Grant Morrison Says The Nicest Thing About Mark Millar In Ages
Once upon a time Grant Morrison and Mark Millar worked as a creative team. Taking over 2000AD for their Summer Offensive, writing comics together such as Swamp Thing, Skrull Kill Krew, Flash and Aztek, they also planned to take over the Superman books with Mark Waid and Tom Peyer until internal DC Comics politics put paid to that. Then, on the back of The Authority, The Ultimates and Ultimate X-Men, Mark Millar's star began to rise. Grant Morrison wrote some of Millar's Authority when Millar was sick, but didn't believe they got the appropriate credit for it. Coupled with Millar's subsequent astronomic rise, with the likes of Old Man Logan, Civil War, Wanted, Kick-Ass, Kingsman and the like, Grant Morrison was, shall we say, less than kind to their former protege. The pair fell out badly, and never worked together – were never even seen together – again. They avoided each other, even not attending the same comic book conventions as the other. Not the only creators to have such an arrangement, mind. In an interview with Mark Millar a few years ago, The Daily Blam asked Millar about any issues with Grant Morrison as a documentary about Morrison had come out. He told them;
I haven't seen the documentary, so I don't really know, but I hung around for a long time with Grant in the 90s. I haven't really seen him in about a decade or something – he lives between LA and somewhere north of Scotland. There's no enmity or anything like that. I always enjoy his comics, Grant's always been good fun. I really like his stuff – there are no hard feelings whatsoever.
The Mindless Ones blog interviewed Morrison, and asked;
It seems like a massive reversal of cosmic justice that you're writing a memoir and Mark Millar appears to be able to just walk into any room and make a film any time he wants to. Do you feel like there's still a tension between you there?"
And Grant replied;
"There's a tension between us based on past history, but not… what you say isn't necessarily true, I don't want to say bad things about people like Mark and anyone but yes Kick Ass was made, Wanted was made, there are no other films any more made than say Joe The Barbarian and We3 which are all in the same state of production with directors attached, with screenplays…"
Since then Millar has also seen three Kingsman movies made, a Jupiter's Legacy TV series and a Supercrooks cartoon, while Morrison has had multi-media success with Happy and Brave New World, for which they actually write episodes. Though I did note that in the latest The King's Man, the big bad motivation was Scottish Nationalism just like Millar used to espouse, support and what got him his MBE. Another rift on display? Morrison continued;
"Hollywood doesn't work that way, you can't walk in a room, and he doesn't… you know I live in Hollywood, I live here four months of the year and I can know what goes on, there aren't 200 million dollars films being made, what can I say… I don't really want to say… I don't want to come out against somebody who will see it as an attack, it's all too easy to do. Mark has to make a certain smoke screen of himself, to look a certain way you know. Look at sales of Ultimates Comics Ultimates Vs Ultimate Avengers… that's what it's all about right now… I wish him well but there's not good feeling between myself and Mark for many reasons most of which are he destroyed my faith in human f-cking nature."
Later Grant would be interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, which included the following exchange;
Do you still hang out with your former protégé Mark Millar at all?
Is that an estranged situation?
It's a can of worms. I met Mark when he was 18, and I really got on with him, because he laughed at all my jokes. He has the same sense of humor as me, he's very dark, and has that sense of humor, so we bonded. I used to phone him every day, and we ended up doing some work together on 2000 AD, which went well. It was funny stuff, we'd meet in the pub and get drunk and do this Big Dave strip, which was a comedy strip, and obviously, he was trying to get into American comics, so I got him on in Swamp Thing, and they asked me to write the book but I said, "Let's get Mark in, let's give him a job," so I consulted with him on the stories, and so on through the Nineties. When he got the Authority book, his star started to rise, and at that point, he felt he was in my shadow and he had to get out, and the way to get out was to do this fairly uncool split. It was quite hard, I felt, but he had to make his own way, and he was in denial that I'd been there, because I saw a lot of his work had been plotted or devised, even dialogue suggestions were done by me right up until the point of The Ultimates. It was seen by him as a dimunition of his position, even though it wasn't, I was quite proud of him as a mentor. He's done well without me, he has his own style, he does his own stuff. It was kind of that archetype, you get caught up in that story.
You came out and acknowledged this, but that was after the estrangement?
Yeah. Before that, everyone in the business knew that I was working with him, it was obvious, I was 10 years older, I was already successful. His star rose, and that history became sidelined.
He still lives in Glasgow, is there a chance of bumping into him?
There's a very good chance of running into him, and I hope I'm going 100 miles an hour when it happens.
And there has been radio silence since, But in their most recent substack talking about Superman & The Authority, Grant wrote;
Sprinkled throughout Superman and the Authority are some nods towards the writing style of my erstwhile protégé and great mate Mark Millar who lit a fresh fire under The Authority with Frank Quitely in 2000…
'THING IS SWEETHEART, I PLEDGED YOUR PRECIOUS SOUL TO ENTITIES THAT WERE ANCIENT LONG BEFORE SATAN WAS CONCEIVED IN THE MIND OF MAN.'
…is me doing him. See if you can spot other homages to the Man, the Myth, The Millar!
Which is the nicest thing Grant has said about Mark in millennia. Might this mean a melting of malevolence between Millar and Morrison? Or just more playing games?