Mark Millar interview

Mark Millar's work on DC/WildStorm's Authority and Marvel's Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates have made him a fan-favorite writer. Now, he's writing the flagship title in Marvel's relaunch of the Epic imprint, Trouble. Worlds of Westfield Content Editor Roger Ash recently caught up with Millar to find out more about this book.

Westfield: How does it feel to be involved with the relaunch of the Epic line?

Mark Millar: Bizarre. Epic just feels like genuine grown-ups to me. Guys like Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson, Pat Mills and so on. Actually writing the launch book for the post-millennial imprint is a bit daunting, of course. It's like playing football in a pair of Pele's old boots.

Westfield: What attracted you to Trouble?

Millar: Bill [Jemas] and Joe [Quesada] went out for a pint with me in New York and suggested a romance book as the launch book for the new Epic line. There are details we haven't released yet, but the hook was so good that I literally pushed all my creator-owned plans back a few months. This was clearly something I had to be involved with.

Westfield: Why do a romance book now?

Millar: Again, I can't stress enough how much of a headline the other factors are with this project. That, in itself, was enough to hook me, but the idea of doing a mainstream romance book when nobody had tried this in thirty years was appealing. We're selling comics to a whole new demographic now and the soap opera aspects of books like The Ultimates are the biggest factors in our success. What we've done here is essentially The Ultimates minus the costumes.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the story of Trouble and who are the characters involved?

Millar: Trouble is all about what it's like when you're driving around with your friends every night and hoping to get laid. This is something that anyone can relate to, regardless of whether you're a male or a female. It's funny, it's human and yes, I'm deliberately avoiding telling you which characters are involved.

Westfield: Are you drawing on any personal experiences in writing the story, or is it mainly based on your observations of modern teens?

Millar: I think all the best things come from personal experience and I've used a lot of my own life for this particular piece. That and people I've hung out with (although I pray they aren't picking this up). Everyone has or will have their first sexual experience at some point or another and it's always interesting to read about.

Westfield: What do you think artist Terry Dodson brings to the book?

Millar: Terry and Rachel are the best possible people for this project. As I've mentioned elsewhere, we drew up a list of who we'd like to do this with and The Dodsons were at the top. They've got a beautiful, accessible style and it's perfect for the tone.

Westfield: All the issues of Trouble will have photo covers. How and why did this idea come about?

Millar: Marvel Managing Editor Dave Bogart suggested we do this because we're aiming at a whole new demographic. As opposed to calling the usual cover guys, we've opted instead for a photographer who does teen-chick novels. This is going to leap out on the shelves and hopefully inspire the growing bookstore market to pick it up. It's the perfect book for someone with an interest in comics, but no real point of reference. Of course, the secret stuff means some people will enjoy it all the more, but you'll find out about that later.

Westfield: Is there anything you'd like to tell us about what's on the way in The Ultimates?

Millar: Mayhem. That's all I can say: Complete and utter mayhem. The team are up against their first real threat at the end of our first year and, like any of us in that position, they're all completely freaking out. Imagine this small gang of people literally saving the world. That's how we end our first year and it's our launch-pad for the second-- which takes place some months after book one closes.

Westfield: Do you have any other upcoming projects you'd like to mention?

Millar: The Ultimates, Ultimate X-Men and Superman: Red Son will be lying at the side of your sex-soaked beds, I hope, and Trouble will be ordered by any right-thinking people out there. However, towards the end of the year I'll be launching some creator-owned books I've been dying to write for two entire years now. These are the books that have been bubbling away inside, but will finally see the light of day with some of the finest and biggest names in comics. I really can't say anything else at this stage, but there will be a HUGE announcement around the same time as Trouble #1 hits the shops. Excuse me for gushing into hyperbole, but these really are going to be something very special and very, very different.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Millar: Yeah. This is great, isn't it? I mean look how many good books are out there. I'm not just punting my own stuff here, I honestly believe we've never had it as good as we have right now. As a reader, I'm genuinely excited and this huge boom I've been forecasting for years is so on-track it's scary. You want to be happy? Open a comic-store in a couple of years and stock the books you like reading. Some very good times are just around the corner.