Re-launching in May with a near all-new line up that includes Mark Millar's Supercrooks (with art by Leinil Yu) and The Secret Service (with Dave Gibbons), the new #1 cover sports a comic cover reflecting the bulk of its impressive 100-page content. On its original launch almost two years ago, the title favoured photographic covers that seemed to target the 'lads mags' market.
Titan is no stranger to re-boots - and it's a marketing tactic employed by several publishers, on both sides of the Atlantic. (Titan's Star Wars Comic, for example, has bee re-branded and re-launched pretty much every time Lucasfilm has tweaked the Star Wars franchise). While CLiNT's UK comic shop sales and US direct sales are strong, the re-boot won't hurt to remind non comic-savvy high street retailers the title is still available, and a logical complement to other comic offerings like 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine.
But it's the content, not the marketing, downthetubes readers are interested in - so what's on offer?
"The idea behind [Supercrooks] is that a bunch of supervillains get together and say, 'You know what, we keep getting beat by the superheroes. We always end up in prison,'" Mark Millar told Comic Book Resources last yerar. "This is terrible no matter what we try to do. Let's go to a country where they don't have any superheroes, and then we can kick ass.' So they leave America and head over to Europe where there are no superheroes, and it's like Ocean's Eleven meets the X-Men where seven supervillains head to Europe to pull the biggest job of their career where there are no supervillains to stop them. So it's a fun heist story."
Sure to get attention from fans is The Secret Service, which is also being published as a six-issue mini series under Marvel Comics' Icon imprint in the US from April. Mark collaborated with writer-artist Dave Gibbons on this, with X-Men: First Class helmer Matthew Vaughn is on board to turn the series into a movie in the future.
Talking about the project in CLiNT recently, Mark explained he had been working on this idea for some years and revealed the story was “Something to do with the government and something to do with the military intelligence wing of the government. It’s not a spy story as such,. That would be way too straight for a couple of guys who made their names in superhero comics… It’s a hero book, and there’s a sidekick and there’s vast headquarters and a secret origin and all the stuff you’d expect to see in a superhero book. But we really, really play around with a lot of conventions here.
“No two scenes seem to be set in the same country and we’re working on a scale unlike something as up-close-and-personal as a crimefigheter with no super-powers," he added. "But I can see the link, because we’re balancing that sense of the real and the outrageous and there’s super-villains and so on. But what’s exciting about it is that it‘s something new.
“The Ultimates was about heroes responding to the new America and the new world after the attacks on September the 11th. The Secret Service is the ramifications of that, as America is struggling on the world stage, funding is being seriously undercut to balance the books and some people are trying their best to take advantage of the fragile global situation.
“The Secret Service started as two different projects," he revealed. "I had an idea that was mainly set in the US and [Matthew Vauughn] had an idea for a similar thing that was mainly set in the UK. I can’t give too much anyway without blowing the story, but we essentially fused both characters together and so the Batman and Robin or whatever you want to call these guys really are a genuine co-creation between me, Dave and Matthew. He had some sequences in mind and I had these crazy plot ideas I’d been mulling over for a year or two and we just hammered it out in the pub, really. It evolved naturally. So I’ve gone off and written the comic and he’ll write the screenplay for the movie, which might feed back into the comic too. l don’t know.
"It’s impossible for one of us to untangle one from the other and now Dave is the third man in this whole creation, bringing in a third dimension to the story. We’re going to see all his drawings and designs and emblems and so on working their way back into the movie too.”
The magazine's line-up also includes the highly-anticipated Death Sentence from Jim Montynero and Mike Dowling, which was trailed last December.
Created by writer Montynero and Mike Dowling (artist on CLiNT’s Rex Royd), Mark Millar feels the story is a perfect fit for the 100-page magazine's brand of big-budget action with a cynical twist.
The story of three Londoners granted superpowers and six months to live by the devastating, sexually-transmitted G-Plus virus, Death Sentence is by turns dramatic, thought-provoking and hilarious; a take-down of modern celebrity culture that also takes a stand against oppressive and invasive government.
With a world exclusive new chapter of Rex Royd – plus the terror of Graveyard of Empires -- the new CLiNT looks set to be a major talking point in the next couple of months and the revamped title is nound to be a major part of the second Kapow convention in May.
Let's hope Mark Millar and Titan's determination to make CLiNT even more of a success pays off - not just in comic shops, but WH Smiths, too.
- CLiNT is published simultaneously in the UK and US. For more information in the title, interviews and previews visit: http://titanmagazines.com/t/clint/