Last September comics mogul Mark Millar made an announcement to the world that he was looking for new talent in the comic book industry. He posted an open submission contest for the best and the brightest to step forward and throw their hats into the Millarworld ring and show him what they had. I sent in a story as did thousands of other prospective artists and writers and the result was this week’s MillarWorld Annual 2016.
The book consists of 6 short stories of MillarWorld properties including Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl, Chrononauts, Kingsman, American Jesus and Starlight.
To me the Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and Kingsman stories were standard fare. The Hit-Girl story “Mindy’s ABC’s” by Mark Abnett was cute and I dug the art style of Ozgur Yildirim. The Kick-Ass story “Blindsided” by Richard Mo and Ifesinachi Orijekwe was good as well and definitely seemed like it could be a next logical step for the character. MillarWorld can more than likely expound on Hi-Beam and add him to whatever fray Kick-Ass shows up in next. The Kingsman story “Mum’s the Word” by Philip Huxley and Myron Macklin was also pretty standard in that it was a definite possibility of what could happen in the Kingsman universe and made sense.
While not familiar with the Starlight character the story “Duke McQueen’s Greatest Adventure” by Deniz Camp was a good intro to anyone who didn’t know who Duke McQueen was. It added some back story and plot points from older stories but a familiarity with the Starlight series is probably needed to really “get” this one. The artwork by Pracheta Banerjee is painted and there are a few panels that are quite stunning by themselves.
The two standout stories of this book though are Chrononauts and American Jesus. Chrononauts was a favorite of mine and “Prom Night” by Shaun Brill and Conor Hughes captures Danny perfectly and made me laugh out loud. The artwork was definitely reminiscent of Sean Murphy’s distinctive style and Hughes could easily be doing fill-in issues for Mr. Murphy if Chrononauts ever goes to an ongoing series.
American Jesus on the other hand was another book I wasn’t familiar with. While only five pages, the story by Cliff Bumgardner sucked me in and I wanted it to keep going. The artwork by Steve Beach was dark, gritty and creepy-as-fuck and without looking at the names on the story I could have easily mistaken this book for something done by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. A little known book by the name of Watchmen instantly sprang to mind. It had that storytelling feel to it that you only see in comics every so often. This is a team to definitely watch out for in the future.
All in all it was a great first showing for the MillarWorld Annual. It announces inside the front cover the contest will begin again this September so all you would-be writers and artists should go brush up on your MillarWorld properties and get ready to show them what you’ve got. This writer will definitely be ready to take a crack at round two.