NYCC '09: Millar - Ending it Big with Wolverine

The Year of Mark Millar Becomes 2, p1

Cover to Wolveine #72
Cover to Wolveine #72
Wolverine #72

Slight spoilers for “Old Man Logan” ahead

Click here for part one of our interview with Mark Millar.

As readers of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s run on Wolverine, the story called “Old Man Logan” have seen, things are building towards something huge.

The storyline is set in a post-apocalyptic (Marvel Universe) America, and focuses on Wolverine – and old and broken version of the unstoppable mutant hero of the present day. As was shown in issue #70, it took the planning of a cadre of supervillains, but Wolverine finally was brought low, the victim of Mysterio. Since then, Wolverine has lived a quiet life as a farmer in the wastelands, preferring to forget the past.

A need for money, and the opportunity to get it by accompanying Hawkeye on a roadtrip got the story rolling, and since the kickoff, readers of the eight part “Old Man Logan” story have seen much of the bizarre possible future of the Marvel Universe – Ghost Rider biker gangs, the Hulk’s descendants as thugs, the place where Thor finally fell, a Venom T. rex and more. Oh, and it looks as if the Red Skull is in Washington D.C. – well, at least his head on Mount Rushmore seemed to indicate that.

As things head toward their conclusion, Marvel has announced that part eight of “Old Man Logan” will be extra-sized to accommodate the ending of Millar’s story. We spoke with the writer about the expansion.

Newsarama: Mark, was it your plan all along to finish with a larger than normal sized issue, or was this something that grew along as the story was going?

Mark Millar: I never liked the idea of the story being more than eight parts, but what I realized was that part 8 had a lot in it. There’s a really, really big scene in part 8 that needs space, and I thought I could either do a lame version of this, or I could do the version in my head. I spoke with Marvel about this and my pitch to them was that when Alan Moore brought back Arcane in his first run of Swamp Thing, the finale was so huge that they gave him a special to finish it in at the end of his first year, although you don’t really notice that in the collection. And it makes it seem more awesome and epic, too.

For their part, Marvel said sure. And it gives Steve a little more time as well – they’ve got other Wolverine plans going on around and with the movie aside from this, so that meant that Steve didn’t have to try and rush things and do ten lousy pages to hustle it along so it could fit in a larger Wolverine publishing plan.

NRAMA: yeah, but when word was broken to Steve – he didn’t make death threats against you?

MM: Are you kidding? He’s Canadian. He’s just happy sitting upright – that’s amusing to Steve. Canadians are like brain-damaged Americans, they’re just happy no matter what. [laughs]

NRAMA: And at this point, it’s probably wise for me to add that the opinions expressed in this interview are those of Mark Millar, not Newsarama. Onward, let’s talk about this epic finale…what needs to be so big?

MM: Well, I have to stay quiet on the actual finale – there are three big twists coming up, and I don’t want to spoil any of them. We’ve actually blacked out half the cover for the final issue, so you don’t quite see what Wolverine is truly up against.

Cover to Wolveine #71
Cover to Wolveine #71
Wolverine #71

So yeah – I’ve been hinting at Red Skull, but it even takes an even more sinister turn than that. Of course, there’s the upcoming Red Skull cover, and we teased him by putting his face on Mount Rushmore, so he knows that’s what’s waiting for him when he gets to Washington, but Washington isn’t quite what you expect when he gets there. And things get very dark from there.

NRAMA: The world that you’ve created for this story – and obviously, you’ve put some work into this, as there’s a map in the first issue – it seems that, with the seeds you’ve planted, this is a place ripe for revisiting. Is this something that you’ve left for yourself as a place to tell more stories?

MM: Well, I wanted to see reactions to the series first before I would say anything like that, because it would be really sad if I said, “Yeah, I’m going right back into it!” and then everyone hates it. Luckily, it’s been really popular, so I feel that I can safely say that I would like to do more of it. I know some people have pitched ideas to Marvel set in the Old Man Logan-verse, and some of them have actually been good ideas from good creators, so I’ve felt a little bad telling Marvel to tell everyone to back off. I feel very proprietary about it. I feel that there’s a little something special with this.

There are so many lame alternate universes out there, and this is a pretty good one, and it also ties in very, very directly with Fantastic Four – the first eight issues Bryan and I did…I don’t want someone coming in there and messing that up.

Marvel had a choice as I saw it, they could have people come in there and use it to death, and after one or two good stories, it’s used up and nobody’s buying any of the trades, or it can be something like Watchmen or Dark Knight, where it’s kept to the original creator. There aren’t a ton of Dark Knight-related miniseries out there, though I know there are many creators who would love to get into that world. Let’s just hold on to a little bit of integrity here, and not cash in on it immediately, and maybe thing longer term with this world.

It’s like Wanted – those issues sold like 80,000 copies per issue when all the prints were added up, and immediately, there was a push to spin off miniseries for every character, and I said no, that’s not what I wanted to see happen to it. The publisher pointed out that we could all make money with the spinoffs, but my point is, a few years down the line, you can make more money because it doesn’t seem like a used up franchise.

People are probably quite surprised, because I can come off like such a Scottish whore, but I do feel that these things have integrity, and we shouldn’t always just go for the quick buck. I’d never let anyone else write Kick-Ass or any of my other characters – those will always be my vision.

And Marvel has been great about this – I asked if they could please not pass this on to anyone else, and they said okay. So someday…

More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage:

NYCC '09 Video Page

NYCC '09 Mini-Site

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