Millar’s Crossing: Mark Millar Calls It Quits on Marvel

Mark Millar sure knows how to rake in attention. From his shocking work on The Authority and The Ultimates to his comics-to-film successes with Wanted and Kick-Ass,  he's made a name for his hyping of his work almost as much as the work itself. And an announcement late last week on Twitter puts Millar's future in a new direction; one outside of Marvel.

"Well, I just finished the dialogue on my last ever script for Marvel. It was a lot of fun, but I’m full-time on Millarworld as of today," Millar tweeted on June 8th. "Huge thanks to all the guys I worked with on Ultimates 1&2, Civil War, Old Man Logan, Enemy of the State, Ultimate X-Men, 1985, etc, etc. It’s been an amazing experience and I’m stealing all the best ones to work with my on creator-owned anyway 🙂 In the next 12 months: Kick-Ass 2, Nemesis 2, Supercrooks, Superior, the Dave Gibbons project, the Frank Quitely project and HIT-GIRL!! I’m going to miss the lads, the best editorial team in the biz, but there comes a time when every boy needs to start his OWN media empire!!"

Although Millar will continue to do creator-owned work through Marvel's Icon imprint, this announcement that he's no longer working on any of Marvel's company-owned characters is the end of age in comics. Millar was one of the key hires for the then-new Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada in 2000, jumping from the criticially acclaimed but DC-mismanaged The Authority to become one of the key architects of Marvel's Ultimate line. After a string of successes, in 2004 Millar launched a string of creator-owned books under the "MillarWorld" banner at Marvel's Icon, Image and other publishers. For years he balanced work-for-hire work at Marvel such as Old Man Logan and Fantastic Four with his creator-owned work, but from this announcement it seems that's come to an end.

For Millar, it's a long-sought after goal and one that has proven to be more financially rewarding than any Marvel work-for-hire gig can be, apparently. "To put in perspective," Millar said today on twitter," 8 issues of Kick-Ass paid me more than every issue I'd written for Marvel added together even w/out movie." Millar added later that his Nemesis series with Steve McNiven brought him twice as much money as what he earned writing Marvel's Civil War years earlier.

For Marvel, the writing's been on the wall for a while now about Millar heading for the exit. His exclusion from Marvel's Architects announcement left a lot of people wondering, but Millar's always been one to favor writing standalone stories like Wolverine: Enemy of the State and Fantastic Four rather than the inter-linking stories en vogue at Marvel and DC now, ironically enough, thanks to Millar's Civil War series years earlier.

And before you start speculating too much, Millar's already shot down rumors that this is a preamble to him returning to DC, saying on twitter "DC relaunch looks fun, but Millarworld excites me more creatively and big creator-owned pays way, way better than work for hire."


  1. Great news. Viva la creator-owned.

  2. Good for him.

  3. While I approve of his direction, and love his promotion of creator-owned work, his attitude here is a little strange, focusing on “I love making money” rather than “I want to tell good stories.”

    Making money is a good thing, it is true, but his financial gain doesn’t seem like a good way to promote this endeavour.

    No matter, I’m sure everything will sell like hotcakes anyway. Good luck to him. 

  4. @Cooper
    I think people already know the creative it brings. Showing just how high the risk/reward may be more convincing.

  5. “big creator-owned pays way, way better than work for hire.”

    If you’re Mark Millar that is.

  6. @Cooper – The main appeal for writers/artists is working for Marvel/DC because it’ll actually pay the bills (unlike, y’know, 90% of everyone else’s indie-comic run). Millar, stating that creator-owned is more lucrative, is essentially saying that there’s no point in him working-for-hire now. His heart’s obviously always been in his own work, now the finances justify it.

  7. Mark Millar may be the only writer in comics today whose mainstream superhero work I enjoy more than his creator-owned work, so I’m not sure if this is good news or bad news.

  8. @Francisco  Exactly. 

  9. @Francisco  That’s not fair.  Mark Millar made himself into Mark Millar.  Just like Robert Kirkman.  Jusst like Dave Sim.  Just like Terry Moore. 

    This just shows that you can use the ‘big two’ as a platform to step off of into your own work, if you want, and if things work out right.

  10. Too bad DC screwed the pooch with Millar, they could use his help about now. But he’s got a lot of momentum on his own, and I wish him all the luck.

  11. If you have the name to make money without a major publishing house… why wouldn’t you? The comics industry seems a lot like the music industry in this way, as with several others. The big publishers act as agents to make artists famous, but in return they take a large chunk of the profits. Some artists are able, in the end, to break away from the big publishers and start making real money (Trent Reznor comes to mind in the music industry). A handful make their name as indies and pretty much stay that way. If its more money for him, then excellent. Will he be publishing himself? Will he be publishing through Icon? Image? Boom? Avatar?

  12. Yay now maybe his books will come out on time AND they might finally improve in quality.

    It would be great if any of his new Millarworld books are of a readable quality. Kick Ass 2, Superior and Nemesis are truly, truly awful.

  13. @MisterJ – agree.

  14. While i’m a big supporter of creator owned work it seems to me that really the only reason Mr. Millar wants to do more is that he makes more money that way, not because of the joy of creating his own characters. I could be way off base though. 

  15. I give it 12 months before he’s invited to write the Superman book at DC so they can basicay have the SUperman 2000 status quo.

  16. Good for mark sad for me he has been my fave writer

  17. He says he’s more excited about his own projects than DC, but I GUARANTEE you that if Superman entered the picture, he’d put at least one of his own projects on hold. 

  18. Don’t think I’ve ever been so confounded by a writer, Millar has put out a ton of utter, utter shit in his time, but has also put out some undeniably brilliant stuff (Superman Red Son and Old Man Logan come to mind).

    Good for him, but he seems to be disappearing up his own sphincter of late, and he seems to have discovered a formula which is becoming very samey. I very much doubt he’ll be putting anything out for “Millarworld” that I’d want to read. I loved the first Kick-Ass but Hit-Girl? No, sorry. 

  19. @ MisterJ… there was nothing unfair about Francisco stated… how is what you’re saying any different?  Creator-owned is more lucrative for guys like Mark Millar, due to the reasons you just explained.

    Anyways… I’m all for creator-owned projects and indie’s (then again, have any of yet ever met a real comic fan who didn’t like everything? show me a comic fan who shuns indies!)… I just don’t particularly like Millar’s work.  So good luck with it Millar, but if I’m not buying, its not because I won’t or cant’ support creator-owned work, its because its not good enough or engaging to me! 

  20. This is great news. Although he has been talking about this for a long time. I much prefer creator-owned work to mainstream in general, and I love Kick-Ass and Superior, and I’m very excited for all of his upcoming projects.

  21. @Cooper  – This is awesome. Best of luck to Millar. I’ll be buying a lot of his comics.

    I do wonder if Marvel gets any money from him because of iCON?

  22. I don’t think there’s a single creator-owned story from Millar I’ve liked.  I’d be all for him pitching other creators’ work to Hollywood though.  His ability to get mediocre-to-outright-stupid books made into big name blockbusters is amazing bordering on baffling.  If he were pitching We3 or Planetary to studios, that’d be great.

  23. @JesseCuster  He made it seem as if Millar was the only one who could do it.  My statement is that anyone who is good enough and works hard enough and gets the random breaks that we refer to as luck (BTW this is the smallest factor to me) can do it.  My statement is that there is nothing singular about Millar.  Also, I am a big fan of his, so this is not me putting him down.

  24. I haven’t enjoyed a recent comic by him lately, but it is a bit weird to see him leaving Marvel. But then again the majority of his work has been for the Icon imprint or just indie (with only his Ultimate work being his current superhero work).

    I will be buying that comic with Quitely on art. My indifference for Millar is waaaay overshadowed that Quitely is doing the art. 

  25. @MisterJ:  Mark Millar can afford to not take work from DC or Marvel because two of his creator owned were make into movies.  The money that he made from the Kick-Ass and Wanted comics are not financing other comics projects; the movie money is.  I think he’s simply focusing on other creator owned projects in hope of getting more movie options deals (and there’s nothing wrong with that).

    I just think that not the reality for most comics creators.  Listen to Josh’s fascinating interview with Ron Marz (Don’t Miss podcast #65) for the harsh reality of creators doing self-owned projects.

  26. I just don’t understand why Millar just doesn’t become a film writer, or work in the film industry full time. It’s clear by this point that he cares more about getting his comics optioned for films then actually making a comic. Maybe he does like writing comics still, I don’t know. I just think that if he really wants to make films he should just stick to that. Cause I just get the feeling everytime I read Wanted or Kickass, that it was just a rough draft of what he wanted the films to be.

  27. @TheNextChampion  In both cases, the source material was much better than the movies though.

  28. @Francisco  I do not disagree with that statement.  It just seemed, to me at least, that your first statment  seemed to portray that there was something singular about Millar himself.  My statement was refuting his singularity and saying that there is a trail for those who wish to follow it.  There is no question that the indie road is tough as hell.  I’m just saying that Millar is no different from anyone in any other industry that gets very good at his job and then leaves the company/firm/whatever and starts his own.

  29. One day the hype will die down and people will realize that he mostly writes shit. Then he’ll probably be back at Marvel or DC.

  30. I think the main problem is, as someone pointed out earlier, he’s blatantly in it for the money, not for the creating. 

    Didn’t he abandon War Heroes because he sold the concept to a movie studio? If it meant more to him than that (and call me old fashioned but I like to think it should be) then he’d have finished it.

    I don’t mind someone making a lot of money when they’re doing it because they WANT to make comics. I am not doubting Millar’s love of the medium, but he’s become bored and lazy and repetitive, and he knows it – he’s not even hiding it. The time to strike out on your own is when you’re on the cusp of opening some creative floodgates…but he seems to be drying up.

    In his defense – he does seem to be able ot attract a different type of new reader. Can’t argue with that.

  31. Wow

  32. So Millar is now a full time comic spec script writer. Cool. Now I can ignore him entirely.

  33. Comic book readers know who Mark Millar is because of his work for DC and Marvel.  The big two created his brand.  If he is not getting attention from his work with the big two, I wonder whether readers will still be interested in a comic with “Mark Millar” on the cover.  Perhaps Millar has made enough money from optioning his stories to Hollywood that he is not too worried.

  34. @Francisco  Exactly. Who knows how many millions he has from Kick-Ass and Wanted? Not to mention any other things like War Heroes that may be optioned. He may have enough money that he can just do what he wants. If I were in that position, I would certainly do the same.

  35. He pretty much telegraphed this move in my last 2 WB interviews with him.

  36. Sad day for me he is definitely one of the reasons i am back reading marvel books again.  But on the other hand i hope this means that he will be putting superior out on a regular basis,  and i can’t wait to read hit girl, and nemesis 2.  Good luck Millar you will be missed at marvel.

  37. His books come out so infrequently that I thought he had retired from writing. Sorry I’m still a bit bitter about him making Superior so good but never finishing it in a timely manner.

  38. The man’s gotta make a living and who says he has to settle for less? While I would be honored to work for Marvel or DC, you can’t blame talent for taking the bigger paycheck if that means sticking to creator owned, especially when creator owned only pays that well for a select few, but those guys earned they’re stripes and deserve it. 

  39. Good riddance.

  40. Good for him. If this means his books will come out regularly, then better.

  41. I forgot Millar worked at Marvel

  42. Gotta say – never really been impressed with anything I’ve read by him.

  43. Millar is pretty hit or miss with me.  Nemesis did nothing for me.  Kick-Ass was okay, but I bought it more for Romita’s pencils.  Civil War was actually pretty brilliant.  And I thought his FF run was pretty good.

  44.  More power to him. If he can explore his own ideas, while having more freedom and making more money, I think there isn’t any comparison.
     He probably had his annual talk with his financial planner ” do you want too be able to retire this year, or that year”.

  45. @Bendrix: Exactly. I thought to myself, “Good for him,” and saw that you posted it way (almost) at the top of the replies. Thanks.


  47. I’m not a huge fan of his work, creator-owned or work-for-hire, but I’m glad he’s making money doing his own stuff. If nothing else, this shows (like Kirkman before him) that you can eventually make creator-owned work pay the bills if you’ve got some kind of talent/skill at creating and self-promotion. 

    Now if only Warren Ellis would make the same declaration.