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The Exiled Q&A Part 1

Journey Into Mystery writer Kieron Gillen grills New Mutants masterminds Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

By Ben Morse

In May, the Exiled crossover will run through the pages of its own one-shot prologue and into two issues apiece of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and NEW MUTANTS, bringing Dani Moonstar and her fringe X-Men team into an Asgardian adventure when the gods find themselves displaced in San Francisco.

Just as the New Mutants must work with Loki and his fellows, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY writer Kieron Gillen will collaborate with the NEW MUTANTS team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with Carmine Di Giandomenico providing art on all five installments. But while the gods and mutants may clash at least to begin, the trio of British creators hit it off from the get go.

Exiled #1 preview art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

Rather than us doing the interviewing, this time around we passed the responsibility over to Kieron, Dan and Andy to give each other the third degree in regards to Exiled and anything else that came to mind. Will we regret this decision? There’s only one way to find out…

Kieron Gillen: While Kid Loki was actually the creation of Matt "Golden Hands" Fraction, I realized this is the first time that anyone [else has] written any of the miscreants I made up for [JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY]. How are you finding the Disir and Leah?

Dan Abnett: Lovely. The Disir are, of course, both pitiable and deeply disturbing. What makes them tick is so...un-comics. It’s more than politically incorrect, it’s politically wrong, and there’s no easy resolution. But I think that’s great: I think it brings a very non-modern, non-PC [attitude] into the book, demonstrating that Asgard and all things Asgardian are ancient and alien [as well as] non-human and alien. Sort of testament to the feel you’ve given Asgard generally: authentic, with real, flesh-and-blood people, an antidote to all the one-note pompous yelling and winged hats that often happens.

Andy Lanning: It’s been a blast, especially getting into the JIM “vibe” which is great fun to write. Having read and admired the JIM stories and being that we are both big fans of all things Thor and Asgardian, it was a pleasure and joy to work on your additions to that fine pantheon.

Kieron Gillen: [This is] the first time I've ever co-written as intensely as this. How have you found having your perpetual marital bed turned into a seedy Ménage à trois?

Dan Abnett: Ugh. Now I can’t not think of that. Thanks.

Exiled #1 preview art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

Andy Lanning: I like to think of it more as a DnA Sandwich with Kieron as the filling…no that’s not right, not right at all….

Dan Abnett: Actually, Andy and I have been writing together for so long now, we don’t really think about or examine the actual process of it much. We just get to it. It doesn’t seem like much of a compliment, but from the moment we started chatting to you about this, it never seemed to require huge efforts to incorporate the third ‘mind.’  I only realized that a few days ago when we were well underway. I realized we’d never had to really pause to accommodate the junction of books and writing patterns, and I  thought, “verily”—because I’m doing it too, now, okay?—“shouldn’t this have been an awful lot harder to make work?”

Andy Lanning: Since the first time we met in a Starbucks in New York, it has been a very natural and easy working process; very similar to the way Dan and I work together: basically throwing ideas back and forth trying to make each other laugh while taking things to the most extreme areas we can cook up in a sort of one-upmanship which always generates the best ideas. It’s been a reet laff! [Editor’s Note: I believe he just said “It’s been a right laugh.”]

Kieron Gillen: New Mutants are the strange X-team, in that they're the one—at least to my eyes—who have this quasi-ongoing relationship with the magical. Is this true? Or is this just the sort of thing I'd say in interviews to make it appear I'm clever?

Dan Abnett: No, it’s true. It is just the sort of thing you’d say to sound clever.

Actually, I think it’s a fair point. They’re the most Asgardian, the most magical, the most occult. They’re sort of the most non-mutant—or least mutant? Dani’s effectively human, Warlock’s an alien; we like the fact the NM are the living embodiment of the mutant dream of diversity and integration. That’s why we sent them out to live real lives in the real world.  They know that mutant rights and equalities aren’t going to be simply or smoothly achieved, so they’re living the imperfect process. For the same reason, we always wanted to put a regular human on the team too. They’re a mutant-friendly team with a lot of mutant members, not a hardline mutants only outfit. They’re inclusive.

Exiled #1 preview art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

And you can’t have Magik on the team and not be up-the-ying-yang ensorcelled.

Andy Lanning: From the Demon Bear to their adventures in Asgard and Limbo, the New Mutants have got a long standing mystical connection. Those are some of their stand-out stories in the past and this connection is what made writing Exiled such a natural and fertile story to tell. The more we got into it, the more things kept suggesting themselves. Hopefully this story will have the same sense of fun and adventure that the previous fantasy adventures of old had.

Next week, Dan and Andy turn the tables on Kieron with some questions of their own. And don’t forget to pick up EXILED, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and NEW MUTANTS this May!

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