FAQ 4dec12: How NEXTWAVE Was Conceived

December 4th, 2012 | FAQ

How did the idea for Nextwave (Or is it NEXTWAVE?) come about? I’m just getting into the series and it’s pretty much one of the most amazing comics I’ve ever read.

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Oh, god, that was a few years ago.  Nick Lowe at Marvel wanted me to do a book in his office.  I know I’d been thinking about something Brian Bendis said, about hoping his work on the AVENGERS comic would start a conversation about that kind of superhero-team comic.  This was, what, seven years after THE AUTHORITY and Grant’s JLA and all, at this point, so it was a fair conversation to have.  And Brian was presenting his take on that.  Brian’s very interested in David Mamet, and Mamet’s often used as a stick to beat him with, but his approach in AVENGERS is probably easier to understand as being like Tarantino going to crime fiction in RESERVOIR DOGS — turning a greying “action genre” formula thing into a hyper-verbal ensemble piece.

So, well, I obviously couldn’t do that.  I wanted to engage that work in conversation, but I had to come in from another angle.  And since this was to be a company-owned book, and my job at Marvel was really to service their extant creative library, coming up with something brand new would have been counterproductive.

Which brought me to this: taking just a ton of those old characters and ideas that were currently useless to Marvel, throwing them in a pot like thepotboiler catmeat they were, and just driving them down over high heat until you had something pure.  Or at least concentrated.  While watching FLCL on repeat.  Just boiling and mixing and throwing more old Marvel ideas in there and remixing and sampling and remixing some more.  Taking out all the sticky tendon and unmelted bone of, you know, plot, and character, and continuity, and anything else that people think should belong in superhero comics.

And that would be my contribution to the conversation.  There’s a quote that’s stuck with me for, oh, 25 years, that I’ve used a few times to describe a certain kind of work, and it was probably never more fitting than used for NEXTWAVE.  It was my motto for the job as I was writing it.  Nik Cohn describing “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard:

“A glorious burst of incoherent noise.”

I doubt I ever lived up to it, but that was the target.

i have no idea if i’ve answered the question NEXTWAVE IS LOVE send

Also Stuart Immonen is a genius.


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  1. You can find Warren on Twitter: @warrenellis