Mark Millar is a comic author hailing from Cumbernauld
; a satellite town just outside Glasgow
's largest city. He is particularly noted for his work on Ultimate X-Men
and The Ultimates
for Marvel Comics
His first published work was Saviour for trident comics. Christ was resurrected as a homeless beggar and the devil was a TV celebrity. If it were done anywhere else but in Scotland it would be huge. It did highlight Millars' treatment of celebrities, something that he has done to death in most of the books he has since written.
Millar's breakthrough came with Vertigo's Swamp Thing. He started off co-writing with fellow Scottish scribe, Comics svengali and one time good personal friend Grant Morrison before taking the writing chores single handed to great acclaim.
Millar became one of the most popular and respected comics authors when he took on the Wildstorm title The Authority with Frank Quitely after series creators Warren Ellis and Brian Hitch concluded their run with the death of Jenny Sparks at Midnight 1/1/2000. Millar and Quitely put together one of the most provocative comics of the day with The Authority taking a more proactive role in creating a better world (deposing dictators etc) rather than beating up muggers. This paradigm shift was huge as it now meant that superheroes were now forcing the Russian army from Cechnya and China out of Tibet rather than reinforcing a status quo they believed to be corrupt.
There was also a storyline involving a rogue doctor (the anthological personification of all of earth's shamans) and the liberal Authority being decimated and replaced by G7 Government sanctioned lookalikes.
Suffice to say these plots shocked many including the DC Comics editors who cancelled the book in 2001 (although the final issue was published summer 2002) citing sensitivities over September 11thand the uber-violence of the book. By this time The Authority had succeeded in changing the world - at least in comics; The Avengers as a ruling power, anyone?
Before The Authority had concluded Millar was writing Ultimate X-Men which along with Ultimate Spiderman has been the centrepiece of a reinvigorated Marvel Comics. The first storyline, The Tomorrow People was everything great about Mark Millars' work; the updates were relevant and witty (Rogue is now a goth], the plotting extremely tacit and fluid and the action takes place on a widescreen scale. Although Ultimate X-Men lost some steam after Chuck Austendelivered two markedly inferior issues and the art team was juggled (Ultimate Spidey has had the same team for 4 years; X-Men's record is 8 issues)it is one of the most enjoyable books running, even with Millar having stepped aside to work the Ultimates among other books. The Ultimates is the Ultimate Marvel makeover of the Avengers. Within 6 issues it was a firm fan favourite with Millars' succinct style beautifully illustrated by Brian Hitch's astoundingly lifelike art. Among the (desperately needed) updates to the Avengers is Thor being altered from the Asgardian who speaks (poor) Shakespearian English to an Hippie who had something of an epiphany. The Ultimates biggest problem is its' long intervals between issues and loyal fans waiting up to 4 months between issues.
Another notable project by Millar in recent months was Superman: Red Son, a tale where The Man Of Steel lands in The Soviet Union rather than Smallville as a child. There is also the Much hyped Ultimate Fantastic Four which is co-written by the talented Brian Michael Bendis.