Mark Millar has wielded the pen behind some of the world’s most cinematic comic books. His early-2000s reimagining of the Avengers with artist Bryan Hitch, The Ultimates, provided much of the stylistic template that the Marvel cinematic universe still follows to this day — including Captain America: Civil War, which was based on another Millar comic. On top of that, movies like Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman: The Secret Service all started as comics written by Millar. But his connection to the screen became even more real back in August when Netflix acquired his company, Millarworld. The announcement revealed that Millarworld would continue to publish new comics and stories under the Netflix banner, and now EW has an exclusive look at the first title.
The Magic Order teams Millar with artist Olivier Coipel. Millar has always had exceptional taste in artists, and Coipel has proven his mettle on big, bombastic books like the Marvel event comics House of M and Siege. Like many Millar comics, The Magic Order combines elements from different genre stories: Here, it’s magical fantasy and mob thrillers. Five families of magicians have spent generations protecting humankind while living among them as normal-seeming neighbors and co-workers. But when a new enemy emerges and starts picking off the wizards one by one, it forces them to take new measures.
The Magic Order will be six issues long and is set to launch next spring. It will be available both digitally and in print. EW spoke with Millar about working with Coipel, what to expect in the series, and more. Check that out below, along with an exclusive look at the first cover for The Magic Order.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Could you briefly tease the world of The Magic Order? How does it combine magical fantasy with mob stories?
MARK MILLAR: I’m a great fan of grounding big concepts so everybody gets them. My hero Richard Donner does this so brilliantly, giving us huge things like the Book of Revelation or Superman, but setting them in a world that looks like the one outside our window. My other hero Stan Lee is amazing at this too. He takes characters as weird as Spider-Man or Thor and comes in through the human angle, making these things about teen angst or two brothers who don’t get on. Something a mainstream audience can really connect with. Fantasy I think can be off-putting for people because it’s often missing a human angle, a realistic hook that makes it open to anyone. So my idea with The Magic Order was to take something that’s essentially about a secret order of good wizards who got rid of all the bad things hundreds of years ago, but live quietly among us now with blue-collar jobs and ordinary domestic lives. They have this secret life, but to the outside world it’s all very normal and it makes the idea look more like The Sopranos than Lord of the Rings.
It’s all about accessibility, and the big idea here is that these are the guys who keep the world as rational and normal as it feels to us now. These guys are out there cracking heads in the shadows so we can all sleep safely in our beds at night. That’s the deal and the ancient promise they made to mankind: five families across the world who take care of things whenever they’re needed. It’s R-rated adult fantasy. Something for the kids who grew up 10 or 20 years ago loving all-ages fantasy in cinema, but now wanting something a little tastier.
You’ve worked with a lot of superstar artists over the years and given them plenty of insane things to draw. What are you most looking forward to about working with Olivier?
Olivier is probably the best artist working in comics right now. I’ve been trying to get him for almost 10 years, but he just kept re-upping his deals elsewhere and I couldn’t get my hands on him. But Netflix is very persuasive. This is where everyone wants to be right now, and he’s as excited as I am about drawing this. He’s just started, but as you can see from the preview he’s already doing the best work of his career. It’s genuinely a privilege to have him drawing the first volume of this series. I hope he can do more because the bar is just so damn high now.
Your comics are often very cinematic, which is probably why so many have been turned into movies, but now you’re working directly with Netflix. How does this new partnership influence The Magic Order?
Millarworld was always, first and foremost, a comic book company, but since we sold to Netflix it’s obviously become something that crosses all media. If something was turned into a movie, that was a lovely novelty in the past, whereas now when I’m creating stories as a member of staff, I need to keep my eye on the whole picture. We’re thinking of these as movies and TV shows, and the ones we feel would be great for comics will also appear as comic books. I’ve been writing comics since I was 19, so this is amazing for me because it’s what I love doing. I want to do as many comics as I possibly can but keep it all at this kind of level. The Olivier Coipels and so on. It’s actually a pretty perfect arrangement.