Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mark Millar's CLiNT - Quick Thoughts

Y'know, I fanlad rage on Mark Millar as good as the rest but he’s finally crossed a line that has made me see him for what he really is. His latest venture is CLiNT Magazine and it promises to bring the funk, predominantly the UK funk to the UK funkers, and will also house his Kick-Ass sequel, subtitled Balls To The Wall. But this isn’t about what he’s doing, this is about what he is. Hit the jump to see what I think he is. And, no, that thought does not share the title as his new magazine.

CLiNT. Geddit? As usual Mark Millar is as subtle as a sledge hammer with his attempt to win over the audience, or possibly ostracise himself from them. Over time, Millar has shown himself as the king of the high concept pitch, or the jester of the low concept pitch, I always forget which way it goes. Here’s his latest offering in his own press released statement, no hyperbole added by me.

Comics by two of the UK’s most outspoken TV personalities and burgeoning writing talents – Jonathan Ross and stand-up comedian Frankie Boyle – will feature in CLiNT Magazine, an exciting new joint venture between Kick Ass creator Mark Millar and Titan Magazines. Millar’s sequel to his cult comic and smash hit movie will also feature in the monthly title to form a stunning line-up of stories.

"This is The Eagle for the 21st Century,” declares Millar, whose genre-busting Kick-Ass scooped the number one movie spot in America and whose previous work includes Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. “I’ve worked on everything from Spider-Man comics to the Iron Man movie for Marvel in New York, but what really excites me is the gap I see in the UK market at the moment. There are absolutely no comic-books aimed at 16-30 year old guys and I think CLiNT has potential to make an enormous impact, bringing a new type of magazine to a new generation.

“I want this to be edgy and irreverent, the kind of thing guys will be passing around lunch-halls and common rooms, and there’s nobody I’d rather have creating new characters for CLiNT than Jonathan and Frankie. They’re both brilliant writers and will surprise a lot of people with this stuff. The last thing you’d expect from Jonathan, for example, is a vampire strip, but he pulls it off amazingly. People are going to love this.”

Millar is also launching his sequel to the hit Kick-Ass movie in the first issue of the comic. "Kick-Ass 2: Balls To The Wall" has been scheduled for production in 2011 for a 2012 cinema release, but fans of the first movie can find out what happens two years in advance by picking up CLiNT.

The 100-page magazine will be packed with interviews and features from movies, games and television as well as four serialized comic-strips. The biggest names in entertainment will be featured every month and some will even be sticking around to write sci-fi, humour or horror stories after they’ve been interviewed and quizzed.


CLiNT #1
On-sale September 2nd in the UK
For future exclusive information on CLiNT, join:
http://www.twitter.com/CLiNTmag

Millar usually annoys me, to be quite honest, and I don’t care for what work of his I have read, but he sells and he’s a pretty big force, there’s no doubting that. Looking at his methodology for CLiNT I kind of appreciate what he’s going for. He sees a gap in the market and he wants to plug it. He’s very open with what he’s setting out to do and that’s actually pretty cool. And it is this concept that led me to realise that Millar just wants to recreate the salad days of his youth.

They always say that the golden age of any passion (be it comics, sci-fi, sports, whatever) is when you’re thirteen. You’ll never have that passion matched by the understanding of what you’re discovering again. All is new and all is awesome. Then you get old. Millar doesn’t want to get old, and his work proves it.

Most of Millar’s work reminds me of the sort of thing I’d spit ball with my brothers as we caught the train an hour each way to the comic shop in town when I was a youngling. We’d constantly one up each other with “Aw, wouldn’t it be cool if…?” moments and it was a blast. Well, Millar turned those cool thoughts into pitches and actually got to write them (Enemy Of The State, Red Son, Civil War, Old Man Logan, Kick-Ass, Nemesis, Marvel Zombies, which I know he didn’t write but it was his idea). All of those titles are easily summed up in one cool low concept tag line (What if Wolverine became a bad guy? What if Superman landed in Russia? What if all the heroes started to fight? What if Wolverine was old and went across the country with no discernibly logical purpose to see a bunch of cool Marvel fanfic sites? What if a normal kid wanted to be a superhero? What if Batman was a CLiNT?).

Sure, many stories are easily summed up by that elevator pitch line, but Millar’s just seem like they came straight from a teen’s mouth, and I’m sure decades ago they did. He’s living that fantasy writ large, no matter how many people might hate it. But now, with CLiNT I can finally see the icing on the cake. He wants this magazine to be the sort of illicit and sordid collection of pages that were passed under desks in years gone by. Frazetta covers with breasts, or Vampirella, or pin ups of Barbarella, that was the sort of thing stuffed into lockers and down boys’ pants. That Millar wants to create it is understandable, but it will surely fail. Those treasures of years gone by were classics, no argument, but they didn’t set out to be, they just were. They didn’t have to try to be it and then tell you all about how they were doing it, they just did it. Millar doesn’t have the ability to just let it get done he has to show and tell you all about it. It’s really kind of sad. I see this sort of thing in the classroom all the time, the kid who just wants attention and will say anything to get it. He’ll dream of how glorious it will go down and concoct masturbator fantasies of, finally, being king of the hill. But that’s not how the tale goes, sorry, mate.

I will addend to this rant one more side-thought by adding the sequel to Kick-Ass he has added a great flavour for people to go and try out the entire thing, but in the same breath he's probably also pushed away a lot of casual readers brought in by the film who would possibly want more but this news will shunt them into a guaranteed trade waiting situation. I'm interested to see if this means the new Kick-Ass is not associated with the Icon imprint from Marvel Comics.

Conclusion

Just the idea of naming his magazine CLiNT should be enough to anger me, Millar always aims for the lowbrow (stating that Nemesis made “Kick-Ass Look Like S#!t” right on its cover), but it doesn't. This will most likely cheapen his work (which seems to be what he wants, he’s not courting the mainstream with this, he’s firmly planting the corsage of hope into the breast pocket of the perverted and subverted) and sadly, it may give comics a bad name, in certain eyes and circles. Or a worse name, whichever you prefer. But I can’t hate Millar for it anymore, I just kind of feel for the man. He’s just trying to explicitly and overtly recreate the time when he was probably most happy, his youth. You can’t begrudge a man for that, but you don’t exactly have to support him either. You decide what you make of it. What are your thoughts about CLiNT?


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22 comments:

Dickey said...

I've come across some of the fanlad rage about Millar's choice of name for this comic too. But in this case it might be slightly off base. For once, apparently Millar is not just trying to up his CLiNT quotient by coming up with this name, but is repurposing an old Sixties/Seventies joke from when this magazine style comics thing actually had some weight to it. It seems back then the typefaces for many comics regularly made Clint look like the title up there. Therefore a comics culture in joke was spawned that many of us in the later generations were not privy too, since they changed the typefaces to make the pages a little more appropriate for the kiddies. Cause you know, comics are like Wu-Tang. For the Kids.

Anyways, while I'm not typically a fan of Mr. Millar I will raise my hands and applaud him for this. Trying to put out a newsstand anthology with a concentration on getting some smaller writers exposure is a classy move. Even if the writing contained therein may not always be too classy itself. It's nice to see a creator put that big name they've gotten themselves to use and try to take back some of the old ground comics use to inhabit. Hell maybe he can even break some new ground in form and help our culture pull itself out of the direct market ghetto and back into a slightly more mainstream/populist place. The one where there will be an audience for more variety than supes, tights, and cleavage. One were we can trust numerous creators will be rewarded for ideas and stories out of our traditional status quo.

Now will Millar do all this himself? Oh hell no, I won't be that foolish. But maybe, juuust maybe a project like this can be one of those stepping stones towards a comics market and culture that I can be more comfortable getting behind.

Anonymous said...

"CLiNT. Geddit?" No... I really don't. What's the "joke"?

Kirk Warren said...

@Anon - It looks like something Hitgirl would say. Cunt.

Anonymous said...

Poster #2, Combine the L and the i in CLiNT as if they were one letter. It comes off as one the words that one of Mark Miller's characters (lets say...Hit-Girl) might say.

Radlum said...

What happened to Mark Millar? Before he became more "public" this year I actually liked the guy, he seemed like a not very deep but ultimately very entertaining writer (Wolverine: Enemy of the State, Superman: Red Son, Ultimates, Ultimate X-Men), but now everything he does is portrayed as douchey because he's got an army of people who hate him and because he usually acts like a douche. It's kind of sad that when you get to know the person behind the comics, that "humanization" isn't helpful all the times.

Anonymous said...

Poster Number 2 back again. I had too many midterms this week to think of that, but it does suck. Dude's a knob.

Anonymous said...

I think this says canceled in 16 months. For starters, i doubt there is much a market in britain alone to justify it and second, i think the readership will just sink after the first few issues.

Other than that, I think for all Millar faults, he's still a great writer compared with the most of us. He wouldn't have gain the trust of Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis otherwise. I for one like his more low brow concepts

Brandon Whaley said...

Millar needs to give it up. I respect the idea here, but the method and execution are so juvenile. "I'll make the title seem like a dirty word! That's edgy!" No, that's immature, Mark. Grow up and stop giving comics a bad name.

Alpha Monkey said...

The last Millar related comic that I found midly interesting was The Authority #28, eight years ago.

And Grant Morrison ghost-wrote it.

Anonymous said...

if you dont like it dont read it jesus. are all you guys stereotypical comic nerds that bitch over a comic that is not intended to be deep ?

Anonymous said...

frankie boyle is a ledgend :) you americans probs will not like it. too edgy for you.
ps agree with last comment

Anonymous said...

looks good . my god leave the guy alone . I love all three of them and I live in Britain so looking forward to it. why did you write this? its just a word its not even related to cunt.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Anonymous10,11,12 (whether the same guy or three different my response will cover all) Thanks for the comments, it's always appreciated to hear a variety of thought round these parts.

As for my reason to write this in the first place, I simply wanted to share my views on what was a piece of comic news. If you'll read the review carefully you'll see that I don't just cuss the man out and say everyone should stay away from the magazine, or that it's shit when I haven't even seen a word in print yet. I simply offer my view, and it is only the view of me, that the title alone is pretty purile, but I admit that this is what he's aiming for. He wants the magazine to be smutty, juvenile, I admit this and understand it but I just don't agree with the way he's going about doing it. I'm not bitching for no reason, in the end I think he's got his heart in the right place, to a degree, I just don't think it will be successful. If you think it looks good then I don't think my words should, nor would, ever stop you from picking it up. I am not robbing you of any enjoyment whatsoever, I am only sharing one view. Whether people agree with my view or not does not worry me, I don't write everyone's thoughts, only my own. I don't like it and can guarantee that I won't be reading it. Doesn't mean I can't review the news surrounding it.

But do I think it's a poor idea to aim a comic magazine at kids/teens and basically name it CUNT. Yeah, I think that's a pretty rank idea. Does Millar have a reason for doing it, sure looks like it but it's still selling something that you know kids will call CUNT and that's not the best idea, nor marketing strategy.

And to settle one thing, I am Australian. I'm pretty sure we get every type of humour down under, just not the bullshit 'anonymous' type, we hang our balls out with our views and stand by them.

Anonymous said...

yes....balls :s

Anonymous said...

just read above comments. I do not understand whats wrong about millar. He is a comicbook writer and he does not pretend that his comics have substance or much personality. people like his books and Im sure the comic will do well with all the popular writers. There is nothing wrong to aim for teenagers with immature smut . why do you think family guy has done so well. just my view though:P

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Anonymous15 - see, that's my problem. I HATE Family Guy. I don't mind other people watching it, enjoying it, loving it, but I cannot stand it. The writing is sub-par but it obviously strikes a chord. Though, as a teacher, I see far too many kids who think they're Bart Simpson or Stewie and they rant in class and even look to imaginary audiences/cameras. Sadly, too many young kids are viewing shows like FG and at such an age start to think that if we laugh at that character in the show then we'll laugh at them acting like that in real life. Those kids do not fare well in schools, or in life. Not to say that all FG fans become losers in life, but I would not hold that show up as an example of being puerile working for any greater good.

Michael Bay doesn't mind putting out movies that are nothing but explosions and bad scripting, but that doesn't make them okay for what they are. Sometimes they find a niche, and sometimes they suck. Creators should always be looking to extend themselves, not just get their Uwe Boll on.

You'll also notice that I never slammed the content particularly of CLiNT but rather the stupid name and then simply discussed the fact that Millar is out to very specifically and exactly recreate his childhood in a very planned and inorganic way. Never said the comic itself would be garbage.

Anonymous said...

sorry off topic it aint family guy or simpsons if your kids are losers its the parents

Anonymous said...

yeah its not the shows fault . The shows arent to blame that kids from Austraila are fucking retards lol

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