There was an interesting tidbit in Mark Millar’s interview with the Let’s Talk Comics podcast. When Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palimotti were launching the Marvel Knights books, Millar pitched a mini-series with B-list Spider-Man villain Shocker.
I pitched them a Shocker mini-series. This is what I mean, I was really struggling. I was trying to come up with something, and I knew that the Fantastic Four was taken. I knew that Spider-Man was taken. I had a feeling that nobody was working on a Shocker mini-series. I sent in a six month series, and it was a rehash of something that had been rejected by DC called The Secret Society of Supervillains. I just had this idea for a villain book that eventually I did as a creator-owned book called Wanted.
Joe knew who I was, and was always looking for something for me, but couldn’t quite find it. One of the things I liked about Marvel, and they’re kind of up front about it, is that they want people who are going to move books. DC was run at that time as the Roman empire, where they granted favors. It didn’t matter if the book was selling whereas Joe, I liked Joe immediately, Joe said “I’m not sure you could really sell a Shocker book. You know, your name isn’t big enough and the character isn’t big enough.”
Millar eventually got to work with Quesada on Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates. Shocker did not appear in his twelve issue run of Marvel Knights Spider-Man. It is interesting to consider what this could have done to the reputation of the perennial Spider-Man punching bag. Perhaps it would have flopped, sending Millar’s career in a different direction. It could also have been forgotten, kinda like Millar’s earlier Skrull Kill Krew mini-series. Or maybe Sony would be announcing a Shocker movie.