Netflix — in the first company acquisition in its history — has bought Millarworld, the comic-book publishing firm founded by Mark Millar, creator of characters and stories including Kick-Ass, Kingsman, and Old Man Logan.
Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. Netflix said it will develop films, TV shows and kids’ series based on Millarworld’s portfolio of character franchises to life through films, series and kids’ shows. Millarworld will also continue to create and publish new stories and character franchises under the Netflix label.
For Netflix, the move reflects its desire to own and develop intellectual property, rather than simply license it. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, in announcing the deal, 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.”
Added Millar: “This is only the third time in history a major comic book company has been purchased at this level,” after Warner Bros. bought DC Comics in 1968 and Disney bought Marvel in 2009.
“I’m so in love with what Netflix is doing and excited by their plans,” Millar said. “Netflix is the future, and Millarworld couldn’t have a better home.”
Scotland-native Millar runs Millarworld with his wife, Lucy Millar. Previously he spent eight years at Marvel, where he developed the comic books and story arcs that inspired the first Avengers movie, “Captain America: Civil War,” and “Logan,” which collectively grossed over $3 billion in worldwide box office. His 2002 comic book “The Ultimates” was named best comic book of the decade by Time’s Techland.com and was described by “Avengers” screenwriter Zak Penn as the blueprint for the Marvel cinematic universe. Millar also worked at DC Comics, where he created the graphic novel “Superman: Red Son.”
Since Millarworld was started in 2004, the company and its co-creators have produced 18 character worlds. Three of those — Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman — have been adapted as theatrical films that together have grossed nearly $1 billion at the global box office. Other members of the Millarworld universe include Jupiter’s Legacy, MPH, Chrononauts, Reborn, Huck, Starlight, Superior, Nemesis, War Heroes, Supercrooks and American Jesus.
In a blog post on his company’s website, Mark Millar said he will be flying to Los Angeles to “strategise the next steps” with Netflix — while he takes a hiatus from producing new comics. “‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ and ‘Reborn’ both concluded in the last few weeks and I’m going undercover between now and spring as I stockpile all the new projects we’re putting together, but you’ll hear about them very soon,” he wrote.
New York City-based Hughes Hubbard & Reed advised Millarworld in the transaction.
Pictured above: Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl in 2010’s “Kick-Ass.”