Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m rarely a fan of Mark Millar’s work. In fact a lot of it rubs me the wrong way for various reasons. Usually, I see his name on a cover and I cringe.
So it should say something that when I heard Millar had been hired as the creative consultant for all of Fox’s Marvel properties, I was… genuinely excited.
Well, a few reasons.
Love Him Or Hate Him, Millar Undeniably Loves Comics
Some of the writers in comics at Millar’s level do not want to be writing comics. They want to write novels or movies or something else. Comics are just a springboard to way too many people. Witness Rob Liefeld walking from DC as soon as he thought he’d be collecting royalties on a Bloodshot movie.
Millar, though, is a fanboy, and I mean that in the best sense of the word. He loves comics and writes comics he wants to read.
Fox Does Not Like Comics
Really, the bottomless contempt Fox has for the medium can be manifest in the treatment of Bryan Singer, who gave them a worldwide blockbuster with a limited budget and rushed schedule from the studio not once, but twice, and their response was to waffle over whether or not they might hire him for a third one. This is why we got X-Men: The Last Stand. Similarly, Fox constantly meddling on the first one was part of the reason The Wolverine is a de-facto reboot.
Millar, even as a creative consultant, can at least try and stop this kind of thing, or explain that, yes, Wolverine needs to stab people.
He’s Not a Diva When It Comes To Adaptations
Kick-Ass was, to me, a middling and somewhat snotty comic that got turned into a great movie because Matthew Vaughn, the director, sat down with Millar, laid out a few basic issues a broader audience might have, and then he and Millar worked together and made a movie that was true to the spirit of the book while changing a few details.
In short, he was a professional who can work with other people, which is exactly what Marvel needs on the Fox lot.
Fox’s Franchises Are Currently a Mess
They just lost Daredevil. Fantastic Four not only needs Josh Trank but one hell of a writer. The X-Men franchise has just barely found its feet. Millar can’t prevent studio dysfunction, but the fact that Fox has him there to try means both they’re committing to making movies that don’t suck, and that Millar might have the ability to stop bad ideas, or at least impede them.