An interview with Mark Millar, the comic book writer behind Kick-Ass.
by B Thornton- Harwood
This is an interview with Mark Millar, conducted on 17 December 2012 at precisely 5.21pm, I made a note of all this because the first thing Mark told me was how he was drunk, which strangely enough made me a shite-sight less nervous about the interview ahead.
For those who don’t know Mark is a heavyweight in the world of comic book writers, being the creator of Wanted (which was subsequently turned into a film with Angelina Jolie) Kick-Ass (which was subsequently turned into a film starring Nic Fuckin’ Cage) as well as working on Marvel and DC giants like Spiderman, The Avengers, Civil War, Superman and Wolverine. This was an interview ahead of the release of Hit-Girl in graphic novel form and was featured in FRONT magazine issue 178.
How are you Mark?
I’ve been working like a dog recently so I’ve decided to get drunk and lie around the house. This’ll be the worst interview ever for you.
I’m looking forward to this interview about 50% more actually… Hit-Girl after a run of 5 comics is coming out as a graphic novel, tell us a bit about that.
Hit-Girl is the first half of the Kick-Ass 2 movie. The first 45 minutes is the Hit-Girl mini series, and the 2nd hour is Kick Ass 2 graphic novel. It’s an advanced look at the movie I guess.
Hit-Girl must be really fucking fun to write?
She is the most fun character ever to write. You basically write it like Death Wish or Punisher but you make it about a girl that’s smaller than Hannah Montana. It just writes itself. If you write a guy tying a bloke’s nuts to a car battery it’s seedy but if you do it with a 12 year old girl it seems to be alright.
Your comics have a tendency to be really graphically violent, Do you think comic books are more forgiving or accepting of this violence?
As a whole I think the comic book industry is quite conservative. Usually as bad as it gets is Spiderman punching the Green Goblin in the face. The stuff I love like Garth Ennis’ Preacher and a lot of the British writers tend to be a bit more graphic. I’ll write something like a dog in a mask biting a guys balls off and to me I’ll think ah that’s fine, but when it goes out in America everyone is like WHAT?
Do you think about the film adaptations while writing the comics then?
I just think of it as a comic. I think if you try and second guess a movie you’ll end up making a crap comic, you’ve just got to make it as good as it can be. After Kick Ass came out people were saying “man you just do this for them to be made into movies.” But the opening scene of Kick Ass is a superhero having a wank! Then a wee girl cutting someone’s head off and calling them a cunt! On what planet is that trying to get a movie made?
What has made her such a success/ breakaway character?
Every now and then you create a character people really like and you have to just run with it, this is one of the times I got lucky. No one had really done this. As the father of two daughters I think it’s quite good that there’s stuff aimed at 13 year old girls that I could sit through and not hate. I’ve sat through Hannah Montana in 3D and if I can avoid shit like that then it’s all good.
As soon as I heard Hit-Girl say cunt I was on board.
In fact that’s when Matthew (Vaughn, Director) read that in the script he phoned me up and said “We gotta do this.” That was the line.
Was the plan to always do the mini series or was it inspired by the success?
If I’m honest it’s just because she’s so huge. She’s our Han Solo.
You once said in an interview “I don’t do happy endings”, is Kick Ass doomed before you even write the third book?
Well the third book will be my last one. My agent is saying “are you kidding me?” But I’ve always had that principle about writing. I don’t have an extravagant lifestyle; I don’t need to write stuff I don’t want to write. It might be a happy ending it might not be a happy ending, but it definitely ends with book three.
Anything else to add?
Nah I think that’s everything, I’m so drunk I think I’m just gonna have a lie down.