Millennium Publications - Publishing History

Publishing History

In many ways representative of the boom period of independent comic book publishing, Millennium thrived in the early years of the 1990s and fell on lean times as the decade came to a close.

The company's first offerings, in 1990, were Anne Rice's The Mummy, adapting her novel, The Mummy, or, Ramses the Damned; and The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Iron Tyrants, a four-issue sequel to the TV series scripted by Mark Ellis, who also served as Millennium's comics editor for three years.

In 1991, Millennium debuted a series of comics titles featuring Lester Dent's Doc Savage, including the four-part limited series Doc Savage: The Monarch of Armageddon. That series, which was also written by Mark Ellis (and drawn by Darryl Banks), was said by The Comics Buyer's Guide Catalog of Comic Books "to come closest to the original, capturing all the action, humanity and humor of the original novels." Also in 1991, Ellis conceived and scripted the critically acclaimed Nosferatu: Plague of Terror, a four-part series which provided a complete story of the title character's origin quite apart from the Dracula legend. Finally, Ellis again turned to adapting and expanding another writer's concepts (H.P. Lovecraft), with the three-issue limited series Cthulhu: The Whisperer in Darkness, which featured the first appearance of The Miskatonic Project.

In 1992-1993, Millennium introduced another Anne Rice-related project, Anne Rice's The Witching Hour, which ran for five issues; and another Doc Savage book, Manual of Bronze. In addition, again with Ellis as scripter, they adapted the cult-classic horror film It! The Terror from Beyond Space into comics form. Ellis and Banks teamed up again to produce two issues of Justice Machine, a super-hero title which had previously been published by Comico Comics and Innovation Comics, among others. During this period, Millennium also published its first nonfiction title, Don Hillsman and Ryan Monihan's By Any Means Necessary: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, an unauthorized biography in comic book form. Before leaving Millennium at the end of 1993, Ellis once again flexed his adaptation skills with The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Birds of Prey Affair two-parter.

At the end of 1993, co-owners Ellis and Martin, who also functioned as the editorial and production staff, sold their shares in Millennium, but retained ownership of a number of comics properties, such as Nosferatu, The Miskatonic Project, and the new Justice Machine. (When Ellis and Martin left Millennium, the company moved its headquarters from Tampa, Florida, to Rhode Island, first to Narragansett, and finally to Kingston.)

The mid-1990s saw the company publishing more original material, still mostly in the horror vein, though they also adapted material created by Robert E. Howard (The Black Reaper) and Arthur Conan Doyle (The Lost World). (The Black Reaper was notable in that it featured Howard's poetry alongside illustrations by comic book artists; it was halfway between a book and a comic book.) During this period, Millennium also picked up the Night's Children series from the defunct Fantaco/Tundra. In 1996, Millennium also debuted Dean Haspiel and Josh Neufeld's eclectic two-man anthology Keyhole, which ran for three issues in 1996-1997 until it moved over to the Modern Comics imprint for issue #4. (Keyhole then was picked up by Top Shelf Productions for the remainder of its six-issue run.)

1997 was notable in that Millennium debuted its creator-owned line, Modern Comics, which featured creators from the minicomic, self-publishing, and zine scenes. This new direction for the company didn't help their fortunes, however, as in 1998 Millennium only published one title, with Modern putting out a paltry two books. Millenniun was sued in 1998 for back payments by Da'kota creator Terry Pavlet. Neither Millennium nor Modern released any books in 1999, and Modern's only title in 2000 was Yvonne Mojica's The Bathroom Girls Guide to Christmas Chaos. In 2000, Millennium/Modern closed its doors for good.

In late 2007, Ellis and Martin formed Millennial Concepts, reviving the stylized "M" that had served as Millennium's first company logo. In July 2008, Millennial Concepts joined forces with Caliber Comics founder Gary Reed's Transfuzion Publications in a joint graphic novel-publishing venture.

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