Interview: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning on Heroes For Hire

The masters of Marvel Cosmic, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, are turning their sights toward a distinctly more down-to-Earth target. Starting in December, the writing team will be launching Heroes For Hire, a new take on the classic concept, featuring an array of Marvel's most popular street-level heroes, as well as some up-and-comers due for their time in the spotlight. I spoke with Dan and Andy (who are almost always known as the symbiotic DnA) to learn more about the very different approach their series takes to the superteam concept.


Matt Adler: What sets this Heroes For Hire book apart from previous iterations?

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning: It’s a different team dynamic – a rotating team of ‘agents’ who are called in to suit the mission dynamics. There’s more mystery, and a balance between the underlying, ongoing backstory and the “latest mission”.

MA: Does this series directly connect with Shadowland?

DnA: The events of Shadowland set the scene for the H4H book. It puts the characters in the right starting positions.

MA: You mentioned that this will be the sort of book where you'll draw in different characters for different storylines as you need them. How does that process work? Do you go to Bill Rosemann and ask if a given character is available whenever you need them, or do certain characters "belong" to this book for the duration?

DnA: We have assembled, through discussion, a core list of characters we can play with – specifics are approved as each issue comes up, and we adjust according to the MU’s ongoing continuity and dynamics.  Every now and then, we throw in someone unexpected to keep Bill on his toes 😉

MA: The book seems to share some elements in common with the Secret Avengers, both the aspect of drawing different characters in for different missions, as well as two particular members that have been announced; Moon Knight and Black Widow. Was this something you thought about when developing this book?

DnA: Not as such. SA (a great book, btw) is an Avengers title, a covert Avengers team. The subplot interaction is part of the ongoing mission. The reader is in on the intrigue. H4H is more about mysterious shadowplay. The reader is not necessarily privy to the ‘inside’ of the story. It’s like there’s two stories going on at once. It’s a book of surprises and twists and major turns.

MA: Of the characters mentioned to be appearing, some of them seem to be characters who would have little to no interest in teamwork, notably the Punisher, Ghost Rider, and Elektra. Why would they agree to work together?

DnA: They don’t 😉 They are recruited in other ways. They are ‘handled’.

MA: This has been billled as a street-level book; what does that mean to you? Will they be going after street gangs and the like?

DnA: Yes, but it’s not going to be bland, nondescript ‘street crime’. We hope that everything is tinged with a flavor of the MU. These are crimes and problems that could only happen in the MU.

MA: What's the biggest shift in your approach going from your cosmic books to a series like this?

DnA: Frame of reference and setting, and scale of action. It makes for an inspiring and imagination-refreshing change. But the dysfunctional family team dynamic is very much like Guardians…more extreme, if anything.

MA: Accompanying you is your Guardians of the Galaxy artist, Brad Walker. Do you see a particular versatility as an artist that allows him to handle this degree of a switch?

DnA: Brad’s just a great artist, pure and simple. Marvelous detail and marvelous character work. Everything that made him shine on Guardians works brilliantly for us here, and it’s great fun to get him drawing ‘real world’ things (and some very cool Marvel Earth heroes) for a change.

MA: What else do you guys have on your plate at the moment?

DnA: Apart from our Thor/Iron Man mini with Scot Eaton, you mean? That’s a huge, heavy-hitting book with amazing art from Scot.


Matt Adler is for hire, but refuses to work with demons, psychopaths, and ninjas.


  1. Dear god this is going to rock.

  2. I am so excited for this.

  3. Just looking at the pictures on this page gets me excited, and these are characters i never usually read.  Punisher?  Ghost Rider?  Silver Sable?  Never read thier stuff, but in a team book like this i’m all over it.  Add Iron Fist and Elektra and i’m sold.

  4. Iron Fist alone guarantees a purchase from me.

  5. For those who have not read the previous work of DnA (on Nova and—particularly—Guardians of the Galaxy, which they cite as being similar in tone to their upcoming work with Heroes for Hire)… get ready to rock. These guys make comics fun again, without sacrificing layered, well structured and thought provoking storytelling along the way. With Thanos Imperative now over, this book is officially my new most anticipated Marvel book.

  6. this is going to kick ass! period. or exclamation point even 😉

  7. And the hole in my heart left by guardians of the galaxy continues to be filled

  8. I’m super excited for this one! Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Silver Sable, Falcon, Paladin, Ghost Rider, Punisher and Elektra all in one book? Plus MORE??? Yeah, I’ve been sold for a while, this just ….. sold me more?

  9. DnA can do no wrong in my book and Brad Walker joining them makes H4H a must buy!  Between this, Thor/Iron Man and the upcoming Rocket Raccoon/Groot book, I am hoping that DnA write everything in the MU.

  10. Fix Ghost Rider. PLEASE! The last 10 or so years have been pure crap! Let’s just forget everything from Hammer Lame on…let’s forget all this crap and get back to basics. All these different ‘Ghost Riders’ all of it…

    I want to have Ghost Rider back, if it wasn’t for that character’s revival in 1990 I wouldn’t be collecting comics today, he’s been my number 1 character forever yet these recent stories have destroyed everything that made him cool.

  11. @Zarathos I could NOT disagree more. Jason Aaron’s run was amazing!

  12. Shadowland: Ghost Rider was excellent. but I coulda done without the multiple ghost riders thing, and some of the more pulpy throwback stuff kinda cheapened the character a little for me, but was still entertaining, so not all bad. 

  13. Fuck on!  Been readin’ cosmic from the get go.  Stoked about this.  Yes, i just said "stoked."

  14. no more cosmic stuff. =( more street stuff. =)

  15. It’s funny how Marvel told us they were making an announcement (during one of the conventions) that would make us Cosmic Fans happy.

    Either the announcement never came or the fabled Rocket Raccoon/Groot mini (that we’ve not heard anything more about in months) or that one shot in January is supposed to make us happy. When Marvel says this stuff I always figure that’s theri way of telling us it’s dead, walk away.

    Why? Well, I recall them telling us for a few years that we would get more Nextwave. We got nothing.