Mark Millar MBE (; born 24 December 1969) is a Scottish comic book writer, known for his work on The Authority, The Ultimates, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Civil War, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Wanted, Chrononauts, Superior and Kick-Ass, the latter six of which have been, or will be, adapted into feature films.
For his work, Millar has been nominated for four Eisner Awards and two Eagle Awards, and in June 2013 he was recognized by Queen Elizabeth II as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to film and literature.
Millar was born in Coatbridge, Scotland. His parents were also born in Coatbridge, and Millar spent the first half of his life in the town's Townhead area, attending St Ambrose High. He has four older brothers, and one older sister, who are 22, 20, 18, 16 and 14 years older than him, respectively. His brother Bobby, who today works at a special needs school, introduced him to comics at age 4 while attending university by taking him to shops and purchasing them for him. Still learning to read, Millar's first comic was the seminal The Amazing Spider-Man #121 (1973), which featured the death of Gwen Stacy. He purchased a Superman comic that day as well. Black and white reprinted comics purchased by his brothers for him would follow, cementing his interest in the medium so much that Millar drew a spider web across his face with indelible marker that his parents were unable to scrub off in time for his First Communion photo a week later. Millar has named Alan Moore and Frank Miller as the two biggest influences on his career, characterizing them as "my Mum and Dad." Other writers he names as influences include Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis. More recent writers that have impressed him include Jason Aaron and Scott Snyder.
Millar's mother died of a heart attack at age 64, when Millar was 14, and his father died four years later, aged 65. Although Millar enjoyed drawing comics, he was not permitted to go to art school because his family frowned upon such endeavours as a waste of time for the academic Millar, who studied subjects like chemistry, physics and advanced maths. He initially planned to be a doctor, and subsequently decided that becoming an economist would be a viable alternate plan, but later decided that he "couldn't quite hack it" in that occupation. He attended Glasgow University to study politics and economics, but dropped out after his father's death left him without the money to pay his living expenses.
When Millar was 18, he interviewed writer Grant Morrison, who was then doing his first major American work on Animal Man, for a fanzine. When he told Morrison that he wanted to be both a writer and an artist, Morrison suggested that he focus on one of those career paths, as it was very hard to be successful at both, which Millar cites as the best advice he has ever received.
Millar's first job as a comic book writer came when he was still in high school, writing Trident's Saviour with Daniel Vallely providing art. Saviour combined elements of religion, satire and superhero action.
During the 1990s, Millar worked on titles such as 2000 AD, Sonic the Comic and Crisis. In 1993, Millar, Grant Morrison and John Smith created a controversial eight-week run on 2000 AD called The Summer Offensive. It was during this run that Millar and Morrison wrote their first major story together, Big Dave.
Millar's British work brought him to the attention of DC Comics, and in 1994 he started working on his first American comic, Swamp Thing. The first four issues of Millar's run were co-written by Grant Morrison, allowing Millar to settle into the title. Although his work brought some critical acclaim to the ailing title, the book's sales were still low enough to warrant cancellation by the publisher. From there, Millar spent time working on various DC titles, often co-writing with or under the patronage of Morrison as in the cases of his work on JLA, The Flash and Aztek: The Ultimate Man, and working on unsuccessful pitches for the publisher.
In 2000, Millar replaced Warren Ellis on The Authority for DC's Wildstorm imprint. Millar announced his resignation from DC in 2001, though his miniseries Superman: Red Son was printed in 2003.
In March 2001 Millar sold a vampire horror miniseries he wrote called Sikeside to Channel 4 in the UK. The department that bought it had created a program called Metrosexuality that was received so poorly that the department was informed by its superiors that the network would not make any other project commissioned by that department again, thus cancelling Sikeside's development. Millar subsequently sold the movie rights to Sikeside to his friend, movie producer Angus Lamont.
In 2001, Millar launched Ultimate X-Men for Marvel Comics' Ultimate Marvel imprint. The following year he collaborated with illustrator Bryan Hitch on The Ultimates, the Ultimate imprint's equivalent of The Avengers. Millar's work on The Ultimates was later adapted into two Marvel Animated Features.
After 33 issues, Millar left Ultimate X-Men. In 2004 he wrote the Marvel Knights Spider-Man series, and co-wrote with Brian Michael Bendis the first six issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four. He later returned to that title for a 12-issue run throughout 2005–2006, and his storylines during that period led to the creation of the Marvel Zombies spin-off series.
In 2004, Millar launched a creator-owned line called Millarworld that published the books Wanted, Chosen, The Unfunnies, Kick-Ass and War Heroes by four different publishers. Millarworld was eventually acquired by the American streaming media company Netflix.
In 2006, Millar, joined by artist Steve McNiven, began writing the Marvel miniseries Civil War. In February 2008 he began a run on Fantastic Four, with artist Bryan Hitch. That same year he wrote the miniseries Marvel 1985, with artist Tommy Lee Edwards, which "is about the real world, the world we live in right now, dealing with the villains of the Marvel Universe finding us." He wrote the "Old Man Logan" storyline which appeared in the Wolverine series and was set in a possible future.
Millar was among a group of writers enlisted by Iron Man director Jon Favreau to give advice on the script. It was Millar who suggested dropping the Mandarin as the villain, and replacing him with Iron Monger, who was originally intended as a villain for the sequels.
Millar indicated in 2008 that he would return to Chosen, which he revealed was only the first part in a planned trilogy, American Jesus. Moving the title to Image Comics, he will write two more miniseries to complete the story, and release a collection of the first one with the title American Jesus Volume 1: Chosen.
Millar announced a new British comics magazine anthology in early May 2010 to be launched in September with the name CLiNT, which would feature a sequel to Kick-Ass, as well as work from Jonathan Ross and Frankie Boyle.
In 2010 Millar wrote two other creator-owned superhero titles through Marvel Comics' Icon imprint, Nemesis with artist Steve McNiven, and Superior with artist Leinil Yu.
On 9 April 2011, Millar was one of 62 comics creators who appeared at the IGN stage at the Kapow! convention in London to set two Guinness World Records, the Fastest Production of a Comic Book, and Most Contributors to a Comic Book. The book was completed in 11 hours, 19 minutes, and 38 seconds, and was published through Icon on 23 November 2011, with all royalties being donated to Yorkhill Children's Foundation.
In September 2012, Millar was brought on to oversee 20th Century Fox's cinematic universe as a creative consultant for the X-Men film franchise and Fantastic Four.
In August 2013, when Millar was asked by Abraham Riesman of The New Republic about the use of rape as a plot device in more than one of his comics, he responded, "The ultimate [act] that would be the taboo, to show how bad some villain is, was to have somebody being raped, you know. I don't really think it matters. It's the same as, like, a decapitation. It's just a horrible act to show that somebody's a bad guy." The comment drew criticism from critics, including Laura Hudson of Comics Alliance, who stated, "There's one and only one reason that happens, and it's to piss off the male character. It's using a trauma you don't understand in a way whose implications you can't understand, and then talking about it as though you're doing the same thing as having someone's head explode. You're not. Those two things are not equivalent, and if you don't understand, you shouldn't be writing rape scenes."
Awards and accolades
In August 2011, Millar appeared in his native Coatbridge to unveil a superhero-themed steel archway beside the Monkland Canal that was created by sculptor Andy Scott, with help from the students at his alma mater, St Ambrose High School. The six metre-high archway, which was inspired by Millar's work, depicts a superhero named Captain Coatbridge and two female superheroines, and was created as part of efforts to regenerate the canal.
In June 2013, Millar was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to film and literature on the Queen's Honours Birthday list.
- 2000 Eisner Award for Best Title for a Younger Audience for Superman Adventures shared with Aluir Amancio, Terry Austin, and others.
- 2000 Eisner Award for Best Writer for Superman Adventures
- 2001 Eisner Award for Best Writer for The Authority and Ultimate X-Men
- 2001 Eisner Award for Best Serialized Story for The Authority #13–16 shared with Frank Quitely and Trevor Scott.
- 2004 Eagle Award for Favourite Comics Writer.
- 2005 Eagle Award for Favourite Comics Writer
When Millar was 17 he began dating a woman named Gill, who lived nearby and attended the same school. They married in 1993, but in early 2009, they separated amicably. They have one daughter who, like Millar himself, was born in Coatbridge. In November 2011 Millar's new partner, Lucy, gave birth to their first child (and Millar's second). They live in the heart of Glasgow’s West End.
He is a practising Catholic who does not swear in his personal life. Although he says he was not cut out to be an economist, he is still "obsessed" with that subject, and reads the Financial Times online before reading Comic Book Resources each morning.
He has named Superman, Flash Gordon, The Spy Who Loved Me, Star Wars and The Incredibles as his five favorite films.
Feature film adaptations
|Year||Title||Director(s)||Studio(s)||Based on||Budget||Box office||Rotten Tomatoes|
|2008||Wanted||Timur Bekmambetov||Universal Studios||Wanted by Millar and J. G. Jones||$75 million||$341,433,252||71%|
|2010||Kick-Ass||Matthew Vaughn||Lionsgate Films |
Plan B Entertainment
|Kick-Ass by Millar and John Romita Jr.||$30 million||$96,188,903||76%|
|2013||Kick-Ass 2||Jeff Wadlow||Universal Studios |
Plan B Entertainment
|Kick-Ass 2 and Hit-Girl by Millar and John Romita Jr.||$28 million||$60,795,985||29%|
|2015||Kingsman: The Secret Service||Matthew Vaughn||20th Century Fox |
|Kingsman: The Secret Service by Millar and Dave Gibbons||$81 million||$413,998,123||73%|
|2015||Fantastic Four||Josh Trank||20th Century Fox |
|Ultimate Fantastic Four by Millar, Brian Michael Bendis and Adam Kubert||$120 million||$167,750,924||9%|
|2016||Captain America: Civil War||Anthony and Joe Russo||Marvel Studios |
Walt Disney Studios
|Civil War by Millar and Steve McNiven||$250 million||$1.132 billion||91%|
|2017||Logan||James Mangold||20th Century Fox |
The Donner's Company
|Old Man Logan by Millar and Steve McNiven||$97 million||$606.4 million||92%|
|2017||Kingsman: The Golden Circle||Matthew Vaughn||20th Century Fox |
|Kingsman: The Secret Service by Millar and Dave Gibbons||N/A||N/A||N/A|