For those who don’t know who Mark Millar is; he is one of the best comic-writers and the man behind some of the iconic work like Kingsman: The Secret Service, Wanted, Marvel’s Civil War (The Graphic Novel), DC Comics’ Red Son, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four and Wolvorine: Old Man Logan.
The Ultimates (2002) served as a major inspiration for the 2012 blockbuster movie The Avengers. Interestingly, in a scene in The Ultimates (2002), Nick Fury and Janet Pym were discussing who should play their role on screen, and Nick Fury says that Samuel L. Jackson should play his role, and a few years later Samuel L. Jackson was signed to play Nick Fury!
In the year 2017, Netflix bought Millarworld, which is the brainchild of Mark Millar and his wife, Lucy. The first book that was released under the brand of Millarworld was Wanted, which was made to a Hollywood movie in 2008. Millar also wrote and created Kick-Ass in the year 2008, which was also made to a Hollywood movie in the year 2010.
Did you know, it was writer Grant Morrison who advised him to focus on writing? Millar believes that it was the best advice he ever received. Millar worked with Grant Morrison on Swamp Thing (1994) and went on to co-create “The Summer Offensive” with Morrison and John Smith. Later, Millar and Grant Morrison wrote their first massive story, “Big Dave.”
Mark Millar: The Bold Writer
I confess that in my opinion Mark Millar is one of the boldest writers we have today. He is one of the few known writers who can depict things that can be interpreted in many ways. I find his political views to be conservative too! (But that’s just my opinion)
It was Millar who could re-imagine Superman as a communist, Wolverine as a dying old man, and The Ultimates – a much realistic, trash-talking France, sometimes greedy, and sometimes selfish version of The Avengers. In the Ultimates (2002) Millar presented a version of the superheroes that was hard to believe but interesting, nevertheless. For example, The Hulk eating up people, boasting an enormous erection, and Hank Pym as a possessive husband who even beats his wife, Janet Pym. In one scene, when Hank Pym’s ego got hurt, he takes it out on Janet Pym, and it was depicted in a scene that was cruel.
In The Ultimates, the media is also shown so active that they do not miss a chance to profit from Superheroes fight – for example, when Hulk breaks loose and destroy cities, the entire act was recorded and made into DVDs, and 15 million copies of the DVD were sold by the next day! (The Ultimates, 2002, Issue #6)
The interesting part was in The Ultimates. The heroes were not acting like heroes; they were very much human – calculative, manipulative, enjoying the attention of people, and have their own agenda. Similarly, in Red Son (2003), Superman is not fighting for justice and truth in the American way. Instead, he is the “champion of the common worker”, and he fights for the international expansion of the Warsaw pact, socialism, and Stalin! Batman in Red Son is an ally of Lex Luthor and is the head of the KGB!
In both Red Son (DC Comics) and The Ultimates (Marvel Comics), Millar depicted a darker version of the militarization of superheroes. Superheroes are influenced, manipulated, and sometimes one superhero manipulates the other – for example, Captain America manipulates the Hulk and makes him kill enemies. A similar tone was again seen in the Civil War (2006); where superheroes were divided and militarised. Few superheroes accept the fact that they cannot be above the government, whereas few felt that they should not be tamed and treated as a government’s property.
Mark Millar’s The Ultimates and Superman: Red Son were selected by Time Magazine as the comic book of the decade! Civil War and Wolverine: Old Man Logan are Marvel’s biggest-selling comics.
Mark Millar is truly a writer who can break through the monotonous story-telling and give us a story that will make us look at our beloved superheroes differently.