Rocket Raccoon and Groot to star in Marvel’s first in-house prose novel

(CBR) Rocket Raccoon and Groot know that the opportunity to get into trouble in Marvel Comics' Cosmic Universe is as vast as space itself. As members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the heavily-armed talking Raccoon and the giant lumbering tree-being routinely become embroiled in intergalactic crises, but they're also quite adept at getting into trouble on their own.

Readers will see just how good the duo are at getting into interstellar jams this June when “Rocket Raccoon & Groot: Steal the Galaxy,” Marvel's first in-house original prose novel hits stores. CBR News spoke with author Dan Abnett (co-writer of the acclaimed 2008 “Guardians of the Galaxy” series) about the experience crafting the novel, which finds Rocket and Groot on the run from several intergalactic great powers and law enforcement agencies. Plus, Abnett teases the existence of Rigellian Recorder and appearances from characters and galactic species from across the Marvel U.

CBR News: Dan, fans who strictly follow your comic work might not be aware of the fact that you're a veteran prose novelist as well, with novels in many different series including “Warhammer 40,000,” “Warhammer,” “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood” and “Primeval”; as well as original sci-fi novels as well like “Embedded” and “Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero.” How does it feel to take two comic characters that you're known for and create an original prose adventure for them? Dan Abnett:

When I'm writing novels for properties like “Doctor Who” or “Warhammer,” it's very much like writing a comic in that I'm dealing with licensed characters and my understanding of how they work. I've got to be respectful of them and make sure that I make it work. So that skill set remains exactly the same in terms of this, but to try to take something with a very distinct flavor like “Guardians of the Galaxy” or Rocket and Groot and translate that into prose has been particularly fun because I wanted to capture both the hectic pace of it and the high action content. I wanted to make it quite amusing because there's always been a strong hint of humor in Guardians. Not to break down the seriousness of what's going on, but it's got a wisecracking feel to it.

I also wanted to bring in the Marvel Cosmic universe as best as I can so people who read the book that are big fans of the Cosmic, “Guardians” or Marvel are going, “Oh that's a great reference to that!” or “That's clever!” or “That's a great joke at the expense of that!”

If you don't know anything about “Guardians” — and let's face it, a lot of people out there who are even aware of Marvel characters may not necessarily know the cosmic side of it — the book won't be impenetrable. I didn't want to make it so people who discovered these characters via the upcoming “Guardians” film go, “I have no idea what he's talking about.” I hope I've walked that line there. I hope it's a really good high octane, space opera romp with very amusing characters in the middle of it and that anyone can read and enjoy these moments if you're a Marvel fan and part of the club, but also enjoy it as a sci-fi novel that ties into a movie you enjoyed.

I also understand that “Rocket Raccoon & Groot: Steal the Galaxy” is Marvel's first original, in-house prose novel. How does it feel to kick that line off?

That was a huge thing. It does seem odd to say prose novels but I understand we have to distinguish between prose and graphic novels. Marvel has been publishing prose novels and very successfully too, but what they've been doing is taking existing story lines like “Civil War” and adapting them into prose form, which is great.