Mark Millar talked to Jim Viscardi about his life in comics for two hours for Jim’s Let’s Talk Comics podcast. We heard a lot of the usual stories about Mark Millar’s childhood, his early struggles in the medium and eventual monumental success through comics and movies. But there were a few new nuggets in the mix.
Including after The Authority and while he was working on Ultimate X-Men, being flown out with Frank Quitely to the West Coast Wildstorm offices and offered a salary deal and the costs of moving Glasgow to San Diego to work for Wildstorm full time. And that he was also offered Gen 13 and WildCATS to work on, but after Quitely declined to join him and went to Marvel for New X-Men for a higher page rate, he went full time with Marvel instead.
But also the news that Mark Millar originally pitched the industry-changing 2006 Civil War a couple of years earlier as an X-Men-only plotline, which would have been with Bryan Hitch.
At the time it was going to be something quite different, like, in 2004 I pitched Marvel a thing called X-Men: Civil War, a couple of years before Civil War, it was just going to involve the X-Men, and my idea was to take the mutant split between Charles and Erik forward one generation, like Bryan Hitch was going to do it, we were going to follow the Ultimates with this, we thought for forty years they’d been doing the same story in X-Men with Charles and Erik, well to have two best friends falling out who we never quite saw at the time falling out isn’t as powerful as two guys now falling out, my idea was Professor X dies at the hands of humans, that causes a massive split between Wolverine and Cyclops, and Cyclops goes off and becomes the Magneto essentially and half of the X-Men go with him and become the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Bryan started doing designs but Bryan is ten times slower than he always thinks, Bryan says “I’m going to have Ultimates finished in six months” and three years later still going on shelved never got around to doing it….
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
But as Hitch was still on the increasingly-late Ultimates, the plot fell away until it popped up again at a Marvel writers retreat and took on a new life.
Now, how much you believe is up to you. But it does suggest that he current state of the X-Men books, kickstarted by the 2011 Schism and the 2012 Avengers Vs. X-Men had its origins earlier and elsewhere.
This is what Millar told Newsarama back in 2006, in a now-deleted interview, discussing talking with Bendis at that retreat,
That night, we all went out and again me and Bri quietly expressed our concerns that the project they were talking about was a good story, but didn’t feel like a crossover. It just didn’t feel big enough. So next morning, we’re heading out shopping and BB looks kind of excited, saying he thinks we should do something totally different. He suggests we do something he’d been setting up a little in New Avengers and Secret Wars with a Superhuman Registration. He had this notion of S.H.I.E.L.D. hunting the heroes and making them all give up their secret IDs for the S.H.I.E.L.D. database. I thought this was great and Brian pitched it at the meeting. Everybody liked it, but my only concern was that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been over-used lately (especially Nick Fury) and suggested we make it heroes versus heroes.
I was actually pinching from the concept Bryan Hitch and I had been developing (the original title of which was “Civil War”) and brought this ‘brother versus brother’ idea into the mix. People were getting more and more excited as we all started talking, guessing who’d take who’s side and so on. But Jeph Loeb really crystallized it all when he stood up and said “Who’s Side Are You On?”.