Chicago Comic-con 09: MARK MILLAR/Kick-Ass Panel

CBLDF Goes Kick-Ass for 09 Card

Soon after the Marvel Ultimate panel, which evolved into Mark Millar Q&A part one, came to a close on the first day of Wizard's Chicago Comicon, fans were treated to a spotlight panel of the writer, this time focused on the comic and movie Kick-Ass. The Marvel Icon book by Millar and John Romita Jr. turned hollywood movie debuted a bit of footage just two weeks ago at Comic-Con International: San Diego, and promised to show some again at Chicago Comicon

Mike Cotton of Wizard introduced Millar to much applause.  Millar asked as a preface to the footage of Kick-Ass how many people have been reading the book; most of the hands in the hall went up to even Millar’s surprise.  He went on to explain the difficulty that he and director Matthew Vaughn had getting the project going past the script stage, marveling at Vaughn’s ability to raise $50 million to make the film after the studios blanched.

Millar then described their testing results (which were massively positively) and the trip to San Diego.  The audience went nuts at San Diego, jumping and cheering.  “The buzz around the studio is enormous,” he said, which, he allowed, is pretty special for “a bunch of pals making a movie.”

From the footage, the film looks amazingly like the comic.  It has a manic energy and tone that’s reminiscent of an insane mix of Tarantino and Sam Raimi.  I can see this being absolutely huge with teen to adult males, particularly the scene of a roomful of toughs getting massacred by the ten-year-old Hitgirl while a punked-up version of the Banana Splits theme plays.  And that’s the tame stuff.

One of the things that Millar and the other filmmakers realized was that the film is actually a film about comic/super-hero fans made by comic/super-hero fans.  Millar then took the time to praise the stars and again director Matthew Vaughn.  Vaughn, for his part, has indicated to Millar that he believes that this is his favorite of his films, Millar said anecdotally.

A fan asked about Millar’s favorite part of the filmmaking process.  Millar brought down some of his daughters friends from school to visit the set  and played them some graphic footage before “realizing that this may have been wrong.”

On the subject of differences in costumes between the comics and the film, Millar talked about the practicality and how it worked for actors.  He also noted a bit of a conscious imitation of Batman and Robin in the father/daughter costumes.

One fan asked “Did you actually like the movie?”  Millar explained that they did discuss the changes ahead of time, and acknowledged that he feels lucky with the film’s success.

Superman came up in terms  of what happened with Millar’s ideas and desire to do the films.  Millar explained that after the experience, he feels better about making his own stuff and retaining creative control (like, as he noted, George Lucas).

Before doing Kick-Ass 2 or American Jesus, Millar has another film project with Vaughn that he’s considering.  This leads to the following pronouncement:  if you want to be a character in a forthcoming project, keep your eyes out for a charity event that will tie into that.

A female fan commented on the wish-fulfillment aspect of Kick-Ass, and asked what in particular inspired him to put the comic together.  He discussed mining things from real-life for it, like pretending to be or to like something in order to get a girl to notice him.

Overall, this was a fun panel.  The clips were entertaining, Millar’s ribald humor was on full display, and the crowd seemed enthusiastic throughout.  Kick-Ass probably won’t catch on with the mainstream, but it looked to be a crowd-pleaser for the people gathered in Chicago.

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