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Netflix has slowly morphed from a simple DVD rental service to one of the largest media companies in the world. Now, they've become even bigger, as they just purchased the comic publishing company started by the creator of Kick-Ass. The idea of Netflix possibly entering a licensing deal with Mark Millar to make TV shows or movies based on his characters is something we wouldn't have been surprised to hear, however, the streaming giant has gone one better and simply purchased the company, Millarworld, directly from him.
Mark Millar is one of the biggest names in comics who is responsible for some of the storylines which Marvel Studios has used for some of the recent MCU films. However, he's also created several original comic book characters, a few of which have been turned into films in their own right. Millar's work inspired the films Kick-Ass, Kingsman, and Wanted. Millar isn't going anywhere as the announcement specifically states that he and his team will continue to create and publish stories, though his specific role in the company is not explained.
Netflix states the obvious in their press release that this acquisition will result in films, TV series, and apparently also kids' shows, based on Mark Millar's work that will appear on the streaming service. In addition, comics will continue to be published, only now they'll bear a Netflix label. Netflix is now a comic book publisher. Welcome to 2017.
This news leads to all sorts of interesting questions regarding the future of media. How will the purchase impact the current licensing deals for Mark Millar's work? Several Millarworld titles have been optioned for movies by studios that are technically competitors of Netflix. Could the fact that they're now working with Netflix make these properties less attractive, or alternatively, could those studio relationships help aid Netflix's theatrical distribution of their own films?
Could this deal have repercussions that impact the future of the Netflix relationship with Marvel? Technically, Netflix is now a competitor of Marvel Comics while TV shows based on those comics are some of the most popular original programming on the service.
Finally, one has to wonder if Netflix is buying comic book publishers, what other media companies are they really interested in? If Netflix is looking at properties they can use to help bolster their own programming, there are countless places they could look. There's almost certainly a wish list someplace at Netflix with some names on it.
There have been a number of Mark Millar properties in development limbo over the last couple of years. It would seem that with this acquisition there will clearly be some movement forward with some of them.