missing people and make sure things are put away properly, and that leads to some really interesting continuity that we get to play with.

New Mutants #25Super: Awesome. So is the line-up going to stay essentially the same, or are you going to be adding or subtracting people? Or is that all up in the air?

Andy: Well I think, without locking down anything because I don't want to ruin any surprises, the line-up is fluid at the moment. People will come and people will go.

Dan: Although, because of the way that the X-Community works, in terms of the X-Books, characters that step down from the team aren't necessarily out of the book. They don't have to not be an active team member for us to not be engaged with their storyline. So it's not like we're losing popular or favorite characters, it's just the actual team deployment dynamic is likely to shift a little in the next few issues in some interesting ways. It gives us a chance to play up some characters who haven't had much limelight recently or have been somewhat eclipsed by other characters who have had a lot of things going on with them.

Andy: I think that that is one of the great things about the way that Nick runs the X-Office. Also, one of the really enjoyable elements is that cohesive sense of soap opera about the X-Men books. Something that they've had right from the Claremont/Byrne days is the idea that there is a background of characters that are moving in and out of all the books, and all the books are taking place against the setting of each other. That just gives it a real sense of throughstory for the whole line.

New Mutants #25Super: What characters have you found most interesting as far as the New Mutants? Or what's your favorite character?

Dan: The very interesting thing about the New Mutants is that writing them brings back memories for me of reading them when they were first starting out as characters and being very impressed with them. There are ones that stick in mind. For instance, a character like Cypher is really interesting just because there's such an unusual thing or things he can do. His skills are so unusual. So when I was thinking about New Mutants, I was thinking, "I can't wait to write him because he's going to be really cool," and then forgetting how attractive or interesting Magma or Sunspot or somebody like that is going to be as well because you kind of take for them for granted because they're slightly more conventional, and their powers are simpler. You sort of forget how iconic they are in terms of the way this team works.

So some of the characters are attractive because they're very complicated, and some of the characters are attractive because they're "Wow, it's them! We get to use them!" So I would have difficulty picking out a favorite. I think there's nobody on this team at the moment that I'm going, "Oh, it's a shame we've got to put them in it because they aren't as fun as the others." There's a real sense of it all being very compelling.

New Mutants #25Andy: I think the thing when you're writing a team book is that you might gravitate towards a character that you think is cool or whatever, but to do it justice they all have to be your favorites, or else you'll find that you will ignore a character or not want to approach that character. We always try to find something in each of the characters that will give you story potential with that character, so that, whilst your writing that particular character or you're telling a story that highlights that character, THAT character is your favorite at that time. Characters like Warlock... I think Warlock is everyone's favorite but at the moment we're doing some stuff with Dani. Dani Moonstar. You get to realize that, "wow, she's a really cool character," and it makes you remember great stories like the Sienkewicz era with the Demon Bear and stuff like that where you realize how cool these characters are, and what great history they've got. So I think that's it. The "flavor of the day" is the character you're working on at that point, you know?

Super: Well, I've got a reader question for you from Outhouse reader Nerdygirl. She's very excited about New Mutants, and with your Marvel Cosmic work, you've managed to bring a lot of characters who were once jokes and make them relevant and cool. What's the likelihood we could see you work your magic again with a character linked to New Mutants history like Bird Brain?

BK: Wow.

(laughter)

Dan: We've got to write an extended six issue mini-series about Bird Brain.

(laughter)

New Mutants #25BK: I have to agree on what Nerdygirl said. Bird Brain, during that Fall of the Mutants storyline, was an odd character but was always a favorite of mine.

Dan: I think the thing is that, even post-M-Day, with the reduction in mutant characters, there are so many cool-minded characters in the pages of the X-Books as a whole. There are so many people you can do so much with. I think our biggest problem is going to be picking and choosing and actually focusing on the ones that we've got space to deal with, because there is so much there to play around with.

Super: Actually, how long is it going to be until we see Stryfe?

(nervous laughter)

BK: OK, that was ominous laughter. We'll just move onto Heroes for Hire, huh?

(laughter)

Super: Sounds good!

BK: OK! Heroes for Hire! Now, gentlemen, were you approached to write this book, or did you go to Marvel and say, "this is kind of a book that we would like to work on?"

New Mutants #25Dan: Bill Rosemann, our editor on the Cosmic books, was putting together some new projects launching from the Shadowland event, focusing on the "street heroes" of the Marvel Universe. He had an idea for a "non-team" approach for the various urban loners, and asked us if that would be something that would interest us. We then batted back some ideas which basically centered around Misty (Knight) in this role of the controller, this dispatcher, of a group of heroes, and during the course of putting that idea together, which had several different names - I believe one was "Shadownet" at the time - we realized, "well, hang on, it's got Misty in it. We're bringing in other characters that are related to Misty. Surely this would sail better under the Heroes for Hire banner." So we basically said to Marvel, "is anyone doing anything with Heroes for Hire at this point?" because this book would ideally benefit from having the Heroes for Hire title to it. Luckily, they came back and said, "yeah, yeah, you can call it that." So that's pretty much how it came to be called Heroes for Hire.

BK: The first four issues are out, and so far each issue has kind of been a stand alone story with an over-arching plot that deals with Misty and the big bad of the storyline. Do you intend to keep writing the series in that format?

Dan: I think the basic format is established there, in as much as there are individual missions that are undertaken by heroes that are "hired" to perform because of their particular skillsets, and that these are orchestrated by Misty. However there's already, as you point out, this meta-story, this sort of background arc of the big villain and what he's up to and how this interconnects with the set-up of the operation as a whole. I think, as we go on, we might find that one of these individual mission stories might last for two or three issues if the adventure is big enough to warrant it, but it will still be the same kind of self-contained structure as the characters will come in to perform a mission, and then, as it were, leave again until, in time, we will see them again.

I think one of the things we're trying to balance is that divide between the fun, ongoing story and what's going on in the background, and now I think we've got some really cool things. As we get past issue six or seven, we get some really interesting guest stars and things open up even further. We want to really play around with the expectations of what is actually going on and where it's going to lead to. So there are some things coming up.

New Mutants #25BK: There's some similarities with another title by the Distinguished Competition. What's the overall theme that's going to make Heroes for Hire stand out on its own?

Andy: I think the idea that we're playing with is that Misty Knight has actually been around for a fair number of years in the Marvel Universe and has connections with quite a lot of the mainstay heroes within that continuity. You know, with the Avengers and with the street heroes. With the X-Office as well. To us, it was coming up with a slightly different take on the Heroes for Hire moniker, so that they weren't actually doing it for money. It was more for favors and to get information. Some of the heroes actually ARE for hire. She has to actually use money to hire them. But we just thought that that was an interesting dynamic: the idea that she could be at the center of something where she could call out to people and use their talents in specific ways on specific missions.

Whether that's similar to the Distinguished Competition's story or not, I don't know because I don't read that, unfortunately. In that respect, we're aware of Oracle and what Oracle does, but it was never our intention to basically do our version of that. We seriously were just looking at the best way of reinterpreting the Heroes for Hire format, and we thought this was the most interesting one. Now, beyond that, we added that layer of Misty being manipulated into doing this. That's no surprise there, because that's revealed at the end of the first issue ,so we thought that there was a meta-story beyond that put it into context. But the actual remit that she creates there, the operating procedure of puting the right hero in the right case, is something that she would want to keep going with because she's obviously got a mission. She's run Heroes for Hire in various incarnations with various heroes and this is just the latest incarnation of it. Now, I believe I'm rambling now so I'll pass it over to Dan.

(laughter)

New Mutants #25Dan: Yeah, I think that's it. It's what Andy said just now. You've got this range of really interesting characters, the so-called street level heroes in New York, and you need a way to orchestrate them into a book which can allow for a rotating cast but also an ongoing sort of throughstory so that there is some interconnectivity and some regular characters you can connect to. She's a very appealing character in that regard.

The other regular in the book, of course, Paladin, is also, I think, mysteriously underused. There's lots of interesting things we can do with him. We're beginning to do that now. I just think that it gives you, rather than just being a team-up book, a team-up book with an ongoing story. And that was a great way that, we thought, we could reinterpret the concept of Heroes for Hire, to keep the legacy and tradition of the great name of it with a slightly different tweak to it this time.

Obviously it's in its early days yet. We've only got four issue out. As we go along you will see some of these heroes coming back for a second or third outing. You know, just because we've worked with them once doesn't mean that we'll never see them again. There will be some regulars that she calls on. And one of the things that we hope to do is something that people seemed to have loved with our cosmic team, Guardians of the Galaxy, which is to create that unlikely combination of people where we put together characters that you didn't ever necessarily think you'd see together before.

Unlikely combos. Forgotten characters that have never had much done with them recently. That kind of stuff. It's Rocket and Groot all over again. It's finding the Marvel equivalent of Rocket and Groot in New York and then having some fun and seeing if people are like, "Gosh! I remember that character! Now, he was so cool. Why don't we see more of him?" That, plus putting in really really cool, obviously cool guys like Ghost Rider and Moon Knight. So there is a sort of revolving door principle of this book that I think is one of it's greatest strengths.

BK: Did you get to provide Marvel with the list of characters you want to play with in the book? You've had Falcon, Silver Sable, Ghost Rider, Elektra, I've seen Punisher makes an appearance, Iron Fist, just to name a few. Is that the roundabout cast or is there more that you have the opportunity to play with down the line, and has there been any that you really wanted but Marvel hasn't allowed?

Heroes for HireDan: There's a bit of both because I think we've got some characters that, by the very merit of who they know and how they're connected to the Marvel Universe, they've sort of got to be there. We were given a list of characters that we might want to think about using, and we're constantly on the look out for characters that could have slipped through the net: the secondary or real tertiary characters that you think actually would be really cool to fit into this story.

Every now and then, with any book, you're using characters that have continuity that touch on other books, and there will be times when you can't use them simply because that's the way things work. Unless you're Wolverine or Deadpool, I think. So there are characters that you simply can't bring into a book because they're busy somewhere else, and that's fine. You just find an alternative to do that, particularly when you have this type of book with great crossover potential. You've got to be very, very careful that you don't misrepresent a character who might be appearing in more than one place.

It's a good place between them giving us suggestions, us making our own suggestions to see if we can use them, and then just being sort of respectful about how we use the characters so that they're not betraying whatever other books they're appearing in.

Andy: I think that with most team books, when you're bringing in characters from other books, you just have to be respectful of the fact that they may be appearing in other titles, and Marvel basically has to control that. That's the overview that the editors have to do. There's a lot of give and take.

We obviously throw characters out there that we think are suitable for the story. We're delving into, again, our Marvel Universe Handbooks to find slightly more obscure characters or characters that you might not necessarily expect to see, as well as some that are slightly more mainstream and slightly more like A-listers. It's a lot of give and take, but, for the most part, we've not been disappointed so far. Every character we've used has been spot on for what we've needed, and if we had to put in a second choice character, it's always been someone who fills the role that we need them to.

BK: Recently, Marvel has, in their Avengers book, reprinted issue number one of Heroes for Hire. That's something I haven't seen Marvel do before outside of their standard previews at the back of books. How good a feeling was that that they're supporting Heroes for Hire by reprinting the entire issue?

Andy: It was brilliant that it happened, really.

Heroes for HireDan: I think it's the first time that it has happened. I think it's something they intend to do from time to time, but, basically, it's Marvel saying, "here's a great book. Maybe people should pay attention to it. We'll present it for free in an interesting, successful book and make sure more people are aware of it," and we were very flattered that it happened. We were very, very flattered that we were the first book that could happen to, so it's a terrific thing and I'll say an extremely clever thing for Marvel to do to support their undiscovered books that are still growing. But, yeah, great. What a great showcase!

BK: How far along have you written the title? How many issues deep?

Dan: We're working through nine to eleven at the moment, but we know what the stories beyond that are, so we try to keep well ahead of the our deadlines and give the artists as much elbow room as possible to keep up with us.

Andy: We been bounced around, to be fair, because we've had Brad working on one sequence and another artist working on another sequence. So we're... I can't remember.

(laughter)

BK: Andy, you've seen Brad Walker's pencils. Since you're an inker as well as a writer, has there ever been a time when you've been like, "man, I really want to ink that?"

Andy:
Well, yeah, if I could grow a extra set of arms, I probably could do that. It seems to be that the inking I've got on the plate at the moment is taking up more than enough of my time. But I would love to ink Brad's stuff. In fact, I have got a couple of pages of Guardians of the Galaxy pencils sitting in my inbox which I've started inking on and had to keep putting to one side because of my own inking deadlines. Brad gently reminds me that he's desperate to see what they look like. I've had them for almost a year now and not managed to finish them off, but if and when I do, I'll show them to Brad first and then it can be up to him if he shows anybody else. Brad's pencils are fantastic. He really is a breaking out talent.

Super: Well, now that you're working in the regular Marvel Universe, what would you like to do next? Since you have Heroes for Hire, New Mutants, and Annihilators going on, is there any other territory in the Marvel Universe that you'd like to tackle? An Avengers book?

BK: There's not enough Avengers books out there! I think we need another one.

Super: Apparently there are, otherwise there'd be a Galactic Avengers.

Andy: Well, obviously we've got our favorites, and if the Marvel offices were to offer us an Avengers book, we'd have to look long, hard, and very seriously at it because it would be a fantastic thing to write. At the moment, we're focusing on the books that we've got on our table because it is more than enough work with the other books that we're writing for other companies at the moment as well. I know that there are two of us, so we can take on a slightly larger workload than a regular single writer, but even so you reach a point where you've got to think long and hard about taking on extra stuff. You run the risk of diluting yourself.

Super: You mention that you're doing work for other companies now, so is it safe to say that you're not Marvel exclusive anymore?

Heroes for HireAndy: Yes, that's correct. We came to the end of our exclusive run, and it seemed like the right time because it came right as we tied up the Thanos stuff, and it seemed like a nice time to draw a line under that. We'd been offered various bits and bobs from other companies, because we've obviously worked for quite a few people in our time, and obviously whilst we were exclusive we had to either turn them down or say, "we're exclusive, sorry, you'll have to wait until later on." So we just thought we'd dip our toe back in the freelance circuit again, which is quite fun, because we're doing some stuff with BOOM! Studios which is very interesting and a little run on some IDW stuff. We're also working on some DC stuff as well.

Super: Any teasers you like to give us to any of your other work before we call it a day?

Andy: We're writing some of the Flashpoint titles for D.C. We are going to be doing the Wonder Woman and the Furies title and the Lois Lane and the Resistance title for Flashpoint, and that is incredibly exciting. And we are taking over the reins on Soldier Zero for BOOM!, and we just did the Infestation event for IDW, which leads into a Transformers mini-series that we are writing called Heart of Darkness. I believe that's it then.

Dan: Yes, at the moment it is.

Super: Well it sounds like you guys are incredibly busy right now with the titles you have your hands in.

Andy: That's for sure.

(Laughter)

BK: And looking at your current body of ongoing work, how long do you see yourself staying on the books?

Andy: Well, we only just started, so at this stage that is something we really are not thinking about. With Heroes for Hire, we tell stories with certain arcs to keep to story moving forward but also have a sense of completion with various parts of that title. It is an ongoing title, but, like we did over with Guardians, we tend to plan out things and leave things out there where you can pick them up later. As things stand with Heroes for Hire we have plotted well beyond nine and eleven, and until they pull the plug on the book or we are asked politely to take our coats and leave, we will keep going.

You always go into a book with the idea you want to do a decent run on it at least, and even with the cosmic stuff we were still at that stage we hadn’t run out of ideas or felt that we wanted to tie-up and leave it. I think, as of yet, we have yet to get into a situation with a book where we left it because we've done our bit on it. They've always just folded underneath us.

(Laughter)

Andy: Maybe we're albatrosses! We've killed many a good title!

(Laughter)

Heroes for HireBK: I have so many fond memories of a lot of your titles from the Distinguished Competition, Legion of Super-Heroes, Legion Lost was great, and looking back to Marvel UK, Death's Head and Death's Head II. Any chance we'll see any of that reprinted?

Dan: I think DC is finally getting around to doing some nice reprints of the Legion stuff that we did back in... however long, I lost track They're going to do Legion of the Damned and Legion Lost, I believe, as trades at last, so you will have a chance for new readers to read those. Those are works we are really proud of and thank you for mentioning that.

BK: We've been talking for quite some time and covered a great amount of books. I want to at least give you the opportunity to see if there any other books we may not have talked about or something you'd like to plug and get out to our readers. Any of your other works?

Andy: I must say that we've covered so much of the stuff that is out there, it is great. I mean obviously I’ll make a plug for Dan’s fantastic Games Workshop Warhammer novels.

Dan: Thank you very much.

Andy: It is great. Everyone should have at least one copy. They are extremely absorbent.

(Laughter)

BK (failing to get the joke): Is that absorbent like you can really get engaged into the reading or good for picking up spills.

Dan: It’s both. It’s both.

Andy: It is very telling that the publisher has done them with perforated pages.

(laughter)

I am also inking Phil Jimenez' Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics, which is great fun, especially going back to doing Legion stuff again. I am also inking Mark Bagley on the Ultimate Spider-Man Death of Spider-Man story-arc as well, so that is keeping me very, very busy too.

Super: I would like to thank you for your time today. Thank you very much for answering our fun questions and our less than fun questions. I do not want to take any more of your time. You have, apparently, way too many things to do right now. Thank you very much for the interview.

Andy: Thanks a lot.

Dan: Thank you.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning take over New Mutants with New Mutants #25, in stores WEDNESDAY! Don't forget to check out Heroes for Hire, The Annihilators, and all the other fantastic work from DnA past and present in your local comic shops! Check out our first interview with the duo here!



Written or Contributed by: Jude Terror

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About the Author - Jude Terror


Jude Terror is the Webmaster Supreme of The Outhouse and a sarcastic ace reporter dedicated to delivering irreverent comics and entertainment news to The Outhouse's dozens of loyal readers. Driven by a quest for vengeance, Jude Terror taught himself to program and joined The Outhouse. He instantly began working toward his goal of forcing the internet comics community to take itself less seriously and failing miserably.  Ironically, our webmaster, whose website skills know no end, has very little understanding of social networks or how they work.  Regardless, you can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, but would probably have the most luck just emailing him.

 


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