On the 11th of June, I wrote;
“Mark Millar just claimed in his most recent newsletter that he has “just nicked Marvel’s best artist”. By which he means he has stolen them rather than cut them with a scalpel. But also that “in the interest of fairness, we’ve stolen’s DC’s top guy too!!” The phrasing means that they are presumably both male. The current belief is that Marvel’s top artist is Pepe Larraz, defined as the Jim Lee of today, while DC Comics’ best artist is Jorge Jiménez, defined as the Marc Silvestri of his day. Or vice versa.”
I expect Mark Millar read those words and spat shortbread in his tea. Because today he announced two new projects. Pepe Larraz drawing the new Millarworld crossover series Big Game and Jorge Jiménezas the artist on Nemesis Returns. I suppose this means we have the same taste.
In 2009, Mark Millar and Steve McNiven published a Millarworld book through Marvel Comics called Nemesis about a super villain being hunted by cops. The series was then supposed to return in 2012 as Nemesis Returns or Nemesis 2. Then it was delayed until 2013. Then nothing. We were told ten years ago, “In order to help facilitate the timeliness of the Nemesis Returns, Steve has teamed up with two exciting new talents and opened a new studio endeavour, Carbon Sun Studios” and that “Nemesis means a lot to me and I want it to be the best of my stuff out there,” said McNiven. “I want it done right, and we’ll make sure Nemesis gets his due.” Well, that won’t have been Larraz or Jimenez back then. I wonder who it was?
The original comic book saw the charismatic supervillain Nemesis target Chief Inspector Blake Morrow ostensibly over what Morrow did to his father. He hijacks Air Force One over the District of Columbia, and takes the United States president before crashing the plane into Washington D.C., killing hundreds – and then tens of thousands with poison gas, simply to taunt the conservative Morrow. He kidnaps Morrow’s family, forcing them to reveal his wife had an affair, his son is gay and that his daughter had a secret abortion before artificially inseminating Morrow’s daughter with his son’s sperm, with her womb rigged to collapse if abortion was attempted. It was a different time. Or something. It’s eventually revealed that the Nemesis identity is one owned by a company that arranges for rich people to become supervillains. And that a new one will arise.
Of the new Nemesis Reloaded, CBR quotes Jimenez as saying “I’m especially excited to have this opportunity to work with Mark Millar! He is not only a writer that I have admired for years, but he is also one of the titans of the comic book world. In addition, Nemesis series has everything I need to develop my style as an artist in a crazy, daring way and without filters. My main objective is to take care of the characters’ acting. This series plays nimbly between extremely harsh scenes and hints of badass humor, extreme violence and some serious dramatic touches. The whole project is such a challenge for me, keeping up with this crazy energy and making the whole project feel really entertaining and fun. I’m also going to be the happiest guy in the world doing the action scenes. They’re so dynamic and powerful, but very modern too. I’m very excited! I promise you I’ll do my best and you will love this madness we have cooked up for you!!”
While Pepe Larraz is joining writer Mark Millar for a new crossover series Big Game that is “rumored to be a crossover between many if not all of the Millarworld franchises.” Something that Millar has been promising for some time and, to some extent, was beaten by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s Crossover, also from Image Comics, will launch in the spring of 2023. With CBR quoting Larraz saying “Since I started thinking about drawing American comic books, I always have wanted to work with Mark Millar. Who wouldn’t? But what I could never have expected is to work on something that interlocks and pulls together so many series Mark has written. This is a huge privilege for me and I can’t wait for you all to see it.”
Oh and just in case Mark Millar crows too much, I also wrote;
comic creators who know more of what is going on state that, rather than stealing the creators, Marvel and DC Comics have agreed to temporary carve-outs in exclusive deals for specific work-for-hire projects like Nemesis Returns, in a similar fashion that Dan Slott recently got after years of trying from Marvel for Doctor Who. And it’s a sign of a slight ease of control of late at both Marvel and DC, to keep favoured creators happy. And to expect to see signs of this approach all over. Still, when has that ever stopped Mark Millar from claiming daylight robbery?
It never has…