Mark Millar Calls the ‘Justice League’ Movie a Good Way to Lose Money

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 6:14 pm,

Mark Millar Calls Justice League Movie Disastrous Mark Millar Calls the Justice League Movie a Good Way to Lose Money

Mark Millar – (ex) Grant Morrison pupil, comic book creator (Kick-Ass 2), and newly-appointed creative consultant to Fox’s corner of the Marvel movie universe – recently had some very kind words to say about Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel adaptation and the casting of Henry Cavill as Superman. Perhaps he was just softening up DC fans for his latest comments.

In a recent interview, Millar spoke at some length regarding the forthcoming Justice League film – specifically, he talked about how “out of date” the characters are, how “disastrous” the team will be, and how the project is an “excellent way of losing $200 million.

According to Mark Millar (courtesy of Sci-fi Now):

“I actually think the big problem for them is the characters are just too out of date. The characters were created 75 years ago, even the newest major character was created 68 years ago, so they’re in a really weird time.”

Of course, Batman was created some 74 years ago and he’s not only the single most popular superhero in existence, he also just came off one of the more successful film franchises – not just superhero film franchises, mind you! – in the history of time. It’s also worth noting that Mark Millar himself practically begged DC and Warner Bros. to let him make a trilogy of Superman movies in the vein of Lord of the Rings. If that 75-year-old character is “too out of date” to succeed at the cinema, why was Millar so interested in attempting just that?

And Sherlock Holmes! That guy was created in the 1800s. There’s just no way you could make successful movies or TV shows based around that character in this day in age. Dracula? More like Lame-ula. Snow White? More like Lame White. The Hobbit? More like the Lamelet!

The point being – who cares if a character was created 75 years ago, a hundred years ago, 200 years ago, or more? Isn’t the significant (and ongoing) lifespan of these characters – the ones that comprise the Justice League of America – just proof that they have the ability to stand the test of time, not unlike Sherlock, Dracula, and so on?

Millar went on to talk specifically about Green Lantern:

“Now the stuff I grew up with… I adored the DC stuff growing up but really, how do you do a movie about Green Lantern? His power is that he manifests green plasma from his imagination and uses them as weapons against someone? Even that in itself if you just imagine then watching a fight scene with a guy who’s like a hundred feet away making plasma manifestations fight someone – it’s not exactly raucous, getting up close and personal.”

And The Flash (a comic book character that Millar had some success writing, incidentally):

“The Flash has door handles on the side of his mask and if he doesn’t wear that mask, I’ll be pissed off, you know what I mean? They’re in a weird, weird situation – if you’ve got a guy who moves at the speed of light up against the Weather Wizard and Captain Cold or whatever, then your movie’s over in two seconds.

And Aquaman (who, according to recent reports, won’t even be a member of the movie version of the Justice League):

“You can get away with stuff in comics that in live action’s just a bit sucky – the best one is definitely Aquaman. Aquaman can’t even talk under water. If you think about it in comics it’s fine, you just have a speech balloon, but how do you have Atlantis and people talking under water? Are they gonna talking telepathically? Is it going to be body forms? The actual logistics of each member of the Justice League is disastrous, and you put them all together and I think you get an excellent way of losing $200 million.”

Aside from the fact that most of these complaints seem incredibly nitpicky (Aquaman’s inability to realistically talk under water is not a serious roadblock to his cinematic future), couldn’t we play this game with every major superhero? Like, every single one?

Captain America: “A guy who throws a shield – with an American flag on it, no less! – at bad guys? And wears wings on his head? And says stuff like ‘Golly gee whillickers!’ Why, that sounds like a recipe for disaster!”

Or Wolverine: “A five-foot-tall wolf-like Mary Sue who sports mutton chops and has knives coming out of his hands? What an excellent way to lose money!”

Or Thor: “The Norse god of thunder – but, in the movie version, an alien who rides alien horses and just acts like the god of thunder – who sometimes talks like someone out of Shakespeare. ‘Verily this’ and ‘verily that.’ Pfft. Like that’ll ever make money!”

Justice League Movie Character List Mark Millar Calls the Justice League Movie a Good Way to Lose Money

The comments are particularly strange considering Mark Millar previously talked about the Justice League script and was fairly gracious, saying it could be “a thing of beauty” and “it’s in really good hands.” Did something happen between then and now to give Millar the impression that the movie is headed down the wrong path? Because the Justice League characters certainly didn’t age 75 years in the eight months since his prior comments.

Ultimately, I think Justice League – as with any movie – will live or die (critically, financially) depending on who’s writing, directing, producing, and starring in the movie, and not because of any specific character foibles. If those writers/directors/producers/actors aren’t the right people, the movie will probably be less successful than it could’ve been – maybe even terrible. And if they’re precisely the right people, the movie probably has a pretty good shot at being a massive blockbuster. After all, who doesn’t want to see Superman and Batman on the big screen together?

But what do I know? Maybe Mark Millar’s right and all these characters are just too old and out of touch with the world of today, unlike all those hip X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Avengers characters.

What do you think, Screen Ranters? Do you agree with Millar that Warner Bros.’ Justice League movie plan (what little we know of it, anyway) is an excellent way to lose money?

The Justice League movie is tentatively scheduled to hit theaters in 2015.


Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Source: Sci-fi Now [via Bleeding Cool]

Follow Ben Moore on Twitter @benandrewmoore
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  1. 2 words summarises Millar’s comments: Sour Grape!

  2. THERE’s the Mark Millar I know! I think plenty of people will be offering help with the other foot pretty soon ;)

  3. The irony to what he’s saying is that the New52 is an attempt at modernizing all these characters and, for the most part, screwed them all up in some way. I’ll take the musty, old pre-Flashpoint (well…pre-Identity Crisis would be even better) iterations over what’s going on now any day.

    As for his uncharitable comments, I find them very odd. And all the stuff he’s knocking the characters for are things that everybody loves. I mean, the costume for The Flash’s tv show was phenomenal and the effects and costuming possibilities now are light years beyond what they had at the time.

  4. you can’t really lose money on this movie. Having Batman in there is guarenteed to earn your movie at least $300 at the box office. I think they should be approcing this the same way Marvel did, with set up films first. But good or bad its gonna make a lot of money.

    Even the Episode 1 made over $900million when that first came out. Good or bad, its gonna make a ton of money. whether we are talking about “Avengers” money or “Twilight” money all depends on how good it is

    • Well, the Green Lantern movie proved that you can lose money big time, especially DC/WB. Batman is the DC/WB’s only successful franchise. So, I wouldn’t say Millar is wrong.

      • Green Lantern is like The Hulk. Not even an A list actor can save the film. Both films were barely profitable. It must be something to do with green.

        • I have to agree with you on that.

        • You are a racist!

          Kermit the Frog

      • That Green Lantern movie was just plain bad. I agree with Millar to a point though. If you cast the right characters, have the right material, and somewhat modernize it then it could work but if you keep it lame like Green Lantern then the movie will flop. The thing Marvel has going for them is that the directors modernized the material so that both fan boys and the general public enjoys them(The Avengers). With Man of Steel being more “realistic” than the “comic version” as online sources are stating this could be a good thing with JL.

        • The movie could have the same green lantern and be successfull batman does that

    • But we don’t want to wait! And what made me mad about Avengers is they put so much time with CG and editing into “Thor”, “Iron Man” and them – but the outcome of Avengers made me say, “I waited four years, for ‘this’?” It was terrible! Loki, as a villain, for the avengers? Come on! Hulk had no veins whatsoever! Humour – the world is ending around the characters and their being funny! So if DC does this, they better not let fans like me that hated Avengers down.

      • +1

        • Make something better, then.

          • Just stick to Nolan’s s**tty “Batman” movies if you want serious. Apparently you don’t know any combat veterans, because they crack jokes in “serious” situations. It’s how a lot of real people deal with knowing something bad is coming and they might not make it out alive. They were also working while they were cracking wise, it’s not like they said “oh no, an alien invasion! Let’s just sit around and make up jokes about it.

            Once again, Nolan’s “Batman” SUCKED.

            • “It was terrible! Loki, as a villain, for the avengers?” Loki was their very first enemy, and again later on, and again, and again after that. He is a good villain and a good choice for their first movie.

              “Hulk had no veins whatsoever!” No need to pop a vein about it, escecially since thats really only your own inherent personal problem.

              Don’t care if you don’t like the movie, but alteast actually have some *good* arguments against it.

              @Cave-ish Man covered the humor part pretty well.

              • Loki was not a good villain. I have more – the plot sucked – aliens coming out of the sky, come on. I could go on all day but feel not to because we all have our own opinions and I’m just saying I’m excited for this movie because I wanna see a serious movie where heroes team up and go all B.A. on villains.

            • You make something better than that, then.

          • Easy, theres a little thing called ‘creativity’. Anything would have been better than it, even something as stupid as Paranormal activity was better than it.

  5. Ha! Ben Moore just grilled Mark Millar. Very well said! I can’t believe how ignorant his comments are.

  6. The avengers are the Kia of super hero teams and the JLA are obviously are the Cadillacs Black widow and Hawkeye Come one. And man-gina Ruffalo as the Hulk gimme a break

    • JLA is the Model T of superhero teams.

  7. Sounds like someone wanted to be involved with the movie and got turned down. That’s just my opinion.

  8. the examples Millar gives are realistic not nitpicky. the comparative examples given in this article are not similar to his, they are nitpicky and exaggerated, obvious tries- not true complaints like his. if you can’t understand what he’s trying to say here it is: “live action DC characters are lame.” like imagine Watchmen without the characters recognizing that they are wearing costumes and having opinions about it. and thats justice league. lame. (in live action).

    • I’ll avoid the argument of, “didn’t you see Chris Nolan’s Batman movies?” and just repeat what countless others have been saying, “in the right hands pretty much any superhero can work on the silver screen.” Was there any realistic way we could have seen Captain America working as a movie before Marvel did it? Absolutely not, Cap is a big, patriotic, cheeseball that really doesn’t fit in with today’s cynical mentality. Fortunately, Marvel threw in some nostalgia so Cap didn’t automatically seem outdated and made the character work. He payed homage to his roots while still managing to be updated enough for modern audiences. A character that could have easily bombed came out as one of the most popular super hero movies of the last couple years.

      Same argument can apply to the original X-Men. Do we think ten years ago that people would have payed to see a bunch of mutants in yellow spandex running around shooting cgi lasers at Gandalf? Definitely not. Bryan Singer changed up their appearance and took the subject matter seriously so we (as the audience) took it seriously too. He even threw in some subtext to give the film some more meat. Instead of just being a movie about “mutants who can do weird stuff and want to stop a bad guy” X-Men was a deep story, with interesting characters, that just happened to be superheroes. Audiences bought it because, even if they didn’t know the characters, Singer and co. made them relatable to the general public.

      You could even argue the same thing about the Green Lantern (as bad as his live action movie was). Most of the complaints (that I heard) weren’t that the character himself was stupid but that the villain was lousy, the story was dumb, and it just wasn’t a very good movie. Obviously DC/WB screwed the pooch on GL but they did prove that (if done correctly) the character could be taken a little more seriously. Unfortunately his first live-action go round he didn’t get the respect he deserved and he got saddled with a mediocre film. That’s not the character being “outdated” it’s the result of bad movie making. Green Lantern has the potential to be a great character on screen but only if portrayed by a competent actor and directed by someone who knows what they’re doing.

      The point is, anything can work on the big screen (especially super heroes) if the filmmaker understands the character and takes them seriously. You may think the Justice League is “outdated” but the mere fact that DC has kept them around (in the comics, animated movies, video games, etc) proves that they aren’t. JL works in all those mediums so well because they’re smaller productions that don’t entail as much risk and their characters don’t have to be distilled down for its audiences. The people that read comics, watch animated movies, and play video games are probably already aware of who and what these characters are, unlike the average movie-goer. That’s the biggest hurdle a Justice League movie has to cross, making its characters relatable to everyday audiences. Obviously that’s not a impossible hurdle to cross (Marvel has done it repeatedly and Nolan did it three times).

      The Justice League may not be as mainstream as they used to be but considering they’re still much more well known to the layman than any Marvel superheroes I think a good Justice League movie is easier to see working than The Avengers was three years ago. That’s all, Mr. Potter. Have a nice day.

      • Cranston…

        Beautifully stated.

        • I don’t think a JLA movie will do well with just Man of Steel to set it up. It’s gonna need a lot of exposition for the other characters. At least that exposition would be NEEDED, I suppose, rather than just put in there because they feel a need to condescend to their “simpleminded” audience. (ahem… Nolan)

    • patrick…

      Ummm, you’re smiling while you’re saying this, right? You don’t actually expect to be taken seriously…right?

    • So the fins on Flash’s mask – that’s a serious complaint that cannot be overcome on the silver screen, but bringing up the wings on Captain America’s mask is just nitpicky?

  9. Well, those are just what Mark Miller thinks LoL
    Eagarly waiting for an awesome Justice League movie :D

    • Well, going by DC/WB pace you’re gonna keep waiting…lol

  10. I believe Mark MIllar is close to sounding like a spurned lover…

  11. The movie will be successful financially nonetheless. Even if it isn’t critically acclaimed. Michael Bays movies are gigantic hits at the BO and his tomato meter is usually rotten. Those comments that Millar made were the most childish things Ive heard/read come out of an established adult in a long time.

    • +1

  12. What do you expect? The Millar and Fox superheroes are in competition with the WB/DC superheroes.
    This is trash talk. He’s working you fanboys like putty and you’re all falling for it. Just like WWF wrestlers in front of the camera.

    But then backstage in the dressing room everybody is friendly.

    Millar would bash the Marvel heroes if he was on the WB team.

    • I wonder why Marvel Studios’ team never bashes Fox or Sony or even WB/DC.
      Guys like Kevin Feige, Joss Whedon and Jon Favreou have only had nice things to say about Nolan’s Batman trilogy for instance and they seem to have a good relationship with Fox and Sony as well (who’ve basically been screwing up all their movies up until lately imo).

      I guess it just goes to show, not all Hollywood fanboys are haters ;)

      • How can they bash a true masterpiece, Dark knight trilogy?

        • Very true.
          But they didn’t bash Green Lantern either (and what an easy target that was), nor did they bash any other DC movies.

          I’m just saying, the guys over at Marvel Studios show respect and admiration for what their competition has done. They don’t seem to be interested in belittling others’ work (or upcoming work) to make what they’re doing look better/superior… unlike Mark Millar.

          Marvel doesn’t need to do that because their movies speak for themselves: they’re fun, entertaining and people love ‘em…

          • At the end of it all, whether it is from the same studio or not, all of these films help (or hurt) the genre overall. They need each other to keep interest or revive interest when one party is less than spectacular.

            Both DC and Marvel properties have been less than successful both critically and financially, so both companies- as well as other lesser known companies- need the competition to keep things going when saturation of the market is overly clear and growing.

            The head at Marvel Studios welcome the competition for two things:
            1) The better the competition does at delivering a successful film, the better it does for the genre as a whole and would make audience say “hey I want to see another superhero film” despite having been exposed to many films before- both good and bad.

            2)Finally, great competition from both sides allow the Companies to examine what worked in each other’s films and what did not work. They push each other and force each other to reexamine the playing field and up the ante of each work.

            This trash-talking to get people not to be excited for one potential film- before any legitimate news of the project has even be released- is just pitiful, even if not meaningful. It hurts not the competition but their own films. Whatever Millar’s reason to say these things only show his ignorance- and that can have a negative impact on how we the audience view his role as Consultant at Fox- and is disrespectful to the genre and community he works within.

            • Very well said The Archer. I think you nailed it.

          • They should bash green lantern lol

        • Masterpiece? Are you kidding me?

          • Kyle, I agree.

  13. I’m not a fan of DC (only like Batman), and though I do agree in some of his words regarding the JLA movie… I don’t really like his attitude by simply saying that. Does he even need to say things like that in the first place? No… why can’t he just say random stuff without disregarding competitor’s movie. Fair and square, don’t say a word but prove it with your work. I think it would’ve been better for him that way…

    • Do you really NEED to comment about Millar’s statements? NO.

  14. His comments make no sense. As long as the movies arr done well, there’s no reason these timeless characters can’t be amazing on film. I certainly never thought ten yrs ago that Thor or captain America would ever be anything but cheesy B movies but I was wrong. Times change and these characters arr finally getting treated with the respect they deserve on film, and people want to see it. Justice league has some of the finest characters, and has the possibility of being an absolutely amazing movie.

  15. lol @Ben Moore tearing Millar’s comment to shreds – that was awesome.

    I actually think Millar makes a few good points though (especially the Aquaman breathing thing), but the things he mentioned can be sorted out fairly easily with some good writing and a good director at the helm.

    Like the article points out, most superheroes are outrageous, but the majority of comic book characters who’ve had movies have been successfully translated from the comic pages to the screen.

    He’s probably just mad that WB/DC didn’t include him in their movie plans.

    • The talking under water thing was silly. Do fish use vocal chords to speak? ITS UNDER WATER! If a fix is necessary then they can use Martian Manhunter to create a telepathic link to all the heroes like they do in Young Justice. Solved.

      • That’s kinda my point.
        The communicating under water thing would take some explaining… but if written correctly, it won’t take very long to explain and it won’t be confusing to the audience if they come up with something logical (like the telepathy angle you mentioned).

        Mark Miller is going out of his way to find ways in which JL won’t work. The thing is though, those things CAN work if done properly.

  16. Miller should just worry about getting The fantastic four franchise to become a blockbuster and hope that xmen days of future past lives up to its potential. Otherwise we’ll be talking about how he blew money if those films fail expeditions.

    • I meant to say expectations. My bad.

  17. Mark Millar has shown once before that everything is he says should be taken with a grain of salt. Here, he is just reiterating that; I call BS on just about anything he says. I’m actually getting a little tired of this guy. He should really invest in the old saying, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

    Anyways, I agree that if put in the right hands the Justice League could be an excellent movie. As much as Ryan Reynolds’s Green Lantern sucked, I think it showed that the character actually could be portrayed on the silver screen and not look comical. If done correctly. Same with the Flash. I think the Captain America comparison, while a bit exaggerated, was an excellent one. If there’s one comic book character who has the potential to look ridiculous on the silver screen, it’s him. But instead, he looked (and was) super awesome. Primarily because of how well Chris Evans portrayed the character. As for the Aquaman part, technology has come a long way and continues to make leaps and bounds. If Aquaman is ever introduced on the big screen, I don’t see any problem with making an underwater conversation appearing believable if the right people are on it.

    • Ive never read the comics but Ive seen all of the JL and JLU cartoons and every time the other heroes visited Aquaman under water, there was a shield barrier thing over Atlantis so that when they entered, it was normal for everyone. Kind of like how in Star Wars when they go underwater to Jar Jars people and talk to them. So if they are trying to have a conversation outside of that in the heat of battle, it will be as simple as The Avengers talking into invisible bluetooth devices.

      • Agreed. Although, I was mainly talking about conversation between Atlanteans :). I already figured that when other members of the team visited, they make accomodations for them.

        • From DC’s Wiki — Marine Telepathy: Aquaman has the ability to communicate directly with sea life and has done so throughout most of his life. Lately he possesses a greater range of control that can actually force sea creatures to obey his whims. Currently, he requests their assistance and they comply. He has chosen to continue to request since, if he forces them to comply, they will ultimately lose respect for him. He now also has access to a quantum field phenomenon called “the Clear”. “The Clear” quantum phenomenon has been observed with the subject called the Swamp Thing who called it the Green or the Morphogenic Field of Animal Man (also called the Red). Aquaman is also an accomplished telepath in general and can perform such telepathic feats as mind to mind communication, mind probes, mental domination of a non-aquatic mind, and mental attacks.

          Solved. Xavier spoke through his mind all the time. People werent baffled by that lol.

          • Haha, nice. Thanks for the info. Millar has definitively been proven wrong.

  18. I actually agree with him to a point. The only thing is, Fox needs to actually make a GOOD X-Men/FF movie before he can talk any $h!t.

    • Atleast they have movies on the way. ( Confirmed movies that is )

      • Man of Steel isn’t on the way?

  19. Thank you

  20. I think that the vast world of cinema goers – who aren’t die hard comic book fans – will become bored with the amount of superhero movies – Justice League will intantly be compared to Avengers – which has already made that box office smash after aa lot of hard work building up through the other hero movies like Thor & Capt America.
    I don’t think two superhero team movies can both have massive box office success !
    One will fail.
    I read that JL being made all depends on Man Of Steel being a success….
    If Superman can’t connect anymore with mainstream cinema goers in the 21st Century….I’d fear Justice League would be a Green Lantern of a flop.
    I sort of see where Mark Millar is coming from here.

    • Saying all that…Mark Millar is becoming abit of a bore & loves the sound of his own voice a bit too much.

  21. 1. Sherlock Holmes has two successful movies and a hit show, read your news. 2. The Hobbit was good, if you think it was lame, I’d like to see you make a movie way better than that just using your imaginatively. 3. Mark Millar is dumb, Justice League will be awesome, Avengers sucked – humour, Loki as a villain, Hulk had no veins – but DC makes their movies darker so I’m excited!

    • The Avengers sucked? Maybe you ought to read your news. Everything Millar said is valid. You just can’t roll out a JL movie without the hard work and planning that Marvel did and expect it to be a success. DC/WB is in for a rude awakening. All they have is Batman. Lol. sounds like a great way to lose money to me

      • Looks at seen name then rolls eyes.

    • Are you seriously claiming a movie is bad because “Hulk had no veins”? Get over it.

    • Badger – I was being facetious about Sherlock homes (etc.). I’m guessing you just read that one section of the article?

  22. I’m not too optimistic about a Justice League film either but has Mark Millar read the comics, specifically the New 52? The New 52 has problems for sure but DC did a great job with revamping their characters for modern readers. And since the Justice League movie will be based off that, I’m game. Besides this will probably be way better than X-Men: Days of Future Past anyway, which I’m very nervous about. But as for Aquaman, if they ever made a film for, he would be living on land trying to fit in with us and we would only see Atlantis through flashbacks or something. Then they would have his brother Orm(Ocean Master) wage war on the surface and an epic battle would ensue. I get defensive for Aquaman don’t dis Aquaman.

  23. Mark Millar noticed that his name is not mentioned in the movie news/blogosphere this week so he decided to stir some sh*t.

    • Lol!

  24. All his comments just prove to me how wrong this MILLAR guy can be !
    He has no imagination,no creativity and he is in charge now over all those comic books characters ???

    God save us !

    I really wonder what stupid people put him in this position !
    X- men FC2 will be the best example of his bad doing,and the rest will follow ! He has no plan how to deal with all those Comic Book heroes,and above comments just show how much of a no plan/no idea he really has !

    Hope he is just gone as soon as possible !

  25. Yikes! Your bias is showing Ben. Really? Do you like DC??

    • lol, is that a serious question? Screen rant staff is full of DC fan boys, look at there top ten list for anything or listen to their pod cast. They LOVE them some DC. Screen rant has brought me sooo much entertainment over the last year and a half that for their sake alone I really do hope all the DC movies are amazing. I don’t want them to ever have another Green Lantern moment ever again.

      • This is pretty hilarious, because I remember all the crap we were getting from commenters about how “unfair” and “mean” we were to the Green Lantern movie when it came out. I believe we were called Marvel shills more than once.

  26. I think Joss Whedon said it better that DC’s characters are just so much larger than life, it can be hard to portray them properly while Marvel cracked the code and was able to make characters the audience could relate to more.

    It’s a real uphill battle for WB/DC, they just haven’t found that right groove Marvel has with their movies, plus they lack a building and growing shared universe.

    I just hope they find a way to make Justice League a fun and enjoyable movie like Avengers. No more Nolan nonsense though, please, I’d rather have something enjoyable that didn’t take itself too seriously. I’m just not a fan of the Nolan films.

    • Agreed. I prefer WB/DC not to make their films so seriously. Nolan’s Batfilms were more for adults only than all ages to enjoy.

  27. I can’t tell if he’s kidding. He has to be kidding, right? Is this some kind of attempt to get DC not to do a Justice League movie? If so it’s a horribly laughable attempt. The last Batman movie just made over a billion dollars. He was created in 1939.

  28. Well, Millar I guess we shouldn’t be using Cap in the Avengers since he was created in 1940…. one year after Batman and two years after Superman. And that Spider-Man 50 years old. Green Lantern, The Flash, and Aquaman can all be great movies. Yes, there was problems with Green Lantern, but it can be successful with the right director and script. I agree with what was said with about Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, reinterepreted, it can be done right. Yes, there has been some hit and misses with new 52 DC, but Marvel NOW has had there share too.