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San Diego Comic-Con 2008

SDCC '08: Millar Returns to Ultimate Universe

The creator of THE ULTIMATES and ULTIMATE X-MEN discusses coming back to the imprint he helped build

By Kiel Phegley Mark Millar planned on spending his 2009 focusing solely on creator-owned works, creating and controlling new characters and movies of his own. But one thing kept him writing for Marvel: "Pure ego brought me back," laughs the Scottish writer who, as announced Saturday in San Diego, will be returning to Marvel's Ultimate Universe in 2009 with a new book whose title and focus has yet to be revealed. "What happened was, my deal finished about two weeks ago, and I was going away," Millar explains. "I was going off just to focus on creator-owned stuff, and common sense and my agent and everyone I know kept saying, 'Don't re-up with Marvel!' You realize that creator-owned is pretty sweet because you get a lot more money, and you get to own everything forever. So common sense says, 'Rip the Marvel contract up and go off to write more stuff.'

"And [Marvel publisher] Dan Buckley says, 'You'll be back. There's no way you're going to go.' And then I was on the train a few weeks ago, and I got an idea or an Ultimate book that's bigger than all the other Ultimate books. This one just re-establishes everything in the Ultimate Universe and becomes the daddy of the whole Ultimate line. Just by its very nature, it can't be anything other than the biggest book in the Ultimate line every month." Once inspiration struck him, Millar had no recourse but to return to Marvel and figuratively ask for his old job back. "I got so invested in those characters because I started ULTIMATES, I started ULTIMATE X-MEN, and I co-created ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR," shares the Scot. "I thought, 'I've got a really good idea that could make all these books incredibly cool. We could make this work.' And Dan loved it. He said, 'I knew you'd be back.'" And while Millar hasn't been in talks with writers Brian Michael Bendis and Jeph Loeb regarding their plans for the upcoming Ultimatum event and beyond, he says that he's now getting back into the loop to make sure his work fits flawlessly in with their plans. "I've stayed out of it completely, so this is the law coming back to town," he jokes. "I feel as if the sheriff's been gone. But I am now keeping up completely, and I'm also doing my first Marvel meeting in a couple of years."

The writer also wouldn't divulge the focus of his new Ultimate series, but did promise that some of the faces fans will see when it debuts will be new to both him and the Ultimate line. "A huge part of this is to do all the Ultimate characters I never got a chance to do," Millar says. "So although it's gong to be made up out of the established Ultimate characters, I really wanted to go wide on the Ultimate Universe too. I think the thing I'm probably best at. You know every writer's got their little thing they're best at like Bendis with his dialogue-I'm pretty good at reinventing things. I had great fun doing Ultimate Tony Stark and Ultimate Nick Fury, so I wanted to spread that out too and see what Ultimate Ghost Rider would be like or Ultimate Blade. That kind of stuff is going to feature quite heavily. I really want to reinvent the whole Marvel Universe." For up to the minute Marvel news spinning out of the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, visit the Marvel.com SDCC news hub. And while you're waiting in between announcements, spend some time over at Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!

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