Prelude To My Mark Millar Post

Contrary to what Mark Millar suggests, it is FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE for the Sun to go supernova.

The Sun, as every Grade Five student knows these days, does not FUCKING WELL HAVE THE MASS to go supernova.

Just wanted to point that out.

Guy’s quite obviously scientifically illiterate.  And I am in fact sick of it.  His errors are so egregious, in 2008 there’s no excuse for this kind of thing.  Wikipedia solves ninety percent of these mistakes.  And I don’t write a word until some kind of research proves me out.  Not ONE!  WORD!

I would punch him, if I met him.  He’s fucking lazy, and the proof’s in the pudding,

In the next few days, I’m going to be rambling on about suspension of disbelief, and how far it can be pushed.  I predict MIllar will fail my Turing test.  I’m angry at Millar.  He thinks he can coast on talent alone.

News:  he fucking can’t.


20 responses to “Prelude To My Mark Millar Post

  1. Y’know, he writes action astoundingly well. I think you can’t write that off, especially because the majority of mainstream comics writerc CAN’T. And with the right artist, one that will make him step his game up (Hitch, Romita Jr., JG Jones, etc.) he’s got some work in hm. When he’s paired with less imaginative artists – Greg Land, McNiven – the stuff is just dead on the page.

    Good Millar work – I love the Ultimates. Love it to death. I think it’s pretty flawless, maybe the last word on “realistic” superhero comics. Wanted. The Authority – not as brilliant as Ellis and Hitch’s run, but still great understanding of how to use scale in a superhero book. Superman: Red Son. His Wolverine run with Romita Jr was a hell of a romp. The Proteus story in Ultimate X-Men for Bachelo.

    In the latest Mindless Ones podcast they’ve made the case that 1985 is pretty good, too. But I haven’t read it yet. Kickass is idiotic and almost unreadable – but it does have a six year old girl with a katana cutting up gangsters and and calling them cunts, as well as a main character that looks exactly like all the annoying kids in the Ann Nocenti/Romita Jr. DD run. And unlike all those annoying kids, he gets the shit kicked out of him on a regular basis. So it’s not all bad.

    I know it’s impossible for the sun to go supernova, but really that poetic timeloop ending? That amazing finale and that’s what’s bothering you?

    (also, dude – I though the only post you’d promised me was the Ghostface post – which, yeah, looking at it did you write in iambic pentameter or some shit?)

  2. Sean, you sonofabitch, just read it out loud, and then come telling me I don’t understand Ghost’s rhymes.

    Uh, there are a couple passages in there where it’s sketchy…a long desert ride from rhyme to rhyme, and you’re just praying it all pays off in the end…

    HA! But is that not the way it works, on the first half of this album?

    The second half though, man! It just gets seriouser and seriouser. Truly, as soon as I heard “Howard The Base-Head” or whatever that was, I sat straight up in my seat, and from then on it seemed all integral to me…do you not find the first half of the record to be more digressive, and the second half more focussed? Two songs later I was hollering “oh fuck, this is a concept album, isn’t it?”

    Really fascinating. But yeah: read out my rhymes, sonny. Totally dare you to do it!!!!

    Hugely mad at Millar right now, can barely speak about it. Yes I’ve liked things he’s done, but then I’ve liked things *you’ve* done, and *you* don’t say one thing when you really mean another, do you?

    I am supercharged from a huge election season, so feeling fractious. And the feeling I’m getting from Millar is that he thinks we’re dumber than him.

    But I will examine him more soberly tomorrow.

  3. I haven’t been able to read a Millar story objectively since the “warm and cuddly Hitler” story in the Jenny Sparks miniseries from 2001 effectively guaranteed that the mere mention of his name would make me see red.

    That said, not too long ago I got fed up with one of my favorite writers over much more fundamental science errors, so this example doesn’t get me particularly worked up.

    But Morrison’s defining characteristic seems to be a great underlying sincerity about the characters and the stories he wants to tell, whereas his best buddy in comics seems to be interested only in selling himself as a brand identity. It’s like Morrison wants you to come away from one of his comics having learned something about Superman, but Millar wants you to have learned how daring and iconoclastic Mark Millar is.

    As I say, there is not a shred of impartiality or objectivity in this opinion. I look forward to seeing a more objective and rational examination of why he sucks.

  4. I’m not a comics person but I’m close enough to have read about this yesterday, and it’s good to know I’m not the only one who was immediately livid about this Sun-going-supernova nonsense. I’d like to think it’s ironic really because doesn’t Superman’s power come from the yellowness of the local star? And yet no yellow sun’s ever going to go supernova, at least not long after they stop being middle-of-the-road (or main-sequence) yellow stars; they’re massive stars or white dwarfs under special circumstances. So Superman wouldn’t be Superman where there are supernovae… I’m not entirely sure about this but it sounds true, and is all the more reason for me to giggle when I think of this.

  5. Yes, I do bow down to how very awesome nature of the Ghostface post. Also, I never seem to miss the chance to miss something obvious.

    I don’t know – I don’t really want to defend the guy as a person, because he’s disappeared up his ass for a while now. And he was always kind of a jerk to begin with. But on the basis of his work, which I haven’t read all of, I like him.

  6. I’m going to have to get back to this reasonably sharpish, I guess, but it probably won’t be tonight…

    But, I really should say that I have liked some Millar stuff quite a lot, and that I do think he’s a talented writer. There are lots of things Millar can do, and do well.

    But, one of those things he does well is, I think very obviously by this point, “daring you to call him a bullshitter to his face”. And this is where for me it gets interesting. Because really, it’s just comics, right? And I’m a nerd for caring about the difference between novae and supernovae, correct?

    But, hmm…maybe not, I’m thinking.

    It’s just a very intriguing little nexus of disagreement, this suspension of disbelief business. It really is. Comics are chock-full of gross factual errors and silly set-ups, and always have been — in fact I think I’ve argued before that this is often part of their charm, that they take weird risks with this sort of thing. Superhero comics in particular are loaded to the gunwales with things that are, in that most elegant of put-downs, “not even wrong” — but it doesn’t matter, because to a certain degree suspension of belief is learned, in the same way bad grammar is learned.

    And yet, it also does matter. And that’s where the art lies.

    Which is to say: where the philosophical bones of contention lie, a thing you can witness for yourself four days out of seven at CSBG. Does Marvel and DC’s shared-universe continuity truly act as a choke-chain on “good stories”, or doesn’t it? Is “Hypertime” a wonderful idea, or is it an unnecessary one? And, how much are we supposed to care, either way? Does it matter if Millar wrote a story in which Thor was President of the United States? Does it really matter either way, if he was wrong to do it, or if he was right?

    The answer is: it might matter. For example, if one was willing to classify stupid set-ups and mistakes in comic books — this one’s Type I, this one’s Type II, etc. — then even if you forgave all equally, this would still mean forgiving each separately, along your way, and for different reasons. Gerry Conway was one of my favourite scripters when I was young, but he really made some whopping errors. So, does it matter that he did?

    Well…it matters what the errors were, right? Whatever one chooses to do about them later on.

    I remember watching an episode of Boston Public once — a truly terrible show. In this episode, Jeri Ryan (I believe it was) plays a successful lawyer who decides what she really wants to be is a high-school teacher. So she goes down to the school and asks for a job, and they give her one. She starts out teaching science. In her first class, she starts “teaching the controversy” of evolution vs. creationism. The students say “what about evolution?” and she says “what about God?”

    And of course, this couldn’t happen. Am I right? None of it could have possibly happened, it’s just…I don’t know, it’s like somebody really isolated from normal reality as it’s lived through down on the ground each day, tried to figure out what would be a “teacher-like” kind of topical story to write, and they wrote it, and then for some reason no one one came along and said “we are all stupider now for having been subjected to this terrible, terrible script of yours, please take it back and write another one that is set in an American public school.”

    What it is, is that maybe caring about the difference between novae and supernovae makes me a nerd…but I’m not feeling irate about Mark Millar because he mixed up novae and supernovae, I’m feeling irate because he mixed up supernovae with stars that don’t blow up, and there’s something in the egregious nature of that error that makes it different from, say, just not realizing that the Sun isn’t going to go nova, oops you mean it isn’t? Sorry, my bad…

    It’s thinking it’ll go supernova instead of simply turning into a run-of-the-mill white dwarf, there’s a step missing in that, there’s a step missing in that, and I think I know what that step is, and so that’s what the Mark Millar post’s going to be about. Mostly.

    And Sean, yeah: you shouldn’t have to defend liking Millar. I mean, I have all these huge ornery gripes with Bendis’ Daredevil, and I don’t defend that, even though let’s face it, it makes me a pretty odd sort of comics-blogging duck…

  7. Pingback: QOTD « supervillain·

  8. Also you have to think that there are people (like me) who could give a shit about these things making any sort of sense. I remember telling Jared that there was a story where Thor was president and he said it was the best idea he’d ever heard.

  9. 1985 was sewage, complete and utter. Every issue, just teeming with millar whispering “i’m inside your house, rubbing my flaccid on your flaccid. you remember secret wars? you remember the moleman? do you remember stuff from comics? keep the lights off.” That comic–ugh, just a garbage fiesta.

    boston public riff was priceless.

  10. By the way, Sean, sorry if I sounded all dickish before! As with most of my posting efforts, this one was sparked by something else, which I hope to explicate once I actually do write up the main post — but yeah, little extra fervour there, hope it did not offend, I guess I got a head of steam up.

    As to comic-reading folks like you and Jared taking the eminently sensible position of “yeah, I could give a shit about taking Batman or the Avengers seriously, thank you very much” — when I write up the post itself I am going to be real careful to emphasize the inarguable validity of this way of handling “disbelief” issues in crappy superhero comics. This is going to be another “the fluidity of trash culture is cool!” manifesto, not a call for more reactionary storytelling. And therefore if your approach to reading this kind of stuff isn’t well-represented by me as central to the whole analysis, then the analysis won’t have been worth making in the first place. Oh, it’s gonna be wonky, this I freely admit; but hopefully it won’t be wankery.

    And if it is, I’m going to rely on you for a stinging rebuttal!

    On the Liefeld comparison, by the way, I actually didn’t mean that as a pure slam, but as more of a clinical thing: like, I don’t deny that Millar brings a lot of energy to his storytelling, I’m just saying he can’t write feet. I’ll confess I rather enjoy taking swipes at Millar, but I’m not prepared to write three thousand words on it just to be bloody-minded — I really don’t think he can write feet. But again, the question is: does that really matter? And even if it does, then why should it?

  11. Tucker, damn you, that made me laugh hard enough to blow milk out my nose, and I wasn’t even drinking milk.

    I picked up the first issue of 1985 — the comic-shop owner was really beautifully drawn, I thought. And then I thought, “oh no, this story is going to be a bag of shit, isn’t it?”

    To me, that is a VERY UNFORTUNATE thing to have happen in the course of browsing a comic.

    Glad you remember Boston Public’s awfulness…actually Boston Public and 1985 make nifty analogues for one another, don’t they?


  12. It does make sense that Millar types his childrens fiction one handed, doesn’t it? God, Boston Public was bad wasn’t it? My moms a teacher so I actually ended up watching a good chunk of it…

  13. You poor bastard, Sean! I figure Jason Of Star Command was a more realistic show, and Ark II was a more interesting one. I used to have arguments with myself about which show was worse, BP with its amazing ability to surpass Rocket Robin Hood for lack of realism, or The West Wing with all its goddamn fucking speechifying at me all the time…!

    I sometimes wished they were Pokemon, so I could make them fight each other.

    Okay, what started off my irateness in this post was that undecided-voter woman I saw on TV last night, in her nice house, talking about how she’s not sure about Obama because she’s a little concerned about all this talk of how he’s linked to Osama Bin Laden…

    I fucking just about fell off my chair at this. She thinks Obama’s pals with Osama Bin Laden?! And she’s fucking undecided?! That’s super-sizing the retarded, right there: that just blew my mind. I don’t even know where to begin. I mean how do you even know where to begin with that. Did the reporter have no simple human feeling, could he or she not have said “lady, I can’t in good conscience put you on TV saying something so unbelievably ignorant as to make you a national laughing-stock, I just won’t do it, for Christ’s sake give your head a shake”?

    Still not quite as dumb as that secular-creationist episode of Boston Public, though. Or that weird thing with the “awesomeness” of CJ lip-synching to “The Jackal” on West Wing. I mean…huh?

    I think somebody forgot to put the requisite amount of LSD in my Froot Loops. Or, maybe it was too much, I don’t know. Anyway I would either like more of it, or less. “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea…”

  14. Speaking as a Boston Public School teacher, wow, that show was as close to reality as Stan Lee when he wrote about the effects of radiation.

  15. It’s weird how some things will trip your suspension-of-disbelief limits and some things won’t. I remember a Legion comic – and, of course, Legion comics aren’t known for their scientific immaculateness – in which Mon-El flew out into space, found a white dwarf star, and brought it back to Brainiac 5’s lab. By, you know, pushing it in front of him. And the Earth wasn’t destroyed or anything. Lots of people wrote in to the lettercol on that one.

    Or there was a JLA comic in the early ’80s, ‘the story the world wasn’t ready for’, in which the world’s supply of the ‘X-element’, a subatomic particle responsible for keeping reality working right, was disappearing, and the Earth had to buy more from some aliens who were secretly bent on conquest. So when this X-element disappeared, it meant that in Sweden, trains wouldn’t stop because there was no friction anymore. But in Africa, fires wouldn’t light. And so on. I was about eleven and I knew it was some of the worst science I had ever seen.

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