Catholic comic book writer Mark Millar has revealed that he is “embarrassed” by his wealth and would like to use it to help others rather than splash out on a lavish lifestyle.
The highly successful Scotsman, who has worked for both comic book giants DC and Marvel, said he thinks multi-millionaires who hoard their money are “obscene”.
Millar, 50, launched Millarworld, his comic book empire, in 2004 and in 2017 he sold it to Netflix for almost £25 million. Following the deal, he and his wife, Lucy, set up a charitable foundation to help the Townhead area of Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, where he grew up, attending Catholic schools St Bartholomew’s Primary and St Ambrose High.
Speaking during an online seminar with the Entrepreneurial Scotland Foundation, a charity that works to train business leaders, Millar revealed that he had met wealthy people in Hollywood who were deeply unhappy. He said his advice to them was to give their money away, as that is what will bring them “genuine joy”.
“If you’ve got more than you need then you spread it around a little bit,” he said. “It’s just common decency. I grew up in a Labour household and being a Catholic as well so it’s a basic Christian ideal.
“To me it seems quite obscene to hoard your cash. We have got a lovely lifestyle, I can’t deny it, but I’ve always been slightly embarrassed by it. I always try to keep our lifestyle relatively modest looking, I’ve never wanted to wear a solid-gold suit or anything.
“I do see that,” Millar said. “I see it in Hollywood quite a lot and I see it with music people. It comes from insecurity where you maybe feel you shouldn’t be here so you want to display all your wealth on your hands. And I don’t think it makes you happy. Whenever you meet these guys, you do feel there’s something missing.
“I’ve met billionaires, people who invest in films, who are super unhappy. It’s because they don’t really know what’s missing in their lives and what’s missing is giving back to somebody else.
“It sounds so crass but you do get a genuine joy in giving some to somebody else. I would recommend that to anyone who suddenly finds themselves with some cash.”
As part of the Netflix-Millarworld deal, Millar became an executive at the company and continues to publish new comics under the Netflix label, adapting them for film and television.
Speaking of future plans he said he would like to do something special for the area he grew up in.
“Townhead is a really magical place to me,” he said. “It’s where I spent the first 19 years of my life so I try and do a bunch of cool things there whenever we can.
“My next plan is to do a premiere there for one of our Netflix shows which I’m really excited about.
“I’m just praying that when the show launches that Covid will allow people to get together for a premiere.
“These things are always in Leicester Square or outside the Chinese theatre in Los Angeles and I loved the idea of it being in Townhead.
“I said to the actors, ‘We will probably go to 6 o’clock Mass on the Saturday night and then afterwards we will all wander up and we’ll have the premiere in the chapel hall’.
“The actors told me that it sounds so insane that they are totally up for it.”
Picture: Jeff Wadlow, Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. speaking at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons).