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Into Comics? Four Names to Watch

Contributor Tim Beyers sits down with The Motley Fool's Rick Engdahl to talk comics, TV, movies, tech, and related geekery. Tim is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team, as well as the real-money Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey 1 growth portfolio.

Marvel may be the Apple of the comic industry, but it's far from the only player. In addition to DC, Tim offers several independent properties and a distribution house to keep an eye on in the comic book universe.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Richard Engdahl: For the comic-book layman like me, DC and Marvel are the two brands I really know.

Tim Beyers: Right.

Rick: There's other stuff out there. Smaller companies, smaller brands.

Tim: Yes.

Rick: Anything out there that would interest investors, especially?

Tim: Well, look at AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX  ) , which has licensed The Walking Dead. I think an increasing number of people are starting to realize this, that The Walking Dead started as a comic book. It's 10 years old now. There's [close to] 120 issues of that.

It's one of the longest-running comic book series out there, and it's an independent property. The company that publishes it is not the owner.

Image Comics is kind of a distribution house. It is sort of like a DISH Network, but for comics. People come in, they put their properties in Image, and then Image has the distribution horsepower to get those properties out. Robert Kirkman is the writer of The Walking Dead.

That style allows them to bring in a lot of different independent creators and make properties, so Image is an interesting place right now, and they have attracted a lot of attention from AMC because The Walking Dead has been such a success on cable.

They've optioned Thief of Thieves, which is a personal favorite of mine. It's a great comic that's also created by Kirkman. There are plenty of other Image properties that are at least being looked at by Hollywood studios.

There's another called Boom Studios, which is an L.A.-based independent that was kind of born from guys who used to work in Hollywood. Universal, which is owned by Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) , has been taking a close look at properties coming out of Boom.

There was just a movie called 2 Guns, starting Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. That was a Boom Studios imprint. That was a comic that was first written by Steven Grant, published by Boom. Comcast has sort of buddied up with Boom Studios to see what kind of properties that are being published as comics by Boom that could be made into movies.

Top Cow is another. I know that's a crazy-sounding name, but that's another independent imprint that has been making comics for a lot of years. Wanted, starring James McAvoy, that was a comic that was published by Top Cow that got turned into an interesting and successful movie.

They are out there, and the studios are looking for these types of independent properties, but if you're an investor the first one and the most obvious opportunity really starts with AMC, because they're taking real time to look at these properties as serious dramatic material.

Rick: So they're looking to license the material, as opposed to ... the Marvel situation, I guess, is special in so many ways because they have their own studio, they're part of Disney, and they have this enormous well to draw from.

Tim: You know what they are? They're the Apple of the comic-book business. They're vertically integrated. They publish the comics. Disney has the ABC network, so they can make TV shows and publish them on their own TV network. And they can make their own movies. They are this vertically integrated comic book powerhouse.

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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 October 19, 2013, at 6:39 PM, doomsday519 wrote:

    I hate Apple, please don't compare Marvel to Apple again.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 11:10 PM, tslghtr wrote:

    A big reason for Marvel's success, is because DC in many ways, is stuck in the pass. I grew up in the 70's, DC dominated television and then the big screen. Many of the DC titles, were dumbed down for kids, thus those characters, tend to be primitive compared to Marvel titles, such as the X-Men, which dealt with topical issues, such as racism. Lets face it, DC has some lame characters, for Pete's sake, one of their main villains is a friggin' star fish!

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