Friday, 30 October 2009

Marvel Disney’s Latest Buy


How many comic fans, particular lovers of Spider Man and the X- Men shuddered with horror at the news that Disney had announced it’s intentions to purchase comic giant Marvel. It certainly sent shockwaves through the movie industry since Marvel had not long entered the furore of movie making. On the coattails of its success with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, Marvel Studios was viewed as a rapidly growing independent structure that did not need to be sold. That didn’t stop Marvel from willingly shaking hands on a shares and cash deal reported to be in the region of $4 Billion Dollars.


So what is there to be concerned about? Marvel may already be a commercial institution but at its heart it is still a name associated with comic books, the kind that you don’t pick up in your local W H Smith.


The best comics are found in small independent shops that specialise in nothing but comic books and graphic novels or if you frequent your local Forbidden Planet, the selection is even more content rich. Since Disney will have the rights to Marvel's 5000 strong library of materials these small independent outlets may find themselves pushed out of the market. It would mean that the further adventures of The Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Ghost Rider may end up lining the shelves of supermarkets everywhere or worse the dreaded Disney Store. Imagine Blade lined up next to Mickey Mouse; brrrrrrr.


Surely however this is just a knee jerk reaction and has little or no basis in truth. It is well known that Disney often appropriates other people’s stories and with a little magic makes them lighter and happier making the world such a fuzzy and swell place to live (does anybody else still cringe at the thought of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with a happy ending). For one thing Disney may not necessarily be interested in the comic book market and instead concentrating on the pending film projects.


Consider this also. Warner Bros. Studios and DC Comics (the flexing brains behind the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) have enjoyed a lucrative partnership over the decades, but then Warner Bros. have the savvy to avoid the urge to tinker outside their field, and just concentrate on the films. The same may be true of Disney. After all the sale does not interfere with the distribution rights of Iron Man 2 and Captain America via Paramount.


I guess the real concern is that gone are the days of the intense drama, strong characters and sometimes disturbing qualities that make the Marvel comics popular and that its penchant for three dimensional story telling may be distilled and sacrificed by Team Mickey. Maybe but then  Disney also own Miramax Films, responsible for Kill Bill as well as action fodder such as Face Off and Con Air hitting the silver screens unscathed. It should also be noted that since Marvel is a healthy company growing from strength to strength it would have been unlikely that they would have been sold under such stifling terms that would see The Thing whisking Cinderella to the ball or Venom handing Snow White the poisoned apple (although the latter might be amusing).


Whilst the fear of big corporations snapping up every bit of intelligent literature and dictating to us how it should really be presented should resonate in the back of our minds, this move by Disney may be a little act of desperation. For a company that has the audacity to proclaim that its films are shown on “Disney DVD” or “Disney Blu-Ray” (SONY DEVISED BLU-RAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), it would be in more trouble than asking Rogue for some hands on healing, if Miramax and Pixar were to jump ship, since Disney’s only success outside these two entities has been High School Musical.

4 comments:

  1. So, yes, I find this buy out quite strange too. But, as to add to your very ttlicuraae statement, I also don't see Spider-Man hanging out on Main St. USA either. Frankly, I think Disney's just buying into the comic book movie craze. Other then Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney has no PG-13 ventures going on. And, using one of their other production company names will allow them to reek the benefits while still separating the hard-core action typical of a Marvel film and the clean-cut style of a regular Disney produced film. All in all, we'll have to wait and see. As long as Disney let's Marvel continue to make awesome films, I think it'll be alright.

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  2. Hi and thank you for commenting. This was posted over 2 years ago, shortly after the news broke. I remember reading alot of reactionary comments yet it seems Disney have so far taken a back seat to getting involved in any actual film production. Whilst they will certainly own the rights to the whole set of characters and titles it seems filiming rights have remained with various studios such as Paramount's involvement in the Avengers character with more Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Samuel L Jackson is signed on for a total 9 appearances as Nick Fury with them. Also Sony continue to maintain rights over the Spiderman franchise, whilst Fox hold the reigns to X-Men, Fantastic 4 and Daredevil - the latter is contentious since King Pin who featured in the 2003 movie was principly Spiderman's nemises but as far as the movies go the two are unlikley to meet. So Disney are doing the smart thing and keeping their name off the screen credits, however time will soon tell as to whether or not all that will change and we could be flooded with X-Men Kindergarten, or Thor; The Teenage Years. Glad you liked the post.

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