The company created by Scottish comic book author Mark Millar has been snapped up by entertainment giant Netflix in a deal which is set to see the regeneration of parts of the author’s former hometown of Coatbridge.
Characters from the stable of Millar’s Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service, all of which have been adapted into Hollywood blockbusters, will now be owned by Netflix - which will stream any of the author’s new creations.
Millar, 47, who now lives in Glasgow, said that the acquisition was “only the third time in history a comic-book company purchase on this scale has ever happened” - citing Warner Bros’s buyout of DC Comics in 1968 and Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009.
The value of the acquisition of the company, which Millar runs with his wife, Lucy, has not been disclosed.
The comic book author added that details of a charitable foundation created by Millar and his wife which will revitalise parts of his hometown will be revealed later in the summer.
Millar said: “I started Millarworld as a creator-owned comic-book company nearly 15 years ago, after talking some artist pals into being their own bosses. We’d all had success at DC and Marvel, but this was a chance to control the characters created and reap the rewards from any future movies, TV or merchandise that ever came from those characters and books.
“Over the years, Millarworld has amassed twenty different franchises working with the world’s greatest artists and now Millarworld has been bought by the hottest, most exciting entertainment company on the planet. To say this is the best thing that ever happened in our professional lives would be an understatement.”
Millar, who began writing comic books as an empoverished teenager after his parents died and he was struggling to earn a living in a flat on the outskirts of Coatbridge, added that the regeneration project had been planned “behind the scenes”.
He said: “This is a five-year charity building project I’ve been quietly making plans for with local government behind the scenes and we can’t wait to go public with the idea. I’ve had an enormous amount of luck in my life - none more than today - and I look forward to explaining how I’m planning to use what this deal brings us to help improve an area I grew up in and owe everything to.”
Dubbed “king of the graphic novel” on both sides of the Atlantic, he previously worked for DC Comics and Marvel, writing the adventures of superheroes including Superman, Batman, The Flash, Spider-Man and Wolverine.
Major Hollywood stars including Angelina Jolie, Samuel L Jackson and Nicolas Cage have starred in adaptation of his own books.
Since Millarworld was started, the company and its co-creators have created eighteen published character worlds, of which three, Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman, have yielded theatrical films that together have grossed nearly $1 billion (£768 million) in global box office.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said: “As creator and re-inventor of some of the most memorable stories and characters in recent history, ranging from Marvel’s The Avengers to Millarworld’s Kick-Ass, Kingsman, Wanted and Reborn franchises, Mark is as close as you can get to a modern day Stan Lee.
“We can’t wait to harness the creative power of Millarworld to Netflix and start a new era in global storytelling.”
Four years ago, Millar was awarded an MBE for services to film and literature on the Queen’s Honours Birthday list.