Netflix has acquired comic book publishing company Millarworld, the streaming service’s first acqusition that spotlights its drive to become a production powerhouse by owning more intellectual property.
Millarworld was founded nearly 15 years ago by Scottish comicbook writer Mark Millar as a creator-owned comic-book company for artists who no longer wanted to work under DC and Marvel.
Prior to starting the company, Millar 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 (Wolverine), which collectively grossed over $3bn in worldwide box office.
Millarworld is responsible for eighteen published character worlds which Netflix will bring 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.
However, Millarworld’s top movie hits - Kingsman and Kick-Ass - will not be included as part of the acquisition since the characters have Hollywood deals elsewhere, founder Millar confirmed.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
It marks the first acquisition by Netflix and forms part of the company’s strategy to work directly with creators and to acquire intellectual property and ownership of stories it can spin out into various hits. Netflix will spend $6bn on original content in 2017.
The company will be creating new Netflix Originals from several existing franchises as well as new super-hero, anti-hero, fantasy, sci-fi and horror stories that Millar and his team will continue to create and publish.
Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, commented: "Mark [Millar] has created a next-generation comics universe, full of indelible characters living in situations people around the world can identify easily with.
"We can’t wait to harness the creative power of Millarworld to Netflix and start a new era in global storytelling."
Millar compared the deal to Warner Bros buying DC Comics in 1968, and Disney buying Marvel in 2009, saying Netflix is going to Millarwold "to the next level".
“This is only the third time in history a comic-book company purchase on this scale has ever happened,” he wrote in a statement.
"I feel like Richard Dreyfuss, wide-eyed and walking around the mothership at the end of Close Encounters when I see their global plans and it’s crazy-exciting to be a part of it," he added.