Lex Luthor And Mark Millar – Separated At Birth?

Thanks for Stu West for pointing out the physical comparison.

Yesterday, Mark Millar announced the Kapow Comic Con London. This is the latest move building a British-based comic/movie/convention/magazine empire.

First there is his prime partner, Titan; magazine and book publisher based in London, publishing everything from the monthly Batman Legends comic, TV magazines such as , and, of late, CLiNT Magazine, editorially run by Mark Millar. They also part of the same ownership group the southern wing of the comic store chain Forbidden Planet, who usually stock CliNT ahead of newsagent, subscriptions and rival comic shops – and appear as a backdrop in Millar’s Kapow videos. And, according to a Little Bleeder who talked to Mark Millar at a recent signing, Titan are providing funding for Kapow.

Note CLiNT’s heavy presence at Kapow, at which a bunch of CLiNT contributors will appear, as well as Forbidden Planet/Titan boss Nick Landau.

The show will launch a new creator owned comic from Millar and Dave Gibbons which will, in the fullness of time, be serialised in CLiNT. And seeing that Mark’s movie Miracle Park will debut there makes you wonder if, or how much, Forbidden Planet/Titan/Nick Landau put into it.

But in doing so, Mark has dragged Forbidden Planet and Titan slightly left field. Forbidden Planet is often dismissed for being a mainstream supermarket (despite ordering and selling a stack load of indie/small press titles alongside them) and Titan is best known for licensing titles from America, or creating magazines based on TV licences.

But with Mark Millar’s influence, they are now backing the production and promotion of creator-owned comic books, a number of which are outside the superhero genre as well. And yes while a number of them are written by him, a number are not, and he’s providing opportunities for new talent in the process. And making a comics magazine and comics convention with a very high public profile indeed.

So why do some see him as Lex Luthor?

What he has a repeated tendency to do is, rather than let his projects stand on their very deserved two feet, is he exaggerates their importance and denigrates competition – or simply doesn’t acknowledge their existence. So CLiNT was initially announced as if 2000AD or Viz Comic didn’t exist. The MCM London Expo was ignored as being a proper comics convention in London, dismissed as “anime”, despite delivering similar TV and movie content to Kapow, and ten times the audience that can fit inside Mark’s new show. Millar then has a habit of backtracking away from that statement outside of the central publicity to try and keep certain groups happy. But the announcement of both events was spectacular and important enough that it didn’t need to be exaggerated.

And his comic book concepts, often very good ones indeed, are described as something unique when the basic idea has been done before. As indeed have most ideas. Even, in some cases, by Mark Millar himself.

This is what he does. As a result, the news media re-report this information as gospel for an audience of hundreds of thousands, while those who know too much get all wound up and freak out online to an audience of about twelve. Millar wins.

Then there are the big overblown claims that don’t quite work out, the faked photographs and videos to promote his work, the announcements of announcements of announcements.

Yet inside all the whiffle is a solid body of work, both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, that has created a success both in comics and in Hollywood well ahead of his peers.

I sometimes think that Mark Millar has got so used to creating hype in the hope that it will solidify into reality, that he hasn’t realised that he doesn’t need to do this quite as much anymore. He’s already the real deal.

Basically, he’s now a Superman. But sometime he acts a bit like a Lex Luthor. Hey, how about that as a pitch for a comic?

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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