Mark Millar in the movies – from Wanted to Kingsman: The Secret Service


He's one of the most celebrated writers of graphic novels in the business. Scotsman Mark Millar has carved out a reputation for genre-defying, blackly comic stories that frequently court controversy and outrage.

Born in 1969, Millar was a student of Politics and Economics at Glasgow University, although he dropped out for personal reasons. Comic books were his true calling, although it wasn't until the 1990s that he began to establish himself by working on the likes of 2000 AD (the creators of futuristic enforcer Judge Dredd).

However, it was Millar's infamous character Big Dave that ultimately got him noticed by DC Comics (the comic revolved around the 'hardest man in Manchester' attempting to stop Saddam Hussein from taking over the world – yes, really). Millar's path into the industry was further established throughout the remainder of the 1990s and 2000s, with notable projects including 2001's Ultimate X-Men and 2006 Marvel mini-series Civil War.

The latter is in fact one of the most important moments in Marvel history, a cross-over between the various characters that resulted in an epic mano-a-mano confrontation between Iron Man and Captain America (the fan-favourite storyline is reputed to be tying in with the future release of Captain America 3).

With Millar's very own Kingsman: The Secret Service getting a big-screen adaptation next year, starring Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Samuel L. Jackson, we take a look at which of Millar's most famous creations have made it to the big screen.

Wanted (2008)

The first film adaptation of a Millar property arrived on screen courtesy of Russian director Timur Bekmambetov, although the film version takes considerable liberties with the source material.

James McAvoy is the ordinary schmo who finds out that his father was a top-secret killer with the ability to bend bullets. And guess what? It's time for McAvoy to be entered into the same fraternity of assassins – and if he proves resistant, sexy Angelina Jolie is on hand to be persuasive.

Darkly funny and outrageously violent (both a hallmark of Millar's writing), the film is solid pulp entertainment. Plus, there's always Morgan Freeman ready to step out from behind some pillars and lend a bit of gravitas.

Kick-Ass (2010)

If the mainstream public didn't have the foggiest about Millar beforehand, they soon did when Kick-Ass erupted into cinemas. Millar's comic poses a brilliant question: why can't an everyday person with no powers become a superhero? 

Millar's pitch-black, uber-violent satirical adventure gets a pitch-perfect adaptation courtesy of director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman, with column inches reserved for pint-sized, potty-mouthed killing machine Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz). Amidst an excellent cast, Nicolas Cage stands out as superhero Big Daddy.

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Sadly, some of the great work of Kick-Ass was undone in this less-than-dazzling sequel, which undoubtedly suffers from the absence of Cage's brilliantly quirky performance. 

The film is an amalgamation of Millar's comic of the same name and spin-off series Hit Girl. Truth be told, Moretz' peformance is the best thing in it but the 'everyday superheros living among us' subtext is lost.

Even Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes (a combination of two separate characters) couldn't save it, although the actor's ill-advised comments on the role of guns in the movie did generate a great deal of publicity.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Due for release on 12th February next year, Matthew Vaughn's eagerly awaited adaptation of Millar's 2012 comic The Secret Service stars Colin Firth as suave secret agent Harry Hart, who takes upstart Eggsy (Taron Egerton) under his wing. Hart aims to train the gobby teen in the ways of the superspy, which is handy when evil genius Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) reveals a plot to take over the world.

With its all-star cast (including Michael Caine and Mark Strong), plus an intriguing-looking blend of violent action and comedy that riffs on the classic 007 adventures, there's a chance that February could belong to Kingsman: The Secret Service.