It's a hard thing in entertainment in general to go out when your on top, but Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. are hoping to join the ranks of "Seinfeld" when they wrap their creator-owned saga later this year with "Kick-Ass 3."
"Yes, this is where the entire Kick-Ass saga wraps up," Millar told CBR, showing off the first and only art to be seen until the book is ready to roll. "'Kick-Ass 3' is the last of the books and brings the story to a close. Johnny and I had been talking about doing a Hit-Girl origin book, set back when she and Big Daddy were in their early days, but to be honest I found I could cover what I wanted to cover in flashbbacks here and just do what we did in the earlier volumes with fast-paced cuts to their training and so on. So the five volumes in total we'd been considering is now definitely four and I'm on issue five already. I wasn't sure how I felt going into the last volume because, like 'Ultimates 2,' it's essentially saying goodbye to old friends forever. But I really feel super-charged. I can't watch to switch on the computer in the morning. I've just filled this with everything I wanted to say about real-world superheroes and concluding Dave's story just feels very exciting. The beautiful thing about creator-owned is that you can do anything you want. We're never going to see these characters again (in book form), so I've got a license to go as mental as I like."
With a second big time "Kick-Ass" movie adapting the two most recent books in the cycle about to hit theaters, Millar says the franchise is a cash cow he could continue to milk if he wanted. "My agent has had one eye on the fact there's a big summer movie coming out, calling me up and saying, 'Maybe you should keep your options open. This is the best payday either you or Johnny have ever had!'" he laughed. "But I always planned it to end here and it just feels right. This feels very much like the natural conclusion to Dave's story and I'm really, really happy with it. We've all seen things that have gone on longer than we wanted them too, and I love the idea of wrapping it up when people least expect it. We did the same with 'Wanted,' actually. The book has sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world and we could easily have followed it up with five spin offs, but it just feels ethically wrong to keep churning out books because they're selling. You have to be true to the story. We've done over a million copies now of the Kick-Ass trades. There's no need to get greedy."
As for the story itself, the writer promises that it will be a true ending, meaning no pulled punches. "When I started 'Kick-Ass' I knew what the final page of 'Kick-Ass 3' was going to be. It's a very logical conclusion. Not everybody gets out of this alive, as I'm sure you might expect. If someone puts on a wetsuit, a pair of gloves, some Timberland boots and picks up a pair of sticks, they're not automatically still going to be doing this when they're 40. If you're Batman, you've been trained by the masters, and you've got a billion-dollar technical budget and an SAS trained butler backing you up. If you're Superman, your dense molecular structure means that bullets will literally bounce of your chest. If you're Dave Lizewski -- you're basically screwed when things get too much. You just have to turn around the wrong corner one night, and you're dead. So any one of these characters can die here, and there are deaths, but I'm saying nothing beyond that. It'll tie everything up, and Kick-Ass 3 will be the big goodbye in print form. This will close the door forever on Dave, Mindy, Chris, Big Daddy, The Colonel and that lovable masked dog that's been trained to bite testicles."
Of course, fans will wonder whether volume 3 will lead to one more movie, but for now Millar is focusing on the one about to roll. "In terms of what's happening with the movies, well that's entirely dependent on how 'Kick-Ass 2' does. The first movie cost 28 million, made a 100 million in theaters and took another 140 million on DVD and Blu Ray. That's obviously why we were able to do a sequel and Jeff Wadlow has being doing the most phenomenal job on this so fingers crossed."
Until then, the four color finale is where he and Romita's heads will be at. "The 'Kick-Ass 3' comic launches in May and we've got six of the biggest artists in comics on six inter-linked covers that form a Justice Forever team poster," he revealed. "Next month we're going to start releasing these covers online, but I think people will be quite shocked at who we managed to get for these. As it's goodbye to the series, a lot of pals knew this was their only chance to draw these characters and we didn't get a single refusal as far as I recall. 'Hit-Girl' #5 just wrapped up yesterday and Johnny's going full blast into 'Kick-Ass 3' now, which is both exciting and poignant at the same time. We've worked together prior to this on 'Wolverine: Enemy of the State' and 'Wolverine: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.,' but this has been over 5 years of our lives so far and we're really going to miss working together after this wraps up. He really is an absolute legend, and he, Tom Palmer and Dean White are 99.9% of the reason this series has been as big as it has. It's weird to think that only 20 single issues have been published with these characters and we've seen everything from the two movies to toys and games to people dressed up as the two leads for Halloween. Bringing it all to a close here thus comes with a certain amount of responsibility, but we both feel this is the best volume yet. 'Kick-Ass 2' was our 'Empire Strikes Back,' right down to the cliffhanger. This is our upbeat 'Return of the Jedi,' as we try to give these characters the biggest send off we possibly can."
Stay tuned to CBR later this Spring for more exclusive art and info from "Kick-Ass 3"!