I’m not sure how to write a review of Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie, considering I haven’t read the comic or seen the movie.
For something I’ve never read/ seen, it’s been an odd relationship so far. The trailers had gotten me interested in the movie some time ago; just not interested enough to read the comic. Most of it was because I didn’t want to love the comic and be disappointed in the movie; it’s better to have a good movie experience, then feel the disappointment retroactively. The ticket price doesn’t seem like a wasted expense, then.
And disappointment was surely on the way. Some friends who I trust, respect, and even agree with on a regular basis saw Kick-Ass in an advanced screening at the beginning of March. They loved the book, hated the movie.
So, it was with some reluctance that I began reading through the review copy of Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie from Titan Books. By the end, I had a renewed interest in the movie and a new interest in the comic (which I still haven’t read; I’ll get to it after seeing the movie).
What I like about Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie is that entirely the words of the people involved in creating it. By “it”, I mean Kick-Ass as a property because the comic and the movie are very closely linked: director Matthew Vaughn was already working on the script well before Mark Millar was done scripting the comic or John Romita, Jr. had drawn a single panel. Millar writes extensively about how he developed the characters and the story, how he and Romita and Vaughn developed the look and adapted it for film. There are pages of Romita’s sketches, Millar’s notes (which he admits look like the scrawlings of a serial killer) and excerpts from the screenplay.
The book also gives some explanation about why some elements of the film are different from the comic. Usually when this happens, it’s because of studio demands. However, I learned that Vaughn started the movie without studio involvement because the studios he approached with it were too freaked out by the content, wanted it toned down significantly, and refused to touch it when he wouldn’t back down. That alone gets me interested.
As far as my interest in the comic, that came with seeing Romita’s artwork and reading Millar’s process.
While reading, John asked a few times what I thought about John Romita, Jr.’s artwork. That’s a question I hate and typically put off answering it as long as possible. I follow writers, not artists, and don’t generally have a lot to say when it comes to artwork other than it gets the job done or it doesn’t. Sometimes there will be an Amanda Conner or a Ben Templesmith that gets my attention, but I always have a hard time articulating why their style stands out over so many others.
So, I like Romita’s artwork. As for why, well. . . it’s like looking at a pair of John Fluevog shoes against a rack at Payless or my prized leather Coach bag against the accessories department at Target. There’s a quality and a craftsmanship to it that makes me want to touch it and examine how it’s put together.
Millar’s narrative is easy and entertaining, the way he discusses the development of the project is not only revealing, but helpful from a writer’s perspective. That’s where I think the value of Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie lay – it’s an excellent process document and reference material for creators.
Lisa Fary is a graduate of the creative writing program at Florida State University and holds an advanced degree in Special Education. Her earliest influences are Princess Leia, Rainbow Bright, Astronaut Barbie, and her 6th grade teacher, Ms. Palmer. She’s angry that it’s 2010 and she still doesn’t have a hovercraft, but will accept a jetpack as consolation. That jetpack had better be pink with a rhinestone monogram.
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