September 01, 2009

Disney Acquires Marvel Entertainment

Christopher asks, in a story about lunatic anti-science run wild, "Ben, any comment on Disney buying Marvel?" Ah, but my audience knows my wheelhouse.

So here we go. This really isn't that interesting.

Really though. A big company is bought by a bigger company. Yes, Disney is generally a "family friendly" (read: conservative) company. I mean, they're not conservative like Mike Huckabee, but they're certainly careful not to step on the toes of the sensitive among us. But really, has being owned by Time Warner stopped DC from publishing their often graphic Vertigo line? No. The devil is in the details, as "they" say. It remains unclear what, if any, impact ownership by Disney will have on Marvel Comics. What seems clear to me is that Disney is a multi-national, multi-billion dollar company who saw a lot of value in Spider-Man (seriously, don't let anyone tell you there's no hyphen) (also, seriously, the three movies grossed over $2.5 billion...that's value, and that's only the movies) and wanted to bring that profit in-house.

Look, I love the idea of Marvel as an "independent" publisher, but they've been considered the bigger of the "Big Two" in comics publishing for years. They're a huge corporate giant that already owned such disparate subsidiaries as Tops. They were the definition of corporate comics, with characters that were owned by the publisher and which couldn't be allowed to change in any substantive way, at least not unless it was temporary, and where comics creators broke into the big time but owned nothing. Marvel's great, but they're no Santa Maria.

So what does this mean for comics fans? My guess is probably good things. Marvel recently started a movie production studio to make all of their characters come to feature film life in-house. The problem was that they'd leased their biggest characters out to studios like Sony before realizing what kind of money could be made by a good super hero movie. Now, when all those deals expire, all the characters will safely reside under one roof, where they can make feature films, cartoons, etc. and the characters will be free to interact because they're all owned by one corporate giant. On the publishing side, it's not clear what, if any, interference Disney will have in Marvel Comics, particularly in the more graphic "Max" line. Frankly, there's so little (comparative) money in the publishing end that I doubt Disney has much interest in meddling. Joe Quesada might worry about his job now, but he's been pretty successful as EiC, so he's probably safe.

The last thing I have to say is that when this broke, I read someone's post in a comments section that said "Which Marvel character do you now want Pixar to make a movie about, and which Disney character should Brian Michael Bendis write." That shit got me thinking, but hard.

3 comments:

Christopher said...

That's pretty much what I thought when I first heard about it. The reaction though on the Comic Book Resources boards and Superherohype have been pretty negative. Question though, can Marvel Studios use the 4 billion dollars to finance the current movies? That way they could get Ed Norton, RDJ, Thor, and I'm hoping, Leo Dicaprio for Capt. America all for the Avengers. With Sam Jackson of course. Your thoughts?

Also, I hope my post did not appear to take anti science run amok lightly. In fact, let's hope that someone never uses the Incredible Hulk as an example of science going to far!

Drew said...

I think you're right, in that this probably won't make much significant difference at the level of people who like reading Marvel comics as they are. I don't anticipate major changes.

I just hate Disney, mainly because they've made a fortune revamping public domain stories and use that fortune to buy Congress to make sure no one ever gets to use their stuff.

That and the fact that their version of Beauty and the Beast is childish drivel when compared to Jean Cocteau's 1946 masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

Christopher:
Question though, can Marvel Studios use the 4 billion dollars to finance the current movies? That way they could get Ed Norton, RDJ, Thor, and I'm hoping, Leo Dicaprio for Capt. America all for the Avengers. With Sam Jackson of course. Your thoughts?

Really? Do you even like comics? My faith in humanity rests on the notion that you're just joking. If so, well played. But if anyone honestly thinks that Leonardo Dicaprio should ever portray Captian America than they should have been stillborn. This is probably one of the most disgusting things I could ever imagine.

You have driven me to prayer, Christopher. I pray to any shred of decency left in this universe that if you are indeed serious, some cosmic death will emerge from the unknown darkness and destroy us all. Because if there is one of you, then there must be many of you- and I cannot tolerate a world where this exists.