In the midst of the San Diego Comic-Con hoopla, Marvel Comics made quite a few announcements about their Autumn publishing slate – and one of the projects that I found most fascinating is the "Revolutionary War" miniseries that brings the characters and concepts of the '90s Marvel UK imprint back into the spotlight. And despite all the madness and hyperactivity of Comic-Con, Andy Lanning took the time to answer some questions for MTV Geek's readers, and tell us a bit about his hopes and ambitions for the series.
MTV Geek: So right off the bat, why bring back Marvel UK? These characters never really found an audience in the US the first time around, despite some fine work from different creators. What made you want to revive them?
Andy Lanning: Basically, I've been bugging Steve Wacker about this for over a year, ever since I realised (with horror) 2013/14 would mark the 20th anniversary of the last MUK superhero comic! I was lucky to be part of the team of creators who worked on those original titles, and I thought this would be an ideal time to revisit these offbeat, uniquely UK-centric characters.
Geek: What's our entry point for this series? What do we need to know about these characters going in?
Lanning: Well if me and my co-writer, Alan Cowsill (former Marvel UK editor and walking encyclopedia of all things MUK) do our job right, Page 1 should be as good a point to start as any. We hope the story will provide all the info you need to get into these characters who haven't really been seen since Marvel UK stopped publishing it's own 'flavour' of superhero comics back in 1993.
Geek: What can you tell us about the story you're telling? The premise, the central conflict, the stakes?
Lanning: The story uses the premise that we haven't seen these characters for such a long time as a starting point for catching up with where they are now and what they are doing, and more to the point- what became of their ultimate Big Bad: MYSTECH (an evil cabal of techno-wizards who were at the heart of many MUK stories, whose fate was never revealed). It becomes apparent in the first issue that there's unfinished business in the UK, business which could alter the landscape of the country and the world forever! And not in a good way.
Geek: Will the story be contained primarily to the UK, or does it end up stretching beyond that?
Lanning: We're mainly UK focused but we will visit some other corners of the world too.
Geek: Does this follow the continuity of the Marvel UK tales that have gone before, or is it more of a re-imagining?
Lanning: We are definitely following up current continuity: Alan and I are great fans of Paul Cornell's recent MI-13 run and are very respectful of what has gone before.
Geek: Will we see any characters from the mainstream Marvel U making appearances?
Lanning: Absolutely! We couldn't do a MUK story and not see the likes of Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom and MI-13 could we?
Geek: How about other characters created for the British market that weren't really part of the 90s Marvel UK initiative? Night Raven, Deaths Head 1, Battletide…?
Lanning: No, we are really dealing with the Paul Neary incarnation of MUK: Death's Head II, Dark Angel, Motor Mouth, Killpower, The Knights of Pendragon etc.
?Geek: You did a stint with Marvel UK in the '90s, and many of these characters were created by your regular collaborator Dan Abnett, so this is a homecoming of sorts for you. How does it feel to revisit this corner of the Marvel U after so long?
Lanning: It's great, it has been over 20 years (deep!) since I've read a lot of this stuff -- so I've been spending a lot of time in my attic recently, digging through old long boxes of comics, unearthing my old issues and catching up with characters and stories from a time when we had a awesome pool of UK talent in one place creating there own unique take on superheroes that have really stood the test of time. There are some really cool characters that we are having a blast revisiting.
Geek: What's the plan for these characters beyond this series? (Or at least those characters that survive…) Is this a self-contained story, or are you setting the stage for more Marvel UK stories down the line?
Lanning: We're hoping that readers will have as much fun as we are rediscovering the MUK superheroes. The story puts many of them back in play so hopefully writers will look at them and want to use them because they are so cool. And of course, if we get the chance do more stories, we won't say no!