Mark Millar Still Playing the Media Like a Maestro

Bleeding Cool remains in awe at Mark Millar's manipulation of the media. We first noted it when he managed to get a local journalist to run puff pieces on his work in the Scottish Sunday Times, with relatively looser editorial strictures than the main paper. Only for the pieces to then appear on the main Times newspaper website, which he was then able to spin up into getting other media, producers and publishers to notice his work, eventually helping the Wanted movie to happen.

mark millar
Photo by Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons

And even though he has now sold his Millarworld imprint to Netflix for around $31 million, he's employing similar tactics regarding his work for local charities.  Millar has funded and raised money for local children's activities in his hometown of Coatbridge, Scotland, often using family and friends, and often arranged at the time of the release of one of his comics, as well as some media hoax that also draws attention. And since the Netflix buyout, he has set up the Millar Foundation with his wife Lucy Millar, with some big ambitions.

And Mark Millar has found in one Andrew Bargh, a very willing and uncritical reporter for the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser newspaper, is a free ads-funded paper, that feeds into national newspaper The Daily Record's website.

Back in August 2017. Andrew Bargh reported for the Advertiser, duplicated on the Daily Record website, on the Millarworld buy-out,

"To say this is the best thing that ever happened in our professional lives would be an understatement."The moment Lucy and I walked into Netflix's headquarters in California last Christmas we knew this was where we wanted to be.

"It instantly felt like home and the team around that table felt like people who would help us take Millarworld's characters and turn them into global powerhouses.

"Netflix is the future and we couldn't be more thrilled to sell the business to them and buckle up for all the amazing movies and television shows we plan to do together."

He added: "Look for our news at the end of summer with details of the charitable foundation Lucy and I have started which will revitalize parts of my old hometown in Scotland.

"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."

And in November 2017, it was Andrew Bargh who reported

The man behind many of Hollywood's most memorable movie moments of recent years is on the cusp of becoming a real-life superhero in his hometown.

For the Kingsman creator has pledged to plough substantial investment into his native Townhead over the coming years after selling his company to Netflix.

The home entertainment giant's acquisition of Millarworld, the first of its kind, has allowed the 47-year-old to put the wheels in motion on a plan which – like all his best stories – he began formulating some time ago.

In the new year, his trust, the Millar Foundation, will begin the process of developing brownfield sites for family homes. Money from the first sales will be put into more building and community activities.

"This process has been on the go for a few years now," an excited Mark told the Advertiser.

"I've always wanted to do a bit more for my hometown and the idea is to build 30 houses over five years.

"Two years ago I was bored on a flight to LA so I took out a pen and pad an worked on an idea of helping to regenerate the area. I wanted to form a charitable foundation, start building properties and put the entire profit into the community.

"Instead of just giving a one-off donation, I wanted to make an investment and do something which will have a lasting effect in Townhead."

He went on: "Every time a house is built, the profit goes into the community and the initial investment goes into the housing programme.

"I didn't want to start until I knew I could fully commit, and selling Millarworld has given us the capital to do this.

"We want to take over derelict land and make it look nicer, regenerate the area and have a steady profit stream lasting forever."

Mark reckons there are "four or five" sites in Townhead that have potential to be used.

But he and his wife Lucy's hunger to help his hometown doesn't begin and end with property development.

He added: "There are other things we want to do to help impact the community as well.

"This year we'll be putting on a free Christmas lunch in a local church hall for elderly people and will bring in variety acts to entertain them.

"We also fund school trips now after my niece told me six years ago that hers was cancelled due to a lack of money.

"I want to have private-school levels of facilities and after-school clubs to the point where parents are champing at the bit to get into the area and have their kids schooled in Townhead.

"We also want to supercharge the Scouts, Guides and Boys' Brigade. I just love the idea of giving back and helping to stop the wee things seeming like luxuries."

The philanthropic former pupil of St Bartholomew's Primary and St Ambrose High sold his first comic book script for the princely sum of £240 in 1989 and went on to create characters who became the stars of multi-million dollar movies such as Kick-Ass, Captain America: Civil War, and the Kingsman franchise.

The down-to-earth dad splits his time between Glasgow and Los Angeles, but still returns to Monklands on "two or three" occasions a month to visit family and friends.

He added: "I have worked all over the world, but Townhead will always be home and I want to give something back.

"I learned to read and write there and that's how I make my living.

"My pals and long-lasting relationships were built there and I will always have close connections with the area.

"And anyway, I'd rather be doing this than hanging around with the likes of Simon Cowell!"

And in December, Bargh reported,

Mark Millar says he "can't wait" for two exciting community events his foundation has organised for the festive period.

The Coatbridge comic book hero has arranged two feel-good afternoon outings for pensioners in his native Townhead – both of which are free.

A variety show will be held at St Bartholomew's Church hall next Sunday, December 17, while a free Christmas lunch is being held in Townhead Parish Church hall on the same day.

Various personalities including Mark's brother, singer Paul French, will grace the variety performance; with Britain's Got Talent ' s Edward Reid providing a guest appearance at the dinner.

On top of this, the Millar Foundation is paying for the pupils of Townhead and St Bartholomew's primaries to attend a Christmas pantomime in Glasgow, as well as sending all staff for a Christmas dinner at Mondo in Coatbridge.

These gifts were handed over to Fiona Gamson, head teacher at Townhead Primary, by Reverend Ecilo Selemani during a special ceremony in Townhead Church on Sunday.

Mark told the Advertiser: "We couldn't wait until the new year to kick things off with the Foundation, so we started early!

"I can't wait for these events now and we'll be flitting between both to make sure they go well.

"I have amazing memories of both halls from either Scouts, family weddings or youth clubs.

"They are really well used, but we want to inject a lot of cash and energy and make them the hub of the fiveyear plan we have for the community.

"Christmas seems like the perfect place to start it."

Despite his hectic work schedule which involves working with some of Hollywood's biggest names, the philanthropist admitted his work with the Millar Foundation brings him just as much joy.

Mark added: "On one side of my desk I have two movies and two American TV shows we're busy preparing, and on the other side I'm looking at sketches for the best playground my wife and I can buy next summer.

"The weird thing is I'm almost more excited about the Townhead plans than the Hollywood stuff.

"Los Angeles is mainly full of people I've never met, but Townhead is home to my friends and family."

There doesn't appear to have been much physical development of this since, and the story didn't get picked up elsewhere. Maybe he was thinking too big? In May of this year, Andrew Bargh returned, reporting something on a smaller scale,

The Mark Millar Foundation is bringing more joy to the Townhead community this weekend with the launch of a new cafe.

The Rainbow family cafe at Townhead Parish Church will be open on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12.30pm to 3pm.

The comic book king and his team are hosting a launch event this Sunday, during which everything will be free for those in attendance.

Mark, who is the brains behind some of Hollywood's biggest superhero films, will be joined by a few well-known Marvel characters on the day as well.

It is the first day of a three-month trial for the cafe, but Mark is certain The Rainbow will be a popular place for residents of all ages.

He told the Advertiser: "My wife and I are delighted to start up this cafe with the help of Townhead Parish Church.

"A cafe right in the middle of the scheme like this is going to be a great social hub for people, whether it's mums on their way to pick up kids from school or pensioners just popping in for a cup of tea.

"We thought we'd launch this in style with a party and make everything free first day as a special offer.

"We've also been talking to our pals on the cosplay scene so it's a great opportunity for kids to come along to and have their pictures taken with Superman or Spider-Man on this opening day.

"Townhead is a brilliant community and we really think this is going to be very well used."

And this story got picked up. The Big Issue, Scottish TV news, The Scotsman, The Scottish Sun, following that up with a plug for the Millar Foundation's regeneration plans. It even got a motion in the UK Parliament to support Millar, stating,

That this House congratulates Coatbridge-born comic book writer Mark Millar on the launch of his not-for-profit community café in Townhead, Coatbridge; welcomes the fact that profits generated by the café will be reinvested in the local community; notes Mark's long-term commitment to the regeneration of Townhead through the Millar Foundation; and expresses its best wishes to the Rainbow Family Café for the future.

It was definitely up and running at the end of May.

But I haven't found mention in the town since. But that hasn't put off Bargh writing in July

Townhead residents are set to benefit yet again from the kind-heart of comic mogul Mark Millar.

The brains behind popular film series' Kick-Ass and Kingsman runs a charitable foundation that organises enjoyable events for local people.

Mark, who is from Townhead and runs the foundation with his wife Lucy, is now purchasing 200 cinema tickets for residents to go and see Toy Story 4.

The screening is on August 2 and tickets will be given out this Sunday after services at St Bartholomews church and Townhead parish church.

It is two tickets per person for the showing at Shocase Cinema and are available on a first come, first served basis.

Mark said: "We're always trying to think of cool new ideas for Townhead and we thought we might as well take advantage of having a brilliant cinema like the Showcase on our doorstep.

"I've seen this movie twice already with my own kids and I wanted something that works for all ages as some of the big summer movies are a bit frightening if you're wee.

"I love this movie and this should hopefully be a nice summer holiday memory for the families in the scheme where I have such happy memories growing up. Lucy and I hope everyone enjoys it."

And writing in September;

Coatbridge philanthropist Mark Millar has organised another event to bring the Townhead community together.

The comic-book mogul arranges treats and activities for the area's residents through his charitable organisation, with pantomime tickets, Christmas lunches and Easter schools all being paid for by the Mark Millar Foundation.

The latest event will take place this Saturday – a superhero family fun run.

Participants of all ages have been encouraged to don costumes or accessories synonymous with their favourite characters.

Free snacks and drinks are on offer at Drumpellier Country Park after the 2.5km event, which will start at 11am.

Mark told the Advertiser: "We love doing superhero things in Townhead.

"For me, it's where superheroes began as much as New York or Los Angeles because places like John O'Neill's are where I bought my first Marvel comics.

"We've teamed up with the Drumpellier Park 'Park Run' team and will have Bannan Fitness there too, which is run by my cousin Pat, so the turn-out should be tremendous and the level of fitness should run all the way from seasoned pros to guys like me, who will be running and eating chips at the same time!"

Mark added: "Kids are obviously very welcome and many of us will be running as families.

"It would be great to have as many people wearing something to do with superheroes.

"I want people to be looking out of their windows on the houses opposite and feeling they're still drunk from the night before while 300 people dressed like The Avengers jog past.

We look forward to the latest Bargh bulletin, however, it emerges,



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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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