Comics Anonymous

October 19, 2011, 1:10 pm
Filed under: Interviews | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Comics Anonymous gang were out in force last night at Coatbridge Library where Mark Millar was doing a Q&A as part of this years Words 2011 festival of writing and books. We managed to get some time with Mark to discuss his thoughts on the DC New 52, his ongoing projects with Dave Gibbons and Frank Quitely and what we can expect from KAPOW! 2012.

What can you tell us about your project with Dave Gibbons?

We are only releasing some of the info just now and we’re going to release the main info in January. We’re trying to do a bit of a JJ Abrams! We’re lucky we’ve got Kick-Ass and Watchmen behind us, so people are trusting us that it’s going to be of a certain standard. It’s called The Secret Service and it launches in February – and that’s the only information that’s going out just now. There’s an ad in Superior #6, but to be honest you won’t find out what it’s really about until January. If you like Kick-Ass, Watchmen and The Ultimates then this is your book. Matthew Vaughn conceived the character with me and Dave, and he’s got the movie rights for it as well, so I think we’ll move quite quickly on a film on that one too. I’m about halfway through the comic just now, but Matthew and I have been talking about this for two years – it started off as a pub conversation, chatting about something we’d like to do after Kick-Ass, and then he went off and did X-Men and we were chatting about it on the phone every couple of weeks while we were both doing other stuff, and it’s now evolved into this series. It’s unlike anything that anyone is doing at the moment but it’s super commercial. Just something quite new. It’s six issues long – which means I get Dave Gibbons for a whole year. How great is that? The ad in this week’s Superior talks about how in 1986 I wrote to Dave Gibbons, asking to work with him and then in 2012 that dream came true. It’s a bit like when Simon Pegg talks about working with Spielberg – Dave’s a guy I feel I should be READING about as opposed to working with every day for the past six months

What about your Frank Quitely project – how is that coming along?

It’s not coming out for a wee while yet – it’s not due until August next year, so we can’t even release the title until January. I can tell you that it’s a massive superhero epic – I’ve had these ideas for superhero things for about five years that I wanted to put into one project, like a big massive Lord of the Rings style project for superheroes. Although we get these Marvel and DC events all the time with all their established characters, I thought about how no one has ever done a creator owned thing like that, and if you think about it there’s no reason why you couldn’t just make up your own continuity. You don’t need 75 years of Marvel or DC Continuity to do this, just make up your own world with a pre-existing continuity and do a massive 12 issue blockbuster Crisis / Civil War style event, and make it a trilogy. It’s be the most ambitious thing I’ve ever worked on because I’ve literally worked on all the lineage of all these superheroes and created an entire universe here. It’s mental, it’s like how Tolken treated Lord of the Rings. It’s mad, but I’ve spent a long time thinking about it and this is where all these ideas will come to fruition.

What are your thoughts on the DC New 52? You had previously said you’d pick up some issues to read – what did you think?

I didn’t pick anything up, to be honest, though a lot of the stuff looks interesting. I looked at some pages online, but I think I’m just in the wrong demographic. I love that they are doing it, but in 1986 I was 16, so I was into Crisis, the John Byrne Superman revamp and Miller’s Batman Year One – all that stuff felt new to me then, but now I feel like I’ve just been there before and it doesn’t really interest me because I’m 41. I love the fact that they are doing it because if you’re under 30 this is kind of new for you and you think this is quite cool. Their sales were really in the toilet for the last 10 years, so I love the fact they’ve managed to boost their sales back up and in one month they are 0.4% ahead of Marvel in terms of the market share – which is an amazing result for them. I don’t know if they’ll be able to sustain it though because the quality is very variable, but there are some good books I’ve heard about. Animal Man for example, no one expected anything from, but everyone is loving it. I love that some guys have had breakthrough project with this – I know how that feels with having done the Authority after 10 years of nobody really caring. It was an amazing feeling, it was great to have a book people were interesting in it. I’ve heard that there are 5 or 6 guys which are the ones to watch – Scott Snyder is one of those guys who has had an amazing couple of years. I’m going to check out his stuff as I’ve heard that his Batman is really good. I love seeing new people coming through, for a wee while especially from Britain there weren’t many new writers coming through in the way there had been in the 80’s and the 90’s, so I love seeing the fact that there’s some new blood coming because that’s what keeps the whole thing going.

One question we have to ask everyone – what do you think of the Blue Beetle?

The Blue Beetle? In all honesty I don’t care! (Laughs) I’ve never read Blue Beetle – I remember in 1986 or whenever, when they revamped the Justice League when Keith Giffen was doing it – I loved that book and I’m aware of the character from then. But honestly I don’t care (laughs). It’s like when someone asks me what I think about Wonder Woman – I say “Nothing. I’ve never given a shit about Wonder Woman!” (More laughs!)

KAPOW! was such a success last year – what can you tell us about next year’s event?

The announcement will be around the 7th or 8th of November, i think – Lucy and Sarah take care of it all, it’s really their thing and I’m just the pretty face at the front. Their team are doing all the hard work. I know when the date is next year and it looks event better than the last one. If you think about the first event, to have Thor and Loki there and Duncan Jones and Ridley Scott kicking about – it was insane. And all the biggest names in comics! For that to be the first one before we establish ourselves, we’ve now got the DC and Marvel studio’s attention, so we’ve got pretty much what we had last year plus all this new stuff now – it’s exciting, I can’t wait.

Make sure and keep an eye on the blog where we’ll be posting our first “Spotlight On” article featuring the work of  Mark Millar, as well as another competition to win some signed Millar comics!!

All of the photos in this article were taken by the wonderful Fiona Watson – make sure and check our her Website over at and follow her on Twitter to @FWatsonPhotos.

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