Kick-Ass (comics)

Kick-Ass (comics)
Kick-Ass
KickAss2.jpg
Kick-Ass #2 (May 2008).
Second-printing variant cover art by John Romita, Jr.
Publication information
Publisher Icon (Marvel)
Schedule Bimonthly (irregular)
Format Ongoing series
Genre Superhero
Publication date February 2008 – February 2010
Number of issues 8
Main character(s) Dave Lizewski
Creative team
Writer(s) Mark Millar
Penciller(s) John Romita, Jr.
Inker(s) Tom Palmer
Colorist(s) Dean White
Creator(s) Mark Millar
John Romita, Jr.
Editor(s) John Barber
Collected editions
Volume 1 ISBN 0-7851-3261-9

Kick-Ass is a creator-owned comic book series written by Mark Millar and illustrated by John Romita, Jr. It is published by Marvel Comics under the company's Icon imprint.

It is the story of Dave Lizewski, a teenager who sets out to become a real life superhero. His actions are publicized on the Internet and inspire others. He gets caught up with ruthless vigilantes Hit-Girl and Big Daddy who are on a mission to take down the gangster John Genovese.

The comic was adapted into a 2010 film of the same name directed by Matthew Vaughn, starring Aaron Johnson, Chloë Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong and Nicolas Cage.

Contents

Synopsis

Dave Lizewski, an otherwise ordinary New York City high school student and the child of Greg Willer, a loving single father, takes his interest in comic books as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. He buys a wetsuit off of the website eBay, which he wears under his normal clothing, begins exercising, and practices things like walking on roofs, satisfying his ambitions for a time. He eventually seeks to fight crime, with his first attempt leading him to receive a severe beating and stabbing by thugs, followed by his wandering into the street and being hit by a car.[1] He retains his secret identity by stripping off and hiding his costume before paramedics arrive.[2]

Telling his father he was mugged, he undergoes intense physical rehabilitation, including four operations. He is released months later, and as soon as he is off crutches dons the suit once more and goes on patrol. When he saves a man from a beating,[2] an onlooker records the incident and uploads it to YouTube, turning Dave into an overnight sensation dubbed with the name Kick-Ass. Local mob boss John Genovese is annoyed by Kick-Ass' appearance, as his business has been disrupted by other vigilantes.[3]

In school, the mugging excuse used to cover up his injuries for a second time spawns rumors Dave is a gay prostitute. Believing them, his longtime crush, Katie Deauxma, adopts him as a "gay best friend". Dave goes along with this in an effort to spend time with her. The continued patrolling takes its wear on Dave, and his father, worried about him, gives him a can of police-issue pepper-spray for protection.[3]

As Kick-Ass, Dave sets up a MySpace account, so people can contact him for help. The first such request he investigates is a man called Eddie Lomas who has been harassing his ex-girlfriend, which leads Kick-Ass to an apartment of violent lowlifes who try to kill him. He is rescued by a costumed, blade-wielding young girl named Hit-Girl,[3] who brutally kills all the attackers and then leaves to join a grown man, named Big Daddy and also wearing a superhero costume.[4] The two disregard Dave, who later learns that Kick-Ass has inadvertently inspired a subculture of people dressed in makeshift, original superhero costumes. Later, one such hero, the Red Mist, appears. He partners with Kick-Ass on street patrol and the two happen upon a burning building. When a woman begs them to save her "baby", Kick-Ass drags a very reluctant Red Mist into the building, only to discover that the "baby" is actually a kitten. Although the two are nearly killed while saving the kitten, they gain great public popularity after the rescue.[5]

Hit-Girl later insists to her father that they form a "super-team" with Kick-Ass and Red Mist, and Big Daddy reluctantly complies. Big Daddy is revealed to the reader to be "a good cop in a bad city", whose wife was killed because he would not accept bribes from criminals. He escaped with his baby daughter and plotted revenge, training his daughter to become a lethal crimefighter.[6] At the behest of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, Kick-Ass accompanies Red Mist to meet the duo at an abandoned warehouse to strategize the takedown of John Genovese. There they find Big Daddy and Hit-Girl captured, and Red Mist reveals himself as Genovese's son, who had orchestrated this ambush.[6] Hit-Girl is apparently killed after being shot multiple times and falling through a window. Tortured, Big Daddy reveals he is not an ex-cop at all but an accountant frustrated with his marriage, who took his daughter and left his empty life to create a new one, financing himself through selling comic books. He chose Genovese as a target because he and Hit-Girl "needed a villain". The gang kills Big Daddy and tortures Kick-Ass. Hit-Girl, who is alive due to body armor, saves Kick-Ass.[7] Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass attack Genovese's headquarters. Hit-Girl kills most of the henchmen, while Kick-Ass beats Red Mist unconscious. Genovese and his remaining thugs manage to capture Hit-Girl, but Kick-Ass comes to the rescue armed with a gun and shoots Genovese's penis. Hit-Girl finishes off Genovese with a meat cleaver and guns down the remaining henchmen.[8]

Dave helps Hit-Girl go back to a normal, calm life with her mother - who had never been murdered, unlike what Big Daddy had made her believe - and stepfather, but his own life is no better than before. He revealed to Katie Deauxma that he is not gay, confessing his love for her, but rather than return the feelings, she is outraged at him lying to her. In retaliation, Katie induces Carl, her new boyfriend, to punch Dave before sending him a picture of herself performing oral sex on Carl. When he comes home, he walks in on his father having sex with Eddie Lomas' ex-girlfriend Lucille. Despite all of this, he remains optimistic, as he has gone from a loser to a cultural phenomenon over the course of the story.

The main story ends with a would-be superhero (who tried to fly at the start of the story) taking an elevator to the top floor of a building. The epilogue shows Red Mist at a computer in a different costume, sending a vengeful e-mail to Kick-Ass which quotes Jack Nicholson as the Joker at the end: "Wait until they get a load of me".

Characters

Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass: A sixteen-year old comic book lover who is inspired to become a real life superhero due to feeling boredom and emptiness in his life, despite having no super-powers, minimal fighting ability, and very limited training. He buys a wetsuit on eBay and patrols the street in search for crime. After an unsuccessful attempt at stopping a group of graffiti artists gets him beat up, stabbed and run over, he spends a long period of time at the hospital where he has many operations including having metal plates placed inside his head. Despite his unfortunate start at being a real life superhero he feels like the whole experience is too exciting to give up and upon leaving the hospital and recovering from his injuries, starts up again. He eventually manages to successfully defend a guy being attacked by a group of thugs. His actions are filmed and posted on YouTube and he becomes an overnight celebrity who eventually begins inspiring more people to do what he does. Although Dave is portrayed as naive and not particularly strong or athletic, he displays a great deal of courage and determination despite going through a huge amount of physical pain throughout the story. His only unusual ability is a relatively high tolerance to physical blows, due to both damaged nerve endings and the metal plates in his head. He is portrayed by Aaron Johnson in the film adaptation.

Millar said that Kick-Ass "is probably as related to me as George Costanza was to Larry David, which is that all the worst aspects I remember from my memory I have taken and shoved into the story and then exaggerated them." Millar explained "the core is definitely there. Our backgrounds are really similar. The family setup is similar. All that is exactly the same. The only thing I didn't do was make the costume. I planned to. I went to karate and bodybuilding. My friend and I were absolutely going to do it. The one big difference between us is that Dave had the balls to put on the suit, and I didn't."[9]

McCready / Big Daddy[8] (given name unrevealed in the comic): Appears in Kick-Ass issue #4. A more professional crimefighter, he has been training his daughter Hit-Girl to become a lethal vigilante. He himself is quite adept at firearms though most of the missions shown to the reader are mainly accomplished by Hit-Girl, with Big Daddy providing armed support as a sniper. In issue # 6, it is revealed that he and his daughter have been living on the run for years under many false identities, and that Big Daddy claims to be an ex-cop eager to avenge his wife's murder by the mob, a "secret origin" that Kick-Ass compares to Frank Castle's .[6] In issue # 7, it is revealed that Big Daddy, actually a comic geek just like Dave (who funded his operations by selling mint issues of comics on eBay), has lied about his origin, was never a cop, and has trained his daughter to fight crime so she would be "different" and "special".

In the film adaptation, Big Daddy is played by Nicolas Cage. His full name is given as Damon MacCready, and Cage's portrayal of the character is much more eccentric and funny than the comic. His costume also differs from the comic, described in the dialogue as resembling Batman's, and his purported origin as an ex-cop (and consequentially his motives for fighting crime) are genuine, but the comic Big Daddy's love of comics is still referenced in his drawing abilities and the use of comic references for tactical maneuvers. He is shown to be as effective as Hit-Girl, brutally accomplishing at least one mission by himself and possibly several more. Writer Mark Millar considers that the plot twist regarding Big Daddy's background would not have worked in the film adaptation, and would have "messed up the structure of the movie"[10]

Mindy McCready / Hit-Girl: Debuts in Kick-Ass #3. Big Daddy's daughter, said in issue # 6 to be "age 10 and 1/4". A lethal martial artist and weapons expert, she has been trained to fight crime practically since her childhood. As she and her father are constantly on the run, Hit-Girl's upbringing and social life have been limited to her training and crime fighting. Unlike Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl is depicted as a very effective superhero, but saw that Dave had potential, while Dave describes her as resembling a mix between John Rambo and Polly Pocket.[4] Hit-Girl has been convinced by Big Daddy that she is out to avenge her mother. She longs for her father and her to have a normal life as a "regular family" once her mother has been avenged.[6] Artist John Romita, Jr. commented about the character : "I think what's so badass is, how can a little girl become such a force? And I likened it to parents that turn their kids into super athletes. Even against their own will. They become unconscious athletes, almost to a fault. They become hardened. It kind of works the same way."[11] In the film adaptation, Mindy is played by Chloë Moretz, and as Hit-Girl, she wears a purple wig.

Chris Genovese / Red Mist: Appears in his real identity (unnamed) in issue #4, as Red Mist in issue #5. They are revealed to be the same person in issue # 7. Red Mist is initially presented as a superhero inspired by Kick-Ass. While Kick-Ass is initially jealous of the media attention that Red Mist receives, he quickly befriends him after they meet. While wealthy enough to afford a car known as the "Mistmobile", Red Mist shows no evidence of battle prowess, his crime fighting techniques being limited to calling the cops and directing them to crime operations.[5] Red Mist is later revealed as a traitor. Chris Genovese is actually the son of mafia boss John Genovese : eager to win his father's esteem, he has been setting up a trap to capture Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. He also shows a deep loathing of Kick-Ass and revels in seeing him tortured.[7] A comic-book fan himself, Chris genuinely enjoys the experience of masquerading as Red Mist, and finally he identifies himself as a supervillain, wearing another costume.[8] In the film adaptation, Chris is played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, unlike in the comics, the fact that Red Mist is the Mafia boss' son and not a genuine heroic character is revealed to the audience from the beginning; his costume has some shades of black, instead to be totally red, and wears a wig like Hit-Girl. Chris is also portrayed as a much more sympathetic and less mysterious character in the film, who actually likes Kick-Ass and is upset when his father decides to torture and kill him, rather than take pleasure in it.

John Genovese (also known as Johnny G): An Italian-American New York crime boss. Appears in Kick-Ass #3. Although he finds it difficult to take them seriously, Genovese is bewildered and incensed that his operations are being disturbed by people costumed as superheroes. In the film adaptation, the character is renamed Frank D'Amico, and played by Mark Strong. While in the comic-book, Genovese finds Kick-Ass merely ridiculous and correctly identifies Big Daddy and Hit-Girl as the source of his problems, D'Amico in the film develops an obsessive hatred for Kick-Ass. The film depicts D'Amico as being quite athletic and adept at martial arts, a trait not featured in the comic.

Katie Deauxma: A 16-year-old old high-school classmate of Dave's and his longtime crush. She initially does not like him and believes he is a stalker. After Dave is beaten up and found naked she believes rumors that he is gay and wants to take care of him and make him her "gay best friend". When Dave admits he is not gay, she has her boyfriend beat up Dave and later sends a picture to Dave's phone of her performing oral sex on her boyfriend.[8] In the film adaptation Katie, played by Lyndsy Fonseca, forgives Dave for pretending he was gay and starts a relationship with him.

Development

Mark Millar has called the idea behind the series "very autobiographical": "When I was 15, my best friends and I were reading Frank Miller comics, like Batman: Year One. (...) We were so into it, we should have been studying for exams at the time. We wanted to become superheroes like Batman. It was pathetic. We were five years too old really to be doing this. The story was really about what would have happened if we hadn’t come to our senses and actually gone out and done this."[10] Romita said that he decided to add personal touches of his own to the series when he found out that the series had a personal connection to Millar. Romita designed the neighborhood, schoolyard, setting, and clothes in a manner that evoked his neighborhood in Queens, New York City; most of the time the series is set in Romita's neighborhood.[12]

Promotion

Prior to the series, a viral campaign featuring a short video of Kick-Ass, the main character of the comic, being "caught on tape" performing a heroic act was uploaded to YouTube and spread around the Internet.[1] Later, a real-life MySpace page was created, supposedly maintained by the character, where it was written that "Mark Millar [...] is doing a comic-book about me with [...] John Romita Jr."[13]

A charity auction was held to name the main character. The winner, Dave Lizewski, chose his own name.[14]

Each issue also singles out specific comic shops, crediting them for taking part in the "home-made effort" to promote the book and encourages readers to support them.

Film

Scriptwriting for the film adaptation started in May 2008.[15] The Hollywood Reporter said production would be fully financed by Matthew Vaughn's Marv Films, the script written by Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, and the movie directed by Vaughn.

Kick Ass 2

On 16 March 2010, Mark Millar said he would begin writing a sequel comic book in April.[16] Millar revealed when he wrote the first set of comics, he also produced outlines for three books. The second book would involve criminals taking on supervillain personae to counter the superheroes, and Hit-Girl trying to lead a normal life.[17] The new comic was announced to have the working title of Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall.[18] Red Mist reappears, using The Mother Fucker as a new name, and leads a group of supervillains against Kick-Ass and Hit Girl.[19] The sequel ran in eight-page installments the UK magazine CLiNT starting in August 2010. The first part showed Hit Girl attempting to train Kick-Ass to be a more competent superhero, with both intending to form a team with the other costumed heroes that were emerging. In her civilian life, her stepfather is trying to get her to stop being a superhero.[20][21][22]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 1 (July 2008), Icon Comics
  2. ^ a b Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 2 (August 2008), Icon Comics
  3. ^ a b c Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 3 (September 2008), Icon Comics
  4. ^ a b Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 4 (October 2008), Icon Comics
  5. ^ a b Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 5 (February 2009), Icon Comics
  6. ^ a b c d Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 6 (February 2009), Icon Comics
  7. ^ a b Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 7 (October 2009), Icon Comics
  8. ^ a b c d Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 8 (March 1, 2010), Icon Comics
  9. ^ Spelling, Ian. "Why Mark Millar is so involved in the movie of his Kick-Ass comic, and what's next." Blastr. June 10, 2009. Retrieved on January 21, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Writer Mark Millar on 'Kick Ass', craveonline.com
  11. ^ "How Kick-Ass' killer Hit Girl is like Alien's Ripley". scifiwire.com. http://scifiwire.com/2010/04/how-kick-ass-killer-hit-g.php. 
  12. ^ "Kick-Ass Interview - Mark Millar & John Romita Jr." LSQTV at YouTube. 4:20-4:43. Retrieved on February 4, 2011.
  13. ^ "Kick-Ass on MySpace". MySpace. News Corporation. http://www.myspace.com/kickass_comic. Retrieved March 10, 2008. 
  14. ^ Brady, Matt (April 16, 2008). "Talking to Dave Lizewski & a Preview of Kick-Ass #3". Newsarama. http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=153926. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 
  15. ^ Johnston, Rich (May 12, 2008). ""Lying in the Gutters" (column)". Volume 2, Column 157. Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=16384. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  16. ^ "Millar talks up Kick-Ass 2". Total Film. http://www.totalfilm.com/news/millar-talks-up-kick-ass-2. 
  17. ^ "Kick-Ass 2 Movie Interview - Kick-Ass 2 Interview.". IGN (News Corporation). April 9, 2010. http://movies.ign.com/dor/objects/32667/kick-ass-2/videos/MarkMillar_KickAss2.html. 
  18. ^ Caleb Goellner (2009-12-21). "Mark Millar Reveals 'Kick-Ass' Comic Sequel: 'Balls To The Wall', Millar revealed that Red Mist will be the main villain of the series.". http://splashpage.mtv.com/2009/12/21/mark-millar-reveals-kick-ass-comic-sequel-balls-to-the-wall/. 
  19. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Kick-Ass 2 Turns Red Mist Into the Mother F**ker!". 2010-08-05. http://www.movieweb.com/news/NEJhRR4WkquoNK. 
  20. ^ CLiNT #1
  21. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: ‘Kick-Ass 2′ Preview, Mark Millar Says Production On Movie Sequel Is ‘Nine Months Away’". Splashpage.mtv.com. 2010-08-31. http://splashpage.mtv.com/2010/08/31/kick-ass-2-comic-preview-mark-millar/. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  22. ^ [1]

References

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