Kingsman quickly became one of this generation’s most popular secret spy agency movies after the first movie got out in 2014. After Kingsman: The Secret Service and The Golden Circle, a third film, The King’s Man, hits the big screen on December 22nd, 2021. The franchise has much more to offer, but many fans wonder, was Kingsman a comic before a movie?
Before the movies, Kingsman was a comic book series written by Mark Millar and published by Icon Comics in 2012 and 2013. After the final issue came out, the movie quickly went into production and became a huge hit.
That’s why we’ll get two more parts of the Kingsman movie franchise after The King’s Man – The first will be Kingsman: The Blue Blood, and then a spinoff movie called the Statesman after. Both are already in early production, but no dates are set in stone yet. If you want to hear more about Kingsman comic books and how to read them in order, keep reading this article.
Was Kingsman a Comic Book?
Kingsman was a comic book first, and all the movies made about the secret group of “tailors” stem from the comics’ storylines. The comic books were published periodically from April 11th, 2021, to April 10th, 2013. Mark Millar is the writer, while Dave Gibbons illustrated the comic books.
The series was called the Secret Service, the same as the name of the first movie, which came out in 2014. As you can see, the film got out quite quickly. The producers recognized the potential for a movie hit after the comic books were critically acclaimed, and the readers enjoyed them.
Apart from the original volume, the characters appeared in a stand-alone six-page issue called The Big Exit, written by Rob Williams and illustrated by Ozgur Yildirim. The plot revolved around Brexit, and it was quite funny, but not on the same level as the Millar-Gibbons original run.
A new volume was published in 2017-2018. However, it didn’t succeed as well as the first one, as it moved to another publisher.
Is Kingsman Marvel or DC?
The Secret Service isn’t either Marvel or DC. However, it does have some links with Marvel, at least.
You see, Icon Comics published the Secret Service comic books. Icon Comics is an imprint of Marvel Comics for creator-owned titles. Marvel wants to keep A-list creators producing from them rather than to sell their work to other publishers, making a profit.
So, if Icon Comics publishes the Secret Service, and Icon Comics are owned by Marvel Comics, it means The Secret Service indirectly “belongs” to Marvel.
On the other hand, the second volume I’ve mentioned – The Red Diamond – moved to another publisher – Image Comics – after the writers and owners of Kingsman moved there from Icon Comics.
It’s a bit confusing, but to put it simply – the only real owner of the franchise is its creator.
How Many Kingsman Comic Books Are There?
There are 13 Kingsman comic books in total – six in each of the two volumes and one stand-alone issue in between.
The first volume is called The Secret Service, and it was written by Mark Millar – the same guy that wrote Kick-Ass, which had also been adapted into a movie. Icon Comics published The Secret Service in 2012-13. It was such a hit that the movie was out in cinemas already in 2014.
Then came the 2017 stand-alone one-shot, but Mark Millar didn’t sign the writing. Instead, it was Rob Williams, and while it isn’t bad, you can feel the difference, and I disliked it – although it was quite funny while the Brexit topic was trending.
Finally, the second volume is called The Red Diamond, and it came out in 2017 and 2018. Only this time, the publisher was Image Comics – the third-largest comic book company in the world. Mark Millar returned to write it, and while it was a nice fresh run, it didn’t live up to the first volume.
Kingsman Comics in Order
The Kingsman comics are best read in order as they came out.
1. The Secret Service
Start with the first volume, The Secret Service, that came out in 2012-13. It has six issues spanning over three years where the young Gary Unwin, aka Eggsy, gets recruited by his uncle to join the Kingsman.
They are a British Secret Service that has been active for decades and generations, trained for the hardest tasks and missions while appearing to be nothing more than a couple of gentlemen in fine suits. Eggsy goes through extensive training while, in the meantime, saving kidnapped celebrities like Pierce Brosnan or David Beckham.
I won’t get into any more detail – trust me, you will thoroughly enjoy the read.
2. The Big Exit
Next, as I mentioned, is the one-shot called The Big Exit for 2017. It only has six pages, so you can fly through it easily, but honestly, don’t expect anything special. In the rob Williams-written stand-alone, Eggsy defends a billion pounds-worth of gold from pro-Brexit terrorists with the help of the Kingsmen.
3. The Red Diamond
Finally, The Red Diamond also came out in six issues in 2017 and 2018, and Mark came back to pick up where he left off in 2013. Again, I don’t want to go into too many details, but the best part about the new volume for me was the ever-present humor.
The movie doesn’t come out for a few more weeks, so there’s still time to read the Kingsman comics first and get to know the characters even more. They are much more fleshed out in the comics, so I hope we’ll see some deeper character development this time around.