In the first part of our interview with Mark Millar, we talked about the debut of the Stan Lee Awards at the inaugural Kapow Comic Con, happening April 9 and 10 in London. In the second installment, we discussed more on the convention, his magazine CLiNT, his film directorial debut Miracle Park, and the current commercial viability of digital comics.So what’s left for the final third? How about comic books, including how much of his time he’s currently able to spend working on them with everything else he’s got going on, his plan to focus solely on creator-owned work following the Death of Spider-Man tie-in Ultimate Comics Avengers vs. New Ultimates, plus a check in on the various movies in development based on his creator-owned titles.
[Newsarama note: Portions of this interview appeared earlier this week in the news story “Millar Focusing On 'Millarworld' After DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN.”]
Newsarama: Mark, given how much you’re involved in various happenings right now — the convention, movies in development, the magazine — how much of your time is still devoted to writing comic books?
Mark Millar: I would say pretty much 9 to 5, I’m writing comics, five days a week. The other stuff I do in my spare time. CLiNT took a lot of time in the beginning, when we were having meetings about what the size was going to be, what was going to be in the first year in terms of content, and so on. But now, really, it’s one afternoon a week, or something I’ll spend on CLiNT now. That’s a very, very small amount of my time now.
The movie I’m doing in my spare time, just taking chunks of time off and doing it in segments. Because it’s a low-budget movie, I can do it. If I have a week, or two weeks or whatever, we can go and shoot. The movie deals I do in the evenings. I’ll write the comics, and then chat the stuff through, but I never even leave the country. I do it all from Scotland. So it doesn’t take up a huge amount of time at all. The movie stuff, if I add it all up, maybe three hours a week.
Nrama: And obviously the big Marvel thing coming up for you is collaborating with Brian Michael Bendis again for “Death of Spider-Man.” I know you can’t get into plot points, but when it was first described, I remember reading Bendis saying it was a reunion of sorts, for the original Ultimate Universe writers to be back together. How closely have you guys been working together on the story?
Millar: We had a meeting in New York about three months ago, and we sat and talked all through there. Bendis and I are good friends anyway. It is quite nice, it has a real symbolism. I came in, 10 years ago, to Marvel with the Ultimate line, and this is my sort of passing torch, actually, this is me leaving, this is the end of my time of Marvel. I’m off doing Millarworld really, now. It is quite nice to go out doing the characters I came in with, the Ultimate characters. You’re right, there’s a real symmetry that it’s back to just Bendis and I for the end of it.
Nrama: Do you mean it’s the end of your time working on Marvel’s own characters, work-for-hire stuff?
Millar: Yes, yes. Obviously, I’m leaving under the nicest possible circumstances. I genuinely love the guys. Even though, financially, you make 10 times as much money often doing creator-owned books, if the books are big, I really enjoyed those couple of years at Marvel, even when I was doing things like Kick-Ass, just ‘cause I love the guys. It was great, in October, when I was out there just sitting around the table with Bendis and everyone again, it was nice, it was like the Seinfeld reunion kind of thing. It was really fun, but just creatively, for the next couple of years really, I’m really planning on just doing creator-owneds. I’ve gotten so many new things that I want to start.
At the Kapow convention, we’re going to announce what the lineup is. It’s staggering, I’m very, very lucky the guys I’m getting to work with. One of the books I’m doing with Dave Gibbons, and Gibbons has only worked with Alan Moore and Frank Miller in the past, so it’s hell of big shoes to fill. And there’s two other massive announcements coming on the creator-owned front. I’m finished Nemesis for the moment, Tony Scott’s busy on the film now. Superior, I’ve completed that, the first story, and the movie’s under way with that. I’m getting onto the three new things, really, before getting back and writing the sequels to them. For the rest of this year, I’m going to be working on the three things that we’re announcing at Kapow.
Nrama: For the most part, in recent years, your creator-owned stuff has been published through Marvel’s Icon line — do you think that will continue?
Millar: There will certainly still be a good relationship with Icon. Kick-Ass will definitely still be coming through Icon, and I’m talking to Marvel and other publishers about where the other stuff will be appearing. Certainly Kick-Ass. Johnny [Romita] and I are planning three volumes of Kick-Ass, and then they’ll all be done at Marvel.
Nrama: And with the comic of Kick-Ass 2 coming out — any news on a Kick-Ass 2 movie?
Millar: It’s funny, actually, because we knew from the beginning that there would be. We ended the first one with a trailer, practically, for it, with that little teaser at the end. The movie was very, very cheap to make, it only cost 28 million dollars, so we thought, unless we screw up really, really badly here, of course there will certainly be [another] movie. We made a hundred million dollars at the box office, and then another 125 on DVD, so at the moment we’re sitting on 225 million on a 28 million dollar investment. We would like to have done more, because we thought the movie was great. Even though it was a seventh of the price of Iron Man, or whatever, we expected it to do Iron Man money, believe it or not. 225 million we’re happy with, that’s a really good return. Lionsgate [is] happy. We’ve said from the beginning, of course, we’ll certainly do a sequel. It’s just, when everybody has time. I’m writing the story just now, Matt[hew Vaughn, director of the orginal Kick-Ass film] is finishing X-Men probably in April, he’s out in LA at the moment. We talk about different stuff every day, but almost certainly. We just have to make sure the actors don’t get too old. Chloë [Moretz] in particular. We can’t wait until she’s 15. We don’t want Hit-Girl with kids.
Nrama: We've covered a lot, but any other projects readers should know about?
Millar: The Nemesis movie is the next thing we’re all starting to get quite excited about. Hopefully in the next few weeks that’s out with a screenwriter, and hopefully when the screenplay is done in a few weeks time, we can really get moving on that. Superior should be fast-tracked as well. Hopefully have both of those out at around the same time. But what’s nice is that I can just sit back and let other people do all the hard work with that, and just go see the movie and get a free ticket.
Nrama: Not a terrible position to be in.
Millar: It’s funny, because people say, “God, he must be exhausted doing all these films and things.” No, no. All I’m doing is showing up and eating the free food, and walking around talking to people. [Laughs.] It’s not that hard.