Disney’s Secret Invasion of Marvel

marvel-civil-war1I’ll assume at this point that you’ve already heard the worst news the comic industry has ever heard, in that Disney is buying Marvel.  No, it isn’t a bad dream that you can wake up from, or one that can be retconned later when lazy writers feel like it.  It’s unfortunately actually happening.  While some friends of mine such as Matt Cuthbert of AL.com might lead you to believe that the deal is no reason to get your spandex in a wad, I’m here to tell you that this is most certainly is as bad as you could possibly imagine.

I’m willing to make a bold claim at this point.  Marvel will lose all editorial control.  The lawyers or paperwork may not say so at this time, but it will inevitably happen.  Disney is going to see the superhero genre and comic medium as something that should inherently remain childish or juvenile, and ensure that it remains so.  They’ll water it down for the masses and take every opportunity to tell you that this will be the way you’ll like it from now on.  A lot of apologists such as Matt are talking this morning about how Disney does produce complex, unchanged, or mature content, as evidenced by movies produced by Pixar or Miramax.  And again, I’m here to tell you that this isn’t the case.

Exhibit A: Pixar is not wholly unchanged by the Disney merger.  While there’s a good deal of influence that John Lassater and Pixar have had over Disney, there’s also a degree of influence that Disney has had over Pixar.  Up, for example, was never originally intended to be a 3D film.  Sure, Pixar made it work.  But being forced to toe the company line and support Disney 3D wasn’t planned.  Also, there was once a point in time when Pixar execs famously supported the idea that “..we only do a sequel if we know that the story will work”.  Now Toy Story 3, Monsters Inc. 2 and Cars 2 are in development.  Which have been announced or rumored after the Disney deal.  Coincidence?  You tell me.

Exhibit B: Disney does enjoy a certain degree of pull over Miramax.  You can Google this for yourself to find more examples, but I’ll give you two.  One old and one recent.  Back in 2004, Disney tried their darndest to disassociate Miramax from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.  Or how about recently when they’ve apparently become unhappy with the content of Mike Judge’s ‘Extract’, and have made the decision to “dump” it on the guess it won’t perform well?

Just be aware at this point that things won’t be as rosy as many are predicting.  At some point, something like The Punisher making a morally questionable kill is going to freak Disney out.  They’ll put a member on the editorial board, and then it all goes downhill from there.  Just remember that today is the day when 70 years of great comic entertainment died.

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10 responses to “Disney’s Secret Invasion of Marvel

  • Matt

    If you think Marvel doesn’t view their own product as kids material, all you need to do is walk down the toy aisles in a Wal-Mart or Target. Or check out the party favors available at Party City. It’s all directed at kids! And it’s mostly crap.

    However, the comics haven’t suffered from that, and it’s because the people writing and editing the comics aren’t the same people making the marketing decisions to create Hulk hands. In the same vein, Batman isn’t more timid for being under the Time Warner brand, yet Batman junk is marketed heavily to kids, too.

    Believe me, I can’t stand this. Batman and X-Men comics (for the most part) aren’t appropriate for the audience that’s buying the toys. Nor are the movies appropriate for kids, yet the comic companies license out tons of merchandise aimed at kids. I’d like to believe that this is because Marvel and DC have to continue to draw in new generations of readers, but that’s not it at all. The toys and movies aren’t a marketing tool for the comics. It’s the other way around. The comics are merely source material for something to sell that will actually make money. It’ll be no different under Disney.

    The only way Marvel comics would change is if they became Disney comics. As such, Disney would indeed re-tone them to be in line with the image associated with the Disney brand. But I seriously doubt Disney will brand comics with their name — because it would be bad for business. If they brand comics with “Disney” and don’t alter the content, the Disney name would suffer. But if they mess with editorial, they will lose readers — and comics don’t have room to lose readers. Either way, they’d be screwed. They’ll keep the structure the same way it is, for the most part, I’ll bet.

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