Marvel's cosmic king Dan Abnett returns to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
(CBR) In the aftermath of the 2007's "Annihilation: Conquest" miniseries, the spaceways of the Marvel Universe were in a turbulent state -- and in dire need of heroes. What they got was a ragtag band of defenders that included a half-human, half-alien prince, a highly trained assassin reputed to be the deadliest woman in the universe, an immensely powerful alien warrior whose body housed the spirit of a vengeful human, an alien life form that resembled a gigantic tree and a talking, heavily-armed raccoon. The adventures of these heroes were chronicled in a new volume of the fan-favorite series "Guardians of the Galaxy" by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; an epic space opera which pitted the titular team against a host of immensely powerful cosmic adversaries.
Abnett and Lanning's run on "Guardians of the Galaxy" came to an end in 2010, but the work they did with the characters continues to resonate. Their stories inspired both the current "Guardians" series from writer Brian Michael Bendis and the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy" feature film from Marvel Studios, which hits theaters this August. So it's only fitting that Abnett and Lanning return to pen some more stories for the franchise they helped build, and this April they'll do just that. CBR News spoke with Abnett about his work on "Guardians of the Galaxy" #14, which serves as a special 100th issue celebration, and the two issue "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude," which serves as an overture to the upcoming feature film.
CBR News: Dan, I believe your last Marvel work was in 2012. How does it feel to come back to the company and to the Guardians, especially now when the team's profile is at an all-time high?
Dan Abnett: I'm very happy. I had done a large block of work for Marvel and it had sort of run its course. Now to come back with these stories and there are other bits and pieces in the works, which are quite promising, is really great.
I started working with Marvel UK in the late '80s, on staff. In that time there have been periods when I've worked for Marvel both in Britain and America, and there have been times when I've written for DC. So I think it's a cyclic thing.
And what's happening with "Guardians" is very exciting. The film is going to be great. I can't wait to actually see it. I've had previews and have been privy to some information I'm not able to talk about, and it's going to be spectacular. So it's really nice that it's related so closely to the work I did in that time period on the run on the "Annihilation" stuff and "War of Kings."
I saw that you had the opportunity to tour the production offices of the "Guardians" film. Did you guys get to see any filming?
I did. I got an initial look at the film back when they were in preproduction. So I got to see a lot of design work, read the scripts, and all sorts of exciting things like that. Then I went back in the summer of last year. I went on set and met the characters in flesh and blood! I got to climb in the space ships and do all sorts of stuff. So that was very exciting. I'm very confident that this is going to be a memorable, exciting, and very entertaining film.
You and Andy Lanning collaborated on the "Guardians" stories that inspired the current series and the upcoming feature film, but I understand the new stories you're writing for your return are a little different in that you're working separately, is that correct?
Yes, kind of. Our working relationship essentially ran its course at the beginning of last year, but because ["Guardians" director] James Gunn asked us specifically if we would work on some of the material that would come out in support of the film we have done that.
In the old days we would brain storm together and then I would script. This time around we brainstormed ideas by e-mail with [editor] Bill Rosemann, who -- aside from our "Annihilation: Nova" mini -- edited our entire cosmic run. Andy then wrote up the basic plots and as always I wrote the scripts.
What can you tell us about the plot and characters featured in this "Prelude" that you collaborated on with Andy?
Because the movie is taking the comic and adapting it to movie form the characters will appear to be very recognizable, but they're not in quite the same continuity as the comics. Since this material is based on the movie there are a lot of references and likenesses.
Issue #1 is a Nebula story, which involves a lot of the other characters from the movie. Issue #2 is a Rocket and Groot story. So these stories introduce some of the regular and supporting characters and set up some of the elements of the film.
Who's drawing these stories for you guys?
Wellinton Alves, who we worked with on our "Nova" run, is penciling both issues. These stories take a little longer to get done because unlike a regular Marvel story everything has to be run by the Studio to make sure that we're head on; that nothing's said or done that shouldn't be and that the details and tone are right.
Tonally I think it's absolutely in keeping with our "Guardians" run as you would recognize it but it has its own flavor. That's something I worked hard to maintain in those Prelude stories.
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