Today we got to sit down and talk with Dan Abnett about how he got his start in comics, writing for Marvel UK, how sometimes not knowing the ending of a comic makes you a better writer and so much more!
We are planning to bring Dan back on to talk about Aquaman in the future, so be sure to look out for that!
Find Dan’s books online:
This transcript is created by a robot learning to love.
Dan Abnet Interview , these are the only people, these are the only people we could get now. And that, that there’s, there’s a great fun to that because you know that at any point any of them could revert to type and the team is going to collapse around them and they’re going to be, there’s going to be fighting, fighting themselves rather than anything else.
[00:00:00] all right. Everybody welcome. Come back. We are here and lucky enough to talk with Dan Abnett. so Dan. Hi. How are you doing today, ma’am?
Dan or Jeff: I’m doing very well. Global pandemic notwithstanding. Yeah. No, I’m fine. Thank you.
John H.: Yeah, we’re, . I’m in Seattle, so I’m like in the epicenter of the U S pandemic of everything’s going on here, so it’s
Dan or Jeff: Yes. I think everyone practicing some self isolation at the
John H.: They, yeah, lots of hand washing. I have five kids. All my kids are washing their hands constantly right now. And they just canceled school for six weeks here and they canceled the comic con.
They’ve canceled like all the events here at locally. So it’s, it’s kinda crazy.
Dan or Jeff: Yes and no. It certainly is. I’ve had a, I was meant to do a, just over the next couple of weeks, several sort of things at universities, talks at universities and things. They’ve all been all being shut down. Luckily, and I know it’s become a cliche now because he’s all over the place, but you know, sort of freelancers, particularly writers and artists are very used to self isolation.
So it’s like we are in training for this. This is going to carry on regardless.
Well, those like me actually [00:01:00] kind of enjoy this as well. So it’s like finally it’s a dream come true. I don’t want to be around people
John H.: If it is, my whole life led up to this moment right now. So Dan, you’ve been in comics for a while. It looks like.
Dan or Jeff: Uh, a terrifyingly long time. Yes. I think technically speaking, this is my 32nd year of professional writing and comics and, well, obviously my writing is more than just comics, but, uh, yeah, I started, uh, started professionally on staff at Marvel UK, in London back in, uh, 87. Oh my goodness. May, that’s a long time ago.
John H.: That’s the year my wife was born. Not to make you feel old, but how’d you get into Marvel UK? How’d you get into writing comics with them?
Dan or Jeff: Uh, it was a complete fluke and an accident. I, I, uh. It’s still kind of short version. I’ve always been interested as a kid. I loved my favorite things to do, would draw pictures and write stories. They were the two things I was, I liked. And it was also good. I was, my parents are both [00:02:00] artists. I, I read a lot as a kid and, you know, just those things as a kid that I did as a hobby, you know?
And, um. By two, nine years old, I essentially discovered comics thanks to a friend of mine at school, I moved school. A friend of mine, , had, back then you couldn’t get Marvel DC in the UK very much, but you could get a black and white reprints. That was black and white reprint of Marvel in particular.
That’s what he had inspired me and, and I suddenly realized that as a child, but there, I could, I could do my two favorite things, which is write stories and draw pictures at the same time if I produce my own comics. So I used to write and draw my own comics. That’s what I did for years as a kid. I then.
It kind of stops. For a while. I was going to go out college. I didn’t, I realized that I was sort of better at the English side of things that I was at. The art side ended up going to university, had dreams of being a writer. And at the end of the entire process, coming out of university, not quite knowing what I was going to do, [00:03:00] someone remarking upon my interesting comics said, you should get a good job in comics.
And I went, is that even a thing that happens to people? I, you know, I was pretty aware that of the creators of the comics that I loved reading, but it didn’t ever occur to me that there was a sort of comics industry that you could enter. So. I got the address of Marvel UK in London. they were at the time, uh, they still sort of exist, uh, called something else, but they, they basically had the rights to produce Marvel material in the UK, so they were responsible for a lot of the reprinting was going on, but they also originated a lot of material on, um, junior licensed products, which they were creating comics as well.
And I just wrote to them on a whim. It’s, I, you know, I’m interested. And they, they wrote back and said, please come in and have a chat with us. I went, Oh, that’s lovely. So I wandered down to Bayswater London and went down to Bayswater. And what I didn’t realize was the, , they had at the time been, uh, nationally advertising for editorial trainees, and they [00:04:00] thought I was applying for a job.
I was, well, I didn’t know. So I arrived and there was a room full of other candidates, and I went, okay. Um, and. So I adapted to the situation rapidly and had an interview and I got one of the editorial trainee places they were advertising and started working there. I mean, it was just pure, pure fluke. I just thought I was going to get an interesting dynamic to the comic company and it wasn’t that at all ends up the job. and I, I started working there. In fact, my, my early job there, once I’d done that sort of training, it was all, there was no desktop publishing. This was all old school stuff. So I might, you know, I can, I can basically give me a stick in a barn and a whatever and I can put a together. And, uh, my, my, essentially my first job was as assistant editor on the brand new weekly comic they were launching.
She’s the real Ghostbusters and my book Richard stockings, who now is comic raft and elephant man and everything like that. And we. Uh, we worked on that and I, so I spent several years there, uh, working on Ghostbusters [00:05:00] and transformers and Thundercats galaxy Rangers and Thomas the tank engine, everything else that we were originating.
Um, and, uh, and I loved it. I learned a lot, made a lot of. Friends and contacts throughout the industry cause we, me and I was just, it was a sort of, it was a positive, the hearts of the, of the British comic scene. And there was a lot of artists who are now internationally famous, who were sort of starting out at the same time.
I think my very first action force story that I ever wrote was ruled by a young guy called Brian H, you know, and it was that kind of weird, weird connected tissue of, of, of the comics industry. Anyway, the, uh, the, the pay was terrible. And they encouraged us all to freelance to do extra, do often color things like coloring and lecturing.
They encouraged us all to do these things, partly to increase our skill sets and partly because it was a way of doing some overtime and there was a lot of, there was a lot of hands on physical practical work to do and one of the things you could do was to write stories and they encouraged us to write [00:06:00] stories mainly so that we had a better grounds with our stories worked so that we could then better edit.
But freelance is we’re employing. So I wrote a lot for Ghostbusters in particular. In fact, I was Eagle Spangler for 170 issues, writing a writing, a Spangler spirit guide, and. And I loved it. And I learned. And so after several years of doing that and various other bits and pieces, I realized that although I enjoyed editing, I enjoyed being in that environment.
Uh, well I really wanted to do with right. And so I, I sort of went freelance eventually. And, and so, so I carried on doing that. And I’ve been doing it ever since. Really. Um, uh. Quite a big plunge to go freelance, but it sort of paid off for me. So I did that. That’s really how I got into it and obviously spent the first, sort of, the first 10 or so years just writing comics, it’s not like I started to do some of the UK us format UK produce stuff like pen dragon and death said, uh, and then.
[00:07:00] Started to work, working out with us as well on the Punisher, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And then eventually D C and then with the, came back in a full circle to also work for 2018 which is Britain’s great originated the gala comic, which I’ve worked for. I’ve worked for, for longer than I was reading it as a kid.
John H.: crazy.
Dan or Jeff: so, so yeah, a bit of everything. Um. And it’s like sort of really, really a sequence of, of, weird events that brought me to it. But I obviously landed in this right place, but I guess about 10 years into my writing career as a freelancer, uh, I’d always want you to write novels as well. Uh, and I started, I was, I was contacted by games workshop, who asked me to initially as a comic book writer to write some comic books for, for their a Warhammer 40 K we’ll have 40,000.
A license. And I was also a big fan of role playing games and tabletop games, so I knew what it was. And within months I had been commissioned to write novels, and so I now also was wearing my second hat as a novelist. I have [00:08:00] written, I’ve had, I’ve lost count, I think it’s 50 something novels, not just we’ll handle that doctor who and all sorts of things.
So I might, I’d write comics and I write novels. And then in the last 10 years, I’ve also added game writing to that as well. So, so, you know, let me ask you time a gun for hire. Show me something and I’ll give it my best shot.
John H.: That is awesome. There’s so much to unpack there. Um, no, it’s fine. I love it. I love it. it’s funny cause you mentioned death. So I was asking about that cause when I was growing up as a kid, uh, in the, um, you know, late eighties, in the mid nineties, is the fact that when I was going through my adolescence of reading every kind of pocket I could get my hands on, my first introduction to Marva UK or to any kind of the UK commerce was.
First was death’s head and then 2080 so when Rick and you worked on death head too, right.
Dan or Jeff: Yes, yes, it was. Uh, some are, and uh, uh, Jesse are a number of other people sort of when it was sort of, it’s sort of a character that sort of emerged from the original, it transformed the strip and then it got an identity of its own. And then for reasons that, [00:09:00] that are not only too complicated to go into, but that I can’t now actually remember in detail, uh, we decided to revamp it and Liam sharp redesigned.
Say it as a character into the, into what is now known as death said to, and I was asked by Paul Leary to write it, and so that, that was, that was a big brand. It followed on from, as I said, the less, less known. Although I’m quite impactful. Comic, we did called Knights of Ben dragon, which was a. The U S my series with a very ecological and mythological bent, which treats your characters like a captain, Britain and union Jack and everything was sort of a British, British eco, spooky superhero thing.
Uh, I’m from, uh, on the vices of that , which was a bigger breakout hit in America.
John H.: Yeah, I remember, I remember nights at Penn dragon, I remember, I don’t want it came out, but later on seeing it and picking it up. And it was, it was the desks head thing of one and two always confuse me as a kid. I didn’t understand what was going on cause I just, for me it was like, Oh, it’s a sequel, you know?
Dan or Jeff: I don’t think anybody did. I think it’s quite interesting that they, both [00:10:00] characters now sort of exist in their own right. Everybody, depending on how old you are, everybody has their own. Favorite that said, I think there are action figures of both. Uh, and they sort of both crop up. People tend to be very, very in which one they support, but they both can exist.
One is literally an extension of the other youth. We could easily have a story with both of them in it.
John H.: Oh shit.
Dan or Jeff: Because weird. I, I, I think probably deep down that there is certain aspects of deaths have ones design, but it’s still quite transformer ish. Even though we had a very distinct look, and that’s what they were trying to get away from, to avoid Hasbro coming after them with a machete.
But, uh, uh, yeah. But both exists and, and, and uh, I think it depends. Depends which comics you read it by. I have. Sort of broad that said to back into the Marvel fold several times in the cosmic books like Nova, uh, Vanessa one has got obviously a life of his own in his own books at Marvel. So it’s, yeah, it’s weird.
It’s one of those things. not the attacker comics, there’s more than one [00:11:00] version of, I think.
John H.: Right, right. It’d be instinct. They brought him into, uh, into the movies at some point.
Dan or Jeff: yeah. Yeah, I absolutely would. Yeah. It’d be very interesting, I think. I think, uh, I think although there are many, many, many great Marvel characters who have yet to be represented in the Marvel cinematic, uh, they also did a lot of the very obvious ones in the first first wave.
And I think it’s interesting to the city what will start appearing now, where, where they seem to delight in, in going for slightly unexpected characters to the thrill of the crowd, although perhaps it’s obviously my, my biggest experience of that was, um. God, he’s the galaxy, uh, which I writing for them in, which is what they turned into the movies.
John H.: Good. Good.
Dan or Jeff: yeah, obviously. But that, that was a book I wrote for them based on characters that I loved as a kid growing up. That hadn’t really quite worked for whatever reason. And then they turned that into the movie, and that was a very, very unexpected experience for everybody.
Concerned that that’s a, that to do a Marvel cosmic film, which [00:12:00] we were really expecting, and that they would go to this, uh, this, this sort of cultish God is the galaxy rather than something more obvious. So, uh, yeah, anything can happen. Who knows when, when, when death, that might show up.
John H.: I mean, it’s just, he’s just weird enough to where it makes sense to then to put it in the movies now. Right. He’s just off enough to, Oh yeah, I get it now.
Dan or Jeff: Absolutely, yes. Yes. I think he would work extremely well. In one of the films they’ve got that sort of a full Ragnar rock or guardians, the galaxy feel to it, you know, he did with that slightly sort of quirky, quirky sense of everything. I think that would work.
John H.: Yeah, it would. It’d be great.
Dan or Jeff: you’ve written for so many different companies, so many different titles and so many different continuity’s. Do you ever get confused on what’s happening.
Uh, and I’ll tell you for when they’ll actually, that’s a lie. There have been occasions where I’ve got terribly confused just because of, because, no, I, I, I’ve done a lot of work for it, as you say, for a lot of people. And, um, it often two things that seem to stagger people when they talk to me about what I do.
One is how, [00:13:00] how much I produce. Uh, there’s sort of no shutting me up. But the other, the other thing is the, the, that they are always astonished that I am doing multiple things at the same time. Uh, you know that, I assume that, you know, I write this comic and then I, then I stop, and then I go and write this novel, and then I stop, and then I’d go write this game or whatever.
But my working week is a, is a, is a finely balanced relationship with. Plate spinning where I, where I literally do everything at the same time. He said, I’ll get up in the morning and I might write the chapter, the next chapter of whatever novel I’m working on, and then I might stop and have a cup of tea and then go and write whatever Tommy’s script is, do next the strip for 2000 ID or, you know, the next issue is something for DC or something like that.
And then, you know, a day or so later I’ll be probably working on a game and, and this kind of stuff. And people have no idea how I keep track of it. Um, there are, there is a trick to keeping track of it. I’m not sure what that is, is obviously something that I do intuitively, but I’ve discovered that it’s, [00:14:00] um, I find it creatively really useful to do that because I think if you work on any one particular thing, no matter how much you love it, know in my case, the obvious thing would be something like Warhammer 40,000.
I love writing. I’ve done a lot of it, but if I only did that, I think they would come a point. Probably every week or cumulatively over a period of months where I’d just be, you know, I’d never want to say a spice Marine again. I’m so sick of being stuck here in this thing. Uh, so the, the, the opportunity to just mix things up on a daily basis, to spend them one morning in the universe and then the afternoon in the DC universe and the following day in, in, in developed the universe.
And then the, you know, whatever, um, means that I never. I never get things, don’t get styled, don’t get, don’t get stuck for me creatively. So I think I actually use up more of my time, uh, because I don’t need to sort of, I don’t need as much as it would [00:15:00] downtime to recover from one place before I go back into it.
Does that make sense? So if it, you know, if I wrote 40 K all day, I might need to take the following morning off because I’m up to my limit before TK, before I can come back to it. But now I actually, I can switch from one thing to another. And so the only real difficulty there. In terms of productivity is remembering which universe you’re in.
Does. I know it might not sound like a time, Lord, but he does, and there was, I don’t think there was one occasion a few years ago. I had invented swear words for, uh, the food of the Warhammer novels. I wrote, I’d invented swear words for a strip I write for 2008 equals sinister Dexter, and they’re also invented swear words in.
God. He’s the galaxy. So yeah, it must be about 10 15 years ago that this happened, and I realized I’d written the scripts that we can, I’d use the wrong invented swear words in the wrong universe. And that was the only time where it was like a real kind of, Oh, I’ve got to go back and correct that now.
That’s very cool. The only I think is very fascinating about you is that [00:16:00] because you’ve written for so many different publishers, you have a unique perspective, I think, on working with these publishers. . Is there something that each publisher does that’s maybe uniquely better or interesting or something that you kind of notice that, you know, with this company, I really need to do something right, like this versus maybe DC or Valeant.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you mean. And then that is absolutely the case. I think if you’re a, if you’re a, if you’re a sort of freelance. Right? Uh, and, and, and essentially a writer I’ll tie in or licensed product, cause a lot of what we’re talking about is that, I mean, I have written my own creator and stuff and on my own sort of original novels, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
But a lot of it, even when you’re writing for, say, the Marvel DC universe, you’re writing, you’re writing tying, you’re writing characters as the preexist. You’re, you’re contributing to an IEP and you, you, you’ve got to learn. You’ve got to learn how those characters works no matter how. Uh, original and how creative your being in trying to bring something new and [00:17:00] fresh and tell a story or stylistically even tell a story that is new.
You still got to get it right. Uh, you’ve got to respect the heritage and legacy of that character. So with every company. Uh, there is a certain, you sort of need to learn the ground rules and respect them. And those ground rules aren’t even static. So for instance, when I was working for, for an example, Marvel back in the early nineties is very different from working for Marvel in the mid noughties or now, you know, the, the character that, the profile of a company, the attitudes, the tastes of a company will change over time.
So there is a reason you need to be a certain, you need to be so reactive. So what current needs are and what current interests are. There’ve been occasions with many different companies where, uh, there are certain things I know that there’s no point in pitching cause they’re not interested in. And then five years later, that’s exactly what they’re looking for.
You know, this was the things coming in and out of fashion all the time. But yes. . They’re always, generally [00:18:00] speaking, a tr particularly attractive reasons for working with particular companies. The opportunity to ride great characters. Um, I think Marvel has got an amazing universe that appeals to me, mainly because I grew up reading it.
I’m more familiar with the Marvel universe than I am, for instance, with the DC universe. So it’s always appeal to me very much. And I like that there is a. There is a sort of Marvel flavor that I’ve always enjoyed connecting with. Um, I have have, conversely though a long and extremely enjoyable relationship with DC who’ve got such iconic, longstanding characters and have, to me a sort of.
Uh, a more, more structured universe, uh, that is with stood the test of time and every attempt to reboot it one way or another. and I have particularly good working relationships with DC editors. I’ve always found them very nice, very thorough people. And even though it’s just, it’s all superheroes, the tone with which you approach a DC book is.
[00:19:00] Different to the tone that you’d approach a Marvel book, I think. I mean, in all kinds of, uh, of difficult to quantify ways, but they’re just, there’s just instinctively you’re feeling it in a different way. And then by contrast, obviously. Unlike the Warhammer universe is, you know, a grim darkness to the far future where everything’s on fire and no one’s happy.
And it’s, it’s Gothic and it’s depressing and it’s, it’s kind of traumatic and he’s a very, very different thing. I think of Warhammer as being very, very British in its sensibility as a science fiction product. It’s a sort of Sony realistic, uh, and 2008 D, uh, which I love and I adore 2000. It is, uh. Uh, that they, uh, they’re much more superhero, I’m sorry, multiple science fiction superhero.
And, uh, they’re telling their stories in a weekly anthologized school, so five pages a week rather than 20 pages a month. So the storytelling pattern is different. Uh, and. 2008 to me, breeds an [00:20:00] enormous amount of creativity. Quite often when I’m, you know, I will generate, spontaneously generate ideas and I’ll quite often go, well, I can use that in the next DC story.
I tell because there’s a very DC thing, or I can use that next Marvel, whatever. Some stories I go, that’s just weird. I’ll, that’ll be 2018 that’ll be better. So, so sometimes, right. And I love writing. The two, 2000 and 2018 itself obviously isn’t just one thing. It’s an anthology. So I have six or seven strips in that, that I’ve created the, I write on a regular basis.
uh, having also written their classic characters like judge Dredd and a road trooper and, uh, and that kind of stuff. But there’s the, you know, there’s sinister Dax or there’s kingdom, there’s gray area. Uh, there’s, uh, bring a series that Ian Cal Barton, I produced for 2000 it, which for the last two years has been voted the most popular thing in 2000 and day.
Uh, which is. Wonderful, and we love doing that. And so quite often just the points of the week where I stop and write just a simple five page strip for whatever’s due next to 2000 it is an [00:21:00] opportunity, a gene. It’s just a creative joy. If you, if you, if you, if you were the best, one of the world’s slugging away through a DC crossover where you were, where there’s a lot of heavy lifting and mechanical thought involved about just how you make your story work, no matter how much fun it is, how you make the story work in relation to.
Broader universe. 2018 is a place you can just go and be spontaneous and do something. So yes, everyone has their own flavor, and sometimes I even coordinate my working time table based on what kind of mood I need to be in to do things. I mean, if you’re a freelancer, you just get on with the job anyway, even if you’re not feeling up to it, you just, you know, you’re not like, you don’t wait for the muse to strike.
You just get on with it. But I do know that there are certain things that are. We’ll find if I’m in a, you know, very sort of driven, creative mood, that’s a great time to get on with a big, like a big story for DC or something like that. And if I just want to sort of relax and put a smile on my face, that’s the time to write something for 2000 ID or the magazine or whatever.
You know, I said there are different ways of handling [00:22:00] it and you just sort of, you kind of, you kind of measure your, uh, what you’re doing and the sort of things you do, according to what, you know, the editors are going to be receptive to. That was a little, I’m very sorry about
John H.: No, that was, that was great though. Cause you went through a lot of things. I had some follow up questions. She, you kind of answered them in that explanation, which is, which is wonderful. It makes it easy.
Dan or Jeff: That’s, that’s me answering my own questions.
John H.: it’s a, it, it, it makes my job easier. It’s totally cool. so more of a UK, right. That was a big thing. And it’s the question that I could, I don’t know. I didn’t, I didn’t growing up, I knew I knew more of U K but was there, was there a DC counterpart in the UK?
Dan or Jeff: As far as I am able to remember there is, there was not, I think nowadays, certain DC titles are republished over here, in different formats. Uh, that was really it. I mean, once I. When I was a kid and growing up I was, I was aware of British comics industry, which produced, as I say, very different comics to the American.
There were very, very few superheroes. So I grew up reading things [00:23:00] like a battle and action, uh, which were, which were sort of bullies comics of the 1970s, and that kind of stuff. And there was, there were other things, there was, there was a, there was a kind of educational magazine called look and learn, which was a very sort of high Brown and of thing your parents would approve of.
But then it was every, every issue, there was a two page. Fully painted, beautiful thing called the trig and empire, which was a science fiction strip, which is just now being collected. And it is just, it’s done Lawrence, and he’s just the most spectacular thing. If you’ve never seen the frog and empire, look out, go and go and look for it.
The collections are finally becoming available. Just unbelievable artwork and wonderful 1960s sort of stories. Um, so that I was aware of. Comic storytelling. Um, and obviously it was aware of 2018 when it came along cause they had, we had, it was a life changing effect on, on, uh, the, the, the comic readers of the, of the UK.
But American comics, and I mean by that, particularly superhero comics, but also things like [00:24:00] Western comics were around. But you. In not in any formal way. Uh, you would occasionally go into a news agent and you’d see some American comics, them quite overbroad quite often brought over as the ballast in ships.
you believe that? So you said you’d go into a shop and you’d go, I don’t, you know, I, there was no telling what a shop would have or whether it would ever have the next issue of something you’d been interested in. So you might find a random issue of iron man, or, you know, the brave and the bold or something in a shop and go, what’s this?
I have no idea what this is. I have no idea of the hundreds of issues that came before it. All came after it, but it’s great to be itself. and that for most of my childhood, uh, was the case with DC comics. They occasionally cropped up. So of course I knew who Superman or Batman were, but I didn’t have any sense of DC as a publisher, as a, as a publishing ass Marvel.
For whatever reason has got this London office, which reprinted, uh, the strips, uh, in the, I think from a, from an American perspective, [00:25:00] you would look at it and go, that is horrific, horrific crime that committed. But I would publish weekly comics. So the British Marvel UK. Uh, of which there were many titles, but they would be weekly.
They would be large British format, so, so, so magazine size, rather than us comic book size, they would be black and white apart from the cover. So there was no color artwork. It was just the black line work that was reprinted and all the strips, and I’m talking about reading things like classic Fs, Kirby FF.
Uh. Avengers, Jewish Tuska, iron man, gene Colan, Daredevil, all the stuff that had been around in the 60s though, they were now reprinting. They anthologized in five page installments in So my first comic was one called the mighty world of Marvel, which every week in black and white had five pages of the house, five pages of the Avengers.
I think five pages of dr. Strange and five pages of whatever else they wanted to put in it, [00:26:00] which could be really obscure, like wall up or a. A call dies. I mean, all sorts of different things appeared in there. Uh, and that’s what you got. So in the course of a month, obviously you get to read a month’s worth of American Marvel, but, but probably U S Marvel UK would produce their own splash pages and next issue boxes to, to, to sort of cover the gaps to, to build it all together.
So it was, it was the weirdest way of reading it. And once I finally. Got to my teens and discovered that they were places. Life had been planet and dark. They were a gold Knight, the comic shops that actually imported the real American originals. That was a sort of a game changer because I decided to read and then went back and read my favorite stories in the original, in their original intended format, full color at the time.
But weirdly, nowadays I have all nostalgia for these, frankly, crappy. Cause there was something beautiful about them. My first, actually this [00:27:00] is a story worth telling. Uh, my first experience was, was to say a school friend. I changed schools and my school friends had this. He was in another office. He used to Drew’s and stuff.
And they were very dynamic. And, and I’m so impressed by I, I asked what inspired him and he showed me his, he was a reader of the British Marvel reprints, which I had to say I’d never really come across and that what was inspiring his drawings. And one day I went to his house and he had. Eh, we were, we were just hanging out and he had loads of comics, loads of British marvels everywhere.
So, you know, Spiderman weekly, mighty world, Marvel, um, you know, uh, planet of the apes featuring Dracula libs and all sorts of and, and they were everywhere. He had so many of them because he was a man of fan. And his mom came in the room and in a, in a, in a, in a moment that she had no idea it was about to change the entire course of my life.
Oh, you’ve got so many comics and you haven’t got room to keep them in your cupboard. Why don’t you give Dan the ones you don’t want [00:28:00] with a stack of British marvels? Uh, probably about four inches deep. I probably had about 50 or 60 comics that the, my friend had just said he had them on that one, that one, that one, you can have these images just keeping these around it so that they weren’t even the same type level, like six or seven different titles, which meant in American terms was six or seven times four or five different American books.
I hadn’t been sold like, what’s my. Uh, I had very few issues that were more than two or three in a row. So I had, I had in the most extraordinary jigsaw sense, a pile of comics. Sometimes the beginnings of stories with no ends. Sometimes the ends of stories, you know, beginning sometimes the middles, and they weren’t even the complete American books, so it couldn’t be more, more of a mosaic.
But. I read those comics over and over and over and over again for months and months and months, possibly years. Once I finally persuaded my parents that actually I should be able to get a couple of Marvel comics to read on [00:29:00] my own stuff. Um, and only think what happened was in my mind, I filled in all the gaps.
I feel all the bits of those comics that were missing. I put the ends on stories I only knew the beginnings of and the beginnings in whatever, and I wonder whether that had a very formative effect on my imagination. In terms of coming up with stories, is that in playing Dungeons and dragons filled in sort of story creating muscles?
I think I’ve always since then, and in fact this is going to sound terrible and I mean it, but I have obviously since gone back and read the American anthologizer collected, you know, Omni buses, early Marvel stuff. That includes the stories that I read partially rate as a kid in black and white and stories are magnificent, but often.
There is something oddly disappointing about the ways they actually started to ending. No, because they not great. And I mean, to be honest, you know, far better than anything I could imagine, but it was not what I imagined. And [00:30:00] that’s a kind of weird thing. It’s like, Oh, I always thought Nick fury ended up doing this.
And of course he didn’t need did this instead of, you know, it was a weird, I somehow, I think the gaps in my early comic education were more useful. I needed there to be some comics to inspire me, but the gaps left room for my imagination. And in the same way, there was no DC, as I said, really systematically in the U K so when I finally got to read some in the comic shops, it was a wonderful revelation.
And when I finally got to work with DC, it was a a delightful. Obligation to learn their continuity as a professional to go and understand the format of comics. But I now need to learn the history of Nightwing. I need to work out with the teen times where I need to, you know, all those sorts of things. So, so, so that was in itself a a really good thing cause it prompted you, I didn’t have that kind of childhood knowledge to draw upon.
John H.: Yeah. I mean, it makes sense that why you have the soldier for those, those stories, right. And the way you go back and you know, so it’s [00:31:00] kind of relate to that. I, when I was a kid, my dad used to take a set, he would record the audio from movies for our long trips. So our audio books was like the, it was like, it was like the audio for back to the future or the audio for Superman too or whatever.
Right. And that’s how I experienced those movies for the first time was just straight audio. And so I would build a movie in my head, but then when I finally saw the movie, you know, a year or two later when I’ve had fun, let me watch it, whatever, you know, in my head, I saw everything different. And still to today when I watched back to the future or Superman to, I see, well, I imagine when I was eight, nine years old.
And I compare it to the movie and I’m like, Oh, this is good. But, but I thought it was, and I feel it should be this way.
Dan or Jeff: That’s absolutely true. But you have the pictures in your head are often brilliant. I, I was, uh, I also was a big fan of radio I, Mr. Lamb, but I was a big fan of radio growing up in the, in the days before there were, you know, videos and stuff like that. And so my first experience of the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, which I adore, was the radio version, uh, the radio version, which predates, I think.
Predated the novels, but [00:32:00] the only thing that come before was the stage play. So when they finally started, the novels were great, but when they finally started making TV adaptations, which were fantastic and movie adaptations that they was like, no, the pictures in my head were better. That was the great, great thing.
The pictures in your head are always better, I think.
John H.: Oh, the radio play for HITECH has got the guy. She’s so good though. It’s so much fun. I love that one. I again, that was one of the ones my dad record the audio of, right. The first one we ever, first one I ever heard was the, was the BBC miniseries audio, like just the audio for it. And then I heard the audio book, but then I heard, then I heard the, uh, the radio plays the radio classes.
Oh, these are, is one. That’s one of my, that’s one of my all time favorite stories is the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. And I’ve read that book probably 20 times, and it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s fantastic.
Dan or Jeff: Huge fan of it. It’s exactly the sweet spot of my early teens when it was incredibly, uh, inspirational. In fact, a friend of a friend of mine and I at school, uh, who we had recently got into [00:33:00] roleplay early Dungeons and dragons and stuff like that. And we love to love rope line games. We actually wrote ourselves, and it must exist somewhere.
We wrote ourselves. The HIV has gotten to the galaxy role playing game, so we can. Well, I like that. I’m sure the rules don’t stand up to close scrutiny, but anyway.
John H.: I used to play it. My dad had the, uh, the techs game, like it was a, the computer game with all text. you have to like tell, yep. Go outside, lay in front of a tractor with a towel and, and figure out how to get to the game. I can never get through like the first, I don’t know, chapter of the book and that, and that text keeps saying, I never figured out what to do, but I was also like 10 years old trying to do this, you know, but it was a lot of fun. So you did some work for Valeant with rye or w or, I hear about, is it right or Ray? It’s Ray right.
Dan or Jeff: I call him. Right. But then, then it looks like, right. And I don’t know, but, but anyway, but I think it’s entirely, it’s subject to say to people sometimes come up to me at a convention, particularly with Warhammer, and they say, I love your novels. How do you pronounce the name of that character? A miles of that is wasted.
How do you pronounce it? Because one side, [00:34:00] it’s your responsibility. That’s your, it belongs to you. So the rye or rye is exactly how you want to say it, but yes. Yeah, I’d be, I’m writing writing that for them at the moment and some other bits and pieces. I wrote for Valley at the mid nineties and it was delightful to be invited back and to be given such a great character and a great artist to work with.
Well was great that, , apparently rise the tomato of superheroes, human house, however you want. what is interesting about Ryan, your opinion? All right. Uh, I think, uh, I think he, he is, he is the quintessence of what a lot of Valley and characters have, which is the, the violence is, is, is, is one of the greats.
Uh, unified comic is alongside the Marvel and the DC universities, and he’s a lot younger, obviously, but it has a much stronger bent towards, uh, science fiction. And what I might describe loosely as realism [00:35:00] is, is obviously full of superheroes, but they are very different type of superheroes to the, to the, to the Marvel DC models.
And I find that writing for a Valliant. On rye particularly, but also for other things. Um. There is actually an opportunity to unleash some of my, some of the science fiction writer in me that I use normally for novels and for 2008 D that there is a there, that the universe is one in which I can use ideas that, that it’s not so much don’t fit into Marvel or DC, but Marvel and DC have done in their own way so many times that they are no longer fresh.
So in the Valley, in universe, for instance. And this is just a hypothetical, but if you, if he wrote a, an alien invasion story in the Valium universe, that would be a huge deal because it doesn’t happen very often and it hasn’t happened very often. Whereas if you do it in Marvel DC, it’s like, Oh, again, you know, do you know what I mean?
So there is, there is a kind of beautifully worked out universe, but there’s, there is a, there is a kind of. Um, [00:36:00] freshness to it where it is still capable of supporting in a really dramatic and big way, the sorts of things that, that, that, that other older comics perhaps it’s become, no matter how fracture you do, it is tired.
And, and with, with, with right or re, uh, there is, uh, I’ve, I’ve sort of been given the future. Of the value of the university. It’s, it said set in the year 4,002 or whatever. Um, so it’s sort of cosmic, which is my particularly particular favorite thing to ride. And there is an opportunity to do things and sort of create a world.
I’m not quite as, uh, connected to, uh, contemporary events and the Valiant universe. So I can extrapolate and I can do all sorts of very creative things. And that is, that is immense fun. And as I said, uh. Uh, Juan, who is the artist on that is extraordinarily, is cinematic and brilliant and in his detail. And so, um.
I write stuff knowing that I can, I can deliver it will deliver on the [00:37:00] promise of the idea. So, you know, because you know, you’re writing for an artist who’s going to render it in the most extraordinary detail, for instance. Uh, and that is, uh, that is, that’s a real treat to be able to do it as a means that in the Valley, the universe, I think you can do, you can make greater drama after something smaller.
Uh, which sounds weird, but you can have two characters sort of just engage in a. A hand-to-hand fight or a, I don’t know, a motorbike chase. I think DC and Marvel would go, Oh God, that’s really tame. Can it be on jetpacks in space with, uh, you know, we’ve come, can we make it bigger? Which of course you can, but the raw value universities is grounded enough for the, for the idea that somebody might crash their motorbike is a big deal and will be life threatening to that character, and therefore it is Laden with inherent drama.
Full of those characters. And I think that’s a really interesting thing. It’s, it’s like a, it’s like their levels as a set and not, not, not less, but in a different place. So it is a [00:38:00] opportunity to tell very different types of stories. So, your current, , race series is based off of a fallen world, which you also wrote.
And then that’s based on re 4,001 by Matt kind . , , for people who may want to jump into the series, how well versed do you need to be in the background of Ray from these other series to jump into this one. Uh, I, I, with everything I write, one way or another, no matter who the publisher, I always try and make sure it’s, it’s accessible, uh, as quickly as possible and, and requires the least amount of background research for Rita reader.
There is a great rule of comics that every issue is someone’s first. Uh, and I’ve, I’ve never tried to let go of that. . Obviously it helps with any great long, long running character. It helps , if you know the resonances of their continuity and what’s gone on in the past because then it gives added depth and meaning and importance and significance to the story.
But, uh, I’d like to think that you could pick up a boot, glug, uh, rye and, and be able to read it and understand what [00:39:00] was going on and get into it. And if that then inspires you so much that you want to go out and get the back issues and the trays. Catch up with way you are. That’s fantastic. Um, so, uh, the second sentence of, of rice simply that is, it is, it is the far future that there is the, the, um.
As depicted in fall world, uh, most of humanity lived in this utopian paradise in this orbital, uh, city called new Japan that was ruled over by, uh, an AI called father who looked after the mole and rye was his, his. Some, he’s semi semi technical Ganek. Uh, and he was the sort of champion and defender of new Japan.
And in full unwell, what happens, and in the stuff that Matt wrote before that, uh, ride discovers the father is, is, is not quite as nice as everybody thought. She was being forced utopia, uh, which is pretty grim. And. Uh, rye stands up for the common man and, and sort of brings new Japan crashing down on the earth, [00:40:00] which has basically been left to rewild over a period of several thousand years and is the most extraordinary.
Wonderland of strangeness. Uh, and the people, he, Ryan has liberated the people of new Japan, and they’re not really that grateful because they thought they were okay. They weren’t okay, but they thought they were okay. And now they’ve, they’re forced to sort of survive and, and actually sort of build their own world.
And he’s sort of watching over there. So we’d say it’s a kind of post apocalypse story. But it’s one about, um, it’s also a pioneering story. And the very simple premise of the right book , is that Ry, , and, , I, uh, prompted that version of him who’s called Roger in, , who is, who looks like a teenage boy, but it is essentially the same sort of.
Construct are traveling together, trying to find the laugh, remnants of the father, AI, which if they reunite, will cause mankind to be enslaved again. So it’s a quest story. It’s as simple as that. So each storage issue or each couple of issues [00:41:00] is another step in that quest. And it’s really simple to grasp when you get to enjoy the, the, the adventures that they have through this Wonderland of the future.
Uh, um, and along the way. Through that conversations, you can pick up all the background information that you need to, which, as I say, isn’t really a lot, whereas there’s sophistication that you might want to learn. But the basic storyline is, is their issue by issue? And that about, I think it’s, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s, um.
Uh, it’s charm if you like. It’s a, it’s a very simple story with, in an incredibly complex, uh, setting, which you obviously get every time you read one of the issues. So the complexity is right there for you. The simplicity of why it’s happening is, is not hard to pick up. Well, I must say I’m loving what you’re doing with that series.
, I thought issue five was fantastic and , , the thing that I really liked about issue five is when you have racing that he’s trying to be human, so he knows how to die. I think that was a beautiful quilt that you have in that, um, issue and [00:42:00] had me wondering, does he really mean that or, I mean, does he really thinking about working towards dying?
Is it just something he’s saying for the moment? Uh, I, I certainly think he believes it in the moment. He says it. The next, the next story arc will examine that, uh, uh, in more detail. But I think, yes, he’s, he’s a, he’s an interesting character because he’s, he’s partly organic, so he’s partly a, as it were, a real human, but he’s partly positronic.
Uh, and he has seen that. Technology has in so many ways, runaway technology, certainly not just technology generally, but runaway technology has been the ruination of mankind and the sort of cools mankind’s enslavement and then actually generally speaking of bad things. So he is a living example of something that is a bad thing and wants to, he’s functioning.
He has a very specific task to perform, which is to make sure that father can never come back. But once that is over. He wants to be human, and he wants to have the capacity to be finite in the way the [00:43:00] humanity is supposed to be finite. You know, you cherish the life you have, but the life is not endless.
Uh, so he’s interesting because he’s sort of technology that is, opposing technology is technology that exists in order to make sure that technology is secured and not a danger. And once that’s over, what happens to him and to him. I think the answer to that is he wants to be human and therefore be able to die and step away from it.
That this is something that we will be exploring in detail. But yeah, I’m glad you liked the line. It was a, it was a pretty profound moment because I think up to that point, people have been expecting his underlying motivation to be something rather different. And when he comes out with that, speaking to Gill at it in that fifth issue, it’s a, I think it is quite shocking.
And yeah, I mean, I think the writing, and if you five is really beautiful and I really thought, . Then you also explored by exploring not only rye , but also the sense of how does he feel towards regime, which is curiously guy who’s older than he is, but sort of younger [00:44:00] version of him in some weird twist to it.
does he really feel nothing for regime? I mean, he’s parked human, like you said, cause he’s really killed nothing for him. Again, they city. Yeah. It’s quite difficult to perceive exactly how much is it rise is being sort of very deliberately controlled and not showing emotion and how much of it is actually him lacking the experience to express his emotions and that kind of stuff.
So, so that, that relationship I think is. Fascinating. Rajeen as you say, is older. He’s, he’s essentially rise older brother is an earlier prototype who possesses most of the same abilities, but he was built as a child. He is in the form of a child because he was built to be a kind of Astro boy type mascot rather than a fully fledged warrior defender.
So they had this weird. Relationship where the older brother is, the physically isle is the physically younger brother, the younger brother, if you see what I mean. And Rajeen has a much more human approach to things. He’s much more sympathetic. He’s [00:45:00] much more concerned about people’s welfare and helping people, and he’s generally speaking appalled by what he sees as rise.
Ruthlessness and severity and is constantly nagging him to do things. And in the next docket, as you will quickly see in the next couple of issues, him nagging rye is beginning to go. Maybe he should be listening to his older brother. Maybe his older brother has got a decent point of view. But that in itself leads them into inevitably, you know, sort of danger and problems because the, once you start sticking out the people and varying from your chosen path, uh, you get into all sorts of trouble.
So they, they, they’re great. They’re, they’re almost, um. They’re almost like the, the, the angel and devil on your shoulder. You know, that they’re, they’re, they’re interplay, which I think is really, really good. I think there is a genuine sense of care between them. Neither would want anything to happen to the other, and we slowly peeling back the motivations.
It will be very interesting to see, and I will give no spoilers, but we’re very tipsy to see if rye ever gets to the point where he says the [00:46:00] regime and expresses in any way, shape or form a sort of fraternal level, his connection to his brother because he’s. But the moment he very much seems to be using Rajeen is just a useful instrument, a tool, a weapon in order to get his, get the job done.
Um, it’s an ongoing, evolving relationship. And like I said, I think the, that exploration of, um, what is it to be human or the human aspect of ourselves is one of the best teams in the entire comic in the series so far. And also, I thought it was great that you brought in the eternal warrior as well.
Why did you introduce some and what perspectives do you think he’s given to the series beyond Reagan and Ray? Like what else is he bringing to the table? Well, he’s, I didn’t tell him. Warrior is a fantastic character. Uh, one of my absolute favorites in the Valiant universe. Uh, and I love the fact that although he is definitely human, we, we understand that he is sort of also post-human in a completely different way to, to rise.
He’s not 10 technologically boosted. He, this guy has essentially lived forever [00:47:00] because he’s, he’s. Being chosen to be the defender of earth and the sort of ecological spirit of the, , and that has given him huge perspective. I mean, just like so much perspective, it’s difficult to take into account. , so I.
We were writing a book that was, as he was stranded, as in the future, away from all the other Valliant titles. I did want to see which characters would be around and therefore I could pick up on, he’s not viewed as one because of his longevity. Uh, and I just thought it’d be really interesting cause he’s Gilad eternal glory.
His relationship to, The geo Mansa, who, who we sworn to protect and is younger and smaller than him is, some similar to rise relationship with Raj in, yes. Their approach to their dynamics are completely different. So I wanted to bring in somebody who was by any other standards would be a great ally for right to have, but actually to put them on opposing sides of the conflict and for, for Gilad to [00:48:00] really, I suppose.
Criticize or even attack rifle, his attitudes and the things that he was doing, but also himself come to some sort of understanding about why rye had to do what he was doing. , they, they’re great the different sort of different versions of the same dynamic and that makes them very, very, very interesting to put together.
John H.: That is really interesting. That’s so cool. , divided Universal’s brand new when I was a kid. Right. And my dad got into it big time and so I read all these characters and my dad would bring home and then it’s, it was so cool and they brought it back to our doing them again.
Cause it’s such a rich universe to, to dive into, you know.
Dan or Jeff: No, it really is. It really isn’t it? I mean, it is a universe, particularly in the case of, for instance, the eternal warrior where. And our ultra realms for one of their other great titles where, where there is a sense of the past and the future too, but particularly the sense of the past and the past presented as, as sort of realistic flashbacks to, to, to a genuine history, not some sort of fabricated thing.
I know it’s fabric IGT, but [00:49:00] there’s more care put into the. The sense of the, of the past and where they come from. and some of the, some of the story. obviously I’ve been catching up on, Valliant books to make sure that I am in sync with their continuity and, and sort of, as I said, similar to what I was talking about.
Reading DC comics. When I first started coming to DC and realizing that I really missed out a weave Valley, and I realized, I thought, why have I not been reading these regularly the last few years? Because there’s some fantastic stories. There were some absolutely super bitter turtle warrior stories. the, the bill Vendetti did roughly total warrior is the amazing series, of their events.
like the Valiants and, I’m trying to remember the other names of the other ones. Are there several, several. Crossover events they’ve done that have just been super and felt that they had real significance to the course of the university’s history, rather than just being a cool thing we could do now.
You know, I think there was some really good stuff and there was a great, I think it’s called the book of death. It was a full part series that’s about the [00:50:00] origin of the eternal warrior and the, At the beginning of that conflict and the GMs side, which are sort of, it’s a sort of stone age thing and it’s just brilliant.
so yes, that there they are a company that is producing, within, within the construct of mainstream is still producing some incredibly original style.
John H.: That’s so cool. That’s so cool.
So you talked about, you talked about your time with, with DC comics and all the research you did, and you’re working on a justice like Odyssey. What kind of research did you for that
Dan or Jeff: I was, I’ve worked for DC on and off in different ways for a long time, but, but a few years ago, right about the time of a rebirth, they asked me to just be full rebirth. In fact, they asked me to take on the teen Titans. Well, the Titans, as we were calling them, and one of the, part of the remit they gave me was to, see if I could construct a story which allowed for the sort of silver age continuity to come back.
which I did in a, in a series called Titans hunt a. And w. Didn’t know that DC was using me as a kind of, [00:51:00] a Guinea pig to see if the whole idea of rebirth would work. That you could, you could fold continuity’s back into each other and regain some of the things would have been dispense with, then obviously I went on to write Ackerman for, for.
50 plus issues, which was a thing I absolutely adored. I love Aqua man as a character, and it was an opportunity to do some real big fantasy world building, which I think worked, worked really well, and I enjoyed it. But all through those things, loving DC characters, I do, I kept saying to. Do you see? I’d like to do something cosmic.
You’ve got it. You’ve got a wonderful cosmic arena. It’s the, it’s the thing I’m known for. Thanks to God. He’s the galaxy and Nova and desat and everything else. Let me do some cosmic. As I finally being offered justice league Odyssey, which is obviously the justice league team, there’s often space fighting.
Dark side was huge fun and required immense amounts of research going back through the cosmic continuity of the DC universe. But I’m enjoying it very, very much indeed. And it’s [00:52:00] a, it’s a surprisingly, it’s a surprisingly difficult book to write, mainly because they’re, they say there’s so many, there’s so much into book connection in the DC universe.
do you happily writing one book, but the characters that you’re writing, and this was the case, for instance, when I was doing Titans, where almost every member, but certainly characters like Nightwing were appearing in at least two other books every month. And you had to make sure that the DVD events of what you were doing were not conflicting and vice versa.
So, you know, an event comes along and suddenly everything changes and you’ve got to, you’ve got to, you’ve got to react to that. So justice league Odyssey, absolutely needed to acknowledge. And couldn’t avoid acknowledging the massive things happening in DC, the DC universe over the last couple of years, for instance, like the collapse of the source wall, the rise of Perpetua and the apex, Luther, you’re the villain and all these things.
But at the same time, they weren’t my thing to write because they were being dealt within. For instance, justice league with [00:53:00] Scott Snyder. So, so I had to find a way of constructing a story that’s that. acknowledged these big events, reacted to them appropriately as members of the justice league. Had to do at the same time, didn’t kind of steal their story and make it my own because that story was belonged to a different book.
So I had to kind of forge my own path. there were lots of, there’s a lot of logic to get through to work out a really strong story line that I could tell. That would have an awareness of the rest of the DC universe, but also be its own thing and play its own, storyline out and where that’s, that’s what we’re doing at the moment with obviously the, we have a great assets of having, the upside is our, she fill it in one of the main characters and that’s a, that’s a, that’s a, that’s a very big thing in D C terms.
Yeah. Well, justice league, Ozzy, spun out originally out of Snyder’s, dark night metal. he’s a, and he’s hinted at that he has another even bigger sequel to dark dye metal coming. Does Odyssey play into that, big picture or is it going [00:54:00] to still exist that sort of like a sub separate entity.
The honest answers to that is that I can’t really tell you because I met cows close their chest, to be honest.
there’s things that we don’t want to reveal because of, because of spoilers. But, certainly I think some of the characters. Involved in DC, in justice league Odyssey would necessarily play a part in a, in any bigger story that occurred in the DC universe. So I’ll say that, and you can, you can, you can, you can, you can understand that however you want to.
And, and, and of course we all, we’ll, we’ll pick that apart and figure out if this connection or not. okay. How fun is it to write Dexstar he’s one of my favorite characters, especially for the red lanterns. And it must be fun to write a, I’m a very powerful cat as a cat lover. That’s, yeah, it is great fun.
I bet. In fact, that was one of the fun things that I did. Obviously I took over justice league Odyssey on issue six from Josh. Josh would be what he to then, and there was, there was. there was, there was a lot of work [00:55:00] to do to kind of get it into, into a place that was suited my way of writing. Josh, I think it had a few, like, like I found that I was doing as well, sort of bumped into DC continuity several times, and there was a lot of things that had to be sort of changed and reword.
So, so my first few issues were sort of, writing the ship. In a way that suited me and what I wanted to tell. and also driving the series three to its issue 12, which was to deliver a storyline that had been predetermined before I came, a little book. And indeed, before Josh started writing it, the DC wanted us to deliver, which was this sort of, an issue.
12 spoiler alert. But initially 12. Sort of catastrophic moment where the justice league Odyssey, are essentially taken apart in the most terrible way by dark side. And what do you expect to be a triumphant ending to a story is desperately, desperately bleak, which meant. Which will I execute it. And I think he’s a very, very strong story, even though it’s, it’s, it’s very, very dark and sort of pessimistic, but it’s a, it’s a very [00:56:00] strong story.
So there are, there is a, I didn’t build tension to what’s going on, which is, which is great fun to play out. Is there any chance of bleeds coming to the series?
I’ll just say it’s one of my favorite characters from the green lantern mythos as always been believed. but also the other thing I think, I really like about what you do with your writing. You have a very great dexterity with characterization, and I think that comes out really well with Jessica Cruz.
And where I like about it is that from her. First appearance is really in green lanterns were not first appearance, but kind of first real attempt at developing or from green lantern series. to the honesty that you’ve made her such a more [00:57:00] competent character if you, so you feel like the growth inner character from where she started off from that other series and how, how, intentional was that to make a point that she has now had enough experience in the comic book world as it were, to now become a better, stronger, almost leadership leader type character.
Yeah, but that was very deliberate indeed. I liked her as a character. I like green, like the green lanterns, generally speaking, and essentially she was the one I ended up with because that was the way the story was working. and I love the fact that she was in her early incarnations, as you say, you know, sort of clearly.
Clearly worthy of the green lands and ring, but had these issues usually be that grow phobic. For instance, you know, she had, she had personal, issues that she felt prevented her from reaching a true potential. I thought that was really interesting. And characters with flaws were always very interested in characters with issues to deal with.
A very interesting, and when, I took over justice Odyssey in the course of justice to go see anyway from Josh’s work into mine. she was the kind [00:58:00] of. The one who was there by accident. So we are the members of cyborg and staff are, and Asrael had sort of essentially been tricked into the situation they found themselves into.
But Jess is simply, intervene in a desperate effort to stop them. And it ended up being trapped along with them and, and, and, and along for the ride. And that might have the soldier in an interesting way, the outsider who would sort of the voice of reason, the one sort of begging them to change their minds and try to fight it was the nominal leader to try and make things work.
So given the traumas that I put them through, it seemed only appropriate that she would rise to the challenge that whatever the, the guardian saw in her. Would manifest when the moment came and she would be strong enough to do everything and she would be an appropriate leader and she would be fiercely defiance and, and sort of, you know, be able to shout down to Ryan face to face and this kind of stuff that, that growth was very, very deliberate because she couldn’t, as it were, a full to be weak at that point.
Jo, her back was the wall as she couldn’t afford to be [00:59:00] weak. And that doesn’t mean. Then I have rebooted her or refrigerator or got rid of her past and her secret phase. In fact, they get mentioned quite a lot. The chief, they haven’t, she hasn’t left them behind, but she’s droning to herself as a person.
She, she’s overcome her own personal, obstacles and difficulties in order to fulfill this role. And I think that’s. That’s great. That’s the sort of character I want to read in the comic. I want to see a character who is experiencing some kind of growth and change and developing and perhaps define the olds too, to prove that they are worthy as a hero.
that’s cool. I don’t, I, I’ve grown too. I sort of drive into lover. I think when I took the book on, I thought, well, you know, whatever green lands and they gave me, that’ll be fine. but I’m so glad I got Jess. I think she is a terrific character, and I hope that whatever point we finish this book, and she has it where returns returns to the, to the DC universe for other writers to, to handle that.
she’s seen in a slightly different light because she’s gone through this sort of ethic hero’s journey, but has made [01:00:00] her. You know, as, as tough as any of the other green lands. And I think that’s perfect. I mean, I love when characters are allowed to actually grow. And I feel like too many characters, they gotta keep ’em stays in, in a form of spaces because they’re afraid of what happens to the audience if they adapt them at all and evolve them.
And I think evolving just the cruise into that stronger leader is a brilliant move. And I think it’s important to that character and to the green lantern mythos as well. Well. Yeah. Well, I, I’d like to agree with you strongly there. I think I can understand the reluctance of the festival. I can understand the reluctance of any major comic company like DC or Marvel, , to change one of the characters because they’re legacy characters are IP characters.
And you don’t want sort of radically reinvent something just to. Because you’re damaging your own property. The thing that makes people want to read your comics at the same time, I’m also very, very conscious of the, the reluctance of readers to see new and improved and used, improved in inverted commerce, improved [01:01:00] and changed versions of their characters appearing.
They don’t necessarily want a radically new different version of a character they’d been reading for years to suddenly pop up and take over. They don’t want that sort of thing. And sometimes those reinventions can be brilliant. I think to me, the absolute. Trick of it. The absolutely secret of it, and this is the true of comics, that it’s true low running TV shows as well, is that if a character is going to change for any reason, that is an organic, result of the storyline that they’re going through.
So if a character gets revised for whatever reason, it grows out of the story and therefore I think the readers are along with that because they can see why it’s happened. It’s not an arbitrary change for the sake of refreshing something. It is just the development of a character. And I think, I think, I think everybody accepts that.
That can happen. And in fact, the reverse is also true that, for instance, if I had. So I can just cruise in this storyline and put it through the events that she’s gone through, [01:02:00] but kept her personality the same because I didn’t want to change her as a character. I think. I think readers would have gone on not buying this story, happy, most things without it having an effect on her, whether it, whether it was to make her tougher and a greater hero automaker.
You know, sort of collapse into heap and give up being a hero, whichever there needed to be a consequence. You can’t just do this. So you can’t put characters through dramatic circumstances and not expect there to be some kind of effect on their personality, on the characters and on their, uh, you know, sort of psychology.
And so I think, I think it’s in simple, I think it’s whatever character you’re doing it with. If you can do that in a book, you can put them into a dramatic situation that has a knock on effect on them. People are completely happy to go along with that effect if you just do it for the sake of doing it.
That’s the moment that people go out. I like it because they can’t see why. I can’t see why. Yeah. I like to, [01:03:00] I think that’s a burden what you’re doing with them and another character. I think you’re doing a fantastic job with his, E park. so it can give someone else the head of, of what he brings to the story.
Yeah, he pops a lot of time. nothing to do with time loads. I hate to die, but the Lord is this really interesting character who obviously, you know, he’s, he’s the Lord of time. He can be, he’s a time manipulator , and somebody plays around with history and stuff like that. I’ve always, I don’t know why I’ve always liked him.
It’s probably the same reason I’ve always liked Kang, but I’ve always liked, I’ve always liked the Lord at time because, if nothing else, I always thought the, the, revision to his costumes that we made probably about 1520 years ago now were pretty damn cool. And I quite liked it and I always thought it looks great.
And I want you to place into the story a powerful individual who, who would offset the almost over balancing power of dark side, but do so in a completely different way. He was not evoke is not dark sides [01:04:00] equal in terms of physical power or, or godlike power or anything like that. Like I saw that, but he pop has got the ability to control something so profound time that it actually makes him a.
I, uh, uh, actual rival dude outside, outside, he’d collect keys, potentially wary of the Pope because of what he Popkin specifically do. But I also love the idea of HIPO being not have rained as such. She’s not, he’s not a scatty character, but he kind of exists in a. Plurality of time, which means that he’s quite difficult person to get on with because he’s never the same person twice.
And that’s something fun with playing around with where he, he’s constantly flicking in and out of a reality cause he’s existing in different times. He doesn’t observe linear time in the same way that other characters do. And, at one point they have a whole conversation about, he starts talking and they can’t quite understand what he saying.
It’s cause he’s using these weird words that are actually vocabulary temporarily adapted. Being, would use that as sort of different [01:05:00] tendencies for past and future that we don’t have. I think he’s just a really cool guy. He’s, I love the fact that he’s driven by, A genuinely noble purpose, which means that our heroes want to help him.
At the same time, he is ludicrously dangerous, and if he gets everything wrong, which he often gives the impression of doing so because he’s got that scatty, air about him. but everything is, you know, he’s literally gonna collapse. The history of the DC universe and indeed the DC universe itself and all kinds of deity into a smoking pile because he’s, he’s, he’s just made some, some accidental miscalculations so he’s a, he’s a fun character to use.
He is the diametric opposite, despite his high level power. He says diametric opposite to the sort of cold implacable immensely powerful. Roll the dark side, who is, you get the sense that he knows exactly what he’s doing, why he’s doing it. He’s planning full steps ahead with with evoke, you’re going, he knows it’s Tuesday and where he’s supposed to be and where he left his trousers or anything like that.
And I think that’s, that’s [01:06:00] a great contrast to have. So, so in your opinion, then I will know your family, you’re the writer, but, you epochs, intentions that are pure and can someone like him who does live in such a weird aspect of time, even have similar intentions and goals as regular people would have.
again, this is something, the story is revealing, but I, I’m certainly writing evoke as if, as if he, he at least genuinely believes what he is doing is a good thing. He is got a noble goal. He is driven by a high principle. He is not driven by. Ruthless avarice or a need for power or, or, you know, the sort of destructive impulses of side, dark side or Luther or whatever like that.
He’s, he’s intentions and noble. The question that the story is posing is you can, can you have noble intentions but still be massively dangerous. you know, it is just because you’ve got this, this high-minded ideal. Does it mean you can execute it properly? You know, are you in your own, pure. Good [01:07:00] honest way.
As dangerous as, as is one of the great threats. And I think that’s, that’s an interesting thing to do because, because no one, no member of the justice league, I think would want to stop people doing anything on the basis of having a chat with him because they go, Oh my God, I’m, I’m, I’m right there with you.
I want that too. And then you start to realize how he’s going to do it, what methods is going to use and the risks involved. And then you start to go, wait a minute, this isn’t, maybe this isn’t a good idea. Maybe maybe messing around with history. Wholesale is not a good idea, and I that that makes him to me interesting.
And it makes him, if we, regarding him in any way, shape or form as a villain. And I don’t think we necessarily are, but if, let’s just say for the sake of argument, a lot of time evoke is a villain. He’s a really interesting villain because even he doesn’t know he’s a villain. And that. And that, to me, makes him a really interesting antagonist in the story because, because you don’t, it’s not conventional and you’re not dealing with him in the way that you would deal with Alex Luther or a brainiac or a [01:08:00] whatever.
Yeah. Well, one thing I thought that was kind of interested in, in reading your last issue of Odyssey is that it seemed like it was implied that the events in infinite crisis, that the, the big event, if in a crisis or back in continuity, I don’t remember if it was ever stated that they were, it was back in continuity before he makes an allusion to that.
He makes it, he makes, he makes a speech. We sort of sort of alludes to different things. I am not saying that I have officially wrote something back into continuity. What I am suggesting is the park has got a profound multi-vessel grasp of all the possibilities of things that could move, happened and therefore is alluding to things that may not have happened in this DC universe, but could happen in, or could have happened in a DC universe.
he’s got, he’s got, he’s got a few like that comic book readers. Overview of the history of the DC continuity and how, you know, doing something here would change this and then, you know, this reboot here would change that and that essentially that’s what he’s doing, I suppose in some respects he [01:09:00] is a satirical commentary on what the big universities do to themselves on a regular basis.
Anything like that. He, I mean, he does, he even talks about continuity and rebooting and, and this kind of stuff all the time. And, and there are. I think, I think he’s fair to say I’m being quite Ry about, the relationship between the big publishes and, the readerships and the fact that, you know, readerships love it when something big happens.
And also there are readers that go, no, no, no, no, you can’t reboot you. I don’t want another reboot. , and this is, this is in some respects, in a very selfish way. I’m not saying this is a big, profound story, but in a very soft way. What epoch is, is, is. Proposing is rebooting the DCU dessert, and he can give you all the really good reasons why that is not only a great thing, but actually a.
A worthwhile thing and a needed and valuable thing, the all the bad things that it will get rid of. At the same time, there are people that are going, yeah, but I know this universe. And I think, I think maybe that’s, that’s, [01:10:00] that’s a dangerous thing to do. And I think you’re throwing out the baby with the bath water and all that kind of stuff.
So, so although the stories wasn’t constructed to do that, I think along the way we have a little, a little side long commentary about the, about the way. Not just DC. Marvel, everybody might, might look at the way their longterm continuity is work and, , and how they, how they clean things up.
There is a huge need in the comics industry at the moment. It seems to me to make everything absolutely brand new and fresh to attract new readers. And I, and I, although I think it’s been done. Many times, very successfully over the years. I always questioned that because I go back to my nine year old self when I started reading Marvel and then slightly after that DC, you know, like I walked in and I bought issue 170 whatever, Daredevil.
It never occurred to me to worry that I hadn’t read the previous 160 whatever issues I just reading from where I started, I started reading. the X men, at the beginning of the Proteus story in the very early days of clam on a burn. I mean, luckily it was a great point to jump on, [01:11:00] but the point is, it didn’t occur to me that I’d missed years of storyline.
I just went, well, I’m going to catch up. I’ll find out what’s going on. and I think that’s, I think we’re all, I think the industry is sort of doing this service to its readership, and we’re seeing that that too. Dara said, too stupid or too lazy to do that themselves. If somebody read Spiderman or, or justice league Odyssey or whatever the book is, they want to read it, they want to read it.
Just make sure that each issue is accessible enough to make them enjoy reading it and they’ll keep reading it and then at some point, maybe they’ll go back and. Catch up with where they work. And in fact, again, in this day and age, that is an easier thing to do. Thanks to things like Comixology or to the publishing programs of trade paperbacks that are available in the comic shops.
If you, if you pick up an issue of unload. The latest issue of the flash and you go, I love the flash. That’s great. Oh my God, there are 749 previous issues I’ve missed. [01:12:00] I start, you can now go back and read those things systematically. You can work through it. You can take recommendations from, from your comic shop or your friends or.
For the message boards. What are the key stories I need to read? You can go and find them. They are still published. You can collect them. You can download them. You can do that. You can fill in the gaps. Again, not to make it sound like it’s the saddest story in the world and I’m playing the world’s tiniest violin, but when I was a kid, you couldn’t, you couldn’t go and find the stories.
There were no trade paperbacks. You just bought. The latest issue and hold on tight was you got the God you kept going with it. I just, I just think it’s sort of with sort of doing it a service, assuming readers. Don’t want that. If somebody, if somebody doesn’t want to read the flash that much, then giving them a new issue, number one of the flash, and I’m, by the way, I’m picking the flash at random.
There is a hypothetical, but you know, giving them a new number one each month is not going to make them keep reading. Just give them a good comic and yeah, that’s, that’s, yeah. A gal. I’ll get off my soap box [01:13:00] now. I think you’re exactly right about the importance of renewing characters. one thing I, again, I really liked that goes on and is going on in justice league Odyssey.
Is that you guys are, are utilizing as rail who have teams. I’ve heard way too long was considered just like the gimmick from the Batman knife falls areas. You know, you’d be paying him abandoned for a little while. He’s kind of gimmicky and in that sense, but I always loved the character and I love the fact that you’re using them again.
Do you think as RO gets the love he deserves, I don’t necessarily think he does get the love he deserves. I’m really. Delighted. He’s in this book. I’ve always loved Israel. I think he’s got a fantastic look for stuff, but rather went back to his early appearances. I just think he’s, he’s terrific.
And uh, to me, the biggest problem with that Israel is from the, from Taiwan. Although it was a very interesting story that introduced it. And the biggest problem with him is there is already a Batman, you know, version of palette. But with that aside, it is a potentially very interesting character. I think the point of which I have inherited him for justice, [01:14:00] they got to see.
He’s got a very distinctive sort of this sort of monastic, religious, spiritual outlook. and this fierce look. we’re obviously playing with an in to an even greater level cause cause he is, he has no pun intended, gun over to the dark side in this story because he’s been, comes by, up the, the powers of apocalypse.
But he’s just a great character. And, people will say to me, well, why do you put Asrael who is, traditionally a street level Gotham real world, vigilante hero in a cosmic book alongside cyborg staph? Byron. A green lantern. And I went, have you seen him? He’s the perfect cosmic character. He just, he just looks great and he works in that.
Or they just, the idea that he, he sort of got into spice because he sort of wants to pursue this Christ spirit requests, I think. I think it works perfectly. So, Whatever we can do to make Azure ALA an interesting and popular character in the DC universe. Again, I think he’s great. like I said, I’m, characters like he, Hey man, in the people at Blackford, Orion.
[01:15:00] I’m so pleased I’ve got them in the book because they are lovely characters. It’s something that drew me to when I was working on guardians for Marvel. the reason I assembled the guardians of galaxy team that I did. then they went on to become incredibly famous in the movies. But the reason I assembled them was because they are all the characters that I have loved.
They weren’t, none of them were. I great characters that everybody wants to see in a book. They were sort of characters that are partly worked or, or have been forgotten or I’d never quite clicked and I know I didn’t care because I’d love reading style load and rocket and characters and their stories.
Growing up and I thought, wouldn’t they be interesting and a team? And there’s a sort of feel to that in, in, in Odyssey where where the characters that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to headline and book on their own, but are they interesting when you put them together? And to me, that’s part of the appeal that I’m trying to sell us an interesting story with interesting characters, not just just loaded team up with, with crowd instinct, crowd pleasers, just to get people in through the door.
John H.: It’s funny about Asrael I growing up, I hated that [01:16:00] character and I only hate him because like not because that’s all reading the books. He was great in the books. I just hate him because he wasn’t Batman. And right now it’s a huge Batman fan as a kid. And I’m like, Oh, this guy is stupid. He’s a dumb costume.
Secretly I read, I read like every issue he was in, I got the mini series for Asrael. I picked up his solo series. I bro, I got the Asrael and Ash series breakfast, Sada and , you know, but. Deep down in my head, I was like, Oh, this character is done. Cause it’s not, he’s not really Batman, you know? But I’m glad he’s coming back.
So I actually, I actually do like, I don’t, I mean obviously I always did because I kept reading him. Right. But I’m glad to see, I’m glad to see
Dan or Jeff: he’s my character. If you’ve seen, you’ve seen, if you’ve seen Asrael drawn by Joe Casada, you know how incredibly cool he can look. I mean, he’s just an amazing character. And I, and I, and I, weirdly, although I use that explanation myself, the one thing I didn’t like about him was that there was already a Batman.
That’s kind of a weird thing to criticize him for because how many other. Roto Batman characters, are they now in the DC universe? How many other characters who’ve either stood in for Batman or been Batman’s replacement or whatever? You know, there [01:17:00] is so many. Why single as Royal out?
John H.: All right. That’s funny. I mean, he was never a Robin. He just showed up one day, you know? I don’t know, but. It’s, it’s, I’m, I’m happy to see him there cause his look in the Odyssey book is what it looks fricking cool as hell. And he’s just a cool character.
Dan or Jeff: Yeah.
John H.: well, Dan, we’ve been talking about an hour and a half now. Man, this is gone. This is flown by.
Dan or Jeff: I said, it’s like my writing. Once you get me started, I don’t shut up, but I, I hope I’ve helped.
John H.: It’s great. It’s great, man. I w I want to thank you for coming on. I want to thank you for giving us your time today and, uh, and talk with us about, you know, the, the role of Dan Adnan. It’s been a lot of fun going on this journey and learning about, about what all you’ve, you’ve done in your history and stuff.
It’s been a lot of fun.
Dan or Jeff: Well. Thank you for having me. It’s been a great pleasure and I hope I haven’t rambled on too.
John H.: Oh no, you were fantastic. We would love to have you come back on and talk about opera man sometime cause we didn’t get to that. And I’d love to have the whole Aquaman stuff with you because we have questions about that and he’s a cool character.
Dan or Jeff: Oh, that’s shit. My favorite Aqua man run, by the way, was [01:18:00] your King wrath run. Thank you. I enjoyed that very much. It was a great thing to work on.
John H.: Excellent. Well, Dan, you have a great day and thank you so much again.
Dan or Jeff: thank you. Uh, so we’ll see you again soon. I hope. .
Dan Abnet Interview
, these are the only people, these are the only people we could get now. And that, that there’s, there’s a great fun to that because you know that at any point any of them could revert to type and the team is going to collapse around them and they’re going to be, there’s going to be fighting, fighting themselves rather than anything else.
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