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July 27, 2007

Warren Ellis to take over on Astonishing X-Men

NEWSARAMA.COM: SDCC '07 - ELLIS DOES ASTONISHING X-MEN I'll be sad to see Whedon go, but Ellis is a perfect choice to follow up. File this under Fuck. Yes.
Newsarama: First off, why X-Men? Warren Ellis: Well, Chris, I'm closing in on 40 now, so I'm pretty much washed up and preparing for the time where I'll have to sell what operating internal organs I have left for bill money, and I'm looking around to see what's left in commercial comics that I haven't done. And one of the things I haven't yet done is work on a big franchise, just to see what it's like. I worked in the X-Office back in the 90s, but they never let me near their big toys in case I broke them or put them in my mouth or something. So when this came up, and when the degree of creative freedom that comes with it became clear, I thought, why the hell not? I mean, you never get to make your "stamp" on these things, because the franchise needs to keep running and everything gets dug over and re-invented in the end. But I like the technical challenge in these commercial gigs: to bring the property into the era of its production, as it were, and to write stories I'd like to read. NRAMA: This announcement reminds me back in 2003, when you went off your DC exclusive at the same time Grant Morrison announced he was leaving New X-Men. You shrugged off quite a bit of speculation that you're taking over then, but as a public writing exercise on your Bad Signal e-newsletter you wrote as to what you'd do, via a lecture to be delivered by Emma Frost to the students at Xavier's School. It's obvious that 2003 is far removed from where we are today in many respects, but where's your head at creatively as it relates to the X-men in this day and age? WE: Secondary mutations. Breeding pairs. Warpies. The counting problem -- 198 was the number of surviving mutants post-House of M, but, really, who did that count? I'm not saying that new mutants will be popping out of the woodwork, but there's some serious geopolitical blinkers happening, still. Do you really think Nigeria or Zimbabwe are capable or willing to count mutant heads? Take Nigeria, a place we all think we know well because of their generous email invitations to enter into banking relationships. The life expectancy in Nigeria is 47 years. 3% of the population is living with HIV. Their water's nine parts poison and their soil is riddled with H5N1 and Lassa Fever. The place is rife with ethnic and religious unrest, they threw a CNN team out a few years ago for daring to report the news, and they only stopped blatantly working with narco-traffickers about a year ago. (Also, when did people start treating Africa as a single country?) You can guarantee that some things that happened in places like Nigeria never made it to the outside world. I'm not saying I want to do a run that's all about looking back, but I think it's worth making sure we can see the entire playing field. The metaphor of mutantcy has meant many things to many people over the years. It's been code for adolescence, for race, for sexuality, for politics and probably a dozen other things. I want to see what it actually means in the 21st Century. This, to me, is interesting work: to take a sounding of a franchise that has meant so much and so many things to so many people over the years, and to see what else it still has to say; to look forward and see how this badge of X -- which didn't have the cultural load it carries today when Lee and Kirby generated the idea -- can be made to mean. Also, I think planes will probably crash, beer will be drunk, people will get stabbed and certain characters will have what Joss called "the crazy weasel sex." But there will be no crying. This is very important. There is too much crying in science fiction these days.
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