DC Comics Turns to an Anti-Hero in Its Time of Need

Author Neil Gaiman is back writing comic books for Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) DC Comics unit. In the following video, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says it's a good sign for a business that needs as much creative output as it can get.

Gaiman first reached the national stage in the late 1980s with a supernatural-themed comic book series called Sandman, which ran for 75 issues and won critical acclaim. The series went on to help Warner and DC establish a publishing imprint for mature readers called Vertigo, which lost founding editor Karen Berger earlier this year. Now DC is restructuring the division in hopes of attracting readers to Gaiman's work and that of other creators.

Vertigo is important for DC because of how much mature material is flowing through the comics channel right now. (Think of Image's The Walking Dead, which AMC has adapted into a top-rated TV show.) Having a separate imprint allows DC to sell to older readers while reassuring kids that its core titles feature the (mostly) idealistic superheroes they've come to know.

Darker indie titles have also proved attractive to studios. Later this month, Kick-Ass 2 comes to theaters in what amounts to Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) third try with a comic-book adaptation this year. R.I.P.D. bombed, while 2 Guns exploded in their respective debuts. Kick-Ass 2 is adapted from the comic book series of the same name, published by an independent imprint of Marvel Comics.

Vertigo and Gaiman can be the same sort of source for Warner Bros. studios, Tim says. That's a good sign for a media company that should be benefiting more from the comic-book renaissance that's sweeping media right now. Do you agree? Leave a comment to let us know what you think of the Vertigo relaunch and Time Warner stock.

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Read/Post Comments (13) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 10:50 AM, x065chh wrote:

    I would like to see the Submariner vs. the Sandman

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 11:17 AM, RowdyRodimus wrote:

    I thought Gaiman said that there were absolutely no more tales to be told with the Sandman when he ended the series.

    Ahhh, never mind. It isn't more tales, it's a prequel to before he was captured in issue 1 of the original series. "Untold Tales of Morpheus" lol

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 11:46 AM, LeonWard wrote:

    Always loved the little ghost detectives in "The Childrens Crusade" Would love to see that storyline expanded. "The Books of Fairie" and the John Ney Reiber's "Books of Magic" story arc was also fun.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 12:28 PM, Watcher760 wrote:

    And yet another useless waste of my time thanks to Yahoo and Motley Fool. 28 seconds of my ever diminishing lifespan that I will never get back reading an incoherent pointless set of words that convey no actual information.

    Thanks for nothing again...and again...and again...

    When will Yahoo wake up and dump the feed to this trash?

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 1:32 PM, Centurion13 wrote:

    @LeonWard: try "Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives". Four-issue limited series from 2001. I first met them in the Sandman comic during the 'Season of Mists' arc.

    I hope they don't replace Berger with some loser who does not understand what Vertigo's appeal is. The capes and tights are a backdrop. And please, leave Ellis, Ennis and Moore in the ash heap where they are currently playing. I have no use for the garbage they produce these days. Bitter old men, writing for bitter middle-aged men. DC needs better.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 1:39 PM, Centurion13 wrote:

    @Watcher760: you're right, of course. I was wondering myself if they were shooting for word count or just trying to reel in the middle-aged geek crowd. Well, they caught me, but not with their article - I came here for the comments.

    Yahoo is wide awake. They know what they're doing. They are NOT shooting for folks like you and me.

    Unfortunately for the Motley Fool, investing is not my career OR my hobby.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 1:58 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @Watcher760,

    >>And yet another useless waste of my time thanks to Yahoo and Motley Fool. 28 seconds of my ever diminishing lifespan that I will never get back reading an incoherent pointless set of words that convey no actual information.

    Thanks for the comments, but I strongly disagree. Anyone who's invested in media stocks -- and in particular, Time Warner -- should have an interest in knowing what's happening with the source material since so much comics-themed entertainment has crossed over into other media.

    Sorry to have disappointed you but if you're searching for a reason why I create these sorts of articles, and why TMF and Yahoo! publish them, it's because there's a huge audience.

    Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 2:02 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @Centurion13,

    >>@Watcher760: you're right, of course. I was wondering myself if they were shooting for word count or just trying to reel in the middle-aged geek crowd.

    Disagree, and see above.

    >>Unfortunately for the Motley Fool, investing is not my career OR my hobby.

    Nor does it need to be. I'd only hope you have a strategy for socking away savings for your later years. A low cost index fund is good enough for a great many of us.

    In my case, I've found a niche investing in and writing about a business I care about deeply (i.e., comics and entertainment). My goal is to help others profit as I have while enjoying the stories I grew up with.

    Thanks for writing and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 4:04 PM, eehhh wrote:

    Anti-Heroes still need a home! These are mature titles where an R rating would lock out your biggest group of movie goers. The non-fanboy investor doesn't care about authenticity when a rating stamp could mean the difference between his millions.

    Sucker Punch, a decent example of a mature movie castrated for the kiddy masses. Not saying this is an anti-hero movie or a previous comic, but any title with a theme above PG-13 will have trouble with the investors, where the goal is to maximize their investment.

    Kick-Ass succeeded because it's reputation as the most violent comic book ever written guaranteed a movie debut. Can this be said for the lesser known Sandman?

    NBC's Hannibal TV series does everything the a mature fan could ever wish for, because it carries the higher TV-14V rating.

    I would rather have a well written, fleshed out, TV-14V mini-series. After that they can top it off with an all out movie.

    I would kill for a pure unadulterated LOBO movie, but the way things are I guess we have to settle for that great fan made Paramilitary Special on youtube.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 5:34 PM, btc909 wrote:

    The video reminds me of the South Park episode "You're Getting Old" when everything sounds like sh!t.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 8:55 PM, Richard233 wrote:

    "Lesser known Sandman"?

    Are you bleeping kidding me?

    I love Kick Ass and its sequels, but Sandman

    had an award winning run that lasted over a decade.

    It's is well known and loved.

    And Kick Ass succeeded not because of simple

    violence, but because it has a well written story.

    Granted, they decided to make it a bit more happy

    for the hero with him getting the girl, but that's kind

    of forgivable from a marketing stand point.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 9:43 PM, eehhh wrote:

    If not "Lesser known Sandman", then less access to. In the 90's Marvel and D.C. had a cornucopia of titles, which made decision making difficult. I was sacrificing my lunch money, so I chose the shiny new Image Comics that weren't on issue 340.

    The only thing that brought me back to the nostalgic days was the blood and gory rawness of Kick Ass, and the halfazz idea to do something that I never could do as a kid: Buy 10 copies of issue 1. With everything digitized now I might catch up on Sandman.

    Anyway, any thoughts on the TV-14v ratings or a home for these mature stories? Kickstarter LOBO vs. Judge Dredd?

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 10:58 PM, stargazer1682 wrote:

    Well don't I feel foolish - silly me for taking the title to mean DC was bringing back a specific, old "anti-hero" character readers hadn't seen for a while.....

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