As people weigh in on the popularity of Marvel and DC movies, they sometimes neglect to mention the opportunities these films create for non-superhero comic books. For every Logan, there’s a handful of smaller titles  —  movies like American Splendor, Ghost World, and Scott Pilgrim  —  that benefit from the overall popularity of the medium. Ryan Gosling, for example, recently signed on to produce a film adaptation of independent graphic novel The Underwater Welder, a melancholy story of fatherhood and mortality. Any filmmaker or actor seeking out their next comic book movie need only spend a few hours at their local library branch to see the full scope of the medium.

Then again, why do all that research when you can simply hire people to write a comic book for you? This past weekend, it was announced that actor Mark Wahlberg (via iO9) would be producing a brand new comic book series titled Alien Bounty Hunter. The series will follow Ben Madsen, a, uh, bounty hunter who tracks down… well, you can probably guess this part. In a statement, Wahlberg and his producing partner Stephen Levison pointed out that many of “today’s greatest film franchises originated as comics” and that both men “try to get involved with the story telling process from its inception.”

While more employed comic book authors and artists is never a bad thing, there’s definitely a sense here that Wahlberg is using the tail to wag the dog. If you have an idea for an Alien Bounty Hunter movie franchise, why not pitch that to studios? Spend a little bit of money on storyboards, put together a really nice treatment, and don’t sink a bunch of resources into trying to game the system with a new comic book starring a character you desperately want to play. Comic book audiences have lived through decades of special editions, “permanent” death scenes, and variant covers; they know the difference between an original story and a marketing ploy.

Of course, there’s another possibility here. Alien Bounty Hunter, against all odds, emerges as a surprise hit of the independent comic world and a major studio wins the rights to adapt the film for the big screen… and then casts someone other than Mark Wahlberg in the title role. If you really want to get into the comic book game, Mark, signing away your creative control and seeing pennies on the dollar for a blockbuster adaptation is about as authentic as it gets.

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