SDCC '08 - Mark Millar on his 'Ultimate' Return

SDCC 08: Millar on his Ultimate Return

As was announced at Saturday’s Ultimate Universe Panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Mark Millar, one of the original architects of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe is coming back.

While his exact capacity was not specified, Jeph Loeb, whose Ultimatum will be responsible for charting the course of the Ultimate Universe to come felt that Millar needed to be involved, saying, “We sort of felt that we were going to talk about what the Ultimate Universe could be, it was important to involve one of the original architects.”

We caught up with Millar to ask about this return, and just what it may entail.

Newsarama: Mark, what brings about this return to the ultimate Universe for you? Were you looking to get back in there, or did Marvel pull you back in?

Mark Millar: It was pure ego. I had to get back in there and kick some ass. The law is back in town, dear readers (laughs). No, I just heard they wanted to revamp the line and I agreed.

I had pretty much moved over from the Ultimate line to the Marvel Universe a couple of years back with Avengers, Civil War, etc, as the focus shifted at the company. Now I feel the exciting stuff is going to happen in the Ultimate universe again. This is Marvel's 21st Century division. This is where the radicalism happens and my book is going to be the Big Daddy of the Ultimate line. This thing becomes the heart of the Ultimate universe just by its very presence. I'm excited and so are they. Together, we’re looking to make the Ultimate Universe much bigger than it ever was in the past.

NRAMA: You've seen how the Ultimate U has moved and changed since your initial involvement in its start - does it still do what it was designed to do, or are we now looking at just an alternate Marvel Universe?

MM: To me, it's what the Marvel Universe becomes a couple of years later. Whether it's Spidey as a single guy, Cap as a militaristic bad-ass, Tony as Robert Downey Jr, the X-Men going public or whatever, it's the 21st Century Marvel comics. The Marvel Universe has basically been turned into the Ultimate Universe, right down to the military super-teams, so now it's time to go back and take things to the next level. I have a very big pad filled with notes here and am blazing on this stuff. I just want to take things to the next level.

NRAMA: What's the scope of the project you're coming back to work on?

MM: It's the biggest, most ambitious Ultimate project so far and even ties in with what Zak Penn is doing on The Avengers movie. He and I have been talking about this because he and Kevin [Feige] and the guys have always said they're essentially doing the Ultimates, right down to Sam Jackson as Nick Fury. This thing is mega and anyone with even an iota of interest in the movies of the comics will be creaming their pants when they see what's planned here. This is my one and only Marvel project between the current stuff and 2010 so I'm putting everything into it. Everything else I'm doing next year is creator-owned from Kick-Ass 2 to Olympus with Bryan Hitch and all the new stuff you don't know about yet.

NRAMA: Going back to the similarities between the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe for a moment - in your view, what makes the characters you're working with in the Ultimate U different from their Marvel U counterparts?

MM: I love them both in their own ways, but as the writer behind the revamps of Ultimates, Ultimate X-Men and the co-writer on Ultimate Fantastic Four, I feel a real affinity there. I've had a great time and insane success in the Marvel Universe with Civil War, two big Wolvie projects, Fantastic Four, 1985, etc, but this is the stuff that gives me a full three-inch erection.

NRAMA: Any teases of some of the characters you'll be using?

MM: Ultimate Cap, Ultimate Iron Man, Ultimate Blade, Ultimate Punisher, Ultimate Ghost Rider, Ultimate Spidey. You won't believe what I have planned here and this just touches on what's coming up

NRAMA: Finally, and to give you one last chance for a vague-ish but exuberant tease, is the artist someone you've worked with before?

MM: No, but I've dreamed about it. He's probably the biggest artist in the industry. This guy is a superstar and Marvel is really stepping up to the plate with this revamp. It's exciting times.

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