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Don’t believe the hype.

April 15th, 2010 by | Tags: , ,

The nice thing about the internet is that even if you erase all of the stupid, hateful, idiotic things you say on your forums, someone out there has hung onto it. I wanted to post a couple of his greatest hits from a few years back, maybe 06, 07, that are now lost to time. A little not safe for work googling (“rape of wonder woman mark millar” and “black down syndrome mark millar,” for instance) and bam, just as I remembered them:

“While down at the shops, I saw a black guy with [Down syndrome]. Amazing, as this is something my friends and I had queried for years. Is DS genetically localized to Caucasians. Yes, I’m now about to waste 20 mins phoning a couple of my pals to say so, but now me appetite has been whet and I’m curious if there are any Chinese or Indian Downs Syndrome people out there. Given that Scotland is almost entirely white my chances of seeing one here are slim, but I’m certainly on the look out now.”

“I pitched this to DC for a laugh years back. The idea was that, like Death of Superman, we had Rape of Wonder Woman; a twenty-two page rape scene that opened up into a gatefold at the end just like Superman did.”

Johanna Draper Carlson recently posted another amazing idea:

(This dislike of his work runs in the family. Back in the day, Millar pitched KC a terrible Legion proposal that included all kinds of awful ideas, like Fertile Lass, whose power was to get pregnant whenever a boy looked at her. See? Another bad taste concept that doesn’t go anywhere.)

Aw, he’s just joshin’, ain’t he?

The ending of Kick-Ass? The one where all his heroism was for naught and he ends on a down note? That note is his father banging a black lady on the couch, his girlfriend dating a black guy and texting him pictures of her going down on him, and a little girl beating up a couple of prepubescent black thugs.

Marc-Oliver Frisch got it right.

Y’all like him, though.

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27 comments to “Don’t believe the hype.”

  1. The Frisch article nails the way I feel. The discussion shouldn’t be whether or not Mark Millar is an ignorant person with foolish opinions but about his work in general.

    Mark Millar isn’t a terrible creator because he’s a terrible person, but because he goes out of his way to appeal to these terrible ideas in his work. That’s why we shouldn’t support Mark Millar.

    The other stuff is just irrelevant.


  2. Very interesting. When it comes to his 00′s stuff (I believe that’s when he shifted to his current “style” [with minor exceptions here and there like 1985 and Red Son]), you either get caught up in the storm or you stick to the books of his, if any, that interest you (in my case Ultimates and Nemesis)

    Also this was hilarious

    “I can’t stand Wanted (the comic; haven’t seen the film, since I didn’t think Swordfish was good enough to warrant a sequel), “


  3. Millar made the mistake of not writing an awards-winning kid’s TV series so that the sheer nostalgia felt by his fans would gloss over any and all mistakes he made in his comic career. See Also: Paul Dini’s Detective Comics, especially the one where Poison Ivy is raped by a haunted tree, Zatanna reduced to Batman’s sidekick, Ventriloquist, known for being the most pathetic Batman villain compared to his alter-ego, Scarface, is replaced by…a blonde woman, and Catwoman is first made into Batman’s Woman In Refrigerator, then an obsessively vengeful psychopath. Also, GothamCity Sirens, where Selina is further devolved into feeling so insecure at ant attack by someone as lame as Hysh of all people that she’s willing to share an apartment with a Eco-terrorist sexual predator and a paycopath’s pathetic stalker.


  4. Mark Millar has become the Quentin Tarantino of comics.

    He polarizes people to hell and back, tends to focus on race in suggestive ways, is fond of ultraviolence, and doesn’t shy away from exaggerating reality a tad. Not to mention his hype machine talents.

    But the assumption that reading his work is morally reprehensible is utterly ridiculous.

    Does Mark engage in the white male power fantasy format for his books? Oh hell yes, and he’s very open about this. Which makes the case that reading Millar’s creations reflects poorly back onto the reader as silly as saying, “if you even glance at child porn, regardless if you’re a cop confiscating child porn from another, then you’re a pedophile”.

    I understand the crux of this argument against Millar, that his works exploits race, gender and sexuality for fun and profit. Thing is, I never sense any real malice behind his writing, anymore than I expect people to read The Authority or The Ultimates and assume that “this is how the world works”. Millar might be a dirty pleasure, but jsut having that kind of pleasure doesn’t make one a deviant.


  5. “But the assumption that reading his work is morally reprehensible is utterly ridiculous.”

    it realy :)


  6. I don’t the climax of Kick Ass is heroic. I mean, even during the fight, you realize Dave never really did anything of use in the entirety of the whole book, and even Big Daddy’s mission was utterly pointless as it wasn’t for justice but just to give some schmuck an exciting life.

    It’s another one of those Millar books were the whole thing implodes on itself, and it feels like the writer is scolding you for even paying attention to these people.


  7. “But the assumption that reading his work is morally reprehensible is utterly ridiculous.”

    Did anyone actually say that? I think “morally reprehensible” might be a fair way to describe Millar’s WORK… that doesn’t reflect on his readers necessarily.

    that said, if you read his work and don’t see the racism and the homophobia, then you probably need to stop and think about those issues a bit, in much the same way I think Millar himself probably should.

    It’s been said that you can judge a man by his friends, and I find it very hard to believe that Millar would be able to keep the company he does if he espoused the kind of world-view that informs his work. So I’m forced to assume that this is subconscious stuff, the natural result of being so immersed in a popular culture that is so flooded with this shit.

    The morally reprehensible bit? Well, there’s surely no way Millar doesn’t see this stuff in his work. It might not be there intentionally, but he must be aware of it on some level, and have made a conscious decision not to do anything about it. And that’s fucked up.


  8. Luckily, none of that awful shit david mentioned is in the Kick-Ass movie.

    Mark Millar is like George Lucas, Vince Russo and John K. He’s good as long as someone’s there to hold him back.


  9. “Zatanna reduced to Batman’s sidekick”

    Ah, but remember that Dini’s writing the upcoming Zatanna ongoing series. If anything, her team-ups with Batman probably helped bring her back into a spotlight in a positive, non-memory wiping way.

    “Ventriloquist, known for being the most pathetic Batman villain compared to his alter-ego, Scarface, is replaced by…a blonde woman”

    A blonde woman who’s dating her puppet. And may even have sex with it. That’s prime Arkham material right there. I miss Arnold Wesker, but Peyton Manning’s got her fair share of quirks. Not sure I was too fond of Dini connecting her to Hush, though…


  10. Yes, but under Dini the strong-willed, Dr.-Strange-level-of-experience, own-supporting-cast-and-villains Zatanna that we saw in Seven Soldiers of Victory will be abolished in favour of his cutesy version who lounges around in skimpy outfits for no reason, bases all her magic on cheap parlour tricks, and is not completely and utterly a Mary-Sue of his wife, HONEST.


  11. The movie actually sounds more troubling than the comic, in that the protagonist is just as racist, homophobic and misogynistic, only instead of ending up in a pathetic heap, masturbating to a picture of the feared black man’s penis… he gets the girl and wins the day.

    So I gather, anyway.


  12. Other than both writing super-hero comics what the hell does Dini have to do with Millar? :raise:


  13. The moment the mask came off for me was ‘Wanted’ #1, when the Wesley Gibson character made several references to his “female, African-American boss,” who was constantly making hateful and belittling comments about Wesley in front of his co-workers. The comments were so far beyond what you would hear in even the most oppressive office environment that they immediately threw you out of the story. Additionally, the phrase “female, African-American boss,” in context with the rest of Wesley’s speech patterns had a false ring to it and read like a passive-aggressive nod toward political correctness that masked what Millar’s Gibson persona REALLY wanted to say.

    Millar’s penchant for “shocking” dialogue undercut the readers’ emotional investment in the characters at a later point in ‘Wanted,’ when Millar introduces the family of The Puppetman, an ally of Wesley Gibson. The Puppetman cares deeply about his two young daughters and his wife, whom he introduces as “the love of his life,” but she is portrayed a suspicious, spiteful, belittling harridan. *SPOILER* Therefore, when The Puppetman’s wife and children are brutally murdered later in the book, it should be a startling revelation since who is the only sympathetic character in the story. However, whatever empathy we may have for the Puppetman, is muted by the fact that we really can’t get too worked up about the death of such a mean-spirited, cruel woman.

    (Nonetheless, I absolutely love J.G. Jones’ art in that series!)


  14. @M. Scanlon: There’s something about Millar that makes people want to leap to his defense, or at the very least, state that they’re not racist, sexist and homophobic for liking his work. I’m certain that it’s because nobody wants to be seen as THAT fanboy. The guy who secretly (or hell, sometimes very openly) hates women, gays and minorities because he’s had a bad relationship, or never had one in the first place, is afraid that enjoying the adventures of men in tights secretly makes him gay too, and buys into television stereotypes about race without thinking about it too hard. The guy who loudly stated he would never read the Authority because of Apollo and Midnighter. We all hate that guy, and some of us fear that we are secretly, subconsciously him – or that if we don’t check ourselves and have perspective, we could easily turn into him.

    I’m sure we’ve all read essays about troubling portrayals of social issues in pop culture. Look at this website. I’d say the vast majority of these are written by people who enjoy those same pop cultural artifacts. They enjoy them so much, in fact, that they want them to be better. They don’t want you to quit what you like in a huff, they want people to start a dialogue about the stuff.

    I don’t really like Mark Millar’s work much myself, he just doesn’t write the sort of thing I enjoy. But I do like some things that can be read in a potentially troubling manner, I’m sure almost everybody likes at least one thing with some offensive subtext – intentional or not, a product of the times or not. I like HP Lovecraft’s stories, and the man wasn’t exactly very friendly to people who didn’t look like him. The trick is to be able to admit that some things you like have such flaws, and fess up to liking the work anyway. That’s fine. That’s human.

    @lurkerwithout: He’s saying that Dini is just as bad as Millar, but gets a free pass for writing and producing Batman: the Animated Series. I don’t agree, I’ve seen lots of people call his recent work out, actually. Probably the same people who call out Millar.


  15. “Yes, but under Dini the strong-willed, Dr.-Strange-level-of-experience, own-supporting-cast-and-villains Zatanna that we saw in Seven Soldiers of Victory will be abolished in favour of his cutesy version who lounges around in skimpy outfits for no reason, bases all her magic on cheap parlour tricks, and is not completely and utterly a Mary-Sue of his wife, HONEST.

    @Stig: that’s a lot to assume about a series that hasn’t even come out yet, isn’t it? The few preview pages that have come out don’t really tell us a whole lot. Also, I should point out that Zatanna wore several outfits in her Seven Soldiers mini-series that were more revealing than she normally wears. In the preview pages of her upcoming series, on the other hand, Zatanna’s shown wearing her classic uniform and some non-revealing regular clothes. No signs of skimpiness, at least not yet:
    http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2010/02/04/zatanna-strikes-out-on-her-own/ (outfit)
    http://www.comicvine.com/news/zatanna-1-preview/140745/ (regular clothing)

    So, about Millar… I think we can’t really talk about Millar and race fairly without bringing up Ultimate Nick Fury, right? There’s a character Milar’s portrayed in a fairly positive way on a regular basis.


  16. @Jay Potts: Yeah, there are two things I will give it up to the man for: he works with fantastic artists (and got the work of JRjr’s career out of him in Wolverine: Enemy of the State) and his action scenes are great. His dialogue is atrocious, though.


  17. I always thought that Millar just hated comic books and their fans, hated that he doesn’t have much in the way of career options besides comic books, and things like Wanted and Kick-Ass were his way of taking it out on whomever he could however he could. Like, Wanted is an extended metaphor with Not Eminem standing in for Millar or something.


  18. Millar’s stuff is often fun, highly imaginative, and novel in its approach. He will definitely appeal to the worst in us, here and there, but the specific examples near the end of this post don’t … I don’t even know how to complete this sentence. I guess I’m more torn by his work than I thought.

    I recall feeling weird about the few places that Black characters were inserted into Kick Ass, let’s say. If there were Black people anywhere in the story other than those specific roles, I might be able to defend the work, more.

    I guess I will just end this contradictory, and thus pointless comment, by saying that his work can be really fun, as long as he is kept on a lengthy, but strong and well-attended leash.


  19. Not to step in it, b/c I haven’t really done an analysis, but to tie together a couple of recent posts, I’m curious if David and others see any similarities between Mark Millar’s stuff and some of Frank Miller’s stuff. When I was reading Miller’s stuff as a wee lad, I kind of got the same feelings from that as I did from reading Millar’s stuff today.


  20. “That note is his father banging a black lady on the couch”

    Ok you’re going to need to explain this one to me. I read that as his misadventure as Kick-Ass ended up indirectly helping his dad find someone.

    No argument on the others


  21. “Y’all like him, though.”
    not me.


  22. @Matt: I think Miller is just Millar on steroids. Occasionally, Millar will try and backpedal his way towards Liberalism, whereas Miller has been obstinate that whatever vision he has for Batman is as true as his opinion on superheroes in general. Regardless of how bugnuts insane his vision is.

    As for Kick-Ass and.. uhh.. “Black Hulk,” I think the question we should all address is how much attention Millar is getting these days, and whether that’s harming comics or not. If it was a few years ago, during his Ultimates 2 run, that would be one thing. But now, film adaptations are the only way he’s able to grab the spotlight, and even then, he’s no Avatar or Iron Man 2.


  23. I think it will be poetic justice if Black folks flock to “Death At A Funeral” this weekend and deny Millar the #1 box office spot that you know he’s just itching to claim.
    :wink:


  24. @Nathan: True, but it is a downer in that A) Even his Dad is getting some more than he is, B) It’s a heroic deed he can never take the credit for, having not directly brought it about, and C) For some reason people who meet each other online are apparently guilty of some crime, and must be punished by being portrayed as pathetic losers in any and all media. The fact that the woman is black gives it a racist tone; otherwise, it’s just abusive to comics fans and Internet dating site users in general.


  25. millar’s trick is that he just does the opposite to piss you off. He didn’t do that with FF or 1985, but the rest of his work seems to be, “I’m just going to take a popular trope and do the opposite.” Wanted is the anti-hero journey (the opposite of the heroic narrative from Joseph Campbell) and Kick-Ass is just the opposite of Spiderman’s heroic narrative (right down to the death of his mother-figure instead of his father-figure).

    Its just one trick and that seems to get him a lot of work. I just wish it was more emotional or at least more engaging. I read his Ultimates stuff now and they all just seem like unlikeable characters, despite their heroic points.


  26. l.k. if with “piss you off” you mean “demeaning minorities while idolizing the white guy” then you are right. He doesn’t piss everyone off. He is just a racist, sexist asshat. So of course racist, sexist asshats white guys like him.


  27. There was idolisation of white people in Kick-Ass? Weren’t all the white people there wankers?