John Romita Jr., co-creator of KICK-ASS and veteran Marvel artist, took a moment to chat with us this week as KICK-ASS 2 heads to theatres. In the first part of the interview, we talked about the film, his advice for the cinematic franchise, and the future of Fox’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.
UTF: I heard big news. You saw Kick Ass 2 last night.
JOHN: I did, I did.
UTF: Can you tell me what you thought?
JOHN: I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it. My difference between the first and the second is the first one was like the first time you kissed a woman. Then last night was the second time I kissed a woman; so equally wonderful but the first woman was extra special. This was a little bit less special than it was in the first time but I really enjoyed it last night.
There were so many things about it that were great but to me, the best thing is Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl, it’s just exceptional.
UTF: I know a lot of fanboys complained and griped that she might be too old for the part this time around but you thought she was spot on?
JOHN: No, that makes no sense to me only because they were teenagers in the first one, and certainly teenagers in the first one, and the series is long so she’s going through that. That’s the whole point of the movie that she’s going through her adolescence. No, I love the fact that she’s growing up. If she’s in the third film, that makes perfect sense. She’ll be the age that Kick-Ass was when he first started, so to speak. I don’t see the problem with the age progression.
UTF: I don’t really either. I was curious though. What did you think about the small adaptations that they made for the big screen changes? What were the kind of things that made you just a little upset like, “Well, we could have really made this exactly like the comics in this way.” What changes were you really happy with?
JOHN: I didn’t have any notion that they were filming directly from the book. The first film was slightly different. There are no films that really are lockstep following books or graphic novels. I have no problem at all except that maybe Chloe could have taken, I mean, Hit Girl could have taken Mother Russia’s head off but they tried to mitigate the super violence a little bit.
I honestly thought that the violence was kept down a little bit and that’s fine. They were a little bit softer in some of the hard hitting that we had in the book but I didn’t see anything that I thought had to be edited in the book that I was disappointed in. I didn’t expect it to be letter for letter so I was very happy with the pacing.
Like I said, the group of people that I was with on the way home in the van, we all talked about Hit Girl. I talked to my wife about Aaron Taylor being an excellent actor and then that Hit Girl, so Chloe and Aaron were extra special. Christopher Plasse Mintz is just amazing in this. He played his part well. He was good for comedy and good for insanity.
I enjoyed things about it. But it didn’t need to be lockstep with the book. I saw enough of it and there was more in this one than there was in the first from the book. That was because there were so much more to go by in this one. They passed this up in the first one that I couldn’t draw fast enough but I think that this was a great movie. Like I said, the only difference is one was first and one was second.
UTF: I’m really excited to see it. I have to wait until the 16th like your average human being but I’m really looking forward to it. I was wondering though. Do you think this type of series will be stuck to only three movies or can you imagine a fourth, a fifth…
JOHN: Oh boy, it would make sense to be three and then there should be Hit Girl by herself. But again, that’s my heart. That’s not throwing any business in this. I, of course, think there’s going to be a third movie. That’s good business sense because we have so much to give them. There should be more. I think there should be seven of them. There were seven SAWS, weren’t there? How many Friday the 13th’s were there?
UTF: Way too many to count for those horror movies. Though, I hope to be 76 years old one day just watching Hit Girl running around as a 65-year-old just kicking ass.
JOHN: Actually, there had been 20-something Bond movies. Not all of them were good. Roger Moore was a black hole during the Bond movies. Look how good the last three were and as far as I’m concerned, Daniel Craig is thoroughly Bond. I don’t see why you can’t just go on and on with costumed vigilantes.
UTF: Take a series like the X Men or a series like say, Thor or the Avengers, some of these books you’ve worked on. The movies adapt them a pretty heavy bit and they kind of change the aesthetics for the movies a lot, especially with X Men. I really liked how in Kick Ass, they tried to stay really true to the books.
JOHN: That has to happen because this is a bunch of awkward amateurs doing what they’re doing. I think that’s what the book conveys and that’s what the movie has to convey. There’s no glory in this. They all look stupid in some way. The costumes don’t fit right. It’s ruined and it struggles with teens especially with Chloe. I think it has to be that way. The book always conveys that. I assume that the movie will do the same. I think if you lose it, if you try to glorify them and make them a little more glamorous looking then you’ll probably lose it.
Aaron Johnson is in great physical condition. All you have to do at that age to be in great physical condition is walk. I don’t think he was gigantically pumped. I don’t think there was anything overtly glamorous about it. I thought it was a really good balance plus you need that little dynamic between Chloe and Aaron because she is going through her phase and naturally, she’s going to be attracted to that guy so that makes perfect sense. There was nothing overt about it, nothing over the top about it. I thought it was really well done.
UTF: Are you interested in the new Fox Marvel Universe that they’re going to make? I know you have like a tangential relationship with them through Mark Millar. Are you possibly going to get more hands on since you’re one of the comic creators with Kick Ass? It’d be an easy way to go for you to be consultant for their other franchisees that they’re trying to develop.
JOHN: I’m available. If somebody wants to come a knocking, I’m here but I haven’t heard anything to that. No, nothing. Not even an inquiry until you just mentioned it.
UTF: I think you should. I think you should go knock on some doors and say, “This is how you got to do Wolvie. This is how you have to do this guy.” It’d be a great idea.
JOHN: That would make sense, wouldn’t it? I was going to say that writers do have a good sense of story. There’s nothing wrong with that especially somebody who has a grasp of all the characters. I think artists are made to be directors, so to speak, less so than just consultants but that’s just my humple opinion about artists.
UTF: So is that a hint? Are you interested in maybe directing some features pretty soon?
JOHN: Oh, of course! But then I’d love to take Angelina Jolie out on a date. That’s not probably going to happen.
We’ll end this part of the interview on that bit of humor. Look for the second piece next week. John Romita Jr. talks about his art, his plans as an illustrator, and which characters he’d like to tackle.
And make sure you see KICK-ASS 2 in theatres this weekend.
When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire – leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes. Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world’s first super villain assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad. But there’s only one problem with his scheme: If you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all.