Kick-Ass #2 (May 2008).
Second-printing variant cover art by John Romita, Jr.
|Publication date||February 2008 – February 2010|
|Number of issues||8|
|Main character(s)||Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass|
|Penciller(s)||John Romita, Jr.|
John Romita, Jr.
|Volume 1||ISBN 0-7851-3261-9|
It is the story of Dave Lizewski, a teenager who sets out to become a real life superhero. His actions are publicized on the Internet and inspire others. He gets caught up with ruthless vigilantes Hit-Girl and Big Daddy who are on a mission to take down the gangster John Genovese.
Dave Lizewski, an otherwise ordinary New York City high school student and the child of James Lizewski, a loving single father, takes his interest in comic books as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. He buys a wetsuit from the website eBay, which he wears under his normal clothing, begins exercising, and practices things like walking on roofs, satisfying his ambitions for a time. He eventually seeks to fight crime, with his first attempt leading him to receive a severe beating and stabbing by thugs, followed by his wandering into the street and being hit by a car. He retains his secret identity by stripping off and hiding his costume before paramedics arrive.
Telling his father he was mugged, he undergoes intense physical rehabilitation, including four operations. He is released months later, and as soon as he is off crutches dons the suit once more and goes on patrol. When he saves a man from a beating, an onlooker records the incident and uploads it to YouTube, turning Dave into an overnight sensation dubbed with the name "Kick-Ass". Local mob boss John Genovese is annoyed by Kick-Ass' appearance, as his business has been disrupted by other vigilantes.
In school, the mugging excuse used to cover up his injuries for a second time spawns rumors Dave is a gay prostitute. Believing them, his longtime crush, Katie Deauxma, adopts him as a "gay best friend". Dave goes along with this in an effort to spend time with her. The continued patrolling takes its wear on Dave, and his father, worried about him, gives him a can of police-issue pepper-spray for protection.
As Kick-Ass, Dave sets up a Myspace account, so people can contact him for help. The first such request he investigates is a man called Eddie Lomas who has been harassing his ex-girlfriend, which leads Kick-Ass to an apartment of violent lowlifes who try to kill him. He is rescued by a costumed, blade-wielding young girl named Hit-Girl, real name Mindy McCready, who brutally kills all the attackers and then leaves to join a grown man, named Big Daddy, McCready, also wearing a superhero costume. The two disregard Dave, who later learns that Kick-Ass has inadvertently inspired a subculture of people dressed in makeshift, original superhero costumes. Later, one such hero, the Red Mist, appears. He partners with Kick-Ass on street patrol and the two happen upon a burning building. When a woman begs them to save her "baby", Kick-Ass drags a very reluctant Red Mist into the building, only to discover that the "baby" is actually a kitten. Although the two are nearly killed while saving the kitten, they gain great public popularity after the rescue.
Hit-Girl later insists to her father that they form a "super-team" with Kick-Ass and Red Mist, and Big Daddy reluctantly complies. Big Daddy is revealed to the reader to be "a good cop in a bad city", whose wife was killed because he would not accept bribes from criminals. He escaped with his baby daughter and plotted revenge, training his daughter to become a lethal crimefighter. At the behest of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, Kick-Ass accompanies Red Mist to meet the duo at an abandoned warehouse to strategize the takedown of John Genovese. There they find Big Daddy and Hit-Girl captured, and Red Mist reveals himself as Genovese's son, who had orchestrated this ambush. Hit-Girl is apparently killed after being shot multiple times and falling through a window. Tortured, Big Daddy reveals he is not an ex-cop at all but an accountant frustrated with his marriage, who took his daughter and left his empty life to create a new one, financing himself through selling comic books. He chose Genovese as a target because he and Hit-Girl "needed a villain". The gang kills Big Daddy and tortures Kick-Ass. Hit-Girl, who is alive due to body armor, saves Kick-Ass. Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass attack Genovese's headquarters. Hit-Girl kills most of the henchmen, while Kick-Ass beats Red Mist unconscious. Genovese and his remaining thugs manage to capture Hit-Girl, but Kick-Ass comes to the rescue armed with a gun and shoots Genovese's penis. Hit-Girl finishes off Genovese with a meat cleaver and guns down the remaining henchmen.
Dave's life does not improve although he helps Mindy return to a normal, calm life with her mother (who, contrary to what Big Daddy had said, is very much alive) and stepfather. He hoped that by revealing to Katie Deauxma that he is not gay, and confessing his love for her, but she is outraged at his lying and has her new boyfriend Carl punch Dave before sending him a picture of herself performing oral sex on Carl. When he comes home, he walks in on his father having sex with Eddie Lomas' ex-girlfriend Lucille. Despite all of this, he remains optimistic, as he is no longer a loser but a cultural phenomenon.
The main story ends with a would-be superhero (who tried to fly at the start of the story) taking an elevator to the top floor of a building. The epilogue shows Red Mist at a computer in a different costume. He sends a vengeful e-mail to Kick-Ass that has the 1989 Batman film Joker quote: "Wait until they get a load of me".
- Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass
- Dave Lizewski is a sixteen-year-old high school student, who decides to become a real-life superhero, despite having little-to-no fighting skills or training, and no super powers, he assumes the superhero role by fashioning a costume from a wetsuit bought on eBay. His initial attempt to stop a group of graffiti artists fails, and he gets beaten and stabbed, and then hit by a car. His injuries are extensive, he suffers severe nerve damage and requires operations to insert metal plates inside his head. This has the side effect of giving him an unusually high tolerance for pain. After recovering he again tries to fight crime. He intervenes to protect a guy from an attack by a group of thugs, only to get beaten up himself in the process. A guy videos his actions and posts it on YouTube. He becomes an overnight celebrity, and is given the moniker Kick-Ass. His actions inspires others to become superheroes. In the live-action film adaptation, he is portrayed by Aaron Johnson.
- Millar said, "[Dave] is probably as related to me as George Costanza was to Larry David, which is that all the worst aspects I remember from my memory I have taken and shoved into the story and then exaggerated them." Millar added, "the core is definitely there. Our backgrounds are really similar. The family setup is similar. All that is exactly the same. The only thing I didn't do was make the costume. I planned to. I went to karate and bodybuilding. My friend and I were absolutely going to do it. The one big difference between us is that Dave had the balls to put on the suit, and I didn't."
- Damon McCready / Big Daddy
- Big Daddy makes his first appearance in Kick-Ass issue #4. A professional crimefighter, he is adept at firearms, and assumes the supporting role of a sniper in most of the missions that involve himself and his daughter, Hit-Girl, whom he has groomed into a lethal vigilante. In issue # 6, it is revealed that Damon and his daughter have been living on the run for years under many false identities; when he meets Kick-Ass, he says he is an ex-cop who is eager to avenge his wife's murder by the mob, a "secret origin" that Kick-Ass compares to Frank Castle's. In issue # 7, it is revealed that Big Daddy lied about his origin: he was never a cop. His true motivation to train his daughter was so she would be "different" and "special." In the original storyline, he is a comic book fan like Dave.
- In the live-action film adaptation, Damon/Big Daddy is played by Nicolas Cage. His name is Damon MacCready, although in the comic, only his surname is mentioned. Cage's portrayal of the character is different from the one in the comic, with a Batman-inspired costume and a completely different backstory. In the film, Big Daddy is a former cop who was framed on corruption charges by the D'Amico crime family, due to his dogged investigation of the crime syndicate. While in prison, his wife takes an overdose and dies during childbirth, leading to a fellow officer (Marcus Williams) adopting Mindy and raising her. Upon being released from prison, he reunites with his daughter Mindy, who he begins to train to help him bring down the crime syndicate. This serves as a major plot element to the series, as Big Daddy's main motivation for becoming a super-hero and Red Mist's betrayal of Kick-Ass.
- Mindy McCready / Hit-Girl
- Hit-Girl is a deadly martial arts and weapons expert who has been trained to fight crime all her childhood life. She debuts in Kick-Ass Issue # 3. She and her father, Big Daddy, are constantly on the run. Her main goal is to avenge her mother, although the comic suggests Big Daddy has influenced her way of thinking. In Issue # 6, her age is revealed to be "10 and 1/4".
- Unlike Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl is depicted as a very effective superhero. Dave describes her as a mix between John Rambo and Polly Pocket. Artist John Romita, Jr. commented about the character: "I think what's so badass is, how can a little girl become such a force? And I likened it to parents that turn their kids into super athletes. Even against their own will. They become unconscious athletes, almost to a fault. They become hardened. It kind of works the same way." In the film adaptation, Mindy is played by Chloë Grace Moretz. Unlike the comic version, Mindy is much older (around 13–14 years old) and is fully aware of the full details of her father's motivations for becoming a crime fighter, to avenge her mother's death.
- Chris Genovese / Red Mist
- The son of corporate (mafia) boss Johnny G, Chris first appears in the background in issue #4 where he reads comic books at one of the stores, and then while his father is talking with his men. Inspired by Kick-Ass, he creates his own superhero character named Red Mist. Like Kick-Ass, he has no inherent fighting abilities; he instead calls the cops and directs them to the location where the crimes are occurring.
- After garnering attention from the media and envy from Kick-Ass, Red Mist teams up with him in fighting crime. He even shows him his car called the "Mistmobile". Red Mist betrays Kick-Ass in order to capture Big Daddy and Hit-Girl and to gain favor from his father. He also shows a deep loathing of Kick-Ass and revels in seeing him tortured. He eventually identifies himself as a supervillain and makes a new costume.
- In the film adaptation, Chris is played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse. In the comic series, the link between Red Mist and Chris as the Mafia boss' son is not revealed until issue #7, in the film this is revealed from the beginning. He wears a red costume with shades of black, and a red wig. In the film, he is portrayed as a much more sympathetic and less mysterious character, who actually likes Kick-Ass and initially balks when his father decides to torture and kill Kick-Ass.
- John Genovese
- John Genovese, also known as "Johnny G", is an Italian-American New York crime boss, and one of the main villains in the series. Appears in Kick-Ass #3. Although he finds it difficult to take them seriously, Genovese is bewildered and incensed that his operations are being disturbed by people costumed as superheroes. He finds Kick-Ass merely ridiculous, and identifies Big Daddy and Hit-Girl as the source of his problems.
- In the film adaptation, the character is renamed Frank D'Amico, and played by Mark Strong. He is depicted as athletic and adept at martial arts.
- Katie Deauxma
- Katie is a 16-year-old high-school classmate of Dave and his long-time crush. She initially does not like him, and believes he is a stalker. After Dave is beaten up and found naked, she believes rumors that he is gay, and wants to take care of him and to make him her "gay best friend". When Dave admits he is not gay, she has her boyfriend beat up Dave, and later sends a picture to Dave's phone of her performing oral sex on her boyfriend. In the film adaptation, Katie (played by Lyndsy Fonseca) forgives Dave for pretending he was gay, and starts a relationship with him.
- James Lizewski
- Dave's father. He becomes worried about the behavior of his son.
Mark Millar has called the idea behind the series "very autobiographical":
When I was 15, my best friends and I were reading Frank Miller comics, like Batman: Year One. (...) We were so into it, we should have been studying for exams at the time. We wanted to become superheroes like Batman. It was pathetic. We were five years too old really to be doing this. The story was really about what would have happened if we hadn't come to our senses and actually gone out and done this.
Romita said that he decided to add personal touches of his own to the series when he found out that the series had a personal connection to Millar. Romita designed the neighborhood, schoolyard, setting, and clothes in a manner that evoked his neighborhood in Queens, New York City; most of the time the series is set in Romita's neighborhood.
Prior to the series, a viral campaign featuring a short video of Kick-Ass, the main character of the comic, being "caught on tape" performing a heroic act was uploaded to YouTube and spread around the Internet. Later, a real-life Myspace page was created, supposedly maintained by the character, where it was written that "Mark Millar [...] is doing a comic-book about me with [...] John Romita Jr."
A charity auction was held to name the main character. The winner, Dave Lizewski, chose his own name.
Each issue also singles out specific comic shops, crediting them for taking part in the "home-made effort" to promote the book and encourages readers to support them.
Scriptwriting for the film adaptation started in May 2008. Production was fully financed by Matthew Vaughn's Marv Films, with the script written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman, and the film directed by Vaughn.
On March 16, 2010, Mark Millar said he would begin writing a sequel comic book in April. Millar revealed when he wrote the first set of comics, he also produced outlines for three books. The second book would involve criminals taking on supervillain personae to counter the superheroes, and Hit-Girl trying to lead a normal life. The new comic was announced to have the working title of Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall. Red Mist reappears, using The Mother Fucker as a new name, and leads a group of supervillains against Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl. The sequel ran in eight-page installments the UK magazine CLiNT starting in August 2010. The first part showed Hit-Girl attempting to train Kick-Ass to be a more competent superhero, with both intending to form a team with the other costumed heroes that were emerging. In her civilian life, her stepfather is trying to get her to stop being a superhero.
A third series had its first issue published on June 5, 2013.
- Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 1 (July 2008), Icon Comics
- Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 2 (August 2008), Icon Comics
- Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 3 (September 2008), Icon Comics
- Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 4 (October 2008), Icon Comics
- Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 5 (February 2009), Icon Comics
- Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 6 (February 2009), Icon Comics
- Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 7 (October 2009), Icon Comics
- Mark Millar (w), John Romita, Jr. (p), Tom Palmer (i). Kick-Ass 8 (March 1, 2010), Icon Comics
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- Brady, Matt (April 16, 2008). "Talking to Dave Lizewski & a Preview of Kick-Ass #3". Newsarama. Retrieved May 14, 2008.
- Johnston, Rich (May 12, 2008). ""Lying in the Gutters" (column)". Volume 2, Column 157. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved May 14, 2008.
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- Goellner, Caleb (December 21, 2009). "Mark Millar Reveals 'Kick-Ass' Comic Sequel: 'Balls To The Wall', Millar revealed that Red Mist will be the main villain of the series.".
- "EXCLUSIVE: Kick-Ass 2 Turns Red Mist Into the Mother F**ker!". August 5, 2010.
- CLiNT #1
- "EXCLUSIVE: ‘Kick-Ass 2′ Preview, Mark Millar Says Production On Movie Sequel Is ‘Nine Months Away’". Splashpage.mtv.com. August 31, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Millar Says Kick-Ass 2 Has Been Greenlit, Tony Scott Is "Going After" Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt". Bleedingcool.com. August 31, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
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