Feb. 12, 2015 | 11:38 a.m.
Director Matthew Vaughn was having a pint with prolific comic book writer Mark Millar in a London pub when the two hit upon the idea of “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” The gleefully violent spy send-up/homage centers on the “Pygmalion”-style relationship between veteran agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and a new recruit from the wrong side of the tracks called “Eggsy” (Taron Egerton). “The good ideas happen very quickly,” Vaughn said late last month by phone from London. “When I’m inspired, they sort of write themselves, which this one did.” Several years and a limited-run series of comic books later, Vaughn is set to unveil the cinematic incarnation of “Kingsman” on Friday. It’s his second collaboration with Millar — they previously brought “Kick-Ass,” a profane tale of an unlikely superhero, to the screen — but it’s his third comic-book movie after […]
Feb. 05, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
Mark Hamill might not have a lot of screen time in director Matthew Vaughn’s new film, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” but what he has is certainly memorable. In the opening sequence, which arrives in theaters Feb. 13, Hamill watches an operatically violent tussle unfold inside the remote chalet where his character, a kidnapped professor, is being held. The blood-spattered action sets the tone for the gleefully violent R-rated sendup/love-letter to classic spy flicks. The scene likely will ring familiar to comic readers who know the Mark Millar-Dave Gibbons title that inspired the film (notably, the comic was co-created by Vaughn), though it does play out a bit differently on the big screen. Hamill is not, as he was in the comic, appearing as himself, nor is he listening to complaints about the inferior quality of the “Star Wars” prequels. In […]
Aug. 14, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
In the three years since he first slipped into green Lycra to portray Kick-Ass — an awkward teen turned wannabe superhero — much has changed for English actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson. He jumped from British TV heartthrob to American movie stardom, became a father and began to pop up in casting conversations about one of Hollywood’s juiciest roles: Christian Grey in the adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey” (which, not incidentally, will be directed by his wife, Sam Taylor-Wood). When “Kick-Ass” was released in 2010, Taylor-Johnson was more indie film darling than caped crusader, having starred in the romantic drama “The Greatest” and “Nowhere Boy,” a John Lennon biopic, both of which played at Sundance. “Kick-Ass” initially didn’t look like a breakthrough role; the movie took in a fair $96 million worldwide on a $30-million production budget. […]
Aug. 08, 2013 | 4:44 p.m.
PERSPECTIVE It’s been a rough week for women in comics. First, Wonder Woman was (once again) relegated to the back burner, while a TV series for the Flash is being fast-tracked in her place. Then, during Wednesday’s Television Critics Assn. press tour panel for the new PBS docu-series “Superheroes: The Never-Ending Battle,” several comics creators said of the dearth of women and people of color in their pages, that readers are “not interested” in those characters. Today comes a New Republic story that quotes “Kick-Ass” creator Mark Millar defending his comic book depictions of rape and sexual violence, saying “I don’t really think it matters.” Comics creators, journalists and others of the comics community took to Twitter to respond to what they saw as blatant sexism, both in the TCA panel and in Millar’s comments. Millar, the boundary-pushing comics writer […]
July 02, 2013 | 3:30 p.m.
A correction has been added to this post, as indicated below. A female Ulysses on an odyssey home through outer space, an evil high school football coach and an ex-intelligence field agent turned executive assistant on the run from her former agency are among the characters that figure into new creator-owned titles announced Tuesday at Image Expo. “ODY-C,” by Matt Fraction and artist Christian Ward; “Southern Bastards,” by Jason Aaron and North Carolina-raised artist Jason Latour; and “Velvet,” by Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting — who previously teamed on Marvel’s “Captain America” — were among the top-tier titles touted at the special one-day media event at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center. But the gathering also afforded Image Comics to announce new projects from J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Millar — who already have current series with the company — […]
July 15, 2012 | 9:05 a.m.
Is “Man of Steel” laying the groundwork for a Justice League movie? Director Zack Snyder may have been hinting at that during the Warner Bros. panel at Comic-Con International on Saturday. “Superman is the jewel in the DC crown,” Snyder told the Hall H audience of about 6,500. “And really what we’re trying to do is get his house in order, and then who knows what’s possible.” Snyder and actor Henry Cavill answered audience questions after screening footage from the film, slated for a June 2013 release. The footage began with glimpses of Clark Kent’s hometown and his childhood while a voice narrated, “What if a child dreamed of being something other than what society intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?” The clip continued to explore the theme of Kent trying to find his place in a world […]
April 10, 2012 | 3:38 p.m.
The first issue of “The Secret Service” arrives Wednesday from the very intriguing tandem of writer Mark Millar (“Kick-Ass,” “Wanted”) and artist David Gibbons (“Watchmen,” “Give Me Liberty”), and we’ve got some preview pages in the gallery above (you can view larger versions below). We caught up with Gibbons in a transatlantic phone call to talk about the new work and the echoes of a certain 1980s masterpiece that is back in the news these days. HC: “The Secret Service” gets off to quite a start in this first issue. What are you finding most interesting about the project so far? DG: It’s slightly unusual in that it’s not a superhero book, and I’m really pleased it isn’t a superhero book, we’ve got enough of those. That isn’t to say that this is not a book about heroes or some larger-than-life situations. It […]
March 19, 2012 | 8:59 a.m.
If super-villains read as many comic books at Mark Millar they would be renewing their passports instead of stewing inside Arkham Asylum or Ryker’s Island. “Here is something I’ve wondered ever since I was a kid: Why do super-villains always commit crimes n Metropolis, Gotham and New York City when Batman, Superman and Spider-Man are there?” asked Millar, the Scottish writer of “Kick Ass” and “Wanted.” He added: “The entire cast of the Avengers live in New York so if I were a super-villain I’d go somewhere I’m less likely to bump into Captain America. That’s the basic conceit of ‘Supercrooks.'” “Supercrooks” arrives on comics shelves this Wednesday and, above, you’ll find an exclusive preview of the first 10 pages. For this tale of bad-guy tourism, Millar reteams with his “Superior” co-creator, Leinil Yu. “Just about the best artist in the business,” Millar said of his Phillipines-based collaborator. […]
Sept. 22, 2011 | 6:00 a.m.
Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s “Kick-Ass” comic continues with the saga of high school geek Dave Lizewski and his transformation into the violent vigilante in the current seven-issue miniseries “Kick-Ass 2,” the second portion of the trilogy. The comic is nearly halfway through its run (No. 3 came out Aug. 24) and is still as popular as ever with five reprintings of issue No. 1 of the series alone. Hero Complex contributor Jevon Phillips caught up with writer Millar to find out what’s going on with the title and to get some answers about a movie sequel. JP: OK, first let’s get two things out of the way before we get to “Kick-Ass 2” and “Kick-Ass 3.” What did you think about “Super”? It came after “Kick-Ass” and was pretty similar in tone… MM: “Super” was an amazing movie. […]
April 18, 2011 | 6:01 p.m.
Marvel’s Ultimates universe has had a good number of twists and turns since its inception in 2000, even after its apocalyptic Ultimatum storyline. But in any reality, alternate or not, when someone says “The Death of Spider-Man,” it grabs the attention of comic book fans. “We called this story ‘Death of Spider-Man’ for a reason,” said Axel Alonso, Marvel editor in chief, in a statement. “This is a huge story that’ll have fans around the world talking for a long time as we set the stage for the debut of our new Spider-Man.” Now, the Ultimates continuity is separate from the mainstream Marvel mythology so this doesn’t “count” in some ways. Still, in this contained reality, Marvel says Peter Parker will be taking off his Spidey threads for good after a traumatic event (let’s just say it involves The Punisher), and the familiar […]