Mark Millar On Why Revealing Superman's Secret Identity is a Bad Idea – And Why He Revealed Spider-Man's.
Mark Millar popped by John Siuntres' Word Balloon podcast before Christmas to talk about his work for Netflix, what led up to it and the state of comic books today, and over the past few decades. Siuntres also asked him about the news of Brian Bendis, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado getting rid of Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent. Millar tells John,
"I hate the idea of this being used against Bendis because I do love him. Brian is one of my favourite people in the industry and I love that he's doing this stunt because this stunt is a great stunt. Comics work best with a great little stunt out there… and will make the tabloid newspapers.
But I do think from a storytelling point of view I'm a massive fan of secret identities. I think secret identities is the most important component of all superhero things. It's one of Marvel's mistakes of 2000 to get rid of the secret identity
'Secret identities' is what the reader is and then they become the hero through reading the stories… Kids identify with the human and then get a chance to do these adventures. Something quite unique to superheroes, someone who pretends to be a coward or a dandy. It works when Bruce Wayne pretended to be a shallow, shallow person, the last person you'd believe to be Batman. And the same with Clark Kent, a guy who can crush a diamond, and yet chooses to spend eight hours a day sitting and typing and taking abuse and hiding behind a pair of glasses. That's the mythology of it. A god choosing to become a person, and I love that…"
And he's keeping that aspect in the Netflix adaptation of Jupiter's Legacy, which has just wrapped filming, with people sneaking off to become superheroes when they are needed. "I kinda miss that". But he also talked about when he did the same, taking away Spider-Man's secret identity as Peter Parker in Civil War. A storyline that had superheroes being employed by the government as police officers, having to give up their secret identity to do so. But at Marvel at the time, lots of characters didn't have one, it was just Daredevil and Spider-Man. Joe Quesada said that they were going to be rebooting Spider-Man 'with a magic wish' in a year, so Peter Parker giving up his secret identity was a safer story to do in that respect. But as Millar says,
"The clever thing is we're talking about Superman for the first time in years. Remember in the 90's when they gave Superman a mullet? You have to do something in Superman to shake things up once in awhile, and I prefer the secret identity change to the mullet."
Listen to "Television Comic Books Mark Millar The Barefoot (Netflix) Executive" on Spreaker.