The Marvel and DC Effect: Indie Comic Book Movies Are on the Rise

As Walt Disney and Time Warner spend hundreds of millions on comic book movie adaptations, smaller studios acquire independent, creator-owned properties.

Apr 19, 2014 at 1:00AM

Studios are increasingly looking to make comic book movies. With Walt Disney owning Marvel Studios and Time Warner owning DC Entertainment, other players are looking to independent, creator-owned properties. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the movement in the following video.


Dreadstar is among the notable indies to appear on shelves in the 1980s. Credit: Epic Comics/Marvel Entertainment.

Most recently, producers Illuminati Entertainment and Benderspink teamed to acquire the movie rights to Dreadstar, a space epic that surfaced in the 1980s from writer-artist Jim Starlin. Fans and investors might know Starlin since he's also the creator behind the Marvel Comics villain Thanos and was instrumental in developing the mythology behind this summer's Guardians of the Galaxy, which enters theaters on Aug. 1.

Interestingly, Dreadstar isn't the only indie property that's caught the eye of executives recently. Earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) had purchased the rights to Superior from creator Mark Millar, who's been working with the studio as a consultant on its Marvel properties. He's also the co-creator of Kick-Ass with artist John Romita Jr., which has since been adapted into two feature-length comic book movies.

Studios' increased appetite for indie comics properties raises questions for investors who've seen mixed results from adaptations. For example, Dark Horse adaptation R.I.P.D. flopped last July for Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Universal, which had earlier found a winner in Oblivion. The message? It's probably too early to bet big on studios that are putting meaningful sums into indie comic book movies.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you see indie properties furthering the comic book movie movement?  Or have we entered a period of excess that's destined to end badly for studios and their investors? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Time Warner and Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

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The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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