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Arts & Culture
An interview with Mark Millar
The comic and graphic novel medium is one the fastest growing areas of print. Scotland is currently enjoying a wealth of successful comic writers and artists. We spoke with perhaps the most famous Scottish comic book writer, Mark Millar.
The audio is an edited highlight of the interview at the Edinburgh International Book Festival which you can read in full here.
What got you into comics and writing?
'As a kid I loved comics and I loved films and it sort of struck me when I was about 11 or 12 that somebody must be writing and drawing these books which I'm enjoying so much and it just seemed a wee bit more attainable than playing for Celtic. I crashed out of university because I knew that this is what I wanted to do, I didn't want the safety net of a degree. If you really love what you're doing like that you don't want the safety net. It must be how priests feel when they look up and see a crucifix, that's how I felt when I saw Superman.'
What would you say is your biggest success?
'I measure it in so many different ways. The time I least enjoyed working was couple of years ago which was my biggest commercial success, a book called Marvel Civil War. It went down a bomb and sold an insane amount of copies. It was great because it established me for the decade at the company. It was my J.K. Rowling moment but it was less fun to do than maybe smaller projects that are a bit more personal. My favourite book is Kick-Ass that we've just turned into a movie. I literally wrote it for free. We took a gamble because we loved it and we really believed in it.'
That ties in with Millarworld and Creator-Owned comics. What inspired you to do that?
I suppose you can write to a bigger scope without the constraints of a studio?
Edinburgh Book Festival
What do you think is the reason behind this literary respect that’s starting to happen for comics and graphic novels?
Are there any characters you are wary of writing for?
If you had to name a favourite character who would it be?
What is it that makes your stories so popular?
Do you have any major regrets in your career?
People enjoying an evening at the Book Festival
'No not really. If we learned anything from Back To The Future it's that if we go back in time and mess with it, you're going to cause problems. So the way I look at it is that I like where my life is so if I go back and take out some rubbish things I've written or something then that might fall apart, and Biff would be president or something.'
Can you tell me anything about future things you've got coming out?
Some people could view American Jesus as controversial. Is that something you set out to do?
'No it’s funny, I remember seeing solicitations in trade magazines saying ‘Oh Millar’s going to take on Christianity’. No, I'm a practicing Catholic. I think me and Frank Skinner are the only two people in the media who actually go to church. To actually slap people who turn the other cheek has to be the most cowardly thing for a writer to do. To me you had the Old Testament and the New Testament and I always saw it as a trilogy. As a kid I remember thinking, so when’s the book of Revelation coming out? Jesus coming back, fighting the Anti-Christ, it’s a bit like the Omen. I thought this is going to be brilliant but nobody wrote it. So I wanted to write the third book of the Bible essentially. But to make it as reverential as the first two books. And although its got controversial things in it you have to remember the Bible is completely filled with things that are reasonably controversial. I just see it as part of that great tradition.'
last updated: 03/09/2009 at 17:16