Millar at the Big Apple Convention in Manhattan, 2 October 2010.
December 24, 1969
Mark Millar (born 24 December 1969) is a Scottish comic book writer, known for his work on books such as The Authority, The Ultimates, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Civil War, Wanted, and Kick-Ass, the latter two of which have been adapted into feature films. In August 2007, he won the Stan Lee award at Wizardworld in Chicago.
Millar was born in Coatbridge. He has a brother, Bobby, who works at a special needs school.
Millar was inspired to become a comic writer after meeting Alan Moore at a signing session at AKA Books and Comics when he was a teenager in the late 1980s. However it was not until experiencing financial problems after his parents died that he decided to drop out of university and take up writing professionally.
His first job as a comic book writer came when he was still in high school, writing Trident's Saviour with Daniel Vallely providing art. Saviour combined elements of religion, satire and superhero action Millar later became known for.
During the 1990s, Millar then worked on titles such as 2000 AD, Sonic the Comic and Crisis. In 1993, Millar, Grant Morrison and John Smith created a controversial eight-week run on 2000 AD called The Summer Offensive. It was during this run that Millar and Morrison wrote their first major story together, the highly controversial strip Big Dave.
Millar's British work brought him to the attention of DC Comics, and in 1994 he started working on his first American comic, Swamp Thing. The first four issues of Millar's run were co-written by Grant Morrison, allowing Millar to settle into the title. Although his work brought some critical acclaim to the ailing title, the book's sales were still low enough to warrant cancellation by the publisher. From there, Millar spent time working on various DC titles, often co-writing with or under the patronage of Morrison (as in the cases of his work on JLA, The Flash and Aztek: The Ultimate Man), and working on unsuccessful pitches for the publisher.
In 2000, Millar received his big break by replacing Warren Ellis on The Authority for DC's Wildstorm imprint. Keeping the so-called "widescreen" aspects of Ellis's title, Millar and artist Frank Quitely added a more polemic style to the story, increasing sales and gathering many awards at home and abroad.
The title was a success for Millar and Wildstorm but suffered from self-censorship from DC, which caused friction between Millar and Warner Bros, especially DC publisher Paul Levitz. After the events of 9/11, DC became more sensitive to violence and scenes of destruction in titles such as The Authority. With shipping delays and artwork alterations, Millar became increasingly frustrated by DC's objections to his over-the-top style and story content on the title. As a result of this and receiving lucrative work from DC's main competitor Marvel Comics, he announced his resignation from DC in 2001. His acclaimed Superman: Red Son story was printed after his departure, and Millar has repeatedly stated his desire to recreate the Superman character both in comic-books and on the big screen. During his sabbatical in late 2005, he mended his fences with Levitz & DC Comics.
In March 2001 Millar sold a vampire horror miniseries he wrote called Sikeside to Channel 4 in the UK. However, the department that bought it had created a program called Metrosexuality that was received so poorly that the department was informed by its superiors that the network would not make any other project commissioned by that department again, thus cancelling Sikeside's development. Millar subsequently sold the movie rights to Sikeside to his friend, movie producer Angus Lamont.
During 2001 Millar launched Ultimate X-Men for Marvel Comics' Ultimate Marvel imprint. The following year he collaborated with illustrator Bryan Hitch on The Ultimates, the Ultimate imprint's equivalent of The Avengers. Millar's work on The Ultimates was later adapted into two Marvel Animated Features.
After 33 issues, Millar left Ultimate X-Men. In 2004 he wrote the hit title Marvel Knights Spider-Man, and co-wrote with Brian Michael Bendis the first six issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four. He later returned to that title for a 12-issue run throughout 2005-2006, and his storylines during that period led to the creation of the Marvel Zombies spin-off series. Zippity doo dah!
Behind the Scenes of Kick-Ass
- According to a passage In Mark Millar's "Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, and the Movie" he comments on his original idea of for the comics Kick-Ass, "The idea that I had originally was a book about Big-Daddy and Hit-Girl. It was called Kick-Ass -- after going through a few different anmes -- and I wrote the first issue entirely starring Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. But there was something about it; it was good, but it was very hard to identify with the main characters, because they were so extreme. No reader was going to be like Hit-Girl or like Big Daddy. I really liked it though, so I sat with it for months and I kept looking at it, and I knew I wanted it to influence a whole generation of real life superheroes via MySpace and YouTube and all that, but it just wasn't right, I knew there was something wrong. So what I did -- which is something I never do -- is I just scrapped the issue, and then started again with a character that we could identify with, bringing Big Daddy and Hit-Girl into a little bit later. So, essentially, in terms of the hero's journey, you start with the naive Luke Skywalker guy, who everyone can identify with, and then you meet Han Solo and Ben Kenobi and everyone, and the Jedi Knights suddenly make sense, because you're seeing it through the eyes of a newcomer." (p 15) in [Mark Millar's Kick-Ass Creating the comic Making the Movie]. This indicates, that Hit-Girl was originally supposed to be the main protagonist of the Kick-Ass comics. There's a popular trend indicating that Hit-Girl stole the limelight in Kick-Ass because of her extreme and vulgar nature, in contrast to Kick-Ass's newcomer status. In the Kick-Ass 2 film adaptation, the plot focuses largely on Hit-Girl's story arc trying to lead a normal life based around the Hit-Girl, and Kick-Ass 2 comics. Hit-Girl's popularity in the Kick-Ass franchise, and the Hit-Girl centric story arc for both the comic and film versions of Kick-Ass 2, have resulted her to become the unofficial "main" character, despite Mark Millar's initial revision.
- According to SFX interview with Mark Millar: "‘Kick-Ass 3′ is going to be the last one, though. I told Universal this and they asked me, ‘What does that mean?’ I said, ‘It means that this is where it all ends.’ They said, ‘Do they all die at the end?’ I said, ‘Maybe’ – because this is a realistic superhero story. And if someone doesn’t have a bullet proof vest like Superman and doesn’t have Batman’s millions then eventually he is going to turn around the wrong corner and get his head kicked in or get shot in the face. So ‘Kick-Ass’ needs to reflect that. There has to be something dramatic at the end, he cannot do this for the rest of his life.”
- According to a Kick-Ass 2 interview with Mark Millar, and other sources from Twitter, he has cemented that Kick-Ass 3 will end the series, the trilogy, and Dave Lizewski's story. This may indicate a character death, regardless, the Kick-Ass franchise will end in a trilogy.
- Follow Mark Millar at his Official Twitter Page