Editor Mark Doyle shares how Jeff Lemire’s ULTRA THE MULTI ALIEN story in STRANGE ADVENTURES (on sale now) came about.
Take it away Mark.
“You should call Jeff Lemire,” former Vertigo Editor, turned-Hollywood Mogul, Pornsak Pichetshote said to me. “He’s crazy about all that old stuff.”
That’s how “Ultra The Multi-Alien” started. It was all PP’s idea. The man is an idea machine (that must be why they plucked him from the dark halls of Vertigo to go work for the West Coast brain trust).
So I called Jeff. Told him we were doing a Vertigo Anthology with a sci-fi theme. Told him we were thinking of using one of those wacky old Mystery-in-Space-type characters. Told him about Ultra.
“Oh, I love that guy.” Of course you do, Jeff. Of course you do.
Here’s the thing about Ultra The Multi-Alien—he’s a joke. He’s been a running joke in the DC halls for years. I mean, look at the guy! What a mess! Everybody always jokes about Ultra (even Conan O’Brian took some jabs at Ultra. The VERY day I talked to Jeff about Ultra, ol’ “gravy leg” was on Conan that night. True story. Google it.) Everybody joked about doing an Ultra story for years. But nobody was ever serious.
Except Jeff. Deadly serious. See, he has a love and a reverence for all of the old DC characters. Cool and not-so-cool alike. Especially the not-so-cool. He likes to look deep into the characters, find out what makes them tick, show us why they are sympathetic. Why we should maybe take a closer look. As Jeff and I were talking about Ultra I was flipping through the DC Encyclopedia. Told Jeff that his girlfriend’s name was Bonnie. That was it. Jeff was off and running. He had his story.
I’m very proud of “Ultra The Multi-Alien.” I think it’s a beautiful, heartbreaking story. It’s like Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Trippy, but, totally heartfelt too. That’s because Jeff loves all that old stuff. And now, thanks to you, Jeff, we do too.
And if you haven't seen it, check out the LOS ANGELES TIMES/Hero Complex preview here.