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Abnett & Lanning: A Cosmic Odyssey From "Legion" To "Guardians"

Abnett & Lanning: A Cosmic Odyssey From "Legion" To "Guardians" Image
  • Posted on 15th Sep, 2022 16:18 PM

In the first of a 2-part interview, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning discuss their sci-fi skill set as it applied to a reinvention of "Legion of Super-Heroes" and Marvel's next big film "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are most commonly referred to in comic book circles by the name "DnA." The name fits well for the UK writing pair behind a host of comic series and events as over the past decade-plus, they've proven some of the most adept scripters of science fiction in the mainstream comics. As it turns out, cosmic ideas are in their actual DNA.

With a franchise-redefining run on DC Comics "Legion of Super-Heroes" that ran from the blistering "Legion of the Damned" series through "Legion Lost," "Legion Worlds" and eventually simply "The Legion," the pair established their ability to juggle a massive cast, establish galactic societies and put humanity into the unknown. The term cosmic started defining their style when they rolled a "Nova" miniseries as part of Marvel's "Annihilation" event into years of comics that included the birth of "Guardians of the Galaxy" -- a misfit team of heroes that will soon star in their own blockbuster movie. Today, DnA are working on their latest cosmic endeavor, the creator-owned "The Hypernaturals" with BOOM! Studios.


In part one of a two-part interview, Abnett and Lanning spoke with CBR about all these projects and the hallmarks of their cosmic style. Below, the pair describe where their interest in superhero sci-fi comes from, what they didn't know about "Legion of Super-Heroes" when they took on that task years ago, how "Guardians" surprised them with its success and what, if any, involvement they'll have with the upcoming film.

Nova was the first Marvel cosmic character DnA tackled

Abnett: I think the rules become definite and stable in terms of the landscape, like I said before. We try to define the setting as much as possible, and then we try to get the maximum amount of flexibility in terms of everything else we do. I think our cosmic run at Marvel has a particularly enjoyable thing because it grew organically. We did a "Nova" miniseries, and it worked, so then we did a "Nova" ongoing. We got through "Annihilation" and then discovered "Guardians." And "Guardians" themselves begat "War of Kings," and then we got the "Thanos Imperative" and ultimately "Annihilators." It was a matter of seeding in things to see if they work and then combining them and recombining them until we found what combinations worked the best.

I think in many respects, the "Guardians of the Galaxy" comic worked so well because it was a sort of accidental cocktail. We needed a team book, we wanted to do a team book, and when we put the team together, it really worked well. It's like making the best meal in the world because of what was in the fridge when you went to the kitchen. I think you could spend an awful lot of time seeing more calculated, deliberate books that are less satisfying. A lot of things that happened in "Guardians" that worked well in terms of character combinations and story lines that resonated were due to the condition they were in when we found them and what they'd been through together. That gave us an enormous amount of mileage and potential, and as I said, people didn't care about these characters. It let us run with things and make a big deal out of them.

Stay tuned this week on CBR for more with DnA about their BOOM! Studios series "The Hypernaturals."

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