Friday, September 4, 2009

Wonderful World of Marvel

Beauty and Beast: Disney meets MarvelSo Disney bought Marvel. Now what?

I have to say, I'm not all that sure. And it's a darn good thing I'm no expert in these matters, because giant conglomerations merging for billions of dollars is definitely not my bag. And it's a darn good thing you're not here to get an expert's opinion on this stuff. Instead, you're here because you just want to hear the speculations of a somewhat mad individual, trying to jam this post in before going home for the long weekend. Right?


Attempts at humorous disclaimers aside, there are a few things that I've been thinking about when it comes to the merger.

--First and foremost, it does not appear that any of the current Marvel editorial staff will be displaced. And, in initial interviews and statements, Very Important People at Disney have said, repeatedly, that they understand how good the Marvel (comics) guys and gals are at what they do.

So everyone can step back from the (online) ledges and stop yelling (on the Internet, of course) about how Marvel is "done."

The Important Disney People have pointed to their relationship with the fine folks at Pixar, and how they have essentially creative carte blanche when it comes to their film output. Granted, Pixar-verse movies will never feature scenes of disemboweling the bad guys as retribution for crimes committed. (As was seen in one of Garth Ennis' Punisher stories a couple years back).

Now, does this mean that Punisher is all of a sudden going to become a completely different, non-bad-guy-killing character? Will he dispense messages of peace and love instead of dispensing horrible, violent justice?

The PunisherUm, I'd have to say no.

Disney, while certainly aware of the violent nature of some of Marvel's titles, is also aware of the revenue those titles bring in. And, while the revenue brought in by one comic book series is nary a drop in the (green goofy) hat for the giant conglomerate that is Disney, early indications suggest that Marvel Comics will be left to the Marvel Comics people.

Of course, this whistle while you work attitude that current Marvel employees are demonstrating towards the merger will one day hit a big, brick wall. But that happens in every company, and it just can't be avoided. Especially when there is some oversight. Which there will be. And which there should be.

Disney has an image, Marvel has an image, and it would be stupid to think that either party would do anything to upset those images.

And, in the event that there will one day be a series that Disney will not publish, then what happens? Well, in the case of The Boys--the ultra-violent and ultra-foul mouthed (and ultra-awesome)--Garth Ennis title that started at will move to another publisher. But in that case, it was DC that had a problem with the book, not Time Warner.

Currently, Marvel doesn't have anything as "heavy" as The Boys, and their Icon Comics line is tame in comparison to the books DC produces under their Vertigo imprint. So, I really can't see there being that much interference.

From everything I've read, Marvel will continue on as it has, and while some things won't be exactly the same as before, it appears that most things will be.

The same, that is.

Marvel logo --Second, and potentially the most interesting, is that Sony still owns the rights to the Spider-Man live action movies. HOWEVER, Marvel reclaimed the rights to cartoons and television series featuring Spidey characters from Sony during this year's Comic Con. Does this mean that there will be a new animated Spidey show, perhaps?

Most likely. Look at it this way--Marvel now ostensibly has a TV network in the Disney Channel (and all of its many arms and legs). Disney has conquered the pre-teen female demographic, and now, with Marvel, they are well on their way to taking over the pre-teen male demographic.

The potential for grabbing a new, young audience is staggering. And, frankly, untapped. Now Disney/Marvel can get kids interested in comics at a young age, and when those kids outgrow Disney, they can continue on with Marvel.

Think about it--Lifetime Marvel Zombies. DC has to be shaking its head. Or pounding it against the Batmobile.

A comics company that can actually get kids interested in comics, and not just comics characters? That's something completely different for the comics landscape. And don't be surprised if Disney/Marvel makes a full fledged effort to attract more female readers towards comics.

--And third, the deal was made for four billion dollars. Think about that for a second. The Spider-Man movies alone grossed more than half that amount. This is a GREAT deal for both companies.

Heck, it's a GREAT deal for fans of both companies.

Marvel Comics now has the luxury of Disney's deep pockets, and Disney has an entire world of new, market-tested characters to do with as they please. Imagine a Pixar Spider-Man. Or a live action Power Pack TV show. Think about being a kid, and going to Disney World/Land. Think about all the stuff you begged your parents to buy for you.

Disney's Main Street in FloridaNow think about a Disney World with Captain America t-shirts next to the Goofy watches. Or a rack of kid-friendly Marvel comics in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Hotel.

Disney will slap its name and its characters on any salable product, so expect a deluge of Marvel merchandise in the near future. And, while there is a ton of Disney apparel and WAY too many Disney lamps and night lights and car antennae bouncy things...they are all of (relatively) high quality.

So there's that.

Regardless of how many Marvel Man footsie pajamas I will buy in the coming years (hear that--Alan Moore just shuddered and he has no idea why), we are through the looking glass, people. Down the rabbit hole, beyond Space Mountain, and into the next chapter of American comic book history.

What's going to happen next? What will be the first product released by the newly formed companies? I have no idea.

But I can't wait to find out.


Happy Friday, and enjoy the long weekend, everyone!

No comments: