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Thursday 1 September 2005, by Webmaster
MILLAR & HITCH ON THEIR ULTIMATE REPLACEMENTS
With the word that Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira will be picking up the reins of Marvel’s Ultimates for volume 3 in 2006, the original creative team, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch are finally free to talk their minds about the changeover, and give their own unique version of a blessing if they so wished.
They so wished.
“Like I said before, nothing would be bleaker than someone taking over and aping our style,” Millar said. “What we did was appropriate and fashionable for the period we’ve worked on the book, but continuing this would smell too much like diminishing returns. What Joe’s done here is as radical and interesting as Frank Quitely and I being hired to replace Warren and Bryan on The Authority. It’s not a team you might expect, but they’re absolute quality and, having spoken with them, I know they’re bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. Jeph’s a very versatile writer. Superman/ Batman is a great, fun, kinetic book, but he can also do atmospheric and subtle better than almost anyone else as we saw on The Long Halloween. My only real interest was seeing the book in good hands. I genuinely think this was an inspired choice and the online interest in this thing is so super-charged I have a horrible feeling the buggers might even outsell us.”
Bryan Hitch :
“Well, I think it’s a good call. Like Mark said, the last thing we wanted was anybody who would ape our approach which was, after all, our approach. The best thing by far is a team of acknowledged heavy hitters with defined approaches of their own who can take what we’ve built and run in new directions in ways we wouldn’t have considered. Jeph and Joe have a solid base here and can bring something really fresh now that we two tired old hacks are done. It will be faster and bigger, I bet and much more explosive. I can’t see how they can disappoint given their pedigree.
“As Mark said a good example is when there were calls for the cancellation of Authority after Warren and I left but the opportunistic hack, Millar got the no-hoper Quitely in on it and made the book something everyone was talking about. It might even have been cough better than it started cough. Don’t you dare tell him I said that; his head’s already bigger than his body, which has admittedly been shrunk to the desiccating effects of African Witch-Doctors but still...”
So now that the team if officially moving on, their replacements named...what’s next for the two who’ve said that they will continue to work together?
“Meeting Bryan created the kind of crackle people feel when they meet the girl they’re going to marry,” Millar said. “We instantly got on like a house on fire and, both being northerners and almost exactly the same age, we have a huge amount of influences in common. Our first phone call lasted something like six hours and this set the precedent for just about every other call we’ve had since. We’re both now pals and collaborators and, I think, bring out the best in one another’s work. I just delivered a new script to him earlier in the week, for example, and he called me up to say that he felt we should do the opening scene from the perspective of another character and he was absolutely on the money. So I’m rewriting this morning. That’s the way we work. We pour over every line and every panel and constantly revise until we’re both happy. It’s very demanding, but has been a unique experience and so we’ve wedded ourselves to several things over the next two or three years.
"We’ll be done with Ultimates 2 very early in the Spring and already have our next project planned out. We can’t say who this is for - whether it’s creator-owned, Marvel-owned or even a character from elsewhere. But it’s good. And it’s very exciting. And it’s going to be so bloody enormous I wake up screaming in the middle of the night as I think about the potential royalties. So please feel free to speculate, but we won’t have an announcement to make until maybe ten or eleven months from now.”
And for Hitch’s version of the tease?
“As for what’s next? Lots of things. I’ve made it no secret I want to revitalize Thor and Hulk and do something on Spidey if I can persuade Joss Whedon to write a book he was born to write. Then there’s this little project with Millar we’ve been talking about. I can’t imagine a time not working with Mark, the symbiosis is outstanding. We both invest so fully in the Ultimates and constantly force each other to lift our games. It’s been the most challenging, draining, labor intensive experience but also the most rewarding. Just wait until you see what’s next. That’s not hyperbole, it really is going to top Ultimates. The Authority to the Ultimates was a leap of evolution for me and the next leap has begun with this new project. Don’t expect hearing about it for a year yet though. I need a lot of lead time here and apart from obvious scheduling reasons you’ll understand why when it starts to leak out. I don’t exaggerate when I say it will be huge. The biggest work of my career so far. I think I’m getting stage fright...”