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

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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  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2014, at 10:23 AM, Droppo wrote:

    It depends on the source material in many cases. That RIPD movie was a bad idea. Hated it from the first moment of the trailer. Dreadstar is a much better idea and is more in alignment with the modern comic movies that have been successful. With the right casting and production decisions, it could be a ginormous hit movie. The conversation needs to move away from "can comic book movies continue to be successful?" to "will this movie be good or not?" There are going to be good ones and bad ones. It's not about being a comic book movie anymore as much as it's just is it a good movie.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2014, at 7:10 PM, Allend406 wrote:

    Where the hell is spawn seems so obvious now is the time.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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