Monday, January 28, 2008

Chad's Jackass Comic Creator Interviews from 2001: Mark Millar

[I continue to post interviews with comic creators that I conducted in late 2001. The "jackass" in the title refers to me as I was a jackass. I mean, look at some of those questions! What the fuck, people? I tell you, 18-year-old Chad? Bit of a jackass. Each interview is presented in full along with the introduction I wrote for it at the time. Enjoy. New posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday.]

Wednesday September 5, 2001
Interview With . . . Mark Millar!
Anybody remember back when the comic community considered Mark Millar, for the most part, to be Grant Morrison’s “sidekick?” I do. See, I was just coming into full comic awareness while reading JLA, you know, entered high school, growing up a bit, mocking Rob Liefeld. Morrison was one of the big names in comics and occasionally you’d see the name Mark Millar attached to it, so one could only infer that Millar was Morrison’s friend, but possibly not a strong enough writer to stand on his own (and I know you all might be getting mad at me, but I’m going somewhere with this). Then I read JLA #27 and I threw away that image. The story was un-fucking-believable! It had witty dialogue, a great plot, kick ass characterization and the best way to defeat a villain I had seen in a long time. To this day it’s my favourite issue of JLA and one of my top five comics. Millar then went on to prove himself to everyone else with The Authority and Ultimate X-Men. Then I saw pictures of him with his thin moustache and wearing women’s underwear . . . but I still enjoy the writing.

Me: Tell us a little about yourself.

Millar: Born young, educated poorly and married at twenty-three. Dropped out of university and desperately needed to find some kind of job. Couldn't believe my luck when this materialized as a comics career and people were actually buying my little black and white indie comics. Worked in newspapers and TV too, but comics are the only thing which give me the full, three-inch hard-on.

Me: How did you get involved in comics?

Millar: Black and white Indo stuff here in the UK. I did a book called Saviour about a superhero secretly being the Antichrist and it won me a couple of awards. This led to work for 2000AD; which has long been established as the direct route to DC Comics as we saw with Grant, Alan Moore, etc. It's basically DC's boot camp.

Me: What have you written?

Millar: Judge Dredd, Big Dave, Sonic The Hedgehog (to pay for my wedding which I hadn't saved up for), Swamp Thing for Vertigo, Superman Adventures and JLA for DC, The Authority for Wildstorm, the Ultimate [Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates] stuff for Marvel . . .

Me: What are you currently working on?

Millar: I'm writing a TV show called Sikeside and keeping busy with my two monthlies, Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates. However, at some point in the near future, I'm going to get my two adult creator-owned things up and running. Expect an announcement around the end of the year, if not before.

Me: Was Warren Ellis’ description of you at the beginning of his interview with you for his Come In Alone column accurate?

Millar: Precisely accurate.

Me: What do you friends and family think of some of the content you include in your comics? Any problems with some people's reactions?

Millar: Absolutely none of my friends or family read comics. Sure, I've got my pals in the industry, but nobody I grew up with or generally socialize with read comics. Not even my wife. They're all too grown-up.

Me: Boxers or briefs?

Millar: Definitely briefs. If you have any kind of testicles or dick whatsoever, boxers are literally impossible to wear without dangling like a pound of grapes.

Me: Summer or winter?

Millar: Both.

Me: Cats or dogs?

Millar: Both.

Me: Do you have any cool stories involving a chick?

Millar: I saw a girl partially naked once. Does that count?

Me: I just gave you a case full of 100 untraceable bullets, who do you use them on?

Millar: I'd shoot country star Garth Brooks in the head for starters . . . and then shoot him another ninety nine times to make sure he was definitely dead.

Me: Who are your favourite writers?

Millar: Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison and Kevin Smith are doing the best work in the business at the moment. I also check out Mark Waid, Garth Ennis, Joe Casey, Tom Peyer and, of course, (insert your own name here so I'm not embarrassed when I bump into you at a convention).

Me: Who is your hero?

Millar: Me.

Me: If you could write any comic, what would it be?

Millar: I'm pretty much writing all the ones I've ever wanted to write so I suppose creator-owned would be my side-stepped answer. In terms of company characters, I've always liked Batman. It would be interesting to do something like that for a year at some point.

Me: What artists do you really want to work with that you haven't already?

Millar: Again, I'm really lucky. The guys I've been working with recently have been Bryan Hitch, Frank Quitely and Los Bros Kubert. It really doesn't get much better than that, but my hit-list definitely includes Steve Dillon, Dean Ormston (who's ridiculously underrated), Marcelo Frusin, Richard Corben, Terry and Rachel Dodson, Bill Sienkiewicz and the brilliant Johnny Jr. [John Romita Jr.].

Me: You were involved with that Superman pitch a couple years back, right? We know that Morrison and Waid were really hurt by DC's rejection, but what was your take on it?

Millar: We were all pretty devastated because it was such a weird, messy, political situation. There was a real communication problem and everyone kind of came out of that damaged. That said, it's all water under the bridge now and I know that there's no enmity on either side. Eddie's editing the books now and doing a really good job. The Superman titles haven't been this good in fifteen years.

Me: In your first Authority arc you pretty much had them kick the shit out of the Avengers and X-Men and here you are writing the same characters for Marvel. Does this mean that the Authority are going to show up in some form to get wasted by them?

Millar: Hmm. Never thought of that. Might do now, of course, but I'll never give you the credit.

Me: Describe your visions of comics in the future as I know you have a pretty upbeat one.

Millar: I think it's impossible to work in the business and not assume things will get better. Basically, regardless of what field you're in, if you have an enthusiasm for your craft and do the best possible job success is virtually inevitable at some point. Naturally, you're always going to get shit at some point, but it's worth it. This is a really, really hard job, but it's a great one. The numbers are getting better every month and, I think, the overall quality is improving too. I've always maintained that we'll be bigger than we've ever been around 2006-2010 and I still say. What we're going through right now is just the beginning of an incredible upswing.

Me: Who do you love?

Millar: Wife, daughter, friends, family, humanity, etc . . .

Me: Any final words?

Millar: Final words come at the END of your career, baby.