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The latest idea to spring from Mark Millar's endless imagination has some serious bite. It’s called Night Club, dreamed up by the prolific creator during lockdown last year for the Millarworld division he runs for Netflix. It’s a six-issue limited series that will be published by Image Comics and released in early 2022.
What’s Night Club about? The central premise is a group of teenagers get bitten by vampires and gain all the related powers we traditionally associate with the blood suckers. Where this one diverges from most vampire stories is that these vampires decide to use their newfound gifts/curse to become superheroes.
It’s a concept that Millar couldn't believe hadn't already been tackled.
"It's such an obvious idea I'm amazed nobody has ever done it as superheroes and vampires have everything in common,” he tells SYFY WIRE.
SYFY WIRE can exclusively reveal the project, including some amazing artwork from superstar artists Greg Capullo, Ben Templesmith and Ben Oliver. As with all of his projects for the streamer under his overall deal since he sold Millarworld to Netflix in 2017 — such as the Magic Order, Sharkey, Space Bandits and King of Spies — Millar developed it with the intention of seeing it become a live-action series, but being a comics guy first, he wanted to bring it to life on paper while Night Club moved through the TV development process.
“When I put this together as a potential TV franchise... we all really loved it and I couldn't stop seeing the comic [version] of this. I always like to do at least one volume as a comic, too. Plus, the whole story is done and we have a pile of designs sitting here,” he says. “So this comic is going to be the first time anyone sees these characters when we launch in the New Year. Issue one of this is going to be their absolute first appearance.”
Check out the exclusive cover images from Night Club:
As for the idea, Millar describes it as incredibly simple, because it examines how everyday 17-year-olds would react if they were suddenly imbued with incredible abilities that made you fast, strong and able to climb walls and control the minds of others. The co-creator of smash hits like Wanted, Kick-Ass, Kingsman and Jupiter’s Legacy (which was adapted into a Netflix series) among many others knew he wanted to take his vampire story in a much different direction than others had done. So his vampires became superheroes.
“I basically just thought about what I would have done if I'd been bitten by a vampire when I was in high school,” Millar says. “I’d never have killed people in dark alleys. I'd have guzzled bags of blood in hospital storage unit and made some money as a superhero instead. That's what these kids do. They just decide to help people, win every sports prize, take on their school bullies, make a little cash and have a good time. But of course the vampires who bit them have other ideas.”
Millar says the parallels between superheroes and vampires are unmistakeable, from the extraordinary abilities to their own encoded weaknesses (i.e. Kryptonite or sunlight). “The weaknesses are essential in a good superhero drama. Anyone fighting them has a range of options from stakes to crucifixes to Holy Water and we also have the great device of the sun never being able to touch their skin,” he adds.
That aversion to light is why the young vampire heroes of Night Club prefer to use luchadore wrestling masks to help guard their secret identities. That’s about as much detail as the Scottish scribe would divulge at the moment about his new project, but it’s clear he’s excited for fans to get their hands on the book.
He’s also keen on making sure it gets a traditional release that lands on shelve at local comic book shops. We asked Millar if he and Netflix considered doing a digital release or even a newsletter-style serialized format for Night Club, given the recent waves Substack has been making by signing comic book creators to big-money deals (Millar also has his own newsletter, which you can subscribe to here). Millar, as usual, was not shy about sharing his perspective on current events.
“I love that creators are trying new things like digital and Substack as every single thing only increases the reach of comic books themselves,” he says. “I have total respect for the guys doing this and it's important to try new things. But I love comic stores and have been in love when them since I walked into my first one when I was 12 or 13. [Our] series will be entirely made of paper. Digital versions will exist, of course, but it's not our primary market for this book. I'm all about chopping down trees!”
There is also a more personal reason for wanting to see it published. Millar's wife Lucy is partners with him and helps run the Millarworld shingle. Now Millar’s oldest daughter, Emily, is involved in the family business, too. She's part of the design team for Night Club and worked on the supporting cast. “She's an absolute genius and when we eventually do a collection or something I want a lot of this stuff printed at the back.”
One other bit of news Millar is keeping close to the vest for now is who will be penciling the interior art for Night Club. “I have an artist in mind and I'm going to talk to him about it this week. I know he's available to start working almost immediately and I think he'll be a great fit,” Millar says. “I have a couple of back-up possibilities, but he and I have been keen to work together for a while and this is going to be a beaut. He'll love it.”
As for when we might see a Night Club live-action series, Millar said the television side of things takes much longer, which is why he wanted to make sure to get the comic book version out as soon as possible. “These all start out as a potential Netflix movie or TV show first and then will get translated into a comic book. Before I sold Millarworld to Netflix it was the other way around where comic books like Kingsman, Wanted, Starlight and Kick-Ass were being adapted into movies,” he says. “We're all into this and keen to get moving, but the comic book is faster to make and will be the first time anyone sees these characters.”