It's Alive! DC Comics Shambles to TV Dominance With 'iZombie'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- DC Comics, owned by media conglomerate Time Warner (TWX), is pushing to monetize its comic book characters via television and movies. DC Comics' latest moves is bringing one of its Vertigo Comics properties, iZombie, to the small screen.

Vertigo Comics, which is owned by DC Comics, has had success with several of its properties seeing the big screen. Movies were made about Hellblazer (released theatrically as Constantine), A History of Violence, Stardust and V for Vendetta. Preacher, another Vertigo title, is also being made into a television show by AMC Networks (AMCX).

iZombie tells the story of Gwen, a zombie who can pass as a regular girl, but must eat one brain a month to survive. After she consumes a human brain, she inherits thoughts from the deceased person's life. In the comic, Gwen works as a gravedigger, giving her access to human brains so she can survive. The television show will see Gwen as a coroner who also helps police determine cause of death because she can gain access to the thoughts of the dead.

iZombie will air its pilot episode on the CW. The CW has a young viewer base, and its comics programming is helping to boost the bottom line. (The channel is a joint venture between Time Warner and CBS (CBS).)

Time Warner continues to push its own content onto the channel to monetize its comic characters. Currently, the DC Comics character Green Arrow is the focus of the show Arrow. The Flash, another DC Comics character will also get the small screen treatment on the CW. Supernatural, one of the most watched CW shows, is also working on a spinoff that could further increase network viewership.

Time Warner continues to look like a great media play. The company is in the process of spinning off its publishing assets, which will make it a key play in movies and television. The CW and the monetization of DC Comics and Vertigo properties will continue to be key growth drivers for the company and its shares. John Constantine will be turned into a show on NBC, while Batman will get the small screen treatment in a prequel titled Gotham on Fox.

I continue to think that Time Warner is a great way to play the comic book cycle. Disney's (DIS) Marvel unit has had key success with several of its properties. DC Comics is now following close behind and will see several of its characters join forces in 2016's Batman vs. Superman.

In the cosmic battle between DC and Marvel Comics, Time Warner's DC currently seems to hold the advantage over Disney's Marvel. DC Comics also does not have the same character problem as Marvel does. As I have discussed before, Marvel licensed out several of its most known characters (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men) to other studios and now sees minimal revenue impact from those key names. Time Warner shares should see a boost if shows like iZombie, Gotham, and The Flash see full seasons and renewals.


At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

Chris Katje has been fascinated with the stock market since a young age. That passion turned into a freelance writing career that began in 2008. Mr. Katje has seen his work appear on Seeking Alpha, the Motley Fool, The Street, and Variety. Chris's annual top ten stock picks list continues to beat the market and grow in popularity. You can follow Chris on Twitter (@chriskatje).