So the news came down yesterday that Dan Abnett signed an exclusive with DC Entertainment and will write both Titans and Aquaman for that company.
Before I go on a dismantle/rant kick…I want to say congrats to Dan…he’s a great writer and it’s nice someone finally recognized that with $$ and a stamp of approval. Let me be very clear; I hold no ill will toward Dan with this move and wish him the best. Frankly, I am also thinking of moving over to DC and supporting this stuff….there’s a lot to like with DC’s comeback…Wally West and Ted Kord back and a part of the Universe. Firestorm. Hopefully New Gods. Truthfully, the Rebirth spoilers I’ve read online seem far more interesting than anything Marvel’s done in years.
Now for the d’ast rant:
What the fuck is wrong with Marvel?
Let me repeat…this guy wrote the source material for a movie that made nearly a billion dollars.
If you’re going to counterpoint that “he didn’t write the whole material alone” I’d tentatively agree. I’d also point out that Andy Lanning, Keith Giffen, and Andy Schmidt are all Marvel cast offs as well.
I ask…how many “retreats” was this guy ever invited to? During Quesada? How many under the Alonso regime? As many as Matt Fraction or his wife Kelly Sue?
Dan Abnett was a guy who would do a lot of stuff and grind…from 3rd party material like “He Man” to original creator owned stabs like Hypernaturals…he’d take on a lot of different material and wasn’t afraid to take on lesser known properties, spin offs or hard-to-imagine-succeeding properties. (like Hercules)
He wrote for 2000 AD, he wrote well received novels like Warhammer 40K and Marvel stuff, as well as original material. (thats real “chapter books” Y’all… not ‘dem funny “how to” picture books like Bendis) The guy is a worker bee who was never plagued by delays and put real passion into his craft. The ideas were really solid as well…and his chops in both sci fi and character development were upper echelon.
I don’t know Dan, but he’s by all reports a stand-up guy to work with. He’s never talked any smack about Marvel…and never said much bad about his split with Andy Lanning either. By all means, a class act. He’s a guy your company should embrace and build around- not drive off.
Dan was a huge part of one of the top fan beloved events of all time “Annihilation”. Without much surprise, his Nova series at that time blew me out of the water. To date it is one of the best sci fi mini-series ever written…and Newsarama ranked Annihilation as the 9th best Marvel comic tale ever written a couple years back. (Marvel’s own rankings had the series at top 25)
Without a doubt, that material was why this whole website exists. It’s why the love for the material and character exists. The passion. His stuff, along with Andy Lanning, Keith and Andy Schmidt was why I fell back in love with Ole’ Marvel.
Some may ask; why do I perceive that Abnett was under appreciated and maybe even disrespected?
I’ve written about why the Annihilation era didn’t catch on before.
Let’s not forget guys like Bendis took pot shots at DnA’s success and fans.
Of the past, let’s also add how quick Marvel was to undo everything they did in Dan and Andy’s cosmic run. From Annihilus, Black Bolt’s death. Ultron’s space romp…building a Nova corps….Darkhawk’s revival, revival of Namorita, Vance Astro, Monark Starstalker, Warlock…nearly all was undone…ignored or blown off by Marvel.
Senior Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort once called DnA’s revival of a trans-dimensional Namorita silly. (and a couple years later probably green lit Bendis’ X-kids, Gwen Pool, and Spider Gwen)
I’ve always been willing to admit, perhaps DnA needed a jolt and change up near the end of Nova and GOTG…but it sure as hell didnt help when the main Marvel Universe disregarded, ignored and made fun of everything they built up.
Marvel made no attempt to show any lasting impact of the passionate stories of that era….and/or writers like Hickman and Bendis just pretended they did not exist. Refusing to tie into tales like Secret Invasion and making the cosmic realm seem irrelevant. After finally addressing “what happened in the cancerverse” Bendis just blew off any lasting legacy of the impact of Richard Rider or the characterization of Peter Quill from Giffen or DnA in the subsequent material that followed. Jeph Loeb and Gerry Duggan’s Nova direction did much the same.
Instead, DnA was thrown the scraps to do spin offs (of material they used to handle better) like Guardians 3000 and Guardians of Infinity. While both of these series were good, they were mostly “after thoughts” within the Marvel Universe. In fact, GoI was often backed up by other guest writer’s stories.
Thank God Dan never had to write Spam Alexander.
It should be mentioned Guardians 3000 was one of the only books that tried to expand upon the notion “Time was broken” and give some meaning to Bendis horrid Age of Ultron event. It was hamstrung by getting derailed by the ongoing Secret Wars event….Abnett’s Avengers SW book tied little into the main tale and was solid, though passable in a huge nebulous event.
Worse, Marvel spammed nearly a dozen GOTG spin-offs or unrelated cosmic books. Abnett’s material was a small blip in a sea of stuff.
Hercules was mostly praised critically, though a Hercules book will always struggle in this era. The series had little set up and more-or less came out of nowhere in a hugely mis-managed post Secret Wars deluge of books.
More and more, Abnett’s book assignments were those same “after thoughts” within the mess of Marvel continuity.(maybe even less so more and more) Despite their influence in the MCU, the writing of still being under-appreciated must have been on the wall for Abnett.
Truly, can’t blame the guy.
I know somebody like Dan may find it difficult to imagine why I’m upset at this news. But, despite all my ire, I’ve always hoped that, while still moving into new territory, Marvel would rebuild my trust, bring back Rich Rider and fix the awesome legacy of Marvel Cosmic. Further, I hoped Dan was going to be a huge part of that eventual “rebirth”.
Now…that dream is dealt a serious blow. Thus…the last vestiges of the Annihilation era are truly lost.
Somewhere out there, in the aether of Kirby time-space, old Rich Rider weeps a meta-physical tear for this huge loss to Marvel Cosmic lore.
Again, Congrats to Dan.
You will be (sorely) missed at Marvel …thanks for the memories, and good luck in your future.
Long Live Richard Rider.