December 17, 2010

Dan Abnett Talks Marvel Cosmic, Iron Man/Thor, Heroes For Hire, and More!

Back in July, our editor-in-chief, Andy Liegl, had the honor of meeting one of Marvel’s finest writers at San Diego Comic Con, Dan Abnett! Abnett, along with Andy Lanning, have spun some phenomenal stories in the Marvel Cosmic mythos over the last few years, most notably in War of Kings, Realm of Kings, and the recently concluded The Thanos Imperative. Now, Dan has been cool enough to take the time and answer a bunch of questions formulated by Andy, and journalists Billy Dunleavy and Mike Parente. So read on as Dan talks about what’s next for the Marvel Cosmic scene, plus Heroes For Hire, Iron Man/Thor, and more!

COMIC ATTACK: So, when you’re collaborating with Andy, we picture the two of you in a remote cabin by a lake, mountains all around, no electricity, and no indoor plumbing. The cabin has only a table and bunk beds. Are we close?

DAN ABNETT: We live fairly close to each other, about half an hour away. Except for the very busiest periods (when I’m finishing a novel or Andy is bows under with inking deadlines) we tend to meet up once a week or so and brainstorm. Then we divide up the work and ideas and write them up, sharing the workload, although dialogue and full scripts tend to fall to me.

CA: Do you find collaborating easier than working solo, or is it a whole different beast altogether?

DA: It’s just a nice change, really. Being a freelancer, artist or writer, can be very solitary and you can end up with cabin fever. It’s always been a very healthy outlet for both of us to spitball ideas and throw concepts around, so we’ve kept doing it. I think it also keeps the work we do on our own fresher.

Jack of Hearts

CA: Lets talk some Marvel Cosmic. Are there any “hands off” characters that you would like to bring in as a regular into the Marvel cosmos?

DA: Ms. Marvel/Binary. Love to bring in Captain marvel too, but there’s the Starlin Rule about him – one of the few characters to ever die well and stay dead. Our use of him in The Thanos Imperative exploited a loophole.  😉

CA: Jack of Hearts won his soul back in She-Hulk, is he fit for a cosmic role?

DA: Yes indeed. 😉

CA: There were rumours of a “Cosmic Avengers” team a while back. They were mostly squashed, but it seems as though recent events in The Thanos Imperative have produced a need for a cosmic powered team. Any chance of this happening?

DA: Check out the Annihilators announcement from last Friday!

Annihilators #1 Cover

CA: What was your inspiration for the Cancerverse?

DA: Both Lovecraft and Jim Starlin’s Captain Marvel continuity, and it sort of evolved in our heads as we develop it too.

CA: Gladiator’s leadership over the Shi’ar seemed shaky at best. Are we going to see some resolution with the dissension within the ranks, with possibly a new leader or the return of a former one?

DA: We’re just going to build on it. The whole Darkhawk/Raptors and Vulcan/Black Bolt thing needs to be explored, of course.

CA: The Starjammers played a huge role in War of Kings, but slowly fell off the map after that. Will there be a return of our cosmic X-Men any time soon?

DA: They are X-office characters, and as such we got special dispensation to borrow them. However, stay tuned. Who knows? 😉

Denizens of the Cancerverse

CA: Can you talk a bit about Marvel’s willingness to give you carte blanche with their cosmic characters?

DA: I wouldn’t call it carte blanche. They supervise and guide very carefully, but they do also let us find out how far our ideas go and how funky they would be before setting limits. Basically, we don’t hold back at all, and they guide us with what’s actually possible, especially given the fact that different characters belong to different editorial offices. Both Annihilators and War of Kings are examples of them really letting us go for broke with ideas that were previously “too difficult” to organise.

CA: How difficult is it too keep churning out big “cosmic threats”?

DA: Why, does it feel like we’re churning them out? 😉 Space is big: the scale and scope can be intimidating, but there’s soooo much we can do.

CA: Ok, lets bring the focus back down to Earth. With Heroes for Hire recently released, what happens to our monthly fill of cosmic titles (Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.)?

DA: I refer you back to Rocket and Groot and the Annihilators.

CA: What can you tell us about Heroes for Hire?

DA: [The] First issue has been received so well. We’re delighted.  It’s (deliberately) a chance for us to play with the other end of the MU spectrum. Street level, Earth, comparatively low power sets, real world. It’s a ‘non team’ format – heroes are chosen and brought in for specific missions depending on their skill sets. There’s also a big, dark, twisty back story.

CA: So will the series feature a rotating cast of characters?

DA: Exactly. Some fun combos, some unusual team ups, plus characters that join in regularly, plus a regular ‘core’.

CA: The first issue of Iron Man/Thor recently came out. What can you tease us with on where that series is headed?

DA: It’s huge and epic on our cosmic scale, it’s old school Thor and Iron Man action, with FOUR huge villains. Scot’s art is awesome. It’s about making gods for the 21st century.

CA: Looking over your resume (the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg, dinosaurs, comics, Warhammer), is there anything you haven’t written about?

DA: So far, Star Wars and the Simpsons.

CA: Any parting words for our readers?

DA: Thanks for reading. Hope we’re doing a good enough job. 😉

Dan takes a photo with Andy and The Movie Lady at San Diego Comic Con 2010!

Andy Liegl

Bill Dunleavy

Mike Parente



  1. Great interview guys! Glad to know the cosmic side of Marvel is still in some very capable hands and I still need to pick up Heroes for Hire 🙂

  2. Eli

    Great job men! I’ve loved the Marvel cosmic scene lately, its been great. I liked that bit about the “Starlin rule” and finding a loophole to be able to bring back Mar-Vell. That whole thing with the Cancerverse was masterfully executed. Marvel’s cosmic scene hasn’t been this good since Starlin was involved.

    Looking forward to what comes next, especially Annihilators… what a group!

  3. Billy

    Thanks again to Abnett for doing this. Getting to be a part of something that involves a person I look up too in such a high regard was nothing short of exhilarating! 😀

  4. You guys rock! He sounds like a really cool guy.

  5. I love Dan’s liberal use of the smiley face.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cosmic Book News, billy dunleavy. billy dunleavy said: Interview with Dan Abnett!!! […]

  7. […] Dan Abnett Talks Marvel Cosmic, Iron Man/Thor, Heroes For Hire, and More! Love to bring in Captain Marvel too, but there’s the Starlin Rule about him – one of the few characters to ever die well and stay dead. Our use of him in The Thanos Imperative exploited a loophole. […]

  8. […] but also ushered in the return of the Mad Titan himself, Thanos!  It also made me realise that Abnett and Lanning had basically made a lot of what was happening on Earth just a bit boring when compared […]

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