Kick-starting the Kick-Ass craze

When kids are left to their own devices the results can be chaotic.  They don't, however, normally include death and wide-spread destruction as they do in Kick-Ass, the eagerly anticipated superhero film, directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Aaron Johnson. Now, the graphic novel on which it is based has been reissued, and like the film, it's not for the faint-hearted.

The adult graphic novel, written by Mark Millar (Wanted and Ultimate Fantastic Four), is a brash coming of age story about kids who want more from life than a 9 to 5 (or a 9 to 3:30 — ah, those were the days). It tells the story of Dave Lizewski, an ordinary teenage boy who comes up with a harebrained scheme to transform himself to a real life superhero, although not possessing any superpowers (on his first encounter of crime he is stabbed, punched and beaten within inches of his life). However, after recovering, the superhero-now-known as Kick-Ass takes MySpace and YouTube by storm, even inspiring "copy cat" superheroes to help liberate New York of crime.

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Illustrated by the talented John Romita Jr (Marvel Comics), it combines grisly visuals of hardcore torture and death with subtle humour. As you might imagine, the film has not come without controversy — especially concerning the practically bullet-proof 10-year-old superhero Hit Girl who says stuff like "OK, you cunts" and "It’s fucking clobbering time". (Sounds good, doesn't it? See our interview with actress Chloe Moretz in the April issue of Esquire.) Kick-Ass looks set to be a sensation this year — you have been warned. Stephen Issac-Wilson

The re-issued comic book Kick-Ass by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr (Titan Books) is out now. The screen adaptation of Kick-Ass will be out on 27 March.

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