What's So Bad About Mark Millar?

mrblakemiller

New member
Aug 13, 2010
319
0
0
So Kick-Ass 2 is in theatres now, and people (like MovieBob) are using the opportunity to talk about Mark Millar, the writer of the comics that inspired both the Kick-Ass and Wanted films (I haven't seen KA, but the Wanted movie was the most loosely-based "Adaptation" of all ti>ime).

What's funny is that people are talking about Mark Millar as a misogynist and an immature writer who loves violence too much. For example, apparently a girl is raped in Kick-Ass 2, and that makes Millar a misgynist. Take this quote:

Laura Hudson, the former editor-in-chief of the popular blog Comics Alliance and a senior editor at Wired, thought that scene was deplorable, but typical of Millar. ?There's one and only one reason that happens, and it's to piss off the male character,? she said. ?It's using a trauma you don't understand in a way whose implications you can't understand, and then talking about it as though you're doing the same thing as having someone's head explode. You're not. Those two things are not equivalent, and if you don't understand, you shouldn't be writing rape scenes.?

I'm really tired of seeing women write that men can't understand rape, or that a comic with tons of death and estruction is only pushing too far if rape is involed (I'm one of those "death is worse than rape" types).

I've also heard that Millar is pretty carefree in addressing these issues and does so in a way that pisses some people off. Which is also crap in my opinion, because he should be allowed to feel how he wants and you can just vote with your wallet. I can agree with nothing Millar has done in the last few years matches with what he'd done before (His Ultimate Marvel work is one of the high-water marks for straight superhero comics, in my opinion), but I don't understand the hate he gets these days for his ideas of violence.

So, two questions: Can someone point me to anything particularly nasty, by any definition, he's said in an interview regarding this kind of stuff? And also, what do you think of his writing, or depictions of extreme violence in general? Who gets to write those things and who doesn't?
 

Raikas

New member
Sep 4, 2012
640
0
0
mrblakemiller said:
I've also heard that Millar is pretty carefree in addressing these issues and does so in a way that pisses some people off. Which is also crap in my opinion, because he should be allowed to feel how he wants and you can just vote with your wallet.
Eh, he does write what he wants, and the people who complain are just responding to that and voting with their wallets. Saying that the guy writes problematic stuff doesn't mean he can't it means it won't happen without comment (or without pissing people off).

And also, what do you think of his writing, or depictions of extreme violence in general?
I'm happy to read some crazy violent comics, but I'm not a fan of Millar because I just don't think he does a nuanced job of it.

The comparison that I use (since it's a single title it's the easiest comparison, although I think you could make a similar argument comparing Kick Ass with They Boys) is the contrast between his run on The Authority with what other writers did on the same title. His wasn't the most violent (I'd think that would be Garth Ennis' "Kev" stories) or the most bold (the characters kill god during Warren Ellis' run), but it was the one that seemed to have less point to it other than "here's a pile of stuff to shock you". He played a little bit with politics and I liked at the time (this was 2000-2002), but looking back at it he didn't actually go anywhere with it - the whole joke was politicians getting slapped around, he wasn't actually using it to say anything.

I'm really tired of seeing women write that men can't understand rape
Except that I don't think that's the issue here: Millar has written male-on-male rape scenes too, and they're not any better - it's nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the way it's written for shock (or for a joke) and without anything else to hold it up. Other writers have done similar stories in terms of content, but (IMO) created a tone for their stories that made it actually mean something.
 

Lieju

New member
Jan 4, 2009
3,044
0
0
mrblakemiller said:
Laura Hudson, the former editor-in-chief of the popular blog Comics Alliance and a senior editor at Wired, thought that scene was deplorable, but typical of Millar. ?There's one and only one reason that happens, and it's to piss off the male character,? she said. ?It's using a trauma you don't understand in a way whose implications you can't understand, and then talking about it as though you're doing the same thing as having someone's head explode. You're not. Those two things are not equivalent, and if you don't understand, you shouldn't be writing rape scenes.?

I'm really tired of seeing women write that men can't understand rape, or that a comic with tons of death and estruction is only pushing too far if rape is involed (I'm one of those "death is worse than rape" types).
Where did she say that men shouldn't write rape? She is saying Millar shouldn't, because he doesn't understand it.

I'm not familiar with Millar's work, but I'm generally of the opinion that rape is used way too often too lightly or for sex appeal.
It doesn't matter whether the writer is a man or a woman, or if they have been raped, they can still handle the subject matter well.

EDIT; also, I think death is used too lightly as well, especially in American superhero comics.

But, there is a difference with writing death and writing rape; death is about those left behind, rape should be about the victim. It can have ramifications and affect her/his family and friends, but writing rape and then ignoring completely the victim who has to deal with it is creepy storytelling.
 

Soundwave

New member
Sep 2, 2012
301
0
0
OP, did you read the rape scene from kickass 2 that was mentioned? I have, and calling Millar a misogynist seems pretty inline with what I took away from what I'd read. I personally don't think a person could write something like that dispassionately.

For background, I really did like the original Kickass as well as the film (but not quite as much), but I don't think I'd ever buy another work of Millar's fiction knowingly again.
 

ToastiestZombie

Don't worry. Be happy!
Mar 21, 2011
3,691
0
0
Colin Murray said:
OP, did you read the rape scene from kickass 2 that was mentioned? I have, and calling Millar a misogynist seems pretty inline with what I took away from what I'd read. I personally don't think a person could write something like that dispassionately.

For background, I really did like the original Kickass as well as the film (but not quite as much), but I don't think I'd ever buy another work of Millar's fiction knowingly again.
I'm confused here, what is this rape joke? I'm not planning on seeing KA2 (not because of any controversy), so could you say what was so shocking?
 

Soundwave

New member
Sep 2, 2012
301
0
0
ToastiestZombie said:
Colin Murray said:
OP, did you read the rape scene from kickass 2 that was mentioned? I have, and calling Millar a misogynist seems pretty inline with what I took away from what I'd read. I personally don't think a person could write something like that dispassionately.

For background, I really did like the original Kickass as well as the film (but not quite as much), but I don't think I'd ever buy another work of Millar's fiction knowingly again.
I'm confused here, what is this rape joke? I'm not planning on seeing KA2 (not because of any controversy), so could you say what was so shocking?
It's not a rape "joke", it's just a really gratuitous gang-rape scene. They also gun down a bunch of little kids a few panels later, it was altogether pretty awful. From what I understand, they toned that part down substantially in the movie.
 

Jacco

New member
May 1, 2011
1,738
0
0
Millar's problem is that he goes so over the top with things that it becomes almost a game of "who can be the most brutal for the least reason?" I think of him as a kind of Daniel Tosh of the comic world. He's edgy and fun BECAUSE he's extremely offensive and that is his thing as an entertainer. Unfortunately sometimes he crosses the line and people get pissed. Also, Millar is not a particularly good writer. In that way, he's like George Lucas. He's got awesome ideas and stories, but he isn't very good at getting them down on paper.

The rape scene you talk about in the comic was, for all intents and purposes, only there to be there. There were numerous ways he could have handled it that would have been more acceptable than how it turned out.

As for the quote you posted, she's just a femi-supremacist who wants rape to be a uniquely "woman" problem in the way the slavery is touted as a uniquely "black" problem. The reality of course is that both of those issues and many more are "human" problems.
 

Lieju

New member
Jan 4, 2009
3,044
0
0
Jacco said:
As for the quote you posted, she's just a femi-supremacist who wants rape to be a uniquely "woman" problem in the way the slavery is touted as a uniquely "black" problem. The reality of course is that both of those issues and many more are "human" problems.
Where do you base that assessment of her character? A woman can't criticise how someone writes rape without being a 'femi-supremacist'?
 

SadakoMoose

Elite Member
Jun 10, 2009
1,200
0
41
If he's allowed to have his opinions and express his work, then I'm allowed to criticize his work and opinions. I can't change them, and I won't try, but his flippancy alone does not substantiate a defense.

His use of rape as a story device is despicable, especially in Kick Ass 2, and he's never really defended it aside from making the very argument that the OP does. It's not so much that there are a large number of women writers and fan who are saying that men can't understand rape. What's actually going on is that women writers and fans are saying that many male writers do not treat it with the sort of tact or regard as they should. In our society there is what you might call a rape culture, wherein the issues, terminology, legal precedents and media perception of rape is often times skewed against women. Millar does nothing to fight against this, and many find that to be hideously irresponsible. It doesn't necessarily mean that he's a misogynist, just that his work needs to be questioned. A notion that he frequently hides from.

It's same the problem with his use of violence and racial stereotypes. He never defends himself and justifies the use of these tropes. He just hand waves it by telling people to "not be so PC", and goes about his merry way. Never really standing behind his work, outside of dismissing serious analysis of the sexist tropes and idioms that appear in his work.

Frankly, it's frustrating.
 

Asita

Answer Hazy, Ask Again Later
Legacy
Jun 15, 2011
2,967
700
118
Country
USA
Gender
Male
Master of the Skies said:
mrblakemiller said:
What's funny is that people are talking about Mark Millar as a misogynist and an immature writer who loves violence too much. For example, apparently a girl is raped in Kick-Ass 2, and that makes Millar a misgynist. Take this quote:

Laura Hudson, the former editor-in-chief of the popular blog Comics Alliance and a senior editor at Wired, thought that scene was deplorable, but typical of Millar. ?There's one and only one reason that happens, and it's to piss off the male character,? she said. ?It's using a trauma you don't understand in a way whose implications you can't understand, and then talking about it as though you're doing the same thing as having someone's head explode. You're not. Those two things are not equivalent, and if you don't understand, you shouldn't be writing rape scenes.?
Blatant selective reading if you get "A girl is raped so he's a misogynist" from that. It does *not* say that.
Definitely seems to be the case, but I can kinda see where he got that reading from, and it's a scarily simple inference. Basically it boils down to how you interpret this part of the quote: ?There's one and only one reason that happens, and it's to piss off the male character?. If you interpret that as "there's one and only one reason that [rape in fiction] happens, and it's to piss off the male character", then the quote reads as a blanket statement much like the OP seems to be interpreting it. If, however, you interpret it as "there's one and only one reason that [the rape in this scene] happens, and it's to piss off the male character", then it reads as a far more specific criticism focusing on Millar's ability to write such scenes. And I repeat, the latter seems the more likely interpretation.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
24,759
0
0
mrblakemiller said:
I'm really tired of seeing women write that men can't understand rape
Maybe if a handful of men wrote about rape in any mainstream medium in a way that demonstrated they understood it, there wouldn't be any complaints.

or that a comic with tons of death and estruction is only pushing too far if rape is involed (I'm one of those "death is worse than rape" types).
You're also one of those "stop having a different opinion from me" types, evidently. It comes off as pointless and whiny to insist that you're tired of other people thinking something is more severe simply on the grounds that you're the "type" to believe something different. Welcome to the internet, where people will disagree with you on just about everything.

But in a way, you're trivialising rape in a way that validates the first part of the sentence up there, and that's kind of the point in general.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
24,759
0
0
Asita said:
Definitely seems to be the case, but I can kinda see where he got that reading from, and it's a scarily simple inference.
It's inference drawn from an inability to parse for context and content, you mean.

One has to be willfully ignorant of the text or be unable to understand the full context to get to the point being inferred rather than the one being made. The wording is not clumsy or particularly ambiguous.
 

Erttheking

Member
Legacy
Oct 5, 2011
10,845
1
3
Country
United States
OrctheLorc said:
Like all Papists (and Millar is a cryptopapist, make no mistake), he is but a wolf in sheep's clothing. He might grin and say he's just writing stories, but he's in reality a tenacious assassin, forever rubbing his hands in antecipation of his next murder. Why are those rape and child killing scenes so bad? Because theyre autobiographical.
I'm sorry, what does this have to do with religion?

OT: Eh...rape is a rather serious issue that needs to be handled delicately. If you're going to be slap dash with it then frankly I can't really say you don't deserve to be criticized.
 

Asita

Answer Hazy, Ask Again Later
Legacy
Jun 15, 2011
2,967
700
118
Country
USA
Gender
Male
Master of the Skies said:
Given the sentence right before I'm not seeing much reasonable grounds for the former interpretation, as the fact it just said she thought that scene was deplorable and typical of Millar kind of suggests the next part that starts with a quote from her is about that. You can't just ignore that previous sentence, it's part of the context.
Hence why I made a point of saying that the latter interpretation seemed more likely :p
 
Jul 31, 2013
181
0
0
OrctheLorc said:
erttheking said:
OrctheLorc said:
Like all Papists (and Millar is a cryptopapist, make no mistake), he is but a wolf in sheep's clothing. He might grin and say he's just writing stories, but he's in reality a tenacious assassin, forever rubbing his hands in antecipation of his next murder. Why are those rape and child killing scenes so bad? Because theyre autobiographical.
I'm sorry, what does this have to do with religion?

OT: Eh...rape is a rather serious issue that needs to be handled delicately. If you're going to be slap dash with it then frankly I can't really say you don't deserve to be criticized.
Popery is not a religion, but a perfidious lie. And the liars are murderers, killers, cannibals, robbers, thugs, lollygaggers. And Millar is one of them.

You're either using a very advanced form of humor, incomprehensible to the common man on the internet or you're just rambling your pants off. Honestly, I have no clue.