An Unofficial Analysis
From the moment that Avi Arad and Ike Perlmutter began making
their move on Marvel in the nineties, Arad made it clear that
he thought they were the 21st Century Disney. So as of today
he turns out to be half-right, as his former partner Perlmutter
has spearheaded a deal to simply become Disney.
for the new order.
Arad left Marvel
a few years ago to become an independent film producer,
though it's likely he still has some stake in the company.
As does someone else - the man who brought Marvel to prominence
in the first place: Stan Lee. And guess what company he's
been working for over the past few months on a little project
called Stan Lee's Time Jumper? Disney. Interesting.
coming home to roost, in a deal that makes sense on Wall
Street. There's no way Marvel stockholders aren't going
to approve this, as the immediate result of the announcement
was a 25% jump in the stock price.
It has a lot
of fans nervous and skeptical. (Admittedly, that's from
a random sampling of Facebook and Twitter responses this
morning, but I'll stand by it.) On his Twitter feed this
morning Marvel staffer C.B. Cebulski assured fans that this
was "like when Disney bought Pixar… everything Marvel stays
that in the Disney/Pixar merger, things didn't stay as is
for the rank and file at Disney. And Cebulski also followed
up by telling contracted freelancers to call with any questions,
and commenting again that it looks very good for Marvel.
But what about
for the fans? What are the potential ramifications? Let's
take some consideration here.
with your wallet, people -- prove Boom! viable.
nothing is going to disrupt Marvel's publication. Corporate
Disney probably finds Marvel's market share a great thing,
but - and this is strictly wishful thinking - having a larger
company to fall back on for shareholders could mean that
Marvel doesn't as much pressure to deliver on shelf space.
We avoid weeks in which Marvel ships 39 books in order to
satisfy a quarterly report, and DC doesn't flail about trying
to match wild Marvel initiatives. Possible win for consumers
the recently concluded press conference, no one brought
up Boom! Studios and their deal to publish Pixar and Muppet
books, which was believed to be on track to expand into
classic Disney properties. Obviously, a contract is involved,
and when it expires in a year or two, Marvel could wind
up doing The Incredibles. On the plus side for the
next generation of readers, a Disney/Marvel combination
means a lot more serious effort being made to do comics
for kids. Boom! has done a great job getting the ball rolling,
but the reality is that to a lot of people who don't
read comics, Marvel Comics are all there are. Possible
loss for Boom! Studios, and for consumers - their kids line
rocks. However, as comics readers we may stop living a Children
of Men scenario.
addition, Disney had been working on their own graphic novel
imprint, Kingdom Comics, headed by Ahmet Zappa and Christian
Beranek. This could easily become an imprint under Marvel
without necessarily costing anybody their jobs. No impact
for consumers - unless you really hate this deal.
was once vaguely threatened by Disney over the appearance
of Howard the Duck. Before any action could be taken - and
no one seems to know for sure if Disney intended to do so
- Marvel lawyers instructed that changes be made to Howard's
appearance. Lampooned in the black and white Howard the
Duck magazine and then ripped apart when Steve Gerber
returned to the character, Howard never quite seemed the
same when he was forced into looking less like a beloved
animated icon. Now he could return to his original appearance
and move out of Cleveland and into Duckburg. Call this
a win for those of us with twisted sensibilities.
longer in Disney's sights -- now a resident of Duckburg.
now owns Marvelman. They may now be publishing work by Alan
Moore. This brings a whole new meaning to "the Magic Kingdom."
still has five pictures to go in their contract with Paramount,
and technically they had become their own production entity
anyway. Disney wants those movie rights - but we're not
going to see any impact until 2012. And then it's all over
though, the oddest things may be with Fox and Sony, who
hold the rights to big chunks of Marvel properties. As long
as those studios can keep making films with those intellectual
properties, they can legally renew the rights. Though they
keep bobbling the X-Men franchise, Fox won't let go of that
without a fight (remember Watchmen); Daredevil and
Fantastic Four might just revert to Disvel.Possible win
if Disney gets Fantastic Four
however, recently announced that they had contracted a screenwriter
for Spider-Man 5 and 6, with an eye toward
rebooting the franchise with a younger actor in case Tobey
Maguire balks. We are not going to see a cinematic teaming
of Spider-Man and Tron facing off against Arcade any time
soon. Having written that just now, I really want to see
it.A loss for fans and for stockholders.
addition to Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark potentially
being back on, I have just three words for you: Inhumans
XD shows a lot of Marvel animation. This one's a
no-brainer, as thanks to a strange deal years ago involving
the purchase of Fox Family channel, Disney already holds
the rights to the better Marvel animated series - including
the 90's Spider-Man and X-Men shows. (Warner
has the lamest one -- X-Men: Evolution.) No major
impact to fans.
Marvel has a direct line to ABC, which means that maybe
they can start making inroads to live-action series television
in the way that DC has been doing with shows like Smallville,
Human Target, Birds of Prey and the in development
Fables and Midnight, Mass. Fan win, unless
it's a lot of shows like Birds of Prey.
already has a Marvel Island of Adventure in Florida, and
some of the characters walk around Universal Studios in
Hollywood. Everything here veers even more into the realm
of pure speculation, though obviously Disney wants Marvel
characters in their parks.
the Pixar deal, John Lasseter didn't just get made head
of animation - he's also in charge of theme park attractions.
My guess is that Disneylands and the Magic Kingdom in Orlando
will largely stay Marvel free, but here in California, we
have a little park next to Disneyland that desperately
needs reasons for people to attend.
though Lasseter has jumpstarted California Adventure attendance
with things like Turtle Talk with Crush, Mike and Sulley
to the Rescue and Toy Story Mania 3-D, a combination of
Pixar and Marvel could finally make it a park to
truly be reckoned with.
to keep Disney from installing their own Spider-Man the
Ride like in Islands of Adventure? By many accounts, this
is one of the best immersive interactive rides around, and
it currently has no West Coast counterpart. Universal dropped
the ball on this one with their Hollywood park, so maybe
Disney could have at it. I call this a win for consumers
of theme park goodness, and a temptation for Michael Goodson
to actually be a good father and take his children to Disneyland.
soon to California Adventure
(image courtesy of NerdCore)
other theme park thing on the horizon is that Lasseter has
allegedly pushed the Imagineers to a whole new level of
excellence with their audio-animatronics (aka "the
robot characters"), which we'll be seeing first in a new
CARS attraction. (The Ric Ocasek figure is far more lifelike
than the real thing.) What this means for Marvel fans is
we could see the more out there figures in astonishing reality
in a theme park attraction, and there's no way that's
not a win for fandom!
Mouse Ears. 'nuff said.
read some things about what Lasseter, noted toy fan, is
doing for Toy Story 3, and I want to see that applied
to Marvel characters. Let's not speculate much here, because
like everything else, Marvel already has contracts with
a different toy company (and not the one they already own
- Toy Biz) to produce figures and toys. I'm willing to bet
that we are going to see a lot of Disney characters in Marvel
costumes available for purchase in the parks, like the Disney
Star Wars figures and Muppet Star Wars figures. Trust
me, though - it's going to be a win.