SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
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]
Citing an increased workload at Millarworld and Millarworld Productions, organizers Sarah and Lucy Unwin have announced London’s Kapow! Comic Convention won’t return next year. However, there are hopes for “an even bigger and better show” in 2014.
“Sarah and I have had to make a very tough decision, and after much deliberation and poring over upcoming work schedules, we have decided to put Kapow! 2013 on hold,” Lucy Unwin said in a statement. “The event is a genuine pleasure to work on and everyone has been a total delight, but this year we are unable to dedicate the time necessary to deliver a weekend that once again exceeds the expectations of attendees, guests, exhibitors, publishers and studios.”
Mark Millar, who launched Kapow! in 2010 “to bring “San Diego Comic-Con to these shores,” added on his message board: “4 movies, 4 new comic series, overseeing the Marvel movies at Fox and starting our TV line mean 2013 just too mental for Kapow this year, I’m afraid. we absolutely hope to come back and wow everyone in 2014 tho.”
In addition to signing on in September as a consultant on Fox’s Marvel film properties, Millar has Kick-Ass 2 opening next year, and a handful of adaptations — Nemesis, Supercrooks and The Secret Service among them — moving into production. Add to that such Millarworld comics projects as Jupiter’s Legacy, Nemesis 2 and Kick-Ass 3, and the aforementioned television line, which begins Jan. 3 with the BBC One documentary Pavilion of Dreams.
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from “big two” stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Among the various adaptations, though, some creators have emerged as magnets for Hollywood types — one creator who seems to love it more than anyone else is Mark Millar.
After bouncing around the UK comics scene and later DC, Mark Millar made a name for himself for his big-picture epics on The Authority and The Ultimates. Working with artists like Frank Quitely and Bryan Hitch, Millar borrowed some of the wide-screen cinema techniques of film to display comic stories in a new light. From very early on, movie-makers have been cribbing notes from his comics; X-Men: The Last Stand screenwriter Zak Penn said Millar’s work was influencing his own. He was even brought in to act as an informal brain trust to give advice to Jon Favreau during the production of the first Iron Man film.
After seeing glimpses and glimmers of Millar’s influence on company-owned comics-turned-films, it was when Hollywood took notice of his creator-owned work that his bibliography became catnip for movie producers. After back-to-back successes with feature film adaptations of his comics Wanted and Kick-Ass, virtually every creator-owned comic from Mark Millar comes with the question, “How soon will there be a movie announcement?” This attention from movie producers has even led Millar to begin filming his own original movie, which is currently underway.
The question today is this: Of the creator-owned work Mark Millar’s done that haven’t become films yet, which should, and how should they look?
Over on his message boards, writer Mark Millar teases a crossover between three of his creator-owned properties — Kick-Ass, Superior and Nemesis — with some art by Leinil Francis Yu.
“Leinil’s just finished some layouts here, but it’s a nice teaser for everyone,” he said about the art. “The picture really says it all: Nemesis, Superior, Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass. The first Millarworld crossover event.”
No other details were given in terms of what this is or where it might appear, but his Clint Magazine might be a likely venue.
Update: It’s three covers.
The news that writer Mark Millar teased earlier this week has finally, officially broke — Tony Scott, director of The Last Boy Scout, Top Gun, Man on Fire and True Romance, will direct the movie adaptation of Millar and Steve McNiven’s Nemesis, their creator-owned title published under Marvel’s Icon banner.
“As you can imagine, I’m more than excited,” Millar wrote on the Millarworld forums. “Steve is delirious and this puts our books instantly in an entirely different league in Hollywood terms. Tony said this was a very timely project and Fox want to get this moving as soon as possible. Next up is a script and the writer we talked about did one of my top five movies of all time. The actor he’s shooting for as the lead character is going to blow your socks off.”
Earlier this year Mark Millar and Dynamic Forces held a couple of auctions to raise money for a new mini-bus for the special needs kids Millar’s brother, Bobby, works with in Scotland. The bus costs about £26,000, or about $40,000, and according to Mark, they raised about half that with the auctions.
Mark said he is planning another auction around his upcoming Superior comic, but he’s also asking folks to sponsor his brother’s first attempt at skydiving. In August, Bobby will dress up as Nemesis, the character created by his brother and artist Steve McNiven, and jump out of a plane. “My only fear, of course, is that with that white hood and cut out eye-holes (I’ve seen the suit) he’s going to be mistaken for the first Scottish Ku Klux Klansman and get the crap kicked out of him!” Mark said.
Mark posted a message from his brother on the Millarworld forums:
“My sky dive, in aid of the purchase of a school minibus for disabled pupils at my school, takes place on Sunday 22nd of August in Perth, Scotland. We’re looking to raise about £26,000 (approx $40,000) and are just over half way there. Ideally we’d like to purchase the bus for October and I’m now looking for people prepared to sponsor me to participate in my first (and last!) sky dive event. All contributions would be most welcome and will help to bring us that bit closer to our target sum. https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=BFABE56N5S8PG Best wishes, Dr Bobby Millar”
From Mark Millar, the man who brought you the story of Orson Welles’ efforts to produce the very first Batman movie, comes this photo of a billboard purportedly advertising Nemesis — in comic shops today! — in New York City’s Times Square.
“Times Square, New York City, 15 minutes ago,” Millar wrote this morning on his message board. “Is this what happens when you give a comic-book writer some movie royalties?”
Well, not necessarily. Eagle-eyed viewers, or Google Image searchers, may recognize the photo as originating from slightly more than “15 minutes ago” — like January, when much hay was being made over the Weatherproof billboard that featured President Obama.
You can see the original photo after the break.
Update: In the comments thread, reader MD shares a snapshot of what the billboard on that street corner actually looks like this morning. (If you’ll recall, Weatherproof Garment Company agreed to remove the Obama ads at the request of the White House.)
Last month Mark Millar and Dynamic Forces auctioned off a “starring role” in Millar and Steve McNiven’s upcoming Marvel Icon comic Nemesis, raising more than $8,000 for the school where Millar’s brother works with handicapped children. The winner of that auction, Blake Morrow, will share his name with the book’s good guy, a cop trying to stop the title character.
Now Millar is auctioning off the real name of the title character and bad guy, Nemesis. If you’d like to face off with Morrow in the book, you’ve still got a little more than a day to place your bid. As I type this, it’s currently up to $4,650.
“Can I just say a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the first auction,” Millar said in a press release on the auction. “The kids and staff at my brother’s school were delighted and the $8,400 raised means a quarter of their target has been reached already. I had chosen a good secret identity for Nemesis himself, but it seems almost selfish not to auction this now too and possibly reach the halfway line the kids need for this bus. I’m amazed how much cash was raised the first time around, but am hoping the auction to name the TITLE character raises even more. Dave Lizewski loves the fact he’s the lead in the Kick-Ass comic, movie and upcoming video-game and I’m hoping whoever wins this new auction is equally delighted. A huge thanks to them for finding the cash in these difficult times.”
Spurred, we may presume, by a tagline for Mark Millar’s next project — “What if Batman was The Joker?” — someone has created a Twitter account to have a little fun with the writer’s approach to high-concept pitches.
Millar began teasing the creator-owned miniseries, Nemesis, in late October before finally revealing the details on Friday at Comic Book Resources: The Marvel/Icon comic, with Civil War and “Old Man Logan” collaborator Steve McNiven, centers on a billionaire genius who uses his attributes to unleash anarchy rather than to fight crime.
“What if this genius billionaire was just this total shit, and the only thing that stood between him and a city was the cops?” Millar told CBR. “It’s Batman versus Commissioner Gordon, in a weird way. Or maybe a super-villain version of Se7en. A billionaire anarchist up against ordinary people. The Joker’s the best thing in the Batman movies, so this guy is a bit of an amalgamation of all the stuff we like.”