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Has Disney buying Marvel been good for MARVEL COMICS?


#1

We know it’s been good for Disney. Their share price jumped from 15 bucks in 2009 to 100 bucks right now. But has it been good for the movies and has it been good for the comics?

An interesting discussion ahead.

MM


#2

It’s a hard question to answer - the biggest growth for Marvel since 2009 has been the Cinematic Universe, but loads of stuff has fed off that - mobile games, video games, netflix, abc shows, lots of merchandise.

It’s all dependent on the accessibility of the films though - the way Loki, Ultron, etc are portrayed these days in every bit of media reflects their movie likenesses.

So, the short answer is the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been good for Marvel because it exploded the brand in a way that no comic brand has ever experienced ever before (including DC).

But, Iron Man was produced and distributed before the buy-out. Was Disney responsible for the MCU’s current success or did they just know a good thing? It’s hard to say. I think the distribution and financial backing of Disney have really helped the MCU grow in ways that probably would have been impossible otherwise. I think we’d probably have about half of the films we do now if Disney hadn’t bought Marvel.


#3

Based on Merchandise alone I have to say yes, Primark has more Marvel stuff in the women’s section than the men’s now and are those characters are permeating through the general consciousness of people just as Superman and Batman before them, there’s a whole new generation of fans coming through that know as much as us about the Marvel Universe and they’re under ten, we never had anywhere near the access to it the my six year old nephew has.


#4

I agree with this, it’s hard to be sure. I suspect the MCU would have done well regardless, although not managed to churn out quite so many movies. They presumably would have got a strong distribution deal with someone (Paramount still?). I doubt they would have had the clout to renegotiate for the Spider-Man deal they’ve got though.

I don’t think it’s possible to attribute any of the comics arm’s current issues directly to Disney. The (apparent) power struggle between Perlmutter and Feige might have happened anyway, the X-Men and FF embargoes have been, supposedly, down to Perlmutter, as has the poorly conceived push for Inhumans. Movie synergy was always going to be a side-effect of the MCU’s success.

I think the only thing you can really say Disney’s held Marvel back on is video game tie-ins. Marvel’s properties should be the source of games as good (or at least as profitable) as the Arkham series, but Disney isn’t interested in non-mobile video games for anything now, so all we get is Lego Marvel and another Spider-Man game (Star Wars fares better because there’s no way Disney would be able to get away with not making SW video games, but the collateral death of LucasArts’ games in the buy-out is tragic).


#6

Chris Claremont had some interesting things to say a few weeks backs. The fact that X-Men is owned by another film company means Disney doesn’t promote the X-Men comics because it’s promoting another companies’ movies. He said this is why X-Men comics sales are down, and why the Inhumans are now being used as outsiders like the X-Men were in the comics. This is interesting but the next big Marvel event is X-Men v Inhumans which has been promoted a lot in the comics i buy. But this is still a valid point.
What do you lot think?


#7

Short term Disney have propelled the characters to become as mainstream as any in pop culture. Iron Man, Cap, Thor are all household names which seems impossible 20 years ago.

However, the publishing arm is in a creative mess and Disney feels like a vampire swallowing the life force out of Marvel. When audiences get tired of the same characters will Disney cast them aside, or will we see revamps and reboots like we’ve done with Ninja Turtles or Star Trek? The big question is can the expanded Marvel universe live forever or will they fade into the past in a way they haven’t so far over the last 50 years?

Your question is for Marvel comics and not Marvel. For Marvel comics given the state of the line, the lack of anything groundbreaking and the loss of heat since around 2008 or so I don’t think Disney have been particularly good for the comics.


#8

I remember somebody, possibly Mark, talking about a 20-year cycle (or thereabouts) in comics a while back, before the Disney deal. It predicted that Marvel would in the mid-to-late 2010s experience a similar creative malaise to the mid-to-late 90s, with a new wave of fresh talent likely to come and invigorate things again in the late 2010s/early 2020s in the same way that happened in the early 2000s.

So I think the Disney deal may be a bit of a red herring - it may be that the creative dry spell (if there is one) is something that was on the cards for Marvel Comics regardless.


#9

This has been speculated at for a long time and there’s likely truth to it, their profile has gone down and the FF have no book at the moment (also a Fox movie property).

I think they may have changed their tune though, there seem to be a lot of X-Books launching after the Inhumans crossover.


#10

But they still published 40 spider-books when they weren’t making Spider-Man movies.


#11

Based on what we know from what has been said over the years, the licensing deal for X-Men is a lot less favourable to Marvel than the Spider-Man one.


#12

Yes but they’ve always had a much better relationship with Sony. The Fox deal came when they were bankrupt and by all accounts isn’t very favourable.

A good example is to Google search movie Spider-Man and then X-Men tie-in toys. Plenty of the former, the latter barely exist.


#14

It’s impossible to say what influence Disney has had on the publishing line, in terms of editorial. Probably none. The only things I can see are that Iron Man and Guardians now have multiple regular books, and all the books are more SHIELD heavy (an approach that I think works better on screen than on page). You could argue that the disastrous Inhumans push is a result of developing a film brand but I’m not sure publishing takes the lead anymore.

That said, there’s no denying the books have not been great for a little while, exceptions aside. If you look at it historically, all of Marvel’s best moments have come shortly after the company has done really poorly for a stretch, most recently after their bankruptcy in the late 90s. Now that Marvel is just another branch of Disney and not its own entity out fighting for its life, sometimes with its back to the wall, will it ever have that sense of urgency and nothing-to-lose experimentation again?


#15

It should be a repeat of Warners buying DC, with Marvel stagnating and not offering much for years to come.

If there are incredibly talented new creators about to break in they’ll be chased like rock stars for a few years but will quickly try and do their own thing instead, leaving the big 2 to continue with their struggles.


#16

DC launched Vertigo a few years after the Time Warner merger though. You may be right that the dip in quality has more to do with Image.


#17

Everything created by Marvel recently feels inorganic and cynical. Creativity needs to be wild, that’s how you get something like Venom or Groot. Instead many of the new creations are characters designed to target demographics or make for a marketable brand. And you can sense that it’s not really creative, it’s just a different chicken nugget.

True creativity is usually found at Image, something like Chew for example. Or Vertigo as you mention, back in the day that line was full of new ideas. Hasn’t felt that way for years now though.


#18

Marvel Publishing feels like they are chasing the Millennial demographic.

As I said in the Marvel Comics Thread, the line looks like it has no creative leadership. Brubaker, Fraction and Hickman with Bendis and Aaron really guided the line and set the bar for the talent. Bendis seems to be their go-to guy for events and Aaron is doing his own thing.

Personally, I think the event Fear Itself in 2011 was the turning point for Marvel. It really felt manufactured and uninspired. Since then, events felt like they were being ground out of a mill. Their big names began to leave and no one has really broken out. Outsider looking in, their line just seems like a chaotic mess with constant relaunches and title changes. They seem to lack focus. With DC and Rebirth, they seem to have found their focus while it appears to they are going after Generation X.

If rumors are true, Ike Perlmutter appears to be the biggest impediment to the Publishing line. You can change Editorial but I think that is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Ike is the problem and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.


#19

It is, while I have defended that are putting out some really good books and rarely put out a very bad one the line is a mess.

If I look at Al Ewing’s Avengers work, he did Mighty Avengers which was an interesting premise, a ground level team doing good deeds led by Luke Cage, it gets dragged into a few crossovers. It is then replaced by another book after 14 issue when they had barely begin to explore the concept. So then you have New Avengers, a completely different concept about Roberta Dacosta running AIM, and Ulimates about science heroes solving great problems. Ultimates has already been rebooted after 12 issues (the last an event crossover).

Ewing is a really good writer, he’s done stellar work for 2000ad. His Marvel work I am reading as I am enjoying it but also get frustrated nothing ever seems to go anywhere.

Some books do get some freedom to do more of what they want, like Ms Marvel (which while it has had crossovers are very loosely so) or Waid’s Daredevil but for most they do just seem to be continually in a state of flux.


#20

I agree with Todd. I purged my comic buying habit over a year ago now. I’d been both buying and collecting since I was a kid-30 years plus.

The constant relaunches, reimaginings and no1 issues did for me. I initially enjoyed Uncanny Avengers and remember reading about the Red Skull obtaining Xavier’s brain. That story seemed to disappear without resolution and what followed it was poor.

Too much art looks computer generated as well rather than drawn. It’s been years since I read a Superman comic I enjoyed which is depressing in itself.

The ultimates like the authority are just a pale imitation of what they were. I do read Karnak- that’s about it.


#21

Have you picked up any of the Rebirth Superman? It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a Superman book but I’m digging the hell out Superman and really enjoying most of Action Comics.


#22

Although I would have never predicted it post-corporate-overlord-takeover, Marvel Comics has actually become very unpredictable and weird as of late.

The easy route on Thor, for example, would be to have a hunky Hemsworth version, all mightily smite-ily, toeing the cinematic line. Having a completely different person as Thor? You may not like it (or you may love it) but it’s not what you expected.

Deadpool has become an amazing draw for non-traditional talent like comedians (Scott Aukermann and Brian Posehn) and screenwriters (that Acker and Blacker take on Deadpool vs Gambit was hilarious and surrealistic enough to make me forget that I’m not fond of either character.)

Ms. Marvel reminds me of the Spider-Man books of my youth. Squirrel Girl just makes me happy.

Sure, Marvel isn’t perfect. Too many books for some characters, the main franchises are still convoluted, no Fantastic Four (!) But creatively, the innovators are winning the war over the accountants. Who would’ve guessed?