Alongside the entourage of superhero comic book movies that have (or will soon) hit theaters this summer, is one graphic novel adaptation that promises to mix things up in an imaginative and yet straight-faced manner – namely, director Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens movie.

Recently-released TV spots and trailers have focused on selling the genre mashup flick as an exciting bit of summer popcorn fun; however, those that have long been following the film’s development know the big names working behind-the-scenes have something more substantial in mind, beyond what the campy title implies.

Cowboys & Aliens is based on the Platinum Studios comic book by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, but Favreau – along with producer Ron Howard, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and screenwriting duo Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci – have made it no secret that Rosenberg’s original graphic novel was just the starting point for its cinematic counterpart.

Favreau and Co. have repeated emphasized that Cowboys & Aliens is being designed as a true mashup of visual and thematic elements from old-fashioned westerns (ex. Stagecoach, The Searchers) – and extraterrestrial invasion pictures like Independence Day and War of the Worlds. In the film’s new featurette, Spielberg even makes an indirect reference to the original Stargate movie – which played with the idea of aliens being responsible for designing the pyramids in Egypt – and how the Cowboys & Aliens crew messed with a similar idea by having other-worldly beings encounter 19th-century pioneers in the Old U.S. West.

For more from the creative minds behind Cowboys & Aliens, check out the “Look Inside” featurette below:

The cast includes noteworthy stars like Daniel Craig (the current James Bond), Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy), along with accomplished character actors like Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption), Keith Carradine (Deadwood), Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), and Sam Rockwell (Moon). Top it off with screen legend Harrison Ford and it becomes obvious that Cowboys & Aliens is all but guaranteed to feel quite different than your average mindless action-packed summer release.

Footage released from the film so far has been big on the explosive sci-fi action sequences, gritty western-style fights, and an ominous atmosphere as the not-yet-revealed invasive aliens kidnap humans for their own mysterious purposes. That serious but menacing tone is also on display in the latest U.S. and international poster (via The Daily Blam!) for Cowboys & Aliens, which can both be viewed in the gallery below:

While there’s no guarantee that Cowboys & Aliens won’t ultimately be as unintentionally cheesy as its title immediately suggests, the movie certainly looks to impress as a cinematic roller coaster ride. Favreau likewise seems confident enough about the comic book community embracing the film – since the picture will premiere at the 2011 Comic-Con Festival in San Diego next month.

Cowboys & Aliens will then open wide in U.S. theaters a week later on July 29th, 2011.

Source: Universal Pictures