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I know I'm the token Millar fanboy, but I feel you hit on something everyone misses with Millar. Millar's writing is never about the plot, it's about the execution. (This is in direct contrast to his old buddy Morrison, who is always about the plot, not the execution.) With the execption of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, no one in comics does execution better than Millar. Wolverine is so wonderful because it's nothing but satire. Wolverine and a blind archer hit the road in the Spider-Buggy? That's not a plot, it's a set-up for a series of satire.

Millar is essentially pissing all over everything Morrison is trying to do in Batman. It's really an interesting, and funny, way to deconstruct another author's work.

I dunno, I just felt like saying it. The reason I like Millar so much is because he's all about execution.

I might have a little more tolerance for Old Man Logan if it was somebody like Romita doing the art--I just find McNiven's work on these issues so fucking sterile. I feel like i'm just looking at the art equivalent of a Swedish designed examination room. It's all these clean images that look refined beyond any relatable human appearance, like that Final Fantasy movie--and it reads like the cut scenes from a video game. I feel like i've just finished the driving level, and now it's time for the flashback portion where I get to use Wolverine's claws against Mr. Sinister.

Millar's execution is never very elegant, though, and I think you're misusing satire. What is it satirizing, exactly? I felt more like it was stripmining Marvel trivia and going "Hey remember when this happened!"

Old Man Logan is just Hush in the barren wastelands of the Unforgiven future. Mad Logan Beyond Thuderdome, featuring All Your Favorites.


I'm not misusing "satire." That's rather condescending of you. I think you're upset because I don't think highly of Morrison's Batman. You need a teddy bear and some cocoa.

I said flat out Millar is satirizing Morrison's "all continuity is valid" approach in Batman when I said "Millar is pissing all over [it]." I'm guessing that's the part that set you off. I mean, Wolverine is driving the damn Spider-Buggy. A woman named Spider-bitch decapitated a man with a shotgun. If you can't see the satire there, I can't help you.

Also, Millar has some of the most elegant execution in comics. His comics certainly don't sell because of big ideas. He's like Michael Bay - there's nothing there plot wise to chew on, but he makes ordinary, mundane scenes memorable and thrilling in a purely visceral way.

As for McNiven's art, yeah, it's boring as Hell and it's stripping the story of all its humor. I think Romita's art gives Millar's work the touch of a sincerity that isn't there. I think Millar needs to work with someone like Kyle Baker.

Kenny, that's the dumbest, most surface-level read of both comics I can imagine.

There's nothing remotely satirical about Old Man Logan, other than embracing the expanse of the Marvel Universe in all of its goofiness and extrapolating it to a post-armageddon scenario. I'm also very doubtful Millar has even READ Morrison's Batman, never mind sees fit to comment on it, and if he were the "all continuity is true" approach wouldn't be what he was mocking because it's hardly unique to Morrison's approach to Batman. Maybe he's commenting on Frubaker's Iron Fist! Or Meltzer's Justice League!

And yeah, you are misusing satire, as satire is supposed to be a satire OF SOMETHING. And if you're saying that Old Man Logan is a satire of Morrison's Batman, I have no fucking clue what you're smoking.

That said, I love McNiven, but agree that he's wrong for this storyline.

Well, no, I wasn't being condescending. I genuinely think that you're misusing satire, because Spider-bitch blowing off a man's head with a shotgun or Wolverine driving the Spider-buggy isn't satire any more than Human Torch going on a Spider-buggy joyride or Hypno Hustler getting shot to death in Spider-Man: Reign was satire.

What Millar is doing is using the tropes of the Marvel universe for an emotional connection. It's a reference, not satire. I'm sure that there is a hyperaccurate German word to describe it, but he's playing with the toys in order to make the kids go "Whooo!"

If you think I'm upset that you don't think highly of Morrison's Batman... well, again, you're wrong. I like Morrison's Batman, but I also believe that it's a storytelling mess and the art is awful. I probably won't buy the collection at all. I don't care what you think about it, and I'm not the guy that's going to get after you because of that. You must have me confused with someone else.

So, again, what is Millar satirizing, and how? Spider-bitch killing someone isn't satire.

And what are examples of some of Millar's elegant executions? All he has are big ideas ("Wolverine in the New Old West," "Wolverine Versus the Marvel Universe," "What If Captain America Was a Jerk"). What are these elegant executions that you are referring to?

Look at shit getting all a-heated. I figured the only comments this week would be ones asking why there were only five comics on the docket. Surprising!

kenny, i'd love to back you up--you've got some big David Brothers guns aimed at you--but yeah, i'm not really seeing satire either. I will say that when I'm reading Old Man Logan, I get a pretty distinct parody thing between it and Miller's DKR--all of Hawkeye and Logan's conversations seem to have a direct line between them and the conversations between Bruce and Gordon in the first few pages of DKR. That's it for me though--I need my parody/look at all this referencing to have some kind of point (no matter whether it's a good one or not) before I'll start calling it satire.

In your defense though, I read a lot of the same blogs that you do, and I can think of some really popular ones that have consistently referred to parody as satire, and the line of proper distinction gets blurred for me. You and I don't read the same way, I'm sure, but I find myself--especially with comic blogs--to ingest them whole and then figure out what it is I didn't like when I get to the vomit-our-response portion. (While I'm not going to speak for anyone, I have a pretty decent relationship with one blogger who does the complete reverse--combative from word one, agreeable later--and I'd imagine most readers end up somewhere in the middle.) Then again, maybe you've got an argument for Old Man Satire Logan, and i'm just waiting to have my mind blown.

On the Millar/Michael Bay thing--well, I think what works to Millar's strengths is when he's got the interconnected "important" card to play. Civil War worked for a lot of people because it had this weight underneath it, where all this stuff that Millar would throw out there (his quips, his huge archetypal portrayals of iconic characters, his nihilistic shoot-muthafuckas-in-the-sewers action, with everybody--Cap, Iron Man, the FF, Spidey--all getting bloodied up) all of that stuff was presented with this knowledge that what was going on "mattered" to Marvel Comics. When he doesn't have that going for him--like Old Man Logan, or that i wanna go to sleep now thing he's doing with Fantastic Four--he's just got super-hero comics that aren't motivated by plot, but by the circumstances that occur around an idea. If Old Man Logan was only a few issues in, then maybe I'd give him more rope, but it's not a few issues in, and the whole thing lacks any story beyond "look at these old people, they are old."

I know some people don't like to hear harping on one panel continuity screw-ups, but look at that Hawkeye panel again, the one where Logan warns him of what will be visible when the headlights go on. Why doesn't Millar see that as a mis-step? Why does he throw in some boilerplate "you ain't going to like what you see" dialog when he's made the character blind?

It's because Millar doesn't do stuff for a story. He does stuff for a page. There's no long-form planning there--the kind of planning that guys like Brubaker does (or Morrison, which I reserve the right to detract if the Black Glove is Dr. Fate or Ted Kord.) Millar's thing is just random shit that gets produced out of the idea machine. When the idea is something simple--like "wolverine kills everything, and john romita draws it"--then it works like a charm. When it's used as the framework for an entire Marvel line of stories--like Civil War--it will work just because all the other writers are there to put enough pieces on the table to make it work. (That don't mean "it good.") But yeah, it "works." But when it's just a one-shot, designed for the trade story, and the only idea is "it's post-apocalyptic and wolverine needs to get some gingham for his wife", then the story has to have a real, honest to goodness, plot. And then maybe a theme, although that might be stretching it.

Going back to Romita Jr drawing it - he would be awesome, but pretty much anyone with a sense of vista. I really think Millar lives and dies on how much his artist is willing to input. Any story that's going to require a lot of thought into worldbuilding isn't going to be aided by McNiven drawing it.

I'd make a case that Millar is, in Northrop Frye's terms, a "low-norm satirist". And parody is a technique he sometimes uses.

Here's a link to an essay by Bill Krohn that talks about Joe Dante as a low-norm satirist:


Here's a link to a page from the a_film_by archives where Krohn is involved in a discussion about how Frye's concept of satire as a genre and a mythos might apply to contempo film-crit:


The key here is the idea that what differentiates the genres is the position of the characters relative to the audience. In romance the characters are "more free than us", in comedy "as free", in tragedy "more free, then less (after the fall)", and in satire "less" free than us.

I'd say that "Old Man Logan" is a satirical romance, in that the underlying structure is a romantic quest, but the traditional elements are undermined/reversed. Just like "The Road Warrior"!

That said, I don't think it has anything at all to do with Morrison's Batman.

Millar's not writing satire, but he probably thinks he is. If that makes sense.

Thanks for the links Jon--Dante has done some shit, but he doesn't get enough credit for the cleverness of some of his work.

Somebody asked me last night why people were talking about Mark Millar, and after I explained, sort of, who the guy is, they said "Oh, so he's like Brett Ratner."

I don't know why that was the director they picked, but upon reflection, yeah. Mark Millar is like Brett Ratner.

Brett Ratner has a dvd of Windowlicker that he keeps with him at all times and randomly shows to anyone he meets (which he then brags about on DVD extras for other people's work). Mark Millar has never been that cool.

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