June 21, 2010

The Millar Problem

I have tried to read Mark Millar's work...and find some positive aspect from it. Honestly.

Wanted - missed the series, caught the trade, hated it.

1985 - read the first two issues, dropped it, felt bland.

Kick Ass - again, read first two issues, dropped it.

And now, with Nemesis # 1 and 2, I think I realize the nature of my problem with Mark Millar's work.

It's so self-conscious and self-aware, almost daring the reader to not like it. There seems to be an element of smugness about his work that completely turns me off.

Now, in all honesty, the thinking behind his work - I can get. Millar writes "high concept" comics - the kind of comics that, on some level, should simply be dumb, mindless fun. I'll even grant you that his hyper-violent comics may not be everyone's cup of tea. (Personally, violence in comics doesn't bother me).

But Millar's work - in my mind - seems to scream, "Look at me!". In reading Nemesis 1 & 2 - which I picked up in the same week, and which I wanted to like (honestly, I did) - seemed less like a coherent story and more a series of set pieces designed to encourage the reader to punch the air. (Mark Miller, you're no Dave Dale Campbell. Or even Ernie Cline). The writing seems lazy, and although Steve McNiven's art tries to redeem it...all that's left is basically a group of storyboards for a potential made-for-DVD movie.

I know, several readers will think I'm being unfair, or even unnecessarily cruel...but the truth is that, increasingly, although Mr. Millar has gained a reputation as a writer, it seems unwarranted. Consider this slightly justifiable nerd rage - I like mindless, dumb entertainment as much as any other comics reader. I just wish I felt the same enthusiasm coming from the author.

With Mark Millar, sadly, I don't.

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