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Disney Buying Marvel, Positive or Negative? By Todd Matthy

Mickey MouseMarvel

My concern about this merger is the executives saw only the dollar signs of a merger with Marvel, not what they were buying. Let’s face it the Walt Disney Company has an image to protect and some of Marvel’s characters, like the Punisher, or creators, like Garth Ennis, don’t fit with that image. (If you want to see what I’m talking about, watch the South Park episode, “The Ring”) My concern is Disney is going to try to “Disney-fy” the Marvel Universe and impose their company standards on Spider-Man and the X-Men.

While, as a company, Disney has done a good job of maintaining their image by creating separate brands (Touchstone Pictures for ‘R’ Rated movies for example), the sheer visibility and popularity of characters like Spider-Man are on par with that of Mickey Mouse, appealing to both children and adults. If you’re a parent you’ll feel safe buying your kid a Spider-Man comic book and he is a role model to young children. However, Spider-Man’s popularity, and role model status, stemmed from the mistakes he made and how he lives with the consequences of his actions. Some of his actions, like selling his marriage to Mephisto, aren’t quite role model worthy. I’m afraid that the corporate arm of Disney will not allow Marvel to travel certain roads with their characters out of the fear that it will hurt the brand. One example that certainly comes to mind is Tony Stark being a recovering alcoholic. A story possibility that is always on the table is Tony falling off the wagon. The creators can base a story around the circumstances that made him fall off, his guilt for doing so, and ultimately his struggle to get back on. (As for Ultimate Tony Stark…don’t get me started there) A story like that, even if the character is repentant, can be hurtful to the brand and executives, who only see things in terms of bottom line dollars, are not going to risk damaging a franchise for something as “trivial” as creativity. If you think I’m being paranoid, look at Time Warner’s censoring of several DC titles. (The Authority, the Alan Moore “Cobweb” story, the infamous ‘beer’ cover of Action Comics) Guys like Mark Millar are in for one hell of a fight, and don’t get me started on reprinting Golden Age material. (“Song of the South” anyone?)

Another concern of mine is corporate rationing. According to Yahoo News, Marvel earned a net profit of $206 million. As part of a major corporation, that money will no longer be Marvel’s it will be Disney’s and Marvel will have to operate with an allocated budget. In other words Joe Quesada may have to justify offering Bryan Hitch an exclusive contract to a suit. And if you don’t think this could happen take a look how Turner Broadcasting ran World Championship Wrestling.

None of what I’ve said is necessarily going to happen, but there’s a good possibility it might. So, if anybody reading this knows someone in the Disney Corporation let them know this, Marvel Entertainment is strong enough to be media conglomerate on it’s own. If you let them do what they’ve been doing best for over 70 years, with little to no corporate interference, The Walt Disney Company will be presiding over a second, entertainment conglomerate. However, if Disney suits start butting in where they’re not supposed to, and making decisions about characters they don’t know anything about, they will have flushed $4 Billion down the drain. This can either be the most successful merger of all time, or the biggest failure since AOL/Time Warner. Disneyfying Marvel is the definition of putting a square peg into a round hole. It won’t work, so don’t bother. To put it bluntly, STAY THE FUCK OUT OF THE HOUSE OF IDEAS!

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