Mark Millar is flattered by Joss Whedon’s The Avengers

With The Avengers almost coming out to theaters here in the U.S., Mark Millar, co-creator of Marvel’s The Ultimates, chimes in on his thoughts on Joss Whedon’s The Avengers being inspired by The Ultimates.

Back in the early 2000s, Marvel trusted Mark Millar to reinvent The Avengers, making them hip for a new audience and making them relevant. You may or may not like the new approach to The Ultimates, but the film has been inspired by it, especially having Nick Fury be modeled after Samuel L. Jackson.

“The Ultimates was the book I wanted to write when I started at Marvel eleven years ago, but the Avengers characters were regarded by management as less commercial than the X-Men and so they offered me Ultimate X-Men instead. The idea was to re-invent their characters for a modern audience and X-Men launched at number one so they trusted me with the Avengers revamp. Even so, they still tried to talk me into a Wolverine book instead as Cap, Thor, Iron Man and Hulk were all, in the company’s eyes, a little less cool.”

“But I always loved them and used what capital I had at the company to push this through and Editor In Chief Joe Quesada was very supportive of me. I told him I wanted Bryan Hitch on art, even though Bryan had just signed with another company, and they moved Heaven and Earth to get him on the project. We really just took all the elements that made The Avengers hard for a mainstream audience to accept and streamlined all the characters into a single book, bringing them under the command of Nick Fury to pull the whole thing together. I’d wanted more ethnically diverse characters in the line and made Nick Fury black, but it was Bryan who came up with the genius idea of Samuel L Jackson to be the face of the character’s reinvention.”

“Our first storyline was basically Independence Day with superheroes and we took the Chitauri aliens from the David Icke books and made them the bad guys, Loki being the the villain from our second book. Kevin Fiege (who runs Marvel Studios) was a big fan of the books and told us it made him realise an Avengers movie could actually be a lot simpler than they’d thought and so they used book one and the ending to book two as the template for the movie, which is enormously flattering. People have suggested we should feel ripped off, but we don’t own these characters. All we did was give them a lick of paint and come up with a story and the visuals. These are Marvel-owned characters and I have my own little empire with Millarworld so I’m genuinely just pleased to see all this on the big screen and wish them nothing but the best with it.”

I’m fine with The Avengers movie taking story elements from The Ultimates, but I hope that the superheroes retain their personalities from their classic versions.

The Avengers is already out in the UK today and will be in U.S. theaters on May 4th, 2012.

Source: New Impress Magazine

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John Nguyen
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