Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Mark Millar and the subversion of the superhero

Nemesis

Nemesis

Creators | Ahead of the premiere of Kick-Ass 2, Abraham Reisman profiles Mark Millar, with an emphasis on his subversion of the genre — and the new prominence he’s about to achieve with the films based on his comics: “By decade’s end, he’ll have had more of his creations translated into movie form than any comics writer other than Stan Lee.” The piece also includes criticism of his work, with Colin Smith observing, ““Millar does indeed have a history of producing work which represents less powerful groups in an insensitive, and often deeply insensitive, manner. There are massive contradictions between his words and actions as a private citizen and the apparent politics of some of his books.”[The New Republic]

Conventions | Matt Arado looks forward to this coming weekend’s Wizard World Chicago Comic Con (it’s actually in Rosemont) with some creator interviews and a look at the way the con has evolved over the years. [Daily Herald]

Passings | Montana cartoonist and novelist Myron Stanford “Stan” Lynde has died at the age of 81. Lynde was the creator of the comic strip Rick O’Shay, which ran nationwide from 1958 to 1978. The strip was based on his own experiences growing up on a sheep ranch. Lynde served in the Navy during the Korean War and then went to New York with $300 in his pocket to see if he could make a go of cartooning. He succeeded and also became a popular figure at parties. He returned to Montana in 1962 and lived there until recently; he retired to Ecuador earlier this year. [Helena Independent Record]

Kevin Keller's first kiss

Kevin Keller’s first kiss

Creators | In a video interview, Archie Comics writer and artist Dan Parent talks about the openly gay character Kevin Keller’s first kiss, depicted in the issue that goes on sale today. [The Huffington Post]

Creators | Strangers in Paradise is set in Houston, so it’s only natural that the local magazine would talk to Terry Moore about the 20th anniversary of his creation. [Houstonia]

Creators | Dash Shaw is Robin McConnell’s latest guest on his Inkstuds podcast. [Inkstuds]

Comics | Two computer science professors teamed up with several students to create a comic-book guide to Racket, a programming environment, that teaches students how to code games and other simple tasks. [Northeastern.com]

Digital comics | The manga publisher Kodansha Comics recently rebooted its digital program with a new emphasis on e-books; I talked to director of publishing services Dallas Middaugh about the thinking behind the new direction. [Good E-Reader]

Academia | Columbia University librarian Karen Green (she’s responsible for their library’s graphic novel collection) discusses the course she is teaching this summer, “Comic Books and Graphic Novels as Literature.” [Graphic Novel Reporter]

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Comments

17 Comments

I have never met Mark Millar, but the guy gets stuff done.

so he produces ultra violent, shallow, male teenager oriented fiction – yeah that sells, no surprise.
is it good? no.

OMG he’s SUBVERTING comics! He’s so TRANSGRESSIVE and RADICAL!

“People would say, ‘I joined the army after reading The Ultimates because I wanted to make a difference in the Middle East,’ and I was like, ‘Well, I kinda meant the opposite of that,’”

Doesn’t that mean that he’s a terrible writer?

“After Nemesis kidnaps them and releases them as part of a bargain, doctors find out not only did he impregnate the daughter with the son’s sperm but he also, as one doctor explains, “rigged your daughter’s womb to completely collapse if we attempt a termination.”

No, this means he’s a terrible writer.

That paragraph made me sooo damn glad that I dropped Nemesis after the first issue. The Secret Service, though…that was a pretty damn fine comic book.

Funny how that TNR piece didn’t have the words, ‘grant,’ ‘morrison,’ warren,’ or ‘ellis.’

“Doesn’t that mean that he’s a terrible writer?”

No, it means people are too fucking dumb to fully understand what they’re reading. Who does that remind me of? Oh yeah… I mean, Millar’s writing isn’t very subtle. If you don’t get it, there’s nothing I, or anyone else for that matter, can do to help you.

It means he’s an irresponsible human being (and a terrible writer.)

It’s a testament to Millar’s badness that I feel no compulsion to defend him from Colin Smith’s pinheaded political correctness.

@akkadiannumen: Wait, his writing isn’t subtle, but people still can’t understand it? Sorry, but Occam’s Razor still says “terrible writer” is the most likely explanation.

Jake Earlewine

August 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Mark Millar? Who’s he? Has he created any characters I’d know?

Once again, typical pseudo-intellectuals, being typically ignorant of what it is that they are reading; yet, despite their, at best, casual experience with a writer’s work, feeling no hesitation to just babble about things; both professional wirters, and keyboard warriors on forums.

And I guess it’s the authors’ work to write articles about something anything; so they may as well offer us a glimpse of their genious, non-existent as it may be; but the fans that take time just to hate on a man that has done nothing bad to them… that’s just sad.

Millar didn’t start as a screenwriter; neither did he get obsessed with turning his stories into movies. Actually, if one looks on just his extreme material which most of his critics seem to concentrate on: it’s so extreme, and in such a way, that it’s prohibitive to be turned into an actual screenplay. The guy had one lucky break into Hollywood through Wanted; got the connections, and the studios, desperate as they are for fresh ideas, just went to work and buy his stuff left and right; because it works as fuel for movies. What’s wrong with that? Should he had just refused the money? Why? So that some geeks on message boards could feel better for themselves?

As for his work, if you think it is almost entirely extreme, then you place yourself in a very weird position. Negatively weird. Because for every Nemesis there is a Superior, for every Authority there is a 1985. So learn to do some proper research before going on about something. Also it would be nice if you learned some manners. And acquired a reading comprehension.

Millar just writes whatever he wishes to write. When he wants to write a book with social commentary he creates Wanted; of course rabid haters won’t ever get past the violence, that is so horrible, and unethical, because “Heroes never kill and villains never win!” If he wants to create a nice heist story he will write Supercrooks. Delve into Marvel’s traditions: Fantastic Four. Some insane story just for kicks: Nemesis. Realistic (super)heroics? Meet Kick-Ass, and see how Clark Kent would be really like if he didn’t have superpowers, Batman with no training, Iron Man without his fortune, Mister Fantastic without his intellect; but still all the heart and desire to do something good as any of them; yet still failing most of the time because, well, that’s how real life is: no poetic culminations of goodness, just one stumble after the next with some small victories somewhere in there. A love-letter to Superman: Superman – Red Son. A spy thriller: queue Secret Service. Some socio-economical commentary: Jupiter’s Legacy. And so on.

And nowhere in his works does he have to include some sort of ultimate meaning or lesson learned. Actually, due to his more rough approach, which is far more realistic than the literally polished works of most other writers, he delights in bringing some real world sensibilities into his works. Sometimes women are treated badly, not because “that’s their place”, but because that’s what sadly happens frequently in real life. Superheroes are jerks, because they would most probably be if they existed, other than a few exceptions. Violence ensues because life has violence, senseless volence. If judged by the same token George Martin has to be one of the biggest perverts in excistence with everything going on in Song of Ice and Fire; not to mention a multiple personality-ridden miracle… Being a mature reader one would actually take the time to make sense of what is the writer’s opinion, and what is his characters’. But of course maturity is not high on demand in comic book readers it seems.

Relax guys. He is just a writer doing his work. You like it you read it; you don’t like it go read something else that suits your needs more (even if that is the fifth Batman/X-Men/Whateverstupiditythatsellstoys-Men it may be). No need to devolve into petty little spiteful things just because you don’t like a writer’s work. Be as mature as you claim to be and just enjoy your favourite stories, and let Millar’s fans enjoy theirs.

“You like it you read it; you don’t like it go read something else that suits your needs more” – I hate when people say this because they’re essentially asking you never to criticize or read anything beyond face value.

Ha ha ha, “Kick-ass” is realistic. Good one.

“By decade’s end, he’ll have had more of his creations translated into movie form than any comics writer other than Stan Lee.”

And once again the problem with citing statistics like that is it immediately leads people to deconstruct and question them rather than talk about the actual subject at hand. Which I will now proceed to do.

For example: if you count Jack Kirby as writer instead of “just” artist (and you should), then he’s pretty close to beat-for-beat with Stan Lee, by nature of their collaborations.

Alan Moore’s up there too (though he would rather not be).

And what about Wein and Claremont? Depends what you mean by “creations” — if you count every random cameo in every X-Men movie as an individual creation, then I think it’s entirely possible that Claremont beats out even Lee.

And I think Warren Ellis is offering some pretty stiff competition, too. We’ve already got two Red films, Gravel is in the works, Iron Man 3 is based in part on Extremis…I’m sure I’m missing some.

Well, Millar is that guy who eats his own hype for breakfast, defecates it at noon, then has it for lunch. Makes his own tea, too. Millar is the devolution of Liefeld, and that Liefeld already was the devolution of Kirby.

But I don’t have a problem with Millar, honest. What’s got me worried sick is the millions of people willing to pony up money for it. Remember, one Hitler isn’t a problem: the problem is the millions of people willing to follow an obvious psycho. The enemy isn’t Hitler, it’s us.

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