Hey Mark Millar fans! Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt y’know. UPDATED!

Posted: March 9, 2010 in Marvel
Tags: , , , ,
Nah...he doesn't look like Darth Maul at all...

Ultimate Red Skull by Lenil Francis Yu

UPDATE: Jose pointed out to me that I read the commenter names all wrong.  In fact, ‘Kung fu Master’ according to the MillarWorld boards was, in fact, Mark Millar himself.  Well then, that puts a whole new spin on everything, doesn’t it?

Hey folks, Elliott here.  After Jose’s brilliant capsule review of Ultimate Comics Avengers #5, someone posted it on the MillarWorld.tv boards.  I always get a chuckle out of hearing what folks on other boards have to say about our reviews, and for the most part, the responses are generally positive.  The response to Jose’s comment about the violence, especially the implied gang rape in the beginning of the book had me shaking my head, though:

“They’re right. It should have been way more boring. There’s enough dull comics around bucko. They need a few shocks.

PS Wasp wasn’t raped. These guys were political torturers, but it wasn’t sexual. Sexual violence in Marvel books is a bit weird and I’ve avoided since I started (as far as I recall) as this stuff is all available to kids.”  Posted by ‘Kung Fu Master’ Mark Millar

WTF!?  So this commenter wants to us to believe that Millar has no problem showing the Red Skull killing a baby and a woman stabbing her husband to death with a pair of scissors, but ‘political torture’ has to be implied.

Get your head outta the sand, dude.  It’s pretty obvious that this particular fanboy is willing to deny some obvious implications in the his book’s content so that they he can reconcile it with his own set of personal values.  Then again, tell me how a book where a villain throws a baby out a window, leaving a red ‘splat’ mark on the sidewalk is okay to have ‘available for kids’?  Was there even a Parental Advisory/For Mature Readers warning on the book?

At least there was someone on the boards who wasn’t walking around in a fog.

“The henchmen attack on Red Wasp definitely came across as rape to me. It was uncomfortable, but didn’t go all Watchmen in the details. For a political torture, there should have been a black bag over the head or some other torture gear lying around.

I’m with Darren. This really said “rape” when I read it. No other thought entered my mind.” Posted by Victim of Circumstance SJ Murphy

See folks, this a classic example of the ‘cult of personality’ that surrounds certain creators in this business.  With it, they can do no wrong  and will have followers who will defend them even when it’s contrary to their own personal beliefs.

Am I wrong?

If this is, indeed, Mark Millar denying that the scene in the beginning of Ultimate Avengers #5 was an implied rape scene, then fine.  I’m not going to call him a liar, but just point out that it was a poor storytelling choice.

But really, Mark, you think kids should be able to read books where a woman kills a man with a pair of scissors and a villain throws a baby out of a window? Really?

Oh, and it looks like Mr. Melendez has gotten the attention of one of Marvel’s top writers.  Who’s next?  Woot!

Comments
  1. Mitiators says:

    This pic of the Ultimate Red Skull is cool but the character design is so stupid. You can tell how much of a bad ass he is because he has a bunch a tough tats. How about we put Doctor Doom in a sleeveless t-shirt too while we’re at it.
    Actually make it a metal sleeveless tee and we’ve got a deal.

  2. Henry says:

    It may sound stupid, but the only way around I can see of it not being raped is because of Mark Millar’s inability at being subtle. If it was rape a character would say how much they like rape or having another character having Mr. Zsasz-esque rape tallies on his arms and legs (won’t mention a third part).
    I think it was rape myself (geez, that’s not a phrase I say much), but having it up in the air about what happened seems so anti-Millar unless he’s been taking a different route of just heavily implying, such as the whole Hulk/She-Hulk thing during Old Man Logan.

  3. Pobra says:

    Oh Mark Millar… Adding a few “shocks” to your story doesn’t make your shitty writing any better. Relying on a few shocking moments to make your story interesting just proves that it was a boring/dull fucking story to begin with and that you’re a one trick pony who’s only good for writing ultra-violent, creatively void fanboy fodder! And now I feel like an asshole for buying Old Man Logan… thanks Mark. I need a drink.

  4. DidioForever says:

    I wouldn’t dream of defending the book, but to be fair I think people attach this idea to the Ultimate line that it’s meant for kids as some kind of ‘introduction to the Marvel Universe’, when it isn’t. I think they’ve promoted the relaunch as a kind of “You’d never see THIS in 616″ platform for people like Loeb, Millar and Bendis to just spaz-out in the sandpit, no holds barred (If anything I’m thankful Loeb has his Ultimate Comics New Ultimates vent (lol) so I don’t have to hear what he’s doing to characters I actually like/read about)… I’ll give this book the benfit of doubt that there probably WAS a parental warning on it…SOMEWHERE, like maybe on tha back of the comic next to the barcode or something (!).

    BUT that’s still a really shitty thing to write in a comic though. Throwing babies out of windows? Fercrhissakes…WHATS THE WORST THING YOU COULD POSSIBLY DO TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING YEA? THINK ABOUT THAT – THATS MY NEW RED SKULL ALL OVER MAN! YEEEEAA! NAAASSSSTY!

    Edgy stuff man, just edgy.

    And Millar defending his rapey “story beat” as just a bit of nice, plain innocent ‘political torture’…What a dumb bastard. He’s coming across even worse than Rob Liefeld sometimes does here and I really hope people are starting to realise this about him.

  5. This is gonna cost somebody. Big time!
    Not impressed with the rape/baby killing/husband stabbing scenario. Try making snuff films, Mr. Millar.

    • SMARTASS8 says:

      I’d love it if that were true, but if mainstream superhero comics featuring awful acts of violence & adult behavior and comic creators spouting hypocrisies & acting in unprofessional ways was a punishable offense, JoeyQ & his “inner circle” would have been gone a long time ago.

  6. Morlock50 says:

    As I’ve said before, Millar went a little too far with this issue. However, Millar is a great writer overall, and Kick-Ass, Wanted, and Old Man Logan are FUCKING AWESOME!

    • Morlock50 says:

      I need to retract this statement after seeing the Avengers comic and Dark Avengers #15. I don’t think I can continue to support writers who are willing to use this imagery in their comics, even if I like some of their work. I’m kinda feeling guilty for buying Kick-Ass now.

  7. VEGEGDE says:

    why did he have to use a fake name. dont most creators post their real names. like christosgage and danslott on the cbr boards.

  8. Ironmuskrat says:

    Mr. Millar does indeed seem to be in denial on this one, his rational for dismissing people criticisms is flawed at best. I guess we have to take him at his word that no rape occurred.

    But..

    1) Saying that it was political torture, so no rape was involved completely ignores that fact that rape is one of the most common forms of political torture used all over the world. Rape not only used against women, but men as well. Just check out the Amnesty International web site and you will see that rape is a all too common tool used to oppress people around the world. So Millar using the “political” torture rational is simply ignorant of the realities of the everyday world.

    2)It seems odd that Millar would be surprised that people would infer a rape in a scene that featured so much violence, humiliation and degradation. Killing a baby in front of the mother is OK, but raping the mother is something that no one might have considered? Was this something that was discussed with the editors at Marvel? I am really curious what the standards and practices at Marvel say about this.

    Jose did a great job of pointing out the excessive and brutal nature of this scene. It was over the top and just lazy storytelling on the part of Millar. Everyone knows that the Red Skull is a bad, bad person by now. We don’t need to see him beating kitties to death with an axe handle or kicking old people over in their Rascals at Wallmart to let us know he is an asshole.

    Millar might feel that people are reading things into his story or nitpicking his writing, I hate to say it, but people will do that when the story is weak and you can’t keep the attention of the reader and have to resort to excesses instead of plot.

    IM

  9. Rob F says:

    I would really like him to point out the boring issues in comics to me…are those the ones were only two people are maimed and killed an issue?

  10. Mike F says:

    I can understand why someone might “THINK” of concepts like these. To go the extreme of saying how “deranged” a comic book villain can become. This is probably how deranged they can get.

    But, I said “THINK”, to go so far as to Publish these acts? I really really think is just ignoble at best. Its so hard to even think of the images, let alone read the fucking comic.

    Mark Millar isn’t completely insane here. His use of dialogue is never the bad part. As a writer, I’m saying. But, the acts. The acts he puts his characters in are always so overthetop outrageous they make me sick.

    But, He’s not the worst writer. Just one of the most despicable ones I’d say. His work with Superman, Flash, & Swamp thing are the only things that keep me defending him. But it won’t be long… Ultimate Avenger 5 has already shown me how little the creativity in his head is becoming… (even tho his head itself is becoming larger than life)

  11. Venom829 says:

    Bendis is so next :)

  12. Mike McNulty a.k.a. "stillanerd" says:

    This isn’t the first time a writer at Marvel had to blunt criticism over a scene in which a possible rape may or may not have taken place. Last September, Fred Van Lente and editor Seteve Wacker attempted to quell a little controversy that occurred between Amazing Spider-Man issues #603 to #605 in which it appeared that Peter’s roommate, Michelle Gonzales, had sexual congress with The Chameleon who was disguised as Peter as shown here:

    http://i25.tinypic.com/qn4foy.jpg
    http://i31.tinypic.com/amtzsp.jpg

    Which some believed was tantamount to rape because, had Michelle known it was the Chameleon, she would not have given her consent. It was made all the more controversial when the aftermath was played for laughs over how it inconvenienced Peter:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/KBox/1252642633557.jpg

    In response, not only did they deny any sort of rape had taken place since, according to Van Lante, his “understanding of the definition of rape is that it requires force or the threat of force,” they also stated “there was no sex” and said issue #605 “makes it clear that Michelle and Chameleon did nothing more than make out in the kitchen scene” and Wacker also stating in a Newsarama interview: “Some readers have imagined more than is on the page, but we’ll come to find out the truth in this week’s issue. Suffice it to say, Michele isn’t as “easy” as some readers seem to think.” This was the scene in question which “made things clear”:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/KBox/asm6051-1.png
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/KBox/asm6052-1.png

    So it looks like here we are again, with another writer at Marvel with a different comic book having to explain that what almost everybody read as a “rape scene” wasn’t actually rape. And they wonder why they get the criticism that they do.

    • DidioForever says:

      I want to defend that Chameleon story because A) I really enjoyed that arc, and B) I really rate Fred Van Lente as writer. If anything he’s one of the few new-ish writers out there who has a good grasp on how to write decent, all-ages superhero comics (See his awesome Wolverine: First Class run for example)…

      But this is a very tricky subject to tackle. Was that actually rape? In a sense, yes. But was it done to shock and appaul the reader? No. Was it gratuitous? No. You didn’t actually ‘see’ this happen at all – for all we know they did just make out in the kitchen. And I hate to say it like this but Michelle was consensual and she did ‘enjoy it’ (Urrrgh)…And the whole sequence played into the core idea of the story – how the Chamleon was running around ‘fixing’ Peter Parker’s life in his own twisted way – The way he talked down to Flash, the way he went over to Harry etc. You’ve got to remember that this was Pete’s landlord and she was threatening to kick him out at the time.

      The problem is that the scene WAS played for laughs, and it DID treat Michelle’s character as a bit of a chump, all so that they could run with this sub-plot where Pete was kind of forced into a relationship with her for the next few issues. So yeah, that’s a bit of wrong right there. But it WAS an actual plot point that lead into more plot and had a purpose, which is more than what an be said for the way actual, violent (albeit mostly implied) rape is often used in comics.

      Just my opinion (I can’t have FLV lumped in with Millar…I just CAN’T let that happen!!!)

      • Mike McNulty a.k.a. "stillanerd" says:

        You raise a lot of good points and can’t really object to anything you said here. Because other than the whole Michelle subplot, I really did think the Chameleon story was really good and Van Lente, who I too think is a talented writer, handled that character very, very well (although the way it was advertised as being Mary Jane having a major role in the story was a bit of a bait-and-switch).

        What I am saying though is that the way Marvel responded to the criticism towards that particular subplot is similar to way Mark Millar is handling it–that he saying that what readers believed to have happened didn’t actually happen despite the fact there were very, very strong implications that it did. After all, one could argue that we didn’t actually see “the act” take place in Ultimate Comics Avengers #5 either.

  13. ullar says:

    I didn’t read the issue myself but I want to pose a question to those who did read it. Are you upset because Millar used these acts as a lazy writing tool to make Skull seem evil or is it because the acts or so vile they cannot be published in any medium? I can totally agree if it’s just lazy writing but art mirrors reality and these acts are a very disturbing part of reality and their inclusion in art ccould make the work more powerful, if done skilfully.

    • Morlock50 says:

      I think people are concerned that these acts are depicted in a mainstream superhero comic that doesn’t have a mature rating. And the Ultimate Universe was conceived as a mainstream, T-rated superhero world, regardless of what Jeff Loeb depicted during Ultimatum. I can understand the criticism here. I mean rape may be an unfortunate part of reality, but that doesn’t mean I want to see Wonder Woman gang raped by the New Gods. Besides, I never bought into this whole “art reflecting life” crap where superheroes are concerned. I read about my heroes to ESCAPE the nightly news.

  14. Claude says:

    I am so sick of the ‘realistic’ bent in comics today.
    To say that The Merry Marchers have marched across a line they can never return from is an understatement.
    When I was a child, picking up my very first comic book in that barber shop, I was hooked.
    Well, this fish has broken that hook and is out of the Marvel buying business.
    If it’s about pleasing the masses, then that’s pathetic.
    We are better than Marvel (or DC) gives us credit for being.
    I abhor any form of censorship, but I have to speak out about this.
    Apparently, I just don’t get it. Well, if I don’t get it, that can only mean one thing to this well read old fart fan.
    It’s weak, lazy storytelling and Marvel is the alien hatchery spawning drivel like this.
    If you call this sort of publication ‘kick ass’ or ‘cool’ or, God help us all, ‘good’, then there is no turning you away from it.
    I speak only for myself. No more Marvel.
    Lee and Kirby’s House of Ideas has been vandalized and razed to the ground.
    They became realistic. Forgetting this is supposed to be a fantasy was an unforgivable mistake.

    • Morlock50 says:

      Yeah, it bothers me more when it’s shoehorned into mainstream superhero fare. The thing is, there are plenty of creator-owned mature titles if you want gore and adult themes in your comics. I think the Bronze age (69-86 therebouts) was the best time for comics. Writers were able to bring social/political issues in the stories but there was still a restraint with the violence, and the good guys won in the end. As good as Dark Knight and Watchmen are as stories, they really changed everything, and brought this gritty, moral ambiguity that we’ve been “treated” to since.

  15. Albert says:

    I just want to echo Ironmuskrat’s point that rape IS a form of political torture. During the Bosnia/Serbia conflicts, rape was systematically used as a weapon to terrorize and subjugate. There were camps dedicated to this purpose.

    Trying to get out this way is either completely ignorant, or ultra-douchey.

  16. Stamps says:

    I read the issue and there is NO WAY that anyone would think that it wasn’t rape. I mean it was clearly insinuated. It’s like it was written so that in every issue so far red skull character has to top himself by doing a more and more evil thing.
    I’m a believer of the “It was lazy writing” theory.

  17. DidioForever says:

    So are we gonna get a CCW “Rapey” edition on YouTube? Identity Crisis! Spiderman/Black Cat! Yaaaay!

    …Naaay?

  18. alatriste says:

    While taking no position in the matter, having not read the issue, I will point you to this wonderful essay about just this kind of stuff, which I think will at least shed some light on the subject: http://io9.com/5489560/superhero-tragedy-porn-is-bad-for-comics?skyline=true&s=i

    • Pobra says:

      That was a great essay, thanks for posting alatriste. I actively avoided Ultimatum, so seeing that panel left a really bad taste in my mouth. What the fuck happened to the Ultimate line? It’s become the superhero snuff porn line.

  19. keith says:

    I mean I’m a dude who can appreciate August Underground’s Mordum, but I thought UCA#5 was just a terrible comic. It was dumb to read and just wasn’t really worthwhile. If it was a parody, fine. The fact that this thing was supposed to be taken seriously makes it fucking awful.

    This was the first comic in quite a while that I’ve actively hated this much.

    I can’t wait for the Linkara review that MUST happen.

    Also wouldn’t mind a little CCWTV rantitude in th’ upcoming. This comic just can not be bashed enough in my humble.

  20. david says:

    well… youve got to admit, even though i think you cant hang ur hat (or in this case comic) on this type of thing… it still makes a evil villian (romper stomper red skull).

    but ultimate sucks… didnt doom rip out that chicks heart just a few issues ago? Anyway it was done without an overall good comic… not just relied on that.

  21. david says:

    eh typos… how they tire me.

    i mean.. Doom did it WITH an overall good comic.

  22. Does it matter to Marvel that this crap is ‘ultimately’ someone’s first impression of Cap, Skull or comics in general?
    This is beyond the kind of crap that made them implement the Comics Code Authority. CCA may yet make a comeback.

    • Morlock50 says:

      That’s a good point. Where did the comic code authority go?

      • Edward2962 says:

        I could be wrong,but I’m pretty sure that the CCA was voluntary.Some of the publishers decided “Hey,if we don’t HAVE to submit,why SHOULD we?” So they came up with their own standards.Hence, gore in superhero comics good,but cigar smoking bad. Personally,I’m not against sex,violence,etc., but I think there’s an appropriate place for everything.Gore in “Friday the 13th” you expect,but sticking it in “Power Rangers” so that you say you’re “edgy” or that morphin’ time has “grown up”,well…

        • david says:

          Marvel isnt power rangers.

          DC is

          • Yawn. Do you have any new material dude? That joke is realllly getting old.

            J.

          • Edward2962 says:

            Maybe my memory is bad, but I could’ve sworn in the 90′s marvel released a Power Rangers comic?Somebody correct me! But my main point is this,Seige #2 has a guy get ripped in half and his organs and his blood go flying.This doesn’t offend ME,but Cap and Spidey are in it.These are characters that are in Sat morning cartoons and all ages books.I can’t give this comic to my niece and nephew.I know it’s rated T+,but what’s the point if you can’t expose your icon characters to kids?

  23. david says:

    well you have to think about the time that the Nazi Conflicts were around and the racism or whatnot that went on at that time.

    The red skull was one racist motherF*cker. So i guess that is what they are trying to bring back with the whole romper stomper thing.

    But Ultimate just sucks… if they want Red Skull to go on a murdering spree i would prefer it in the Normal Marvel titles..

    I dunno… Ultimate is just the ultimate cliche’

  24. Edward2962 says:

    This whole subject makes me think of another reason I’m disappointed with Marvel…DC has Vertigo.It’s various genres..fantasy,crime,horror,whatever…Some of it’s good.Some of it’s bad.But it’s obviously for a different audience than The Brave and the Bold.Marvel has Max.You get Gerber’s last Howard the Duck,Garth’s Punisher,and Chaykin’s Fortune and what else?Some cheesy comics a few years ago with superheroes cursing.It can’t be that hard to find artists w/new ideas…other publishers do it!It’s like they’re afraid to publish anything they don’t have exclusive trademark on!”We’ll hire indie guys as long as they do OUR properties” hence the new Strange Tales.ok, enuff of my babbling here…

  25. [...] why exactly did Lindy Reynolds die? Well, besides the fact that comics are just too damn boring? It was because Bob Reynolds (The Sentry) loved her…and that was it. Norman Osborn saw this [...]

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