Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Disney and Marvel: A Marriage Made in Heck

Oh Wow.

That was my terribly sophisticated reaction on Monday to the news that Marvel Comics had been purchased by Disney. And I stand by it. I really didn't know quite what to think. Mainly because this has NOTHING TO DO WITH COMICS. This does have everything to do with properties and distribution and pre-existing contracts vs. new contracts for uses of those properties. The actual pamphlets here have little or no cash value intrinsically, since the numbers are so small, but using those X-men or Spider-Man characters and we're dealing with millions and billions of dollars.

Which makes this an interesting analog to the DC-Time Warner deal, a deal that always promised to give us greater integration of the DC universe into the real world and yet only gave us two good Batman movies, one forgettable Superman movie and a bunch of Teen Titans Go! cartoons. Somehow it always seemed that Time Warner saw DC as the bastard step child of material and just couldn't bring itself to care too much, they certainly seemed like they looked at the catalog of properties that they had bought and gagged. There was never that moment where they said, "Hey, Birds of Prey thing? We can get behind that!" And when that didn't succeed, where is the next one? Where is the TNT Challengers of the Unknown series? Where is the Secret Six series?

You can bet that Disney is licking their chops over some more obscure Marvel characters that they can repurpose and rennovate and recreate and remarket. There are, lets face it, a ton of them.

The best analysis over the deal, and all the different contracts that Disney will have to contend with, is here, at Nikki's blog. Fascinating stuff, given that they're discussing contracts and character usage that I've never even known about, and it makes you realize just how ugly this contract situation is if Universal didn't cover enough territory over eventualities like this in their theme park contracts. Yikes.

It will be verrrrrrrry interesting to see how the rest plays out. More later as I dig into more of the Hollywood stuff.


Kid Sis said...

It's the end of the world, chicken! The sky is falling!

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Danman said...

National Comics merged with Warner Bros/7 Arts in 1969, so you could consider everything from Kirby's 4th World onwards a credit to the merger if you wanted.
I do consider the Batman/Superman/Justice League cartoons (often refered to as "Timmverse" after Bruce Timm), not to mention the 70s Superman films and the Burton Batmans, a credit to this partnership.