A landmark sale gives us a glimpse into a new superhero universe
There’s no doubt about it: this is the age of the comic book hero.
When the caped crusaders first appeared on our screens in the 1940s, we fell in love with Superman, sympathised with Batman’s tortured vengeance and saw patriotism personified in Captain America.
And in the last decade, we’ve renewed our appetite for the uniquely powered heroes that keep the bad stuff at bay.
From revamped classics like Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), to new ones like Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), and even the anti-hero as in Deadpool (2016), the truth is that if this was a real superhero universe, we’d feel pretty safe right about now.
A small, but important, part of this ongoing renaissance comes down to the work of one man. And as is often a trope of the comic books themselves, the hero of our current story is an unlikely one.
In 1989, a little-known comic book writer called Mark Millar, a university dropout aged 20, sold his first work for a reported £240 (approximately AED 1,250).
Running for just six issues before its publisher went bankrupt, Saviour was not the commercial success that set Mark’s career alight, but, fast forward a few decades and stir in a renewed appetite for the comic book universe, and suddenly he’s become the hottest property in Hollywood.
As the writer of Wanted (2008) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) alongside other credits, the Glaswegian writer’s publishing house, Millarworld, was recently snapped up by entertainment giant Netflix to feed our frenzy for comics even further – meaning he’ll soon be trading the big screen for a smaller one.
With the upcoming release of his final cinematic effort, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the sequel to its 2014 predecessor, the timing seems never better to introduce the world to the rest of his universe.
As Millar writes on his website millarworld.tv: “Warner Bros bought DC Comics in 1968. Disney bought Marvel in 2009. Today Netflix purchased Millarworld and I’m still blinking. This is only the third time in history a comic-book company purchase on this scale has ever happened.
“This feels like joining the Justice League and I can’t wait to start working with them,” he adds.
“Comics have been my passion my entire life. I started working with them as a teenager and I’ve never been more excited about where we’re going next as Millarworld joins the Netflix team. This is going to be brilliant.”
And if Millar’s previous efforts are anything to go by, we agree with him on that score. So will the final big screen release from Millar’s universe go out in style?
Well, it’s going out with a bang – literally.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle follows familiar street kid-turned-spy Eggsy (Taron Egerton) as he continues trying to save the UK from nefarious baddies. But when the Kingsman headquarters are unexpectedly blown up and the whole world is held hostage, the Kingsmen have to join forces with their US counterparts, the Statesmen, in order to put the world to rights.
But while the movies are done for now, just like any good comic book hero, Mark Millar will be back – this time with a new disguise and new shows in the form of Netflix – and we’ll be waiting to see what Millarworld brings.
Also starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Running time: 130 mins
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