Writer Mark Millar reveals Marvel Zombies’ secret origin, where the idea come from, and how it almost got rejected.

Marvel Zombies

Writer Mark Millar revealed the origin of the first appearance of Marvel zombies in Ultimate Fantastic Four.

Through the newsletter, while interacting with fans, Millar shared the procedure surrounding the introduction of Marvel zombies in Ultimate Fantastic Four. He mentioned, “I remember telling the guys I had this idea on the plane from Scotland about a superhero arriving from another dimension with a zombie plague and biting the Avengers when they showed up to contain the problem”. He explained that he produced a rough sketch of a zombified Mr. Fantastic and used it as a springboard for thinking about how rest of the Marvel’s heroes might be affected.

Millar’s concept was not warmly embraced by his peers. They considered the idea revolting when he offered it at one of Marvel’s quarterly retreats. “But everyone hated it,” he explained. “I remember it was so universally loathed and everyone thought I was kidding when I suggested it. I just smiled and took it on the chin.”

ultimate fantastic four

Fortunately, Millar was able to repurpose the idea as a narrative for Ultimate Fantastic Four after a separate chat with then-editor-in-chief Joe Quesada. After Millar was brought in as a new writer for the series, his first storyline, “Frightful,” featured the Marvel Zombies. The Ultimate Universe differed from the 616 Universe in several ways. Millar knew fans wanted to see the worlds collide, so he teased them with a storyline in which they would. In the end, the meeting was little more than a bait-and-switch, with Reed’s evil counterpart luring him into the Marvel Zombies universe.

The idea proved to be a fan favorite despite the writers’ doubts when Marvel Zombies was initially announced. Marvel rereleased a five-issue Marvel Zombies series by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and artist Sean Phillips after it became evident that the other creators could use the characters in between the arcs that Millar required them for. After the exit of the Fantastic Four, the story proceeded to explore the Marvel Zombies universe, with Magneto battling as humanity’s final hope against the epidemic, a notion that came from Millar’s first premise.

 live-action Marvel Zombies

The Marvel Zombies were recently brought back for the fifth episode of Disney+’s animated series What If…? A live-action Marvel Zombies project is also in the works, according to Millar. “Zombies never stay dead,” as the author phrased it.

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