Warren Ellis “Newuniversal” Update

by  in Comic News Comment
Warren Ellis “Newuniversal” Update

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…”