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Warren Ellis talks about Nextwave




by Chris Arrant


For months, comic book fans have been actively speculating and hypothesizing about the Warren Ellis-written book that Marvel Editor-In-Chief mentioned “made Buckley cry”. Endorsing it as his favorite book of 2006, Quesada few sentence started the imaginations of fans worldwide as to what it was. fueled the fire in his mailing list “Bad Signal”, ominously referring to it as “NW” and stating that the tagline was “healing America by beating people up”.


What does ‘NW’ stand for? Some people placed their money on “New Warriors”, while others said ‘New Wanda’ [referring to the Scarlet Witch], while others simply thought it might stand for “New Work”. The speculations were put to rest this week as information was leaked onto the internet, identifying the new title as Nextwave and featuring a cast with a deep, but spotty history with the Marvel universe.


“The team is nominally lead by Monica Rambeau, who was previously, Captain Marvel, Photon, and possibly Pulsar or ‘That Tall Black Woman With The Bad Hair Who Gets Wheeled Out From Time To Time’,” Ellis stated. “Monica Rambeau used to lead the Avengers. She will tell you she used to lead the Avengers until you die. “


“There's Aaron Stack, who used to be called Machine Man when he was the crappiest robot superhero on the block,” Ellis continued. “Since he was last seen, he's rewired his head so that beer works on him, and can often be heard maliciously referring to humans as ‘fleshy ones,’” Ellis revealed. “There's Ellie Bloodstone, daughter of immortal-and-yet-strangely-dead monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone, who is essentially Lara Croft with the brain of Edina from Absolutely Fabulous. “


Rounding out the cast is a familiar face you’ll remember and a familiar face you won’t remember. “There's Tabby Smith, who has been Boom Boom and Meltdown and probably three or four other names, who used to be in X-Force and Cable And The X-Monkeys or whatever all those damn things were called. She is the mutant Paris Hilton: she makes things blow up, walks around with a cellphone glued to her ear and has a night-vision vagina,” Ellis said with a laugh. “And, of course, there's the Captain -- who is basically every generic superhero called Captain something that Marvel ever published. He's all of them. Changed his name every few months, and then just gave up and called himself the Captain.”


So you have a team, but what are they fighting for? Nextwave is an elite superman task force organized by the government agency known as H.A.T.E. (Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort). Their mission was to stop superhuman terrorists, but when they find out their own organization is the one behind a conspiracy aiding villains in taking out small towns in rural states where heroes never venture, they have to stop it.


Heading up H.A.T.E. is a new face to the Marvel universe, but one that readers won’t be soon to forget.


“The other recurring character is General Dirk Anger, Director of H.A.T.E. He brought them together to form a crack intervention team, the Next Wave Squad,” said Ellis. “The squad found out who really finances and supplies the Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort. And stole an experimental aircraft from him and went on the run. General Dirk Anger is having a very slow nervous breakdown.”


While long-time Marvel readers might remember the members of Nextwave from previous titles, it would be hard to call any of them A-list characters. But for Warren, that was the plan all along: finding the loose bits of Marvel continuity and reinvigorating them for a new audience.


“I think it started with an interview with Brian Michael Bendis I read someplace, wherein he stated he'd hoped that his Avengers Disassembled/New Avengers work would trip off a conversation about team books, approaches to them, their place in commercial comics right now, etc. Which I'm not sure ever happened, but still. I got to thinking about this in the pub one day.”


“Obviously, it couldn't be done with Big Name characters, because they were all under someone else's control. It could be done with original characters as a creator-owned work, but, really, something like that should be done through a big company. I didn't want to do Authority Part Two -- although Authority was, of course, populated by B-list characters, B-list locations.”


B-list characters? Check.


B-list locations? Check.


But what about B-list villains?


“Beyond B-List. Fin Fang Foom. Shogun Warrior,” Ellis said with a smile.


“You see, the threat is products. H.A.T.E. is funded and supplied by the Beyond Corporation -- they are providing weapons to H.A.T.E. that H.A.T.E. is to live-test in the field. It is not generally known to the rank and file of H.A.T.E. that the Beyond Corporation is actually just a new face for their old enemy, the terrorist cell known as S.I.L.E.N.T. -- and, through unknown machinations, H.A.T.E. has actually been product-testing weapons of mass destruction on these obscure cities and towns in the United States.”


But secrets aren’t so easily kept, be it within comics or within H.A.T.E.


“The Next Wave Squad found this out, and stole the Marketing Plan -- the calendar on which this stuff is being released on America -- as well as the plane, and are crisscrossing the States, trying to intercept these ‘WMDs Of The Weird’ before they go live.”


Joining Ellis on this title will be artist Stuart Immonen, who has worked with the writer previous on Ultimate Fantastic Four and is prepared to bring his signature line-work to this all-new Marvel title. In fact, Marvel offices are buzzing on the strength of the title.


“We let Warren go wild and he hasn’t disappointed,” said Marvel’s publisher Dan Buckley. “The things that have come from this man’s mind … I haven’t seen a comic like this, well, ever!”


With the heady tagline of “Healing America by beating people up”, some has speculated that this new Ellis-penned title will be in the style of the “fight comics” that he’s written about before.


“It's a mix of approaches. It has the Explodo, because the Explodo is incredibly important,” Ellis said matter-of-factly. “It also winds in flashback sequences seemingly at random, throws in information boxes, runs the book's ident every eight pages. It's fun to write, because it's got no rules applied to it other than that I tell a complete story every 44 pages/two issues. Give it the first two issues -- after that, I figure I've either got you forever, or you'll never read anything with my name on it again,” Ellis promised.


Ellis’ excitement for this title is apparent, as he’s recently stated that he’s currently writing issue #7 of the book. “I'm just writing it while it's all fresh in my head. I'm going to take it up to #12 -- after that, we'll see if we get renewed for a second year, and then I'll see if I have another six stories in my head for it.”


When asked about the motivations in creating Nextwave considering his colored history with superheroes and “fetish suits”, his derived term for superheroes, Ellis put it al into context.


“I continue to occasionally work in the superhero field because it's interesting to me to try and write superhero books I'd actually read. That, to me, is worth doing. So I started thinking in terms of a team book that I'd actually want to read.”


Nextwave is scheduled for a January 2006 release from Marvel Comics. Check back in with Newsarama later this week for series artist Stuart Immonen.






Immonen is cool, seein him with Ellis should be fun.

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  • 6 months later...



Just read #1, and this book is gonna be really cool. "Nextwave is a superhero comic about five people who have just minutes to prevent a town from being from being eaten by a giant lizard monster.

in purple underpants."

Im digging Tabitha, whose mutant powrer is blowing this up and stealing your stuff.


Newsarama talks to Ellis:


Marvel held their latest conference call with the comics press Thursday, this month to discuss Warren Ellis’ January debuting new ongoing series Nextwave (with art by Stuart Immonen) and the January-debuting Ultimate Extinction #1, the start of Ellis’ third part of his “Ultimate Secret” trilogy, with art by Brandon Peterson.


Ellis attended along with the usual Marvel staff/dignitaries and they also took the opportunity to reveal Ellis’ next Marvel project, Newuniversal, a new ongoing series featuring the writer's brand-new take on Marvel's "New Universe".

The following is just some highlights from the joked-filled conference, which featured Ellis's often tongue-in-cheek descriptions of his work.


Marve will soon launch a new Marvel digital comic book format, debuting soon on Marvel.com. Marvel's Marketing head John Dokes said they won't "initially" be charging for their the new digital comics format. It will be used to bring attention to new titles like Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1, and projects they want to promote.

In a correction to something reported earlier, Ellis' Nextwave will not be seen as a digital comic any time prior or concurrent with its January launch.


Marvel mangaged to get Warren Ellis on the line 23 minutes after the start of the conference, and the event began in earnest...

"People get kicked, things explore - this is what they want. What more do you need to know", Ellis said when asked to describe Nextwave.


"Hopefully, it ties the whole thing off with some satisfaction."


Nextwave will be told in two-issue story arcs...


Asked if he thought the use of secondary characters in Nextwave would result in sales more similar to his independent work rather than his mainstream, Ellis compared Nextwave to The Authority, in that the characters are not well known to a larger audience from the start. He said he felt comfortable in using them in that the characters he's using in the series haven't been seen for a long time, and had little attention.


the homepage for the book is here, and its cool but the art really needs Ellis' dialogue to appreciate it. Better yet, the awesome theme song is right here.



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NBA Superstar Shaquille O'Neal is Kazaam, a larger-than-life genie with a magic touch for nostop fun laughter!  After 5,000 long years of captivity, Kazaam is set free to grant three wishes to a new master.  From then on, he's catapulted to one wild adventure after another... from becoming the latest rap sensation or untangling an outrageous mob scheme! As the giant genie with an attitude, Shaq scores big laughs in this hilarious comedy hit that's sure to be a slam-dunk winner with everyone!

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They ripped off Duckman Baytor.

I can see it.


Stop letting them in your window mate, for the sake of Duckman.

Infact, can you hurry up and give me some speech material from that comic?


Heh heh, sorry about that. I've actually gotten a couple more pages touched up it's just they're so fucking huge that they're unmanagable, the cover was the same and I fixed it, but I cannot for the life of me remember how the fuck i decreased the size of it. Anyway, additional pages will be up soon.


Also, please, saying that this shit is even a ripoff of my stuff is insulting to me. My comics do not rely on purple underpants as humor, pfft. My comics rely on a psycho who uses origami as a weapon or a Tony Montana parody who turn the entire country of Cuba into a giant robot that looks like Fidel Castro... that's my style.


Also, wasn't the whole Nick Fury parody done by The Tick already?

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NBA Superstar Shaquille O'Neal is Kazaam, a larger-than-life genie with a magic touch for nostop fun laughter!  After 5,000 long years of captivity, Kazaam is set free to grant three wishes to a new master.  From then on, he's catapulted to one wild adventure after another... from becoming the latest rap sensation or untangling an outrageous mob scheme! As the giant genie with an attitude, Shaq scores big laughs in this hilarious comedy hit that's sure to be a slam-dunk winner with everyone!

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  • 4 months later...


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