Mark Millar famously stuck to his guns when it came to bringing "Kick-Ass" supporting character Hit-Girl to the big screen, foul mouth intact, and the gamble has paid off. The Middle School girl assassin has proven to be the breakout character from the creator-owned comic turned film, and as "Kick-Ass 2" continued to be the top-selling indie title in comics, the writer and co-creator John Romita, Jr. looked to capitalize on Mindy McCready's story both for its popularity and for their own reasons.
"It's funny. She was very much the supporting character in 'Kick-Ass,' but I would find that I was writing the Mindy scenes ten times faster than I'd write everything else," Millar told CBR about the five-issue "Hit-Girl" miniseries debuting later this month. "I just had such a great time doing it. Every once in a while, you get working on a character you love like Ultimate Captain America or Wolverine. It just all comes flooding out with them. Hit-Girl did that to me, so writing her in her own book has been awesome. It's bee great to cut loose and not have to think 'Okay, now I should give Kick-Ass some dialogue.'"
Sharing an exclusive new variant cover for the first issue of the Icon series, which is set to hit stores soon despite being dropped from Marvel's catalogue due to a printing error, the writer explained that for this story, Hit-Girl's focus was more than simply killing mobsters and dropping f-bombs...though there's some of that in here too. "This is something I wanted to explore, but it was never going to get done justice in a book titled 'Kick-Ass.' I really wanted to play around with Mindy as a character," he explained. "Of course, the backstory of Mindy is that she was raised by her father who was really eccentric and loved Jean Claude Van Damme and Stephen Segal and things like that. So she had a real uncommon set of influences in her life. What she views as socially acceptable to do and say is completely off from anyone else her own age. That's fun to play with because she talks like a Stephen Segal movie and says, 'I'm going to bust your ass, motherfucker.' She thinks that's normal!
"But to put her in a school environment is really great, because all those things you'd think would make her tough actually make her really vulnerable. And she's not allowed to shoot anyone, so she can't really mix with normal kids. Put her in a school, and she's automatically the class freak. She's totally cool as Hit-Girl, but then when she walks into school, she doesn't know the new band that all the kids are into. She's never watched 'Glee.' She doesn't give a shit about 'Glee.'"
The story also helps fill-in the gaps for the Kick-Ass universes main villain. "The mini series takes place between the two 'Kick-Ass' volumes, and the supervillain story really picks up in 'Kick-Ass 2,'" he said. "So here we get the Red Mist where he was at the end of the first book or where people saw him at the end of the first movie. He's dedicated himself to doing this and trying to go out to start the world's first super crime. He's already been active in 'Kick-Ass 2' so here you see him putting on that mask and going out for the first time. It's almost like what Kick-Ass did – he's trying to go viral. He's trying to get his crimes out there on the internet where people will want to see them. But Red Mist being Red Mist, he fucks it up. We'll have all that in there too."
Romita's return to the world of Kick-Ass comes just after penciling the opening of Marvel's giant "Avengers Vs. X-Men" event, but the artist wouldn't miss his chance to draw Mindy's solo debut. And Millar promised that the pair were full steam ahead on a timely delivery for the mini. "We had so many delays in 2010 and into 2011 that whenever a 'Kick-Ass' page came in, it felt like a little birthday present," he said. "But Johnny's got such a track record now on this. Issues #5, 6 and 7 all pretty much shipped on time. #7 was double-sized so it shipped just a bit late, but it wasn't too bad. So 'Hit-Girl' is five issues, and they'll all be out on time. I think the trade will be ready by February. So I'm massively excited to be working with Johnny again. And we're both huge fans of Leandro Fernandez, who I'd been in touch with about illustrating this originally. But I really get why Johnny wanted to do it because I would hate someone else writing Kick-Ass. It's difficult for a creator to watch someone else draw it."
As for the variant cover from Noto, the writer explained it was just the first in a series of efforts by some big name talent. "Funny, I always just see the book as being drawn by Johnny, but the new editor Jenny Lee actually pitched us on having guest artist on the alternate covers. On the regular covers, we'll never have anyone but Johnny, but on the alternates, we've got a great string of guests. Jock has done one for issue #3 that is just spectacular. I'm a massive fan of Jock's and just to see someone that's so good who you'd never expect to do this draw your character is really fun. Bryan Hitch did one for 'Kick-Ass 2' and that whet his appetite for more. But the Phil Noto one, I'm SO happy with. I've been a fan of Phil for years, and he's been on the hit list of guys I want to work with for sure."
"Hit-Gir" #1 is in orders now for a debut late this month. For more on the series, stay tuned to CBR.