Since I didn't get to go to WIZARD WORLD CHICAGO THIS YEAR...
(an oldie but goodie - mr MARK MILLAR and I battle it out regarding his work THE ULTIMATES VOLUME 1- who wins??? Read on!!! This was from Wizard World Chicago 2004)
Mark Millar, like my favorite PYTHON Michael Palin, is now dubbed by me “The Nicest One” in the comic books business. He uses his Scottish accent to make everything truth; and his charming UK-ways have given him his own special nickname: The Scottish Rogue.
To state first the premise of our Chicago meeting, take a trip back in time with me to the DYNAMIC FORCES FAN FEST in Runnemede, NJ and I quote myself in italics:
MILLAR totally impressed me with his story-telling and the promise of one free drink per correct question answered in "ULTIMATES QUIZ 2004," an epic battle pitted against me and MILLAR set for WIZARD WORLD CHICAGO this August.
What followed was a borderline stalking relationship. If there is one thing that Mark will try to increase, it's his and every other UK’s ultra hip, hard drinking, shag-ready lifestyle. If it’s one thing he’s quick to avoid, its organizing. Although he promised to send me all 12 issues of THE ULTIMATES and other recent work; I never received it; and although he swore on his first born that the quiz would indeed take place, the bastard did not want to nail down a time, a day, so I was forced to settle for a place and a promise via email. Maybe I’m new to the scene, but I felt the need to have the set-up, the score and all that planned prior to our trip. Mark finally succumbed to my pressuring and threatening emails with a Friday date at KNUCKLES in the HYATT HOTEL.
Nervousness began to succumb around 1pm when I had my first glass of wine for the day (they had alcohol @ the convention--An addition I would like to request at every subsequent convention I attend!) and a chance meeting with Rob Van Dam-scoping and buying toys hardcore incognito. I decided to case the MARVEL booth for Mark. I was able to catch him as he arrived for his signing. He came over and gave me a hug and spoke his Scottish gibberish, assuring we were still on for the evening. After a few hours of crashing from jet lag, followed by primping and a nice dinner, we headed over to the HYATT aka “Talent and Fanboy Central.”
Everyone who was anybody in the little clique known as the comic biz was there. This was equally balanced by a whole plethora of message board elite and fanboy alike. I walked into on Jim Mahfood (who did a kickass TRANSMETROPOLITAN-related sketch of Daphne from his comic GRRL SCOUTS) talking with Brian Michael Bendis. I requested the whereabouts of Mark, and was pointed straight back to the bar. After staring down eye candy John Cassaday, I approached Mark who was downing GUINNESS like water and a smile that lit up the whole room.
Words to the wise people: when engaging in conversation with Mark it is quite necessary to maintain physical contact throughout the entirety of your interaction with him. Mark’s internal Scottish charm clock is on 24/7 and works double time when he’s been drinking. His magnetism and need to relate insane stories of the rest of his comic creator alumni drives him to newer and better conversations by the minute. We met Laurie and Victor, fans from last year that Mark befriended with the kindness displayed only by Mark or the perpetually drunk. After a few drinks, a shot of Tequila and vice like grip to his arm to keep him with me, Mark and I went out first round with the ULTIMATES QUIZ 2004.
The Rules? 2 Rounds, 5 Questions Each. For every correct answer, Mark promises to buy me a drink the next night post-con. Let’s see how the events went down with
Mark Millar Question #1 (MMQ1): What was the name of the soldier in WWII in the first issue of THE ULTIMATES that has a bullet rip through his helmet, and that helmet is given to Cap in a later issue?
I stutter and hesitate…not knowing is easily noticed in my eyes…Mark realizes this.
MM: I think I don’t owe you a drink my dear! I don’t think you read my book!
Mary E. Brickthrower (MB): I did! I did! I don’t know the answer. Who am I kidding. I let Mark give me the answer.
MMQ2: Who is TONY STARK’s BUTLER?
Once again I feel that this is going downhill VERY FAST…I'm kept alive by having him repeat the question, I spring to life—finally!
MB: JARVIS? MM:: Hey! (he points at me and nods) 1-2. So far, so good.
MMQ3: GIANT MAN, in issue 2, he’s trying out the whole formula in the lab right? What is the maximum height a human being can be—[before his body is destroyed]?
Oh yes baby…I didn’t even let him finish this whole question, I was that ready. MB: 60 feet. (nod my head in unison with Mark oh yeah pimp style!)
MM: 2 drinks, I owe you 2 drinks. You’re doing ok!
MMQ4: What is the name of BUCKY BARNES’s wife…and the reason this is so important is that she was CAP’s sweetheart in the 1940’s.
MB: GAIL (answered with complete and total confidence)
MM: That’s it…you’re one smart cookie. End of this round now.
MMQ5: Who was Betty having dinner with—[when the HULK appeared]
Another question in which I stopped The Scottish Rogue short, having the answer already on my tongue:
MB: FREDDIE PRINZE JR.
4 for 5 and Ze Brickthrower was winning?!? Believe me when I say I could’ve gasped in astonishment. I proceeded to do my white girl celebrating of “raising the roof” which luckily was not recorded with a camera. Our lengthy distance from the bar and Chicago’s silly rule of closing time of 1am had us worried more about consuming all the alcohol we could, that we agreed Round 2 would take place in his swanky HYATT executive room.
Mark is good at talking up his friends, and sure enough WIZARD did provide some BUD LIGHT and friendly conversation when the bar closed and the crowd spilled into the lobby. Mark continued to chat up the ladies, drink with a furor only seen in Europeans and from there we gathered a small entourage for...
MB: Ok, we’re on question #6, so far I’m winning… I think I’m kicking your ass.
MM: You’re doing well, I’ll admit it.
MMQ6:What was the name of the guy that replaced Hank Pym as the head of the program to discover the “Super Soldier Serum”, and he’s a real person, and my doctor. And in issue 7 of THE ULTIMATES.
Once again, he started me out with this question that made me want to admit defeat right away. I hadn’t a bloody clue. Not a one.
MM: EAMONN BRANKIN. (a comment in the room that Mark had just asked a very good question). So you’ve done 4 for 6, which is still very respectable.
MMQ7: What is the name of the alien race in issue 8, the shape changing race, they were known as SKRULLs but the ancient Africans called another name.
Oh bloody Christ on a cross! I knew it…but I didn’t…I had been quizzed that morning, but could not recall. I harbored a guess, hoping not to butcher the name too much.
MB: THE CHIHARTU?
MM:Close enough. THE CHITAURI.
It was coming down to the final 2 questions, and I was getting more amped than ever. I attempted to take advantage of his drunkenness by asking if we were on our last one…but that Scottish Rogue is a sly one.
MMQ8: The name of the city where CAPTAIN AMERICA kicks HANK PYM’s ass in a pub called THE RED LION, and it was in a very very familiar city. And the RED LION is a real pub in this city…
Over-confidence struck. I answered before even thinking…
MB: New York right? Mark just shook his head and I knew that I was now 5 for 8.
MMQ9: What state/area was the fight against THE CHITAURI fought at?
MB: Nebraska? (another guess on my part, cycling through the names and places I could recall in the city).
MM:No…ARIZONA. Ok…last question.
MMQ10: NICK FURY: what level of the military is he as the leader of THE ULTIMATES? As in, a corporeal, or whatever?
I would not make the same mistake again…I took my time with this one and thought about the last issue.
Which I had only read once because I enjoyed issues 1-6 much better.
MM: 8 out of 10! [Ze Brickthrower’s note here: I have no idea where Mark got his total from. But we were all just the tiniest bit tipsy and no one disagreed. So thank you for that extra drink MM!!!]
MB: (here I give Mr. Millar a handshake from across the table) Thank you so much! I can’t believe I got that many right!
Victorious! Impressed more than anyone has myself and my exceptional ability of recalling a book that I went into holding a grudge of sorts (CAPTAIN AMERICA? SAMUEL L. JACKSON as NICK FURY? Surely you jest Mark sir!). A Scot with a knack for writing characters that are not only involved and personality—heavy but hella slick as well. We ended the evening with a promise to meet up the next day (actually the same day, considering we didn’t leave for our hotel until 4am that morning).
I wasted the day away trying to decide what 8 drinks I would have Mark pay up for my championing over him. The request came, as we sat in our usual corner spot at KNUCKLES, of 8 RED DEATHS. A RED DEATH is a shot most easily described as a KAMIKAZE and an ALABAMA SLAMMER combined. This was a shot no one at the bar had ever heard of, so KAMIKAZE’s it was. Mark ordered them for me, and as the “winnings” sat before me, I was thinking “Millar is a genius! He may have to pay for 8 drinks, but I was the one that was paying by becoming instant entertainment for the crowd that evening with my drunkenness. But I had to prove something. Not only could I win a quiz on a bloody superhero book but also I could do 8 KAMIKAZE’s as if I was TONY STARK himself. And damn it if I didn’t down the shots in 2 minutes flat (or so Mark timed). The real feat of the night. I did NOT throw up once…
The rest of the night was more drinking, more debauchery that only a lot of alcohol, stories of strip clubs and stories from that only the Scottish Rogue could provide. And there is no way I could not love a more gracious person such as Mark than the description he used for me in the company of my pal Koop:
“You are the American version of JENNY SPARKS.”
I know he probably says this to all the girls, but as for me he is: Anglophile approved, as one Brickthrower’s eyes gleamed with delight.
~Till next time Kittlings!