You are one of the most popular comic book writers in America. You’ve written comics for Marvel and DC and your independent projects like WANTED and KICK ASS have been sold to Hollywood and become cultural icons.
You are writing a comic book inspired by Superman and Captain Marvel. You are on the last issue, and the hero has defeated the villain, Abraxas. You are working on the denouement, and you are trying to figure out what happens to him.
You have made a career out of putting new spins on old ideas — “what if Batman was a bad guy?” “What if Wolverine was mind controlled?” “What if superheroes were real?” “What if the Avengers were dicks?” You are pretty good at this but you worry that maybe sometimes you don’t spin them enough.
You also know that endings are tricky to write; that a delicate balance must be–
Fuck it, let’s just stick him in a warehouse like in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Wait, no. That’s way too obvious.
Well, let’s hang a lampshade on it by calling it out in the dialog. If you SAY it’s just like Raiders of the Lost Ark, that makes it meta! And thus clever! There we go! Off to lunch!
No, Mark Millar. No.
This is like ripping off the Matrix lobby scene while your characters say “this is just like the lobby scene from the Matrix!” This is the comic book equivalent of Scary Movie, only you’re doing it with a straight face. This is embarrassing.
It’s not clever or meta or hip. It’s lazy and obnoxious.