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Mark Millar brings loser chic to superheroes.

By using superheroes in titles like Wanted and Kick Ass, Millar has brought the navel gazing and Gen-X-style angst of self indulgent, pity-party indie comics to what may loosely be termed a mainstream audience. This would be pathetic enough by itself, but it gets worse.

Part of his popularity is based on dismantling the superhero (or supervillain, as the case may be) as fantasy fulfilment. Nevermind that this work was done with far more aplomb (and even subtlety) well over twenty years ago by the likes of Alan Moore, Frank Miller, John Ostrander, Mike Grell, Steve Ditko, and Howard Chaykin. Millar's protagonists exist in a hyperrealistic world where they remain scrawny cry-babies at heart, no matter how good they have it. This isn't deconstruction, it's embracing all that is wrong with nerd culture. Aggrandizing petty suffering and self doubt to such heroic heights as to make martyrs of geeks everywhere reinforces the need for fantasy fulfilment. Playing into and then gleefully accepting a character's poorer justifications for proactive, yet anti-social (and often self debasing) behaviour veiled in a thin veneer of cynicism discourages normal interaction while building into the old hero-worship another prototype, a new mythology: that of the loser.

This is evidently what Mark Millar thinks of his readership. --It's probably also what he thinks of himself. His writing shows, if not a lot of thought, a depth of experience in and feeling for 'mainstream' comics and nerd culture.-- Meanwhile, fans clamour for more. Do they want to be told they are losers, or do they want to be told that is okay?

Either way, it's sad.

--And don't get me started on his Civil War nonsense for Marvel. That just shows he thinks comics fans are dumb, too. That series may have had the worst resolution of any major 'event' series in American comics, and, yes, I know there have been some bad ones.--


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