Warren Ellis "Newuniversal" Update

Fri, December 9th, 2005 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Arune Singh, Staff Writer

The included images are from "Nextwave," Warren Ellis' other new project from Marvel

Via Warren Ellis' "Bad Signal" mailing list, the author sent out another of his regular messages, this time highlighting his new Marvel Comics project, "Newuniversal," reported on by CBR Newsyesterday.

The following is an excerpt from that mailer:

"The conference was to talk up

NEXTWAVE a bit -- and I just saw

the lettered inked pages, and I'm

actually still smiling at the gags,

which is rare for me -- and to

announce my own summer 2006

project for Marvel. I wanted

something to fuck around with. I

wanted to keep my foot in that

half/two-thirds of the overall direct

market that doesn't order my other

work. And I wanted one of those

old-style writing challenges that I

hadn't really done before -- taking

an old fucked-up franchise and

monkeying around inside it.

"Twenty years ago, Marvel tried to

launch an entire secondary line of

action books that straddled that

sometimes-amorphous space

between superhero fiction and

science fiction. Despite the presence

of writers like Archie Goodwin and

the young Peter David, it died within

two or three years. It was under-

funded, generic, and really stands

out as a failure of nerve and

ambition. And they called it The New


"In summer 2006, I'm going to be

launching an ongoing title at Marvel

called newuniversal. No capital N,

no capital U. We refer to it in-house

as NU -- and I might have called it

NU, if it didn't always suggest

nu-metal to me.

"The central concept, these days,

also looks kind of generic. Wild

Cards did it, RISING STARS did it,

etc etc. Something called The White

Event occurs, and afterwards a

handful of people are found to have

been made superhuman. So far so

blah. But, in looking at this stuff on

a webpage one night, it occurred to

me that that's not what happened.

What actually happened was that

there was this huge astronomical

event where the skies went white

all over the world for a minute, and

the aftermath was that the laws

of physics had been changed.

"There's a sf book by a writer called

Vernor Vinge where the laws of

physics are radically different

depending on which part of the

galaxy you're in. Conventional

physics' dirty little secret is that

the speed of light appears to


"There is, as I say, a whole library

of science fiction about

superhumanity. These are not

superhero novels. Some lean closer

than others, of course -- Zelazny

and Saberhagen's COILS comes to

mind, and SLAN was very clearly a

precedent to the X-Men. But

there's a lot more that speaks to,

if you like, the superhuman

condition. Melding that with the

notion that suddenly the laws of

physics can go and stay slightly

nuts... In one six-hour session, I

generated a bunch of notes about

how and why this could happen,

with some ideas from some old

abandoned projects of mine (from

the Loose Ideas folder) fitting

themselves into it...

"Sure, it's not exactly cut from whole

cloth. Like I said, it's a writing

challenge. Blows the cobwebs out a

bit. Makes you focus on the craft a

bit. Sometimes it's worth sitting

down and thinking, what *does*

make a Marvel character work?

(Answer: tragedy.)

"Anyway. That's all for next year.

Right now I'm into other stuff,

trying to get clear for Xmas. And

tomorrow I buy myself a few

blissful hours to think about new

stuff. Something that works in

32pp episodes, 128pp stories..."

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