Thursday, August 25, 2011

What If?... Millar Fully Didn't Write The Ultimates

Grant Morrison recently alluded in a Rolling Stone interview that he'd not received credit for certain works of his. On December 29, 2008, I wrote something and left it in draft form and sort of forgot about it. That was until yesterday when someone reminded me about a conversation we'd had almost three years ago...

Take it as pure speculation on my part...

At the time of The Ultimates' release, Grant Morrison was moving on from his Marvel exclusive contract and started in with his new Vertigo/DC assignments. As many folks know, writers Mark Millar and Grant Morrison were great friends and had been known to help shepherd Millar into comics. Millar and Morrison had gone on to receive co-writing credits on such books as The Flash and Skrull Kill Krew.

Millar after having a fairly well publicized fallout with DC Comics' following their handling of his Superman: Red Son series, left to go to Marvel and one of the first announced titles was yes, The Ultimates, a re-imagining of Marvel mainstay, The Avengers.

Ultimates comics suddenly started coming in with some frequency and they seemed to be more polished, less snarky and even snappier than some of Millar's previous solo works. Ultimates Volume One possessed the "Rah! Rah! We can conquer all spirit" I'd very much liked about Morrison's JLA run and less of the cynicism of Millar's Authority work. Frankly, it read as a perfect melding of the two's sensibilities and was generally received as such.

Ultimates Vol. 1 wrapped up to overwhelmingly positive reviews and then a few months later Morrison's work started seeing the light of day at DC. Later on, Ultimates V. 2 came out and fell into the more jaded, cynical style Millar has sort of become known for.

To this day, I am convinced, after reading nearly everything Morrison has put out, that he had a MAJOR hand in ghosting Ultimates with Flash co-writer and friend Millar. If you ever doubt it, read volume two of his JLA run back-to-back with Ultimates and you'll see what I'm talking about. Without Morrison's input, Ultimates Vol. 2 would go on to read as very cynical and dark, something more in line with Millar's Autority work.

Again, speculation but hey, go back and read between the lines of the interview.


Jason Langlois said...

I wonder if that's possible. I have never enjoyed anything Millar's written, while I have managed to enjoy pretty much everything Morrison's written.

And I didn't enjoy The Ultimates (too much of the snarky, jaded, cynical style of Millar in it), but there were bits I liked which has always thrown me... I was worried I might actually be liking something Millar did.

Your suggestion that Morrison might have been involved takes some of my worry away.

Graig Kent said...

The specific quote is interesting:

"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."

Now, I chose to read that initially as Morrison had stopped "mentoring" Millar when he started the Ultimates, but as you suggest, it could actually mean he was collaborating with him on the Ultimates itself, which would explain (mirroring your own explanation) why it would be the last work of Millar's I actually enjoyed.

Devon Sanders said...

Yeah, I sat on this post for nearly 3 years because I didn't want to seem like I was trying to slight Millar but having read what Morrison said I figured it was time to finally post it.