August 31, 2009

Spidey, Meet Mickey

I couldn't believe the news - I actually heard it via IM from a coworker. Upon checking my Twitter stream, I was actually surprised to hear of Disney's purchase of Marvel for $4 billion.

Of course, many people (including myself) decided to crack jokes at both Disney's and Marvel's expense. In a way, both companies seem much alike - they have both changed from being focused on one media (Disney animation, Marvel comics) to becoming mulitimedia conglomerates, focusing on ancillary content (movies, toys, video games, etc), rather than on their "primary" media of choice.

Nothing wrong with that - for any business, it's good to diversify. On paper, at least, this deal looks good for both parties involved.

On one level, even though it may make good business sense, there is the potential  that Disney could exercise some editorial mandate. I doubt that, say, Brian Bendis or Mark Millar will start writing Winnie the Pooh and the Punisher anytime soon, but Marvel comics in the last 5 - 6 years have not been quite as "family friendly" as one might think. (I have read in various columns that Disney has a "hands-off" policy with other acquisitions like ABC and Pixar, but I'll believe that when both Michael Moore and Insane Clown Posse reassure me about this fact. Or when there aren't so many urban legends about the company)

But ultimate, the thing that is most bothersome about this is that, now, we have two companies - one perceived as ultra-conservative, the other as more anything goes - starting what may be a potentially tumultuous partnership, with the more conservative partner having "veto" power. However, this does place Disney in a unique position - partnering with a major comic player in order to gain a strong foothold in publishing comics. Of course, I doubt we'll be seeing any Mickey Mouse/Spider-Man crossovers, but from a business sense, with Marvel succeeding in the movie and comic business - and Disney succeeding in the animation and marketing to kids....ultimately, this will be a match made seemingly in heaven.

But of course, if things turn out wrong, it may end up like this (link is NSFW)

1 comment:

thomwade said...

Disney's reason for buying Marvel seems to suggest they were not looking for a family brand. I am prone to thinking this will be like WB and DC. Some of their media relation policies may change...the comics will be let to run on their own.

Outside of the two examples (and Dogma) Disney has released plenty of family un-Friendly entertainment. I don't ee them having a problem incorporating Marvel Zombies into Disney Zombies. Cannot wait to see Zombie Donald Duck rip out Goofy's throat.