Dan Abnett Talks Rai from Valiant Comics!
We chatted with Dan back in April about his career and today Jeff sits down and talks to Dan about his current Rai run and the direction it’s going. Join Jeff while they spend some quality time together discussing Rai and his future (pun intended).
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
Here’s the transcript. Enjoy. ~ Steve The Robot.
[00:00:00] Jeff Haas: hello, listeners of spoiler country today on the show we have mr. Dan Abnett bag. How’s it going, mr. Avnet?
Dan Abnett: It’s going very well. Thank you for, thank you for having me back on. It was
Jeff Haas: it’s our, it’s definitely our pleasure. You were fantastic the last time. So we’re glad to have you back.
Dan Abnett: Thank you.
Jeff Haas: A lot has changed since last we talked in, I think it was March.
Dan Abnett: Was it the time seems to have stretched out in the strangest ways since I did this year is just very strange.
Jeff Haas: It felt like we are kind of living in infinite March at this point. So. So, how have you been, um, as the, as a lockdown been, uh, affecting you way since last we spoke?
Dan Abnett: Uh, not, not particularly, no. I am the very lucky situation of, of, uh, of essentially being in a job, which I can do.
From home, which I’ve always done from home. And so therefore being starting at home does not change things very much. There’s obviously been some fluctuations in the, in the industry itself, which, uh, which has had a, uh, [00:01:00] something of an effect. But, um, uh, no, the only real thing that, was, uh, a speed bump in the course of, uh, Uh, of, of lockdown and everything else going on is that my, uh, my appendix exploded.
Yeah. In a, in a, in August. I, uh, I just, uh, uh, I woke up one morning feeling a bit, a bit ill as if I didn’t something that disagree with me, although I couldn’t work out what that would have been. And, uh, within, within a day I was being rushed to a hospital in great pain. And, uh, and yes, my appendix had had, no, it wasn’t just appendicitis.
It had ruptured, uh, um, uh, so they, I had emerged because the surgery I was in hospital for a week, uh, which was, and I’m fine now. I’m, I’m I’m home. Um, my stitches are healing. Uh, I’m not allowed to lift anything heavy. That was a, that was a very weird experience. I mean, it’s a, it was a very serious thing.
Don’t get me wrong though. It’s potentially life threatening, but at the same time, it was it’s very routine. Uh huh. Operation and [00:02:00] the, uh, the staff at the hospital were, were great, but it was very weird because obviously we’re still under all sorts of, um, distancing protocols. So I was in a hospital, it was a very modern hospital.
It was very nice, but. The only people I ever saw it, I was in, I was in a room and said the only people I ever saw worth staff who were all masked they’re very friendly, but they were all basked. And so there was a distance. So there was, there was this extraordinary sense of isolation and after a day or so, it became a sort of mix between sort of the hospital version of, of, of, of the overlook hotel with the bitter Cronenberg.
Well, the horror thrown into it,
Jeff Haas: a
Dan Abnett: very strange experience, but yes, so that was all, although, like I said, I’ve come out of it kind of matched it perfectly well. Um, uh, and I’m now back on, uh, back on the, uh, uh, the treadmill of work. Uh, I’m, I’m a little slower than I was just because, uh, just because of the, you know, the antibodies and stuff, they stuff you fill up the.
Knocked the stuffing out of you for a while. So I find each day I’m a little more tired than usual, but other than that, I’m [00:03:00] fine. So yes, logged has been fine. Everything seems to be okay. Apart from that little, uh, adventure in the middle of it,
Jeff Haas: Jesus bodies are ridiculous things, right? I mean, you get the worst injuries from something, a part of your body.
You don’t even know. Ever notice until something goes wrong.
Dan Abnett: Absolutely. Without any warning. I mean there’s no, no, no, no way of knowing what it was that finally did it, is it something, was it McKinley? It was something that was gonna happen eventually. And the way, the way this thing is that you’ve done, you don’t know.
I don’t think of myself as a squeamish person, particularly. I mean, I’m fairly, fairly sort of robust in that sort of regard, but you don’t know things about yourself, an incident like that tells you something about yourself and, and it was the possibly the worst time to discover that I’m actually squeamish about intestines.
I didn’t know that about myself. Uh, so obviously they’re doing a list stuff and I’m going out, I’m going to say, Oh, that’s just horrible. That’s just really horrible. They’re describing what they’re gonna do. And I have all these sort of tubes going into it, double down and go, and this is just, I had no idea that this was a, this was something that I found that found revolting.
I talked to a friend of mine actually, who [00:04:00] were, who had had some abdominal surgery as well. And they hadn’t bothered them at all, but they said he had everyone’s. Got it. Yeah. In, in, in his case it was the top of his head. He said, even surgeons. It’s the Emmy surgeons. Who’ve seen everything, but they all have one thing that they’re squeamish about and it turns out mine was the thing that went wrong.
Jeff Haas: so in your future writings or your there’s going to be no intestines at all mentioned in the future, mr. Abbott.
Dan Abnett: Yeah. You pray on the one hand. Yes, that’s probably correct. I’ll probably stay well that just a preservative because of having flashbacks, but actually I have discovered and with whether I do it deliberately or not, I have discovered the, and things happen to me.
Uh, it always somehow finds its way into what I’m writing somehow. I mean, not, not sort of just like forcing its way in, but, but the supply, so yeah. So about gosh, 10, 15 years ago. I discovered I was epileptic. I didn’t know that about myself either. Uh, it’s perfectly fine. I, I, I, yeah, once they, once it’s diagnosed, I was medicated and I haven’t had any problems with it at all.
It’s very interesting actually, epilepsy. It’s a, uh, [00:05:00] it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a. It’s a very strange sort of transcendental brain state. I mean, it’s very serious thing, but so it’s often linked to creativity and stuff like that. And again, it was a learning curve, but anyway, I did that. I didn’t, I didn’t hide for anybody that this has happened to me.
I spoke about it in a few interviews and afterwards loads of people came to me and said, Oh yeah, I hope you’re feeling better now. Um, uh, I found it really interesting how you used your expense with the, with the. My epilepsy in, in a couple of your novels, I didn’t realize it, but yes, sure enough, the books that I’d been writing at the time, all sorts of, out of body experiences and, uh, memory dislocations and, and, and, and, and, and sort of, uh, uh, those kinds of disconnects between the mind and body, which are characteristic of an epileptic state.
And I hadn’t realized. But I had simply channeled all my experiences. So actually, yes, it’s going to be intestines all the way I should think from now on is
Jeff Haas: so does Ray have intestines and will they burst during one of the future issues?
Dan Abnett: Let me put it this way. If he doesn’t so far, he will. By the [00:06:00] time I finished with him,
Jeff Haas: poor guy. Oh, God has tested that they’re going to go wrong. It’s the way she never had them.
Dan Abnett: Yeah. Yeah. Generally speaking, I would recommend to everybody that don’t allow your organs to explode on you. I think that’s a, that’s a useful safety tip. Number one,
Jeff Haas: don’t have major internal body problems.
Dan Abnett: No, no, absolutely not.
Jeff Haas: That’s funny. So during the lockdown, and I guess now during your, um, uh, I guess it’s appendicitis that you would have had, um, Where are you pencils down before then? Because of the lockdown at Diane, or were you still producing, um,
Dan Abnett: scripts a Valley and we were penciled down briefly. So we got, I got, well, gosh, I’ve got a seven or eight issues in the bag, but I think we’d only had five out at that point.
And we were everything pause there necessarily because there was no delivery mechanism in the marketplace for awhile. And it was very obviously because I worked for different people. [00:07:00] Some companies were completely. Pencils, not only pencils down, but in some cases, furloughed for awhile, uh, and others just carried on regardless.
It really depended on, on, on how they met their markets. Uh, um, 3000 ID, for instance, which is a new stand delivery and also subscription managed to keep going on a weekly basis, which was admirable. And they’re very impressive. Whereas a lot of the American books stopped because the distribution system was a.
Was, you know, not functioning and comic shops, couldn’t function. And, um, uh, the work I do for writing novels for the Warhammer people will have a 40,000 that can kind of continue to, although only on a freelance basis. Cause they, the company itself actually furloughed up for, I think, six weeks. Um, but they’ve.
Also done tremendously well, because, uh, almost all of their products, uh, fiction wise, um, is available as a digital books, you know, or, um, Kindle type books and, uh, and as, uh, audio versions. And obviously that’s, that’s not restricted. So people, I think people stuck in lockdown and [00:08:00] wanting something to read, couldn’t get hold of a book or a comic.
So they were downloading stuff that actually, I think they did, they did very well with that. Um, I just found it very reassuring that people. Turned to escapist fiction of all sorts, uh, as a way of, of softening the blow of being stuck in, in, in their home. So I, you know, it’s sort of reassuring the imagination, provided some kind of support for some people.
And I think that’s, that’s, that’s really nice. Uh, so yes, w work shifted really in the last six months, work shifted very much. I, I, in some respects, I’m still as busy as I was. Uh, but I’m busy doing slightly different things generally, but with, with Valley and it was simply a pause, but simply a pause whilst whilst the, the, the, where nobody could do anything.
And then they came back in and, uh, and, uh, uh, we restarted work and, uh, obviously. Um, we, we got the, the, the relaunch, so we’ve got, we had five inches of, uh, of, of riots and then there was [00:09:00] a break and then we’d come back with issue six and alongside issue six, uh, was the trade of the first five issues, which, uh, which allowed, uh, new readers to, to catch up brilliantly and issue six was a jumping on point as well.
So, um, so yeah, I think it’s good. I think it’s, um, I D I don’t know that I’m, there are so many terrible things about what’s going on with the, with the pandemic and will continue to go on, unfortunately, and I’m not making light of it at all, but, but in, in, in small trivial ways, there are, there are some benefits.
And I think it, I think it’s, it’s given a lot of people, an opportunity to. So, so, so reappraise things that they just took for granted, you know, sort of, you know, the comics you read every week or every month or something like that. And you like them because you’re a comic reader and you think about them suddenly when there is a problem getting hold of them, or there is a delay getting hold of them, you suddenly realize how much you like them and how much you miss them.
Um, And on the asteroid, that’s true for, you know, outside the comics industry. I think it’s people, people appreciating the small things in life that they started to take for granted that that can only be a good thing. I think,
Jeff Haas: I think that does speak [00:10:00] to the power of literature and comics as well. But let’s say literacy as the whole is that being locked down, it gives you somewhere else to immerse yourself in another world.
That’s maybe a little bit better than more, um, freeing and allows you to travel in a way that you couldn’t for some months.
Dan Abnett: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. I mean, obviously I’m, I’m I’m I know I’m very lucky because that’s what I do for a living. I spend my, my, my day and indeed my downtime when I’m sort of vaguely my brain brain, doesn’t stop thinking about the things that I’m working on, but I, I literally traveled from one sort of fantastical universe to another and think about ideas and jot stuff down and all that kind of stuff.
And it’s liberating. It’s the way my mind works. But actually, uh, yes, it is. It’s great. I think early on, I don’t know if I said this to you last time, but early on in the, uh, Locked down in the UK, there was a pole in the, in the times newspaper about that. The, the, the, what, the, what the public regarded is the most essential.
Uh, professions during the, the, the pandemic and the least essential pandemics, not obviously for obvious reasons, health [00:11:00] care, essential services, that kind of stuff with top of the list, but slightly disappointingly, the bottom of the negative list of the things they thought were useless, uh, was yeah. Yeah, yeah.
And I just thought actually, Yes. You know, when it comes to the, you know, it’s an artist more important than adopter now, obviously it’s not under these circumstances at all. In fact, under almost any circumstances yet what you’re saying there is true. Yeah. Um, just, just for the people that were simply coping and waiting for things to change so that they can resume some kind of form of normal life art with a bow, with a big and a small light in that ongoing sense is, is bit comics, bit movies, books, music, whatever is.
Um, is kind of useful for your, your serenity and your mental health and, you know, to get that escape. And I, interestingly, like I said, I escaped, I escaped into the fantastical worlds for a living, but I found that even I, in, in the lockdown circumstances, I’ve done that even more in different ways. So I’ve, I’ve, I’ve sort of looked [00:12:00] to other things that I wouldn’t normally look at, maybe it’s cause I’ve got slightly more time, but I’ve, I’ve, I’ve read.
Rates things that I perhaps have been meaning to read, but never got around to. And I’ve looked at different things like that. And it just, I don’t know. And so I feel that there’s there’s, there is a sort of creativity or myself that wouldn’t have happened if I’d just been doing the same thing, because there was no interruption.
So yeah. Uh, like I say, small, small mercies, but, but small, small positives that you could look at, I’m sure we’ve all got them things that you go well, actually that, you know, that, that positive thing wouldn’t happen. If there, if this hadn’t been going on.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I mean, I think people may not appreciate. What art is or how important it is to them until it would, unless it did go away.
I mean, I don’t think people normally look at a movie, maybe not, or at least may not be looking to move and going, Oh, this is art. Yes. It’s an entertainment comic books. It is art, not just entertainment. I think people don’t necessarily make that connection until you point out. Yeah. But let’s take away all of this that’s counts as art.
Now what happens if you don’t have it?
Dan Abnett: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s probably probably [00:13:00] a poor choice of words for them, for the times to, to pick because, uh, Uh, I think I, I, you know, Entertainment is again a perfectly good word and there’s nothing. There’s nothing, uh, there’s nothing embarrassing or shameful about the idea of entertainment.
I don’t think I do anything more than, than my best entertain. I’m not pretending to be an artist, but I think that’s, I think that’s it. I mean, it did things will become very different and it will, again, we’re having to be living in a world where so much can come directly to us. Uh, in terms of television and movies and, and the audio books and stuff like that, they can, they can, we don’t have to leave the house to get them anymore, which is a, which is, you know, this has happened 15 years ago or 20 years ago, then that would have been a very, very different, different, different situation.
So I think we should be grateful for that. And, and I think people. People don’t think of it as art, even art with a small a, they don’t think of it as art, because it is just part of the natural fabric of their daily lives to be able to watch their favorite shows and that kind of stuff. They don’t think of that as, as anything other than, you know, like being able to get, you know, milk out of the fridge or water out of the sample, you know, it’s one of those things, [00:14:00] you know, and I’m going, yeah, we’ll actually, it’s gonna be interesting.
I think in the next, uh, in terms of television and movies, actually, it’s gonna be really interesting over the next six months or a year to see we must be. Uh, using up a level for a lot of the stuff that was ready to go and be released over the course of the year, I’d start running, released early movie movies and stuff like that.
There’s a lot of stuff that’s, that’s either pause production or is isn’t, hasn’t been able to go through in production. Uh, so it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens when we actually reach, reach a point where we’ve, we’ve kind of overtaken. Everything that had been stockpiled for release 20, 20, early 20, 21.
Um, and to see what, what can be produced in itself. Yeah. I found actually myself that there are, there are lots of new shows and stuff that I’m watching, but I’m watching a load kind of old things. I mean, going back and watching or rewatching, uh, old, because there’s, there’s such an amazing archive of things.
I mean, just, uh, just yesterday I was watching an older. Old 1960s episode of the, uh, of the event. You just partly in honor of Diana Rigg, the late Diana [00:15:00] Rigg. But, but partly because it’s a great TV show and it’s like, well, actually one of the things I think a lot of people need to probably do is sort of train themselves out of thinking.
Uh, if it’s, if there’s not something brand new that I haven’t seen, there’s nothing to watch. Actually there is, there is an enormous heritage of brilliant shows. And if you’re not used to watching slightly old, perhaps slightly dated things or some things that are made in black and white, for instance, or Jack does you don’t recognize.
Cause he’s like, well get used to it. It’s like, it’s quite easy. And you’ll find there are some mothers and some things I go back and look at that I, you know, sort of, uh, Uh, shows that I look at maybe were around when I was a kid growing up and I wasn’t really aware of, and I’m going to look at them now and, and I’m going, this is extraordinarily good.
Uh, it hasn’t dated. In fact, it’s, it’s, I’m sort of shocked by how modern it is somehow. And also, um, Good. I’m on a high horse now, but that was going to say also one of the great things about sort of thrillers and detective story from that bygone agent, sixties and seventies and eighties, uh, is that the stories are often so much more complicated because, because they are [00:16:00] not, uh, uh, they are not completely determined by social media in terms of the way they sold it.
The albatross that hangs around the neck of almost all modern. Cop shows is that everyone can talk to everyone all the time and you know where everyone is. And when a clue comes up, you can immediately ring your partner and say, Hey, we’ve got to get around to the, you know, it all happens. Whereas, whereas watching a show from the seventies, it’s like, well, I can’t get on the telephone.
I must find the telephone box. I must send them a letter. It’s urgent. There’s a sort of genuine intellectual unpicking of a mystery rather than a quick electronic solution. So I think that’s a, that’s another other, another very interesting, entertaining thing to, to look at. And you’re realizing you’re watching her.
Watching a program that where the rules were before the rules changed before technology changes to the rules.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. Well, I will say, I think one of the shows I spend a lot of my time on, um, bingeing. I went back and I was watched the West wing again. Yes. That, that TV show is so queen after what’s what’s been going on in politics, you’re like, Oh, well, people measure that fantasy world where people gave a shit, he thought Pantages gave a shit.
Look what [00:17:00] happened?
Dan Abnett: I know. Yes. I’ve had it. It’s a show. I, I quite enjoy, like I like, uh, enjoy it very much. And, uh, we, we rewatched it very early on actually. And, uh, and it was that. And I remember thinking when it was first on, even when it was first on, it seemed to be such an idealized, uh, fantasy world.
Uh, but, but somehow vaguely attainable. And it wasn’t so much that the, the ideal had dated and, and, uh, it was the fact that, uh, our own naivety that it could happen.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I mean, it’s like at the same time I would watch maybe like the flash and yeah, before it was very clear that the flash was. Definitely fantasy.
The West wing had this kind of realistic drama to it. Now I look at it and go, I’m not sure which one’s more fantastic. Yes. We got the flash.
Dan Abnett: Now. I know, I know exactly what you mean. Yes it is. And it’s really weird. Even when you watch something at some kind of lightweight show, um, mass entertainment stuff.
I mean, they have in the UK, we’ve got things like having very popular shows, like strictly come dancing [00:18:00] and, and, and the great British bake off, uh, Uh, which are immensely popular. And if they crop up on repeat on the television, I’m going, I don’t, if they speak to two, it’s only sort of six or eight months away, but they speak to a, a kind of simpler, different world where you’re going.
You literally couldn’t make that show that way anymore because you didn’t get pretty people in a tent to make, make cakes, you know, that wouldn’t happen. And then, and then, and then other, um, other things I, uh, I found myself watching some of, uh, Anthony badass parts, unknown series. It’s a very, very, very good show indeed.
But again, the it’s it, it’s a great escape for lockdown down circumstances, truly going around the world and showing you extraordinary things. And that’s, that’s fantastic. But at the same time, you’re. Your, uh, your kind of going almost everything. He does everything he says and every interaction he has, you’re going, we can’t do that.
We can’t do that at the moment. We may not be able to do it that way ever again. Uh, so it’s weird. It’s weird the way, um, uh, [00:19:00] like I said, like I said, at the start of this, this digression, we used to watch an old television program and you simply would assess it on the hat on just how much you did dated simply because.
It’s the passage of time, but now you look at it, it’s kind of, it’s kind of different on a whole different set of criteria. Uh, you know what what’s, what’s odd about it or makes you go, this is very strange, uh, is all to do with, with, with, with how unattainable isn’t, it’s no longer unattainable because it’s, it’s set in 1986.
It’s unattainable because you can’t go to Thailand and sit in a crowded bar. You know what I mean? It’s a bit weird, weird thing, but
Jeff Haas: yeah. Another show that I got tied into and I really love, and I think if you like Anthony Bourdain, you’ll like this one, it’s called an exhibition on known with Josh Gates,
Dan Abnett: right
Jeff Haas: on discovery.
And also the travel was on the travel channel. Back in the day, it was really entertaining. And he basically a guy travels the world and I find myself when he’s traveling. Cause it obviously was still in the past going, why aren’t they wearing their damn masks? That’s not right. That should be distancing from each other.
Or you forget all that’s right. It was a [00:20:00] different world.
Dan Abnett: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s weird. How, how we’re also forgetting, like I said, just, just, uh, I don’t, I don’t have a problem wearing masks by the way. I’ll say that right now. I know a lot of people do, and I think it’s very strange that it’s a small, small price to pay, to look after other people.
But anyway, I think it’s interesting cause we’re, we’re one of the things we draw necessarily depriving ourselves of general general basis is, uh, his facial expression and facial nuance. So you do, if you do meet people or you encounter people. A lot of the regular points of contact have gone. And that’s somehow there’ve been a couple of meetings where I’ve sat watching television.
If it’s been a particularly busy show with a lot of people in it, I almost feel exhausted. Cause I’m going, God. That was a lot of people. Not because not because I feel I’ve been locked down and therefore I shouldn’t have contacted a lot of people, but just seem to like keeping track of that many facial expressions you’re going, wow, how quickly you forget that.
That’s what you did all the time, because that’s how, that’s how you communicate with people. So yeah, it’s strange.
Jeff Haas: I’m a teacher at a, at a, um, at a high school therapeutic school. And I can’t help him sometimes. I mean, I’m kind of sarcastic at times, but I usually hide my sock with like a smile, as I say, [00:21:00] like, it’s kind of like a sarcastic coven now I’m wearing a massive forget about it sometimes, but I’m not smiling anymore.
I have to go, Oh, wait a sec. They don’t know. I’m kidding.
Dan Abnett: Yeah, no, that’s great.
Jeff Haas: So anyways, so, um, because of, um, one thing I, I know, uh, I’ve learned about, um, as a writer, I mean, honestly, I’m not a writer like you are, I’m a very small indie writer. Um, is that something that helps with writing is, um, fluidity.
Oh, it’s actually, when you get on a, with a character to continue to work on that character in saying that mindset, that character is very helpful. You had to do a pencil down gap between issues probably five to six, if not ones after that one. Did it change how you came back to the character after having that gap did take a while for you to get back into the mindset of that of Ray basically, or
Dan Abnett: actually we re did it didn’t uh, I’m not sure why.
Maybe I, maybe I had just intersected with him in a way. I mean, It does help that I, through my career, I’ve always worked on loads of different projects simultaneously. So I’m very used to [00:22:00] moving from one thing to another. So being very, very locked into one character for several days, and then stopping that and going to something completely different then coming back again.
So maybe I was able to switch around more easily. There were a few projects that I was working on that really took me a while to get my head back in the game of what that was supposed to be and where I was going with it. Uh, just, uh, or just, just, just returning to a mindset. Um, there’s one, there was one copy project I was working on.
That was very, very, very complicated. And I had to do another issue of it after a long pause and I came back to it and I just had to, I sort of had to research my own work as if it was somebody else who was always taking over a book. Cause I’d really kind of forgotten where, where all the pieces worked.
You know, it was, it was a really complicated thing. And also I got a, I wrote a, a, one of my novels. I finished. Before lockdown and it was very complicated. And at the time you could have asked me any question about it. And I, you know, obviously I was right there in it. It was like in the middle of my, my, my brain was, was, was functioning on it, but I think Wayne’s, and it was well, [00:23:00] well received.
It was going through the editorial process and blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s going to be published, I think at the beginning of, uh, 21. And, uh, there came the inevitable point where the manuscript was sent back to me, having gone through a copy editor, improve editor and all that will proofread and all that kind of stuff.
That just for my final checks, I, you know, We, if they flagged some corrections, what do you think of these? We’ve got it right. And we made a mistake that we misunderstood during intentions, all that kind of stuff. And I went through it as I normally do. And that’s usually quite nice to revisit something that you haven’t looked at for a few months, but in this particular instance, I won’t bore you with the details cause they’re not that interesting.
But in this instance, there was one particular thing. But they were querying, uh, that we had to rehab. We had to work out and it didn’t in the end, you didn’t changes. It was just a matter of making sure that we got it. Correct. It was a, it was quite a complicated thing, but it was threaded all the way through the book.
So when I’ve written the book, this thing I put in this, this thread I put into the book, I’d obviously had, had a mindset where I’d worked at the criteria for what I was doing and why when I was doing it. Hmm. And, and now I’m coming back to me three months later, locked down with a completely different mindset and they were showing this to me again, they’re going right.
Why were you doing that there? And I’m going. I can’t remember. [00:24:00] I can’t remember, but I had to, it took me several days, very diligent job, but it took me several days to go through it again, trying to reconstruct almost forensically from memory. What my mindset had been six months before, which had made me do that.
And it was, it was small, stupid things. Like whether a particular word should be capitalized and whether things should be presented phonetically or numerically and all that sort of stuff. But it was like really weird because I knew at the time. While I was doing it. And if, and if the copy editor questions it, then I’d have been able to say, no, I’ve done it like this because, but when the copy editor came back a while later, because obviously they’d been delayed by it by the, by, and they said, Oh, just, just want to make sure this, this is there for a reason that you’re doing this for a reason.
And they went, I can’t tell you anymore. Now. . That was a hard job. That was a surprising, you know, something that usually is a very quick job. It was a surprise me algebra, but now rye was, was, was great. In fact, I was of to get, get back into, into that and, and to, to, uh, to work on it. And, uh, I think, I think it really helps with bright because there is a, there is a, there is a general [00:25:00] consistency.
It’s a, it is a book reference since I’ve got it. Working with exactly the same art team, every book. Um, sometimes when you’re working on a book where the art team changes, for whatever reason, other either an artist can’t keep pace or you need a rotating art team or whatever like that, sometimes just the stylistic change from issue to issue makes you double think what the content is, you know, sort of, because one artist draws a character.
In a slightly different way to a different artists. Uh, maybe you need to sort of remind yourself how you write that character slightly more. But with, with, with rye, you know, one of the, one of the things I think is the book’s real strength is the fact that each issue has been produced by the same creative team.
And it’s, you know, this is, this is what you’re getting. If you like it, you’re getting some more of it. And I think that’s a. That’s really, really good. So the moment I was looking at the pages and I was looking at going back through the issues I was going, yeah, this is, this is kind of this, there’s a kind of seamless continuity, which helps my own intellectual continuity in terms of keeping hold of the Oh, the character.
But distance does, it does help. I mean, in, in, uh, in comics, in fact, in everything I do, I [00:26:00] mean, comics are produced at such a frenetic rate. Usually, you know, you’re working two to three months to edit publication. They’re all there is time to do it. It’s do the best possible job. You can. Within deadline, not the luxury that you might find if you, I don’t know if you were a famous literary author, writing novels and you, you know, if you need it to take six years to write it, you would take six years to write, you know, there’s, this book will be finished when it’s finished, rather than it’s gonna be finished.
Sometime the point of being a, a gun for hire as a writer is you’ve got you do the best job you can. And in the T in the title out. Um, so there are, if opportunities, even with the novels, I write too to, to put them to one side and come back to them after. A year or something like that, you know, there’s no time for it to, but sort of, they’re not like fine wines or, uh, I dunno, Italian hand that they get better at it.
If you live in somewhere in the dark for awhile, you can come back with a fresher and commercial stuff, the sort of stuff I do. You don’t get a chance to do that very often. So. Uh, there isn’t that [00:27:00] opportunity to, to rethink or reappraise what you were doing then and whether that still works and that kind of stuff.
And I do find now when I look back usually for reference purposes, because I look back at stuff I did 10, 15, 20 years ago. Uh, alum going, God, why did I do it like that? If I did that today, I wouldn’t do it like that. You know? And that’s, you know, but, but you know, you understand that you personally have moved on.
So actually weirdly small scale, this the slightly late was really, really nice because it meant that you could come back to things and go what’s that in the heat of doing that, the heat of the urgency of doing that at the time was I doing it? Oh, in a way that I now think is the best way to do it, or was that just the best way I could find to do it at the time?
So there is, there is a kind of nice creative distance. The means you can, you can look at things again and, and, uh, and that’s, I think that’s good. I think that’s good. I found, I always carry around. Uh, I think I said this to you. I carry around a notebook with me wherever I go. So as ideas occur to me, just write them down.
Um, and, and they’re just random. They usually just words or phrases or things like that. And I put them down. I go, that’s interesting. I might use that somewhere. So they all go in the, in the [00:28:00] notebook and, um, but the, the little portable notebook, so on a regular basis, every couple of weeks, I’ll go through them and, and sort of cross out everything that I’ve used.
And I will, I will. I sort of, um, Uh, uh, transport, all the things that I haven’t used into a big, big notebook of things that I’ll use at some point. So I kind of, I kind of remind myself all then this sort of, it’s almost like a sorting through ideas and being up with them, uh, and I’ve always found, uh, in the past that’s that’s.
90% of the stuff that gets written in the notebook, uh, is instantly categorizable. So I’ll write, I’ll put something in there, but then I’ll go away. That’s a fault that’s that’s to do with 40 K whatever that is. I’ll be using that in winder 40,000 and that’s Marvel universe. Well, that’s DC universe and that’s right.
Or that’s 2080, you know, it’s, you almost intuitively know either why you’ve had the idea and where it’s going to go or, you know, which kind of universe it belongs to. And then there’ll be a very, very small amount of ideas, which are just interesting ideas. And I go, I don’t know where, or what that’s to do with, I’ll just.
We’ll keep a note of bit until I find a place to use it. What I [00:29:00] found interesting in the last six months of doing that is that, that, that proportion of. I don’t know what these ideas are, except that they’re interesting has is now about 50% of what I put in the book. So he, as if my mind has gone off in all sorts of directions, but it hadn’t or couldn’t have done before.
So there’s just things coming in from all sorts of odd. Uh, rather than me almost specifically hunting for ideas that I can use it, more hammer ideas that I can use it in value into it or whatever like that. So that’s, I don’t know. I don’t know where that’s going to have. You know, pay off down the line in a really good way or just, or what it, what it is.
But I, I D I did find it very interesting cause like, cause the, the sort of big notebook I transfer everything into it. It’s divided into sections so I can easily find stuff. 40 K stuff goes in the 40 day section, et cetera, et cetera, and going through it, I was going, God, I need more room in my, my miscellaneous section.
First. I got so many things to go here. So I don’t know that that seems to be quite telling.
Jeff Haas: So in, in that, and that capital, your thinking around ideas is where there are there ideas that. [00:30:00] Own Ray that you did not have plans for, for, let’s say issues six, seven, and eight that you said, you know, not that it was like having a time to think about go, Oh crap, I’m not going to move into this direction.
Cause I have these ideas that I’ve written down on my notebook that fit even better than I was going to do. Thank God I had that gap sort of,
Dan Abnett: sort of, sort of one, there were more the, either coming back to what I was going to, so many other things I could do it here, but also I liked the fact that we, I planned right.
Quite carefully and I didn’t want to divert from that too much. And risk spoiling setups and stuff like that. So it was more a case of when I came back to it, I had even more so hopefully they will get used. So it was, and in fact, there were several things. I was going, God, I should have put that in earlier.
Oh, I’ll do that. When I get the next opportunity checking things around. It’s interesting. It’s um, um, uh, just from my point of view, when I’m writing an ongoing comic, for instance, I will try and throw things in all the time. Not necessarily knowing what they’re going to lead to, but because I know that in the future, they’re going to be useful and it will be quite useful, but I’d like to track breadcrumbs that can build into a storyline [00:31:00] at the point at which I suddenly need to develop a storyline.
Uh, and I also think it’s very, very healthy on an ongoing book. Uh, or any larger project to be receptive to new ideas, even at the last minute. So even if you’re working on something that you’ve had planned out in detail for a year or two years, when you finally coming to execute it, there might be moments where you have a better idea than your original plan.
And rather than going, no, no, no, I can’t do that because I’ve got a plan. You should be open to that. So that happens. That happens in novels. I find quite often in it, just in the last few novels I’ve written where, where there was. One novel that I had been sort of a plot line I’d been aiming for, for about six years.
I was going to deliver this plot line right at the last minute when I was writing it, I suddenly thought of a different way of doing it. And it excited me so much that I changed it the last minute. And I think as a result, it seemed fresher and more, um, Uh, exciting to the reader. Cause if it felt fresh to remorse, exciting to me.
So I think you’ve got it. You’ve got to do that. You’ve got to be open to these things, but [00:32:00] also you’ve got to be B uh, like I said, you gotta be true to something. I think it would have been a huge mistake. If, for instance, during, during the pens down period on rye, I have had some kind of brain wave and gone, wait a minute.
There’s a much better way of doing rye. As a comic. I know we’re not, you know, from, for me, I dunno, issue eight onwards. I’ll completely change it. Uh, because I’ve got this better way of doing it now, which I’ve been doing since issue one. Cause that would have, that would have been a huge mistake for the readers.
Cause they’d have gone through it, by the way, you ain’t gone. What’s he doing? Why is it like this? Something like I liked what he was doing before. So there is a, I think once you’ve got a. You’ve got a flavor, but it’s working and people like stick to that, but, but certainly in terms of little plot twists and, uh, uh, ideas or the introduction of characters and stuff like that, I think there’s a there’s, uh, there’s, you’ve gotta be, you’ve gotta be sort of quick on your toes to, to, to incorporate them inspiration strikes in Australia this time.
I, again, I’ve probably said this to you last time we spoke, but the, the, uh, With most, um, most comics, for instance, when you’re, uh, approach to write a comic book and one [00:33:00] of the first things Sydney in the past, the names of these, you know, what they do, they asked you to pitch what you do over the first six issues of the first year.
So you write an outline of the stories you do, and, and if that works, then they’ll get commissioned. And ideally you’ll start working through that plan. And I don’t think I’ve ever, ever, ever stuck to my plan on the book, uh, because that, that outline of that. That pitch outline that has got me, the job in the first place was the product of one afternoon and a few days thinking, and then one afternoon writing up some ideas and sending it out.
Hmm. But the idea that that’s yeah, period of creative time covers all the good ideas I’m going to have about that character for the next year of writing the book is page really ridiculous. So you’ve gotta be flexible enough to know that in six weeks or two months or whatever, that you will suddenly wake up one morning and go, Oh God, I’ve got a better idea.
Let’s fit that in. Cause that’s better than the thing I had to do on day one when I was, when I was kind of auditioning for them. Uh, so you gotta be, you’ve gotta be, you’ve gotta be, um, uh, flexible. Flexible is the word.
[00:34:00] Jeff Haas: Well, yeah, I like that. You mentioned, um, your art team because I realized when we spoke for previously, I did not mention the art Jose is a rip or the right.
And his art is absolutely amazing. I noticed that. Basically in about a month, you’ve been working together for about a year, Ken and I how’s how, how, how, how how’d that they should be involved in that time. And did you guys by now develop like a shorthand for your scripts to work together? I
Dan Abnett: think, yes. I think, I think to a certain extent we do.
It’s very interesting. First of all, let me say. Uh, Jose is, I was just thinking ordinary. I mean, I, I was aware of his work before and I’d liked it and I’ve been impressed by it. Um, but I hadn’t, I’d saw, I think I’d underestimated quite what a, an extraordinary talent he is, both in terms of, uh, his detail, uh, extraordinary detail and sort of realism that he delivers and also his storytelling and everything like that.
I, I sort of really, really, uh, had underestimated it. So when I was, uh, ASTA [00:35:00] right rye. Uh, I started the project, not knowing who my artists was, which is often the case on a comic artists. They’re still the editor still choosing an artist when the writer is working out well, the, well, the story is going to be, so I have written, I think, uh, if not two issues strips before.
I think I’ve no, I think I’d written the first issue before they told me, yeah, one was Jose was going to be writing it one, Joe, we called him by the way. Uh uh, I, I, I think I’d written one issue and, and certainly was working on issue two before I saw any of the pages. Cause obviously he was working behind me and there came a day where I got sent.
Uh, from, uh, Lisa, the editor, a PDF, the first few pages on issue one. And, and so my scripts up to the end of being as thorough as I could make them to cover any eventuality. Cause I didn’t know who I was writing for. So I would cover all the bases just to, to, to, uh, to make sure that, you know, whether you were an artist who liked a lot of [00:36:00] detail or an artist who didn’t like too much detail, a lot of freedom, whatever.
There will be enough there for you to work from. And these pages came in and I was just astonished by what he’d done. And I, I just thought this is fantastic. It’s it’s I thought it would be good. And I was hoping it would be really good and it’s so much better than I, uh, I could imagine. Um, and. And what that changed.
It changed my script, him slightly, because, well, it’s changing two ways. Cause first of all, I realized that I could absolutely trust him because he wasn’t just drawing the script. Well, he was. Uh, as committed and interested in the university of Iowa. So he thought about stuff. He put things in because he’d understood where I was going.
And then he made decisions for himself and thought about things and added tail. And that was, that was, I was going. That’s absolutely amazing. That’s fantastic. So yeah, it improved. I realized that I could write as it were less for him because I could be more impressionistic. So rather than burdening him with a really heavy script, full of detailed suggestions.
[00:37:00] I could give him a much more impressionistic, quick description. This is the sort of thing we’re going for knowing that he would then bring it yeah. Himself because he wanted to. So I, so I was sort of giving him Liberty and freedom at the same time, knowing that he would deliver the, what I wanted him to do.
And, and actually they’re much more organic and healthy a collaboration, but it also gave me the confidence to write the story. Without flinching from what I wanted to do. Cause they will, there were, there were in the story, I suppose, what you would describe as quieter scenes. They were conversational character scenes between people and, and, and I think they.
I think you need those in any, anything, comics, television, cinema, whatever you need. Those, uh, no matter how exciting and adventurous an action packed with that story is meant to be because you need the, the, the light and the shade you need. The, you need the quiet character stuff fully in order for the action stuff to feel explosive and exciting.
Cause if it’s action for 22 pages, That’s just relentless, you know, but the danger particularly in comics is that, is that it’s obviously talky scenes [00:38:00] can seem DOE um, and it’s almost like a waste of pages cause you’ve got Pete Carey’s standing around talking when they could be doing something more interesting.
Uh, but looking at, um, on pages came in, I realized that he could make even the most. Static conversational seeing look fantastic and beef beef. Uh, so that gave me great. It’s too, to sort of double down on what I was doing and, and not write a scene and then go with it. Should I put that in? What happens if it doesn’t work?
Cause I knew he would make everything work. So yes it did. It did have a. Uh, quite a profound effect on the way the scripts work. Cause I suppose what it did is it streamlined them. I stopped bothering him with unnecessary detail. Uh, and I started trusting myself to do the things that, the story that I wanted to do rather than trying to kind of, uh, um, predict where it might go wrong.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And I will say the reading issue six a of a, of. Was actually, it was, it was a great tree only. Was it, is it a great [00:39:00] issue, but when we’re talking about our visually, it was stunning when you introduced the Roman Legion characters into issue six, he did such a great time. Even with the rain bouncing off the shields, you could not only did he put it in the sign off it, but you could see it and you could hear it was so rich and visually, and I love not only the Roman Legion, but the contract between the Roman Legion.
And you have the idea of like, kind of like the Japanese samurai. A visual of rye. It’s such a great mix. And I, and I was wondering, is Roman history a special fascination for you? And did you research like the Romans Legion before writing that part of the, that issue?
Dan Abnett: Uh, uh, yes. And yes. And yes. Uh, yes. Uh, it is, uh, I wouldn’t, I don’t know if I’d say it’s a particular fascination.
I’ve always been, I’ve always been interested in history generally. Uh, ancient history, particularly, uh, the rope, the Roman empire is, is, is, is very fascinating. Uh, and actually, obviously I live in a country that was. One of the last, last bits of it. [00:40:00] In fact, I live, I live about half a mile from a, I live in Kansas, a half a mile from a river called the river Medway and just down river from me at about a hundred yards from the house I grew up in.
There is a stone marker on the riverbank, marking the place at the emperor. Claudius landed his legions when he invaded, um, Uh, Britain. Uh, so this, the, the canes, which is the bottom for those of you, without a map in front of you, it’s the bottom bottom right hand corner of the UK. It’s the bit that’s closest to France and the continent.
Therefore it’s the bit that’s been invaded traditionally invaded more than anything else. If anybody was going to come across the channel and nearby Brittany, they came up through Ken’s. So we have, we have all sorts of things. Obviously we got to. The, the normal invasion, uh, well Hastings, which is admittedly Sussex.
But anyway, but there’s this the Southeast, this is the area. And even the battle of Britain took place, overhead, the Spitfires and hurricanes. This is the bit that that does get visited. So I sort of feel a weird affinity to that kind of thing. There are. [00:41:00] Many, the remains of many sort of Roman villas and Roman bathhouses in the, in the, uh, in the Kennedy Sheria or you can go and visit them.
There. There is, there, there are a lot of castles here too, but sign is, it is, it is sort of literally embedded in the landscape. So I thought it was an interesting thing to do. The reason that the Romans are interesting though, in this context, is that a Roman. Centurion or Roman legionaries is one of those intro, instantly identifiable things.
There’s a lot of things in history where you can put it into people go what’s. That is that. Now I don’t know. Is that necessary in Arusha, Archer or Persian Wars or whatever? A Roman Legion. Yeah. Most people get that instantly. It’s one of those, it’s one of those identifying iconic things. So the reason I chose to do that, first of all, was I thought, well, I’ve got Roman Legionnaires walking up a street as it were in the rain.
Readers with any information at all, readers will go, Oh, which we are in a different time. They will immediately get the historical significance of it. And I also wanted to evoke that sense of, uh, of the North of England at the end of the Roman empire, that [00:42:00] Hadrian’s wall that had this sort of lost the last a basket in a defense of the empire against the darkness, beyond it, which, uh, uh, you know, sort of, you know, the idea of being at the very frontier of, so, um, and I.
And I wouldn’t have, you mentioned those pages because I think they’re particular good examples of why on how he’s so good at that said this before, but those particular pages, I find them completely believable. And I know the sort of things that I would have possibly hesitated to write, because I thought another artist might just make them look like.
How can I put it? Not real Roman century Legionnaires they’ve drawn that they’d have been written Roman Legionnaires, but they would have been Roman Legionnaires in the same way that you get a costume out of a stock cupboard, just to dress somebody up on a, as an extra in a movie. You know what I mean?
Whereas I knew that quite high would make them look. Authentically like real Romans, you know, on a real Roman road in the dark, in the rain. And it looks like real rain is almost as good because it was a slice of history, [00:43:00] which is why I wanted to do it. Otherwise there’s no point doing that scene. Uh, so that was one of the things that I put in going, no, he’ll do, he’ll just do an amazing job.
We’ll believe it. It will seem authentic and that will be. Fantastic. Cause that’s the point because, you know, without giving too many spoilers, obviously that’s not what you’re looking at, particularly it is conceptually when you you’re looking at, but it’s the story then goes on to reveal the cause of the issue.
Uh, they’re not as Roman as they. Appear to be. And the frontier, isn’t the frontier of the empire that we understand it to be. And it’s all contextualized in the, in the story, but I wanted it to feel as authentic as possible almost as if, as if we just started an issue of people going, wait a minute, is this one set in the past for some reason for time travel?
Um, so, so, uh, so yeah, short answer, I guess. Yes. I’m interested in, in Roman history. But the, but I’m glad you picked those pages because I think there are a great examples of masterclass of what he does so well in terms of the effect that he has in the comic and, and, and the, and that juxtaposition, like you said, when the, when the, you get the sort of samurai elements of, of [00:44:00] Ryan action and you get the horror elements of what’s coming out of the darkness of the forest, and you’ve got to put those two things together and you’re going, wow, this is, this is, this is strange, strange, uh, and exciting combination of things.
Jeff Haas: Yeah, it is strange, but at the same time, it almost seems like a perfection to it, to the idea of having the samurai and the Romans together. You think? How does it, how does, how, how have not seen this before? There’s such, because they’re both so based on, on honor and, um, and just kind of, um, you know, and dedication and, you know, There’s an history there, um, that you felt that they felt that they should have been together as a character in the story a long time ago?
Dan Abnett: Yeah, no, there is that, there is that. And in fact it was after I’d written that, but then I must do some more research on it, but there is a, I think, I think they’ve recently made a map eligible discoveries in, uh, Western China, China being as vast as it is, but Western China, some really remote fortresses in Western China where they they’ve done excavation and they found that they possibly [00:45:00] were.
Uh, actually Roman outposts, the, the, the, the Eastern edge of the Roman empire was much further than we ever thought historically. And they actually had a frontier in China. So there are sort of, there’s a sort of, kind of a kind of Roman enclave and the edge of China. I’m going, that’s fascinating, really interesting thing.
Would you get that sort of, you say you didn’t get that back, but the influence of say. The marshals relations of China or the master traditions of Japan interacting with that Mediterranean tradition, which was, you know, world beating. They were both well beating their wellbeing in very different ways.
And I think that’s a, that’s a really interesting thing to look at.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And I think all the great thing is that you just don’t have the Roman Legion. And is it commander, Texas, or
Dan Abnett: does that have,
Jeff Haas: and it’s not just that you have them there as an effect. They do serve an interesting, even philosophical, um, role in the story because the characters who are these Romans were previously created for that world as entertainment, [00:46:00] they must exist on themselves.
Dan Abnett: And I
Jeff Haas: think it’s an age and they kind of have the mindset of being Roman because that’s what they were created for. But once again, they. Obviously are not. So you’ve got very interesting, um, contrast between the effects awareness versus the programming, which is also, I guess, on some level, same with Ryan as well.
And I thought that was a bit, um, and I wonder if that was one of your goals as well, creating those characters?
Dan Abnett: Uh, yes. It, it, it, it was, it had been established that, uh, Before I took over the book, the new Japan, which was the original orbital city, mega city, uh, had many entertainment levels where there were positronic creations, including the dinosaurs.
That’s where I’ve seen dinosaurs as well, whether they were kind of, you know, sort of territorial, arenas and stuff like that, which, which were purely for entertainment and that the positronic worked in there and it kind of very Westworld way. And I thought, well, if we’ve got the dinosaurs of crash landed and they’re running around.
Freely. What about other things like that? And I, the Romans just seemed to be, to be too good to miss. Uh, and I also love the idea that yes, what was, I think, the [00:47:00] positive in the positronic to fully Centene creatures. Uh, so when they were living up in new Japan and, you know, Texas and his, his, his buddies who worked with him, they would go to work at the, uh, Roma Rama, or wherever school called they would go to work in this arena and they would fight in the arena.
But they would kind of live normal civilian lives, except they weren’t, they were programmed to be authentically Roman when they’re, when they were working. But the idea that, that. Entertainment part of their lives has become the bit that is now looking after them, that kind of wilderness, survival, military instincts, security, frontier, all that kind of stuff that they used to deliberately play act or program to play act is now the thing they have to look after.
And that, that, that does, uh, buy into some of the themes that are swirling around. I’m not, I’m saying I’ve got any kind of big thesis going on in, right. But there, the swirling themes of what does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be a sentience human who isn’t organic? That is to say a positronic.
What does it mean to be something like Ray who is both and neither of those things and whose side does he serve? Uh, the end of issue five, obviously he, uh, he’s [00:48:00] fairly vehement about the fact that, uh, that he could say this technology to be the greatest problem, but mankind can face, uh, particularly in the form of father.
And now he’s dedicated to it’s it’s, it’s, it’s it’s stopping it. So he’s almost like. Dedicated to stopping himself to a certain extent. Um, but we’ve tried to show, I’ve tried to show the story that there is an enormous, uh, sympathy towards the positronic community because they are. Sentience humans. They just say, they’re just not organic scenting humans.
And, and they get, they get treated as very much like second class citizens by anybody comes real organic human. So there’s kind of prejudice, issues of prejudice and stuff like that going on there. And it’s interesting to me that that Ryan who was probably got more in common with the posit tronics than he has with the humans is colder towards them.
Uh, and that’s going to play out in a fairly big way in the course of, uh, of the next few issues.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And I, and I found it also kind of, um, and very interesting that I, with the, with the Romans, you, you had them refer to the, [00:49:00] the mutans. Yeah. Um, they were attacking them as being filled, um, and you know, pagan filled.
And I thought myself, that sounds so Roman, in my opinion, there’s such a Roman bias towards anything. That’s not based on a Roman culture, except for obviously rive who they viewed as being a savior. I guess once again, though, respect though for me, for Kenyan, Kendra spirit in warrior spirit, and I felt, um, , it was very Roman and the Beatles are really aren’t like that though.
Right? I mean, they’re just trying to survive on their own. They’re not felt as the Romans.
Dan Abnett: Yes. There are clearly ferocious. It’s very dangerous that there’s, there’s no doubt about that. Uh, but I wanted to, I think, I think, I think with any. Uh, every culture has got them. And certainly when you’ve got a major occupying force, like Rome, the Romans for instance, as they were in Britain, in the, in the, uh, in the third and fourth century, is that there was a sense of, of the locals being, uh, local landscaping, full of superstition and demons and things that were dangerous and things that the Romans found uncomfortable, [00:50:00] um, uh, to deal with.
So I think it was, it’s almost part of the, the tech is, and the other’s positronic programming is to, to perceive things in those ways. So what we would, um, Uh, more, uh, um, uh, Accurately described as well. They’re just a different, different community. Then they’re not monsters. They’re not demons. They are, they’re just different community trying to survive.
They have perceived them in a particular way. And I think that’s one of the cool things that happens in issue six is that when Ray himself gets face to face with them, there is something truly sinister going on. That there’s something that he’s going beyond the edge of. This is just a different thing, but where it’s, it’s entering to the grounds of, of what we might call the uncanny, uh, or, or possibly even the supernatural.
And that’s what he has dismissed up to them. That’s what we’ve been being told. And he’s presumed it’s to do with, with the programming of the, the, the Roman warriors. And actually he can’t explain why things are the way they are. And I think that’s, that’s, that’s quite cool. I know. He’s. Rise story so far, I’ve [00:51:00] always been about, uh, the yeah.
Is between high technology and organic culture. Uh, but there is something very, very effective when you then throw something, perhaps throw something. Yeah. As old as the supernatural into that mix and go, what does that, what is that? How does that fit? That can’t be scientifically analyze that I can’t be rationalized.
Uh, how’s that way, it’s almost the vulnerability of technology. If, if rise got a vulnerability at all, it’s it’s, it’s, it’s that vulnerability to the things that he can not, as it were, um, uh, rationalize or explain or account for. And I think that’s so, so having done very adventurous stories for the first.
Uh, five issues, which were about right and wrong and justice and sticking up for people we’ve entered into a, we’ve literally taken him into area of the world where he is, is going to become less sure. The rules, uh, because there’s actually stranger things around that he thought were possible, but he can’t just explain it as positronic and that kind of [00:52:00] stuff.
So, yes, it’s quite possible that while he’s encountered are. Are themselves very sympathetic and are as afraid of the Romans as the Romans are afraid of them. But there’s also an age of something else going on there
Jeff Haas: and to discuss what you also mentioned as well. The idea of. The sympathies or empathy or rye has, um, cause after reading it, you five he’s, he seems very compassionate and stops.
Is it, uh, to turn a warrior? Gilad is a doula from killing the soldiers of the blood father after they turned back to being people. And he was extremely compassionate there. Then with the romance, he’s basically going to ditch him to continue his war against blood father. And I thought. I mean, what does that say about how the empathy of rye works?
Dan Abnett: First of all, it says that he is far more empathetic towards humans. He’s rather, he’s probably, he wants to preserve human life and also protect humans from technology. Uh, even if there as a humans who have done bad things, if he sat in the stands, they only did bad things because technology was controlling them.
He will give them a second [00:53:00] chance. Even if Gilad wouldn’t Gilad thinks it’s too big, a risk, uh, at the same time, he’s less sympathetic towards positronic, which we see that in, even in his asked you to. To regime and that regime is operating as his conscience and saying you should be because what makes them less worthy of your empathy and support than humans, we could come and be fair and nice to everybody and help everybody.
And Ray sort of, hasn’t got time for that. And I think we’re getting, getting through to the point where in issue five, we think he’s, he’s got a very ruthless mindset, but actually he’s much more conflicted. Uh, and he’s clearly having trouble. Justifying his actions to himself. And again, that’s something that’s going to play out, but it’s, um, um, and, and, uh, again, without giving everything away, it’s at the, the characters, the human characters, um, human characters who are allowed to let go of a fleet yeah.
At the end of, uh, issue five or that he spares, who were previously in the thrall of the blood father will have an impact act on the story going forward. So, so, uh, that’s going to be quite interesting thing to see
Jeff Haas: and. Well, the [00:54:00] idea of what decision rights actually making what, as far as the Romans go, I’m not gonna give away too much.
Um, honestly, he’s doing it for the bigger purpose of stopping the ultimate evil, which is the blood father. Yeah. But still, when you think about what a hero is, what is hero is supposed to be? Is that a heroic act or not?
Dan Abnett: Yeah. Yes. I think, I think this, to me, this is an example of, of, uh, of rye being. Uh, thinking too much as it were a machine, rather than a human, he wants to, he wants to be pricing stuff on being a learning to be human, and he wants to be human, but he hasn’t quite got the, the knack of, of nuance.
So he has identified a problem. The problem is. Oh, the father and the, the offspring, and as long as he was, cause then every other problem is secondary to that because that’s the big one that he needs to deal with. And you can understand that because he’s, he’s tried to stop by the twice and on both occasions, although he is, is he’s won the battle.
He’s not won the war. So he wants to stop father completely. Forever. So that threat can no longer remain. And there is an implication there that he will, once he’s [00:55:00] done that he will start then turning his attention to, to what he considers to be lower priorities that are still themselves late major problems, but he will deal with other problems.
But, but until he’s dealt with the big problem, everything else. Gets ignored. And it’s just then goes through that issue six literally says to me, why can’t we do other things can’t we help in other ways, can’t we solve other smaller problems as we go along. Do we have to just leave these people to fend for themselves?
And so he’s, he’s like picking away at, uh, a rise sort of, um, incredibly single-minded attitude to the quest that you and that single minded attitude I think is both, uh, both appropriate for something who is driven by. That kind of clinical machine thinking, which is incredibly precise and sort of laser accurate.
This is what it, this is what I’m doing now. And then I’ll think about what I’m doing afterwards, but also it speaks to that kind of immense dedication of a warrior tradition, not necessarily samurai, but the, the, you know, the ultimate warrior where if there is a, um, Uh, uh, if, if a warrior wait, just to do something, he will [00:56:00] do that thing until it is complete before he allows himself to do anything else rest or, or, uh, or whatever.
But he, you know, he will not set down his blade until that is finished. And that’s what Ray is doing at the moment. And, and whether that works out well for them or not, is. It’s gotta be revealed as we go forward.
Jeff Haas: Well, talk about reveal. I found there was no surprise appearance. I can go away the surprise appearance, but to those surprise, the parents, the Valiant character that appears in issue six, one saying I’m not gonna give anything away.
Dan Abnett: Okay.
Jeff Haas: So this allude to a larger crossover, that’s gonna occur in the ballon universe. Is it something that’s going to be just introduced in rye? Well, can you give me a little bit of,
Dan Abnett: I can, I can give you a little bit of, certainly at the moment it was happening in Bri and, and, uh, and as we’ve Gilad as well in back in issue four or five, and she’s horrified.
Uh, I did want to make sure that however events, if we got in creating this future world for the Valley and universe, uh, in the right book, uh, we made sure that we did not allow the redistrict forget that this is still the Valley and universe, and this is the Valley of earth [00:57:00] and the things that would have survived that long.
And I’m the eternal warrior and the clues in his name. But the eternal warrior is one of those things would have survived that long. That’s that’s, uh, that those things would show up that they will be a kind of value and flavor or value texture, wherever possible, just to make sure that we understood that this wasn’t just a randomly created world, but, but this is actually was a future extrapolation of the value of world.
And you actually, and again, I’m not going to give you spoilers, but there are going to be quite a few examples of that. And then in forthcoming issues where we get some, understand that more. Parts of the Valley earth that we understand it in a contemporary setting are still around in some kind of form in the future.
And that is certainly true of, of the character that you’re alluding to those names. We’re not going to mention, uh, because I wanted it to be down. I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to do crossovers in the literal sense of saying let’s just cross this book over with, I don’t know, Ninja and have then Jack or Ray travel in time and they meet each other.
And blonde is all exciting just to have a crossover for the same crossover. I wanted there to be a legacy or [00:58:00] persistence of characters that, or concepts that could have survived into this future date, uh, that would show up and operate in a, in a really interesting way. And that the one you were mentioning now, it’s going to go off.
In quite unexpected directions. I think there’s going to be some rather fun things to play with that. And if, uh, if we can make it work, I think there are definitely possibilities of, um, of having a, uh, an impact beyond the one book. But, uh, but I couldn’t possibly say at this point,
Jeff Haas: so, so I don’t, I’m not sure how much information you have here, but is there going to be.
Or is there a discussion in value of having a tighter, um, created a universe that’s going to have even more interaction and maybe is there talk of a larger event
Dan Abnett: coming? Uh, I honestly couldn’t say we were getting quite excited in conversations before the pandemic happened and we entered the long pause about all sorts of things we could do.
And obviously a lot of those things have not only the work going home, but a lot of development ideas went on hold because, because I think every, [00:59:00] every publisher is looking at. Actually, how much can we put out and how do we keep up with what we need to do and that kind of stuff. But those, those sorts of talks are ongoing.
Um, I’m always open to doing, you know, sort of bigger events or special things in stories, particularly if the, if, if, if, if the storyline is warranting it’s and, and we think the region is going to be excited by it. Uh, so those conversations continuing, but I cannot confirm or deny at that point that there’s anything like that about to happen.
Jeff Haas: So what was in the future for a ride?
Dan Abnett: Uh, this arc that begins in issue six is going to be, uh, less episodic than the first five issues there. There’s, there’s more of a through line of story. Uh, we’re adding, uh, essentially adding, let me think three or four major new characters to the. This part of the story they will interact with with rail or, or, or with, uh, obviously Luna, who is the other strand of the story.
So there’s, there’s, there’s some really cool things going on. [01:00:00] And, and in some respects, the book will be two story’s running side by side, the rice storyline, and Lula storyline, but they will intersect in ways that are, uh, unexpected there’s even though they are separate and they’re there. The distance apart, they will intersect in interesting ways and they were, they serve to open up the, the future Valley earth in all sorts of interesting ways and, uh, know basically show, right.
That’s his. Appraisal of the situation as being a very black and whites, you know, problem, that he knows what the problem is, is the one who can deal with it is that actually it’s going to get much more complicated for him than that, where he’s sort of ethical choices are going to be tested. So he can’t rely as much on his.
He’s kind of that kind of warrior pledge. You’re going, this, this is the thing pledged to do. I will do this. And that’s, nothing’s going to get in my way. It’s going to send you realize that there are things that get in the way that you can’t ignore or [01:01:00] walk around. And actually the thing you set out to do, isn’t, isn’t gonna be as simple, uh, all black and white as he thought he was going to be.
So, so it is a development , we’ve had S the, the, the, the, that simple quest theme of the first five issues gets a little bit more sophisticated. Don’t worry. It’s still going to be. Lots of action, lots of questing, lots of, uh, lots of fun characters directions to some really, really wonderfully strange and new fantastical things to it to encounter.
But it’s just going to get a little bit more difficult for him and not just in a physically demanding way, but in a, in a, uh, I suppose a, an intellectually and emotionally demanding way, he’s going to have to start making choices that he’s not as comfortable about making.
Jeff Haas: So. Can I request a Roman Legion miniseries by any chance, or is that
Dan Abnett: I’ll have to, I’ll have to run that, run that past Valley, but yeah, I’d love to do that. I think there’s some really interesting things to do with that. And, uh, uh, there’s uh, I don’t think there’s been a single idea. That we’ve used so far [01:02:00] in the series that we couldn’t come back to and do more with. And some of them we might choose not to, because that was, you know, find the way it was.
But there are things that we can revisit and we can play around with some more. And, and, uh, and sometimes when you’ve finished working on a story, you think that was a great ingredient. I love working in a story with that in it. And then few months later you go, Ashley, I didn’t do this with it. I get to go back and do that.
And that’s a, that’s a fun thing to do. So, so, so yes, all the way through with rye, I want to keep. Adding new things to show how wild and varied and amazing the world is because there’s almost everything is possible. So the more that you can show the better at the same time, I do want there to be kind of a reassuring, familiar landmarks, like recurring.
Characters and recurring things so that we do get a sense that this is a consistent world. It’s not just a travelog sort of pick a rascally moving forward. And, Oh, what’s the new thing we’re going to meet today. What’s the new adventure statement. There are, there is sort of a sequences and things, things that you maybe met a couple of issues that go we’ll come back and there will be more to do with [01:03:00] that.
So, uh, so yeah, just trying to try to, to build on what has come before.
Jeff Haas: Well, Italians listening, Roman Legion, miniseries, and these three issues. Get it done. This is where questions for their country. But, um, uh, this one, thank you very much, mr. We, um, for talking with me, you are absolutely fantastic. And, um, what you’re doing with rise.
Absolutely wonderful. The story is fantastic. The R’s fantastic. Um, I liked the concepts you’re bring in, if you ever want to bring in like Vikings too. That’s cool with me. Or like, okay. No worries. No pressure, but, um, I just wanna thank you so much for talking with me.
Dan Abnett: Oh, it’s been a real pleasure to come on the show again.
Thank you very much for having me and thank you for, thank you for listening to me. Prattle on for an hour or so.
Jeff Haas: It’s always been my pleasure. And if you don’t mind doing a bumper for us, we would really, I would really appreciate it.
Dan Abnett: Sure. I can do that. Yes. Would you like me to do it now? Yes, please. Okay.
Hi, this is Donna. I’m the [01:04:00] writer of rye for Valiant and, uh, justice league Odyssey for DC and many Warhammer projects and 2080 and pretty much there’s many things you can think of. And you’re listening to spoil a country.
Jeff Haas: Alright, thank you so much, sir. Have a fantastic day. I I’m really glad. Yeah, you stopped to talk with me.
Dan Abnett: Thank you very much, indeed. It’s been a pleasure. Yep. Have a great day. Bye bye.