All right, fair point, but the consistently best selling
books? Come off it Mark, Tintin and Asterix kick every superhero
books arse. Viz Comic sells more on UK newstands than any
American superhero comic does in the world. And Tokyopop and
Viz in the USA rule the bookstands, with only a small incursion
by American superhero comics.
Waiting For Tommy XXI
Interview with Mark Millar
Sorry, I meant AMERICAN books. I don't read any of that stuff
and forget that there's a market for it through various international
outlets. That said, Marvel and DC books sell huge numbers
in Brazil and Germany and Spain and so on -- so I'd be curious
to see what the total sales are for all these things on a
You don't read Viz Comics... is that because you're
a character in it? No, don't answer that. The favourite British
comic for children and it's got a big Not For Sale To children
sticker on the front. Bless them. But then again, most superhero
characters were created for children. In light of that, do
you believe your writing style on Ultimates and Ultimate X-Men
has been appropriate?? The Oz version of Rupert The Bear may
be amusing, but if the Mail or IPC published those kind of
Rupert The Bear comics on a continual basis, it could destroy
a childhood character. Can Marvel superheroes really be put
back in the "all ages" box after you've finished playing with
them? Why, when you've shown you can write all-ages comics
for Superman Adventures and Sonic The Hedgehog, do you refuse
to write them for other titles? Can't you be "cool" and all-ages
suitable at the same time?
a look at the Ultimate X-Men Hardcover here...
This always makes me laugh when this question is raised because
the answer is incredibly simple. Comics aimed directly at
children will not sell to children. Children read manga if
they read anything at all. There's been an evolutionary change
in what kids want to read and we're only just waking up to
that right now. For ten years, I've been watching Marvel and
DC launch well-meaning lines aimed at eight year olds and
they sell between seven and fifteen thousand copies every
month (approximately one third of what their poor-selling
Marvel and DC Universe parent books sell) and even then they're
mostly read by middle-aged men on a nostalgia trip.
worked on Superman Adventures for eighteen months. I was nominated
for two Eisners for those books. They were incredibly well-received.
I count those issues as among the work in my career of which
I'm most proud. But you know what? Nobody read them. Sure,
the critics and fellow pros enjoyed them, but it was performing
in a theatre to empty stalls. Ty Templeton produced the best
Batman stories since Dark Knight Returns and nobody was reading
them. It was a crime.
Tintin and Asterix. Comics are aimed at children,
selling to children, and everyone else as well. And they sell
millions. Why not Marvel?
Not on a monthly basis they don't. Those books have been in
print for up to four decades and, yeah, their cumulative sales
are impressive. What we're talking about here is monthly sales
and those books actually sell very little in an average month,
despite coming out in a dozen different languages. Also, we're
aiming primarily at an American market and Asterix and Tintin
sell virtually nothing in the USA so, again, outside of manga
I really don't think there IS a market for young children's
comics. There's been a genuine culture shift, like the shift
with Superman in 1938, and we'd better adapt.
line was never about comics aimed at children. Bill and Joe
were very, very clear about this from the start because they
knew, from experience, that these kinds of books didn't work.
They wanted a MAINSTREAM audience who didn't read comics and
this is the market they asked Bendis and I to appeal to. And
we did. The books are consistent top ten books in the direct
market even though this is merely a bonus; the real demographic
being the mainstream distribution the line allowed us to get
and the fact that we're, by far, the fastest growing line
in the book-store market. So yeah, the books are edgy and
feel kind of dangerous, but as Stan Lee said to me 'people
said the same thing about the original Marvel line compared
to the more conservative DC books of the day'. We're just
writing about real people with real problems who happen to
be wearing costumes. There's nothing in the Ultimate books
more adult in content than we'd see in an episode of Buffy
and people have no issues with Buffy.
Well some people do. It was named one of the most
Objectionable TV shows citied by a Christian group. You're
an ordained Catholic minister. How does that inform your creative
work? Have you sinned when writing The Authority?
People are weird about Catholicism and pretty weird about
Christianity in general. If I said I was a Hindu or a Jew
or a Seikh, people would be very respectful and say it was
nice that I had some kind of spirituality. If I said I was
a Buddhist or a Raelian or a Satanist or Scientologist, people
would smile and say it was kind of cool and quirky. However,
tell people you're a Catholic and they kind of sneer. Christianity
is the one religion in the West which isn't deferred to or
respected or maybe even tolerated which is weird, considering
the principles behind it are just about trying to live a good
life and being decent to other people. Write a story about
a priest who interferes with young boys and nobody bats an
eye-lid. I've seen it in mainstream comics like Vertigo books.
Write a story about a Rabbi who interferes with kids and the
ADL will have you in court and possibly jail.
Christianity the one religion it's OK to take a shot at? Nobody
asked the actor Art Malik if his peaceful faith was compromised
by appearing as a terrorist in the movie True Lies. But to
answer your question more directly, I don't think writing
fiction can ever be a sin because fiction is just a peaceful
expression of an idea. As a Christian, I think it's immoral
to curb art-forms which bring pleasure to millions of people,
so, if it's not doing anyone any harm, I'm opposed to any
kind of censorship.