Interview: Dan Abnett Discusses AVENGERS Prose Novel

Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero

Comic book stories don't have to only be told through comics. We've seen the familiar characters appear in prose novels and this is something that Marvel has been working on once again.

Earlier this summer we saw the release of Rocket Raccoon & Groot: Steal the Galaxy! This original novel was written by none other than comic writer (and New York Times-bestselling author) Dan Abnett. Marvel has just announced Dan is working on another prose novel, this time featuring the Avengers. We asked Dan what we could expect in Avengers: Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

COMIC VINE: You’ve already written a Rocket Raccoon and Groot prose novel and now you have an Avengers one in the works. Did Marvel ask you if you wanted to write these stories or did you approach them?

DAN ABNETT: I was asked to write the Rocket and Groot one, and it was very nice to be approached. My only suggestion was that I wrote an original novel, rather than adapt a pre-existing comic storyline. I think that paid off, with a story that was purpose-built to exploit the fun of the novel format. Marvel liked it so much, they invited me to write the Avengers one as a follow up.

CV: What’s your quick sales pitch/description of the story?

DA: It’s pretty huge, an epic tale to suit the scope of a novel. The Avengers find themselves facing multiple threats from classic Avengers foes… ALL AT ONCE! AIM, Hydra, Ultron… it’s like everybody’s picked the same moment to make their move. Can the Avengers protect the world against simultaneous super-class dangers? And surely, surely, it can’t just be coincidence…?

CV: When it comes to the story, are there any specifics they want? For example, who decided on the High Evolutionary?

DA: I wanted to use multiple villains, and Marvel kindly offered a list of potentials, then approved the ones I liked the most. I wanted “Class-A” status bad guys, but also differentiation so they weren’t all the same. Marvel’s one, understandable, request was that I made the core of the Avengers line up match the movie roster, so that readers brought in by the film rather than the comics could easily identify the heroes.

CV: Do you feel you have more freedom in telling a story in prose format?

DA: Different freedom, actually. What I lack in a novel (and thus have to compensate for) is the wonderful power of comic artwork to carry the dynamism and wonder of a super-hero story. I have to find a way of translating super-hero action, and super-powers, to a prose format and still make it pack a punch. But I guess a novel offers me greater psychological scope, and inner detail.

CV: Will your Avengers story feel like the comic book characters, movie versions, or maybe a little of both?

DA: They are the comic book characters. This is the comic MU. But, as with the Rocket and Groot novel, an awareness of the movie will be there. If you only know the characters from the Marvel movies, you won’t be lost. I hope it will work for ‘both’ types of reader.

CV: It sounds like you’re really cutting loose by having the action take place all over the Marvel Universe. Did Marvel just give you the keys and let you go to town?

DA: I guess so. Now you put it like that, I feel some performance anxiety :)

You can look for Avengers: Everybody Wants to Rule the World in April 2015.