By Jarrod Jones. Mark Millar may be one ubiquitous and ambitious fellow, but let’s be real about one thing: waiting for his books to come out is a real bitch. (This would be a good time to get all of your “god, get over it” eye-rolling out of the way. There’s a point here that needs making.) Isn’t it a shame that whenever a new book from Millar’s, um, Millarworld comes out, the most common response from fans is, “god, fucking finally“?
I’m more than positive Millar is perfectly aware of this. In fact, that’s probably why he went ahead and addressed this exact problem to Comic Book Resources last October, stating very plainly what his plans were to stabilize the scheduling issues that have plagued his books (and since this point is gonna require some context, I’ve provided a quick transcript from that CBR exclusive):
Millar: “… The reason we’re waiting until April to launch the prequel [to Jupiter’s Legacy], even though the first issue is almost completely finished, is because all Millarworld series going forward will be completely drawn before the first issue comes out. It’s an expensive thing to do, as our rates for each artist are higher than they get at Marvel or DC, but it’s important to me that they hit a monthly schedule for every series.”
That’s right. All Millarworld series – be they Jupiter’s Legacy or War Heroes (wait, you may want to skip that) – will finally be released on time, monthly, and soon (ish). And once this new paradigm is implemented, there will no longer be any room for blame, be it towards artists who are well-paid for such grief, or towards Mr. Millar himself, whose obligations to projects outside the immediate comic book industry may or may not be the primary reason why his works frequently ship late. (Though it’s telling when artists like Tony Harris have to go online to defend their bread and butter in lieu of potentially-abandoned works with Millar like so: “Cheers. please go to Millarworld, hit the message boards and ask Mark. I am so bloody SICK of this shit. I cant draw scripts I dont have. Trying to do my thing.”) There may be trouble in paradise, but Mark Millar is on top of it.
Or so it would seem. The other piece of information worth mentioning from CBR’s October exclusive is that Jupiter’s Legacy is taking an extended hiatus in order for Millar to write a prequel to a series that has yet to truly find its bearings with a readership quickly losing interest in such a late-shipping book. (For reference, Jupiter’s Legacy #4 shipped last March. For further reference, if a child was conceived last March, that child was born last month. Which means that pregnancy occurs with more efficiency than Jupiter’s Legacy.)
Any interest with the much-hyped book by Millar and artist/co-creator Frank Quitely (who, it ought to be mentioned, is notoriously slow in crafting his artwork in the comics realm) looks to have been on the wane, calling into question as to whether or not it’s worth our time (to say nothing of Image Comics’) to continue investing in a series that may or may not arrive on our comics shelves any time in the near future. And with Millar’s prequel series looking to fill in the gaps to a story that hasn’t really been told, Jupiter’s Legacy #6 could very well go the way of the dodo. Or All-Star Batman and Robin #11. (It’s all about context.)
So where does that leave us? Yes, it’s true that Jupiter’s Legacy #5 shipped this week, and yes, it’s true that #5 is a book well worth reading. It’s a book that introduces an intriguing character in Major Barnabas Wolfe (whose name, along with his long, black cloak just might be a nod to that wonderful Dark Shadows TV series I once loved so well), a mustachioed, super-powered character who has chosen to hunt down super-humans instead of fighting crime in the face of the new world order (seriously, am I the only one who had to dig up the back issues to this series to remember exactly what the hell was going on?). But does any of it stick? Not for me, it doesn’t, and even when faced with top-notch artwork from Frank Quitely (who is – unequivocally – my favorite comics artist, just ask anybody), Jupiter’s Legacy #5 is a book that suffers greatly from its author’s lack of conviction. It’s one thing to get a book published. It’s quite another to see it through.
With comic book-to-film adaptations becoming more and more of a permeating thing, it’s awfully nice that our beloved creators get to see their names on websites from Variety and Entertainment Weekly. But when headlines that look like this pop up with very little to show for it, that nice feeling washes away in a sea of embarrassment. Mark Millar wants us to love comics. He wants us to love his comics. But in such a saturated and lively comics market, when there is fewer opportunities to appreciate the work he’s done, it becomes harder to bother enjoying the works when they finally come out. The future of comic books won’t be found in Hollywood. It will be found in the gratitude of comic book readers.
Written by Mark Millar.
Art by Frank Quitely.
Colors by Peter Doherty.
THE BOOK: 9 out of 10
THE WAIT: 1 out of 10