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Disney + Marvel = Dismal?

The interwebitubes have been all a-twitter (hah!) about the Disney-Marvel deal today (BTW, hats off to TechCrunch - they posted the first story I saw). A lot of folks have tried to wonder what the mash-up may lead to ... here are a couple of my favorites:

- From @muskrat_john: Bambi's mother was killed...BY WOLVERINE!
- From @pvponline: The Incredibles can meet the Fantastic Four now.

And other combos I could think of included:

- The Cars fight Magneto!
- The Beast meets Beast!
- Hannah Montana meets Jubilee!

Apparently Stan Lee thinks this is a good deal. In short, I disagree ... somewhat.

Let's face it, Disney's current roster of IP & Franchises appeals to young kids, and girls. I'm sure there's boy-centric material in there, but I'll be darned if I know what it is. The typical Disney fare is "wholesome family" entertainment, focussed on driving home a message or moral. Marvel's roster does include "lighter" versions of their popular heroes but a significant chunk appeals to an older, more mature, primarily male population. No disrespect meant to the girls, but I think Emma Frost or Mystique are drawn to satisfy raging hormones. And that pretty much goes for most comic book characters anyway. DC is no different.

On the face of it, you could argue that the two companies supplement, not complement, each other. The combined entity will have content that appeals to younger kids, girls, and boys. To me, that's the danger - the two companies' products appeal to different demographics, and need different marketing techniques. There's a very real danger that unless Marvel retains editorial control, that they'd need to tone down their edginess, possibly leading them to shelve or sell off some of their more "mature" IP like The Punisher.

Where the deal does make sense is if you look at Disney as a collection of content delivery channels. Disney of course has its own venerable film & animation studios (which have woefully languished since the 90's and ceded the crown to Pixar). Disney owns a suite of TV channels, including ABC Family & XD. The latter already carries the superhero fare, and ABC Family carried a host of direct-to-TV content developed by Marvel in the late 90's (leading to a lawsuit, even). Disney also does publish in the dead-tree space, but I'm not sure how large that arm of the business is, or how large it is in comparison to Marvel.

Thus in my mind, what makes the most sense is Marvel acting as an independent studio, using the Disney brand & marketing platform to deliver that content. But that's only if Marvel can keep Disney from interfering with the content.

On a personal note, I hope to blog more often. I realize the blog's fallen by the way side since I got married ... ah heck, who am I kidding, since I found Twitter! But I want to write more, and hopefully I can stay motivated! As always, comments and encouragement help!

Reader Comments (1)

it's not all about the characters. It's about distribution reach. Disney does have a more adult themed studio - Thouchstone, Miramax. Only time will tell if this is a good deal...on paper it's not all that bad.
December 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterroy ashok

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