Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Top 10 Tuesdays - 10 Things I Want to See From the Disney/Marvel Acquisition

While many of moved on from the Marvel/Disney dealings and started speculating on the recent DC Entertainment shake-ups, this edition of the Top 10 Tuesdays is all about my dream projects or random happenings in the business that I would like to see come out of the whole Disney acquisition. While there's the obvious Pixar movie and Disney World attractions on the list, I'm sure the top item on my list of things I want to see will surprise a few people. Hit the jump for more!

Top 10 Tuesdays - 10 Things I Want to See From the Disney/Marvel Acquisition

10) Marvel World / Disney World

It's only a matter of time before Marvel characters get their own section in Disney World. When they do, I'll be booking my ticket to Florida to check out the attractions. At the bare minimum, we'll get to see Marvel rollercoasters moved to Disney locations. Here's hoping we get our own little comic book section to bask in as well. Of course, drunken Howard the Duck vs Donald Duck fights will be the prime attraction.

9) Marvelman = Golden

With Disney's lawyer muscle at Marvel's disposal, it means the rights to Marvelman are absolutely golden. Any questions regarding Alan Moore's or Neil Gaiman's Marvelman stories seeing print again have all but been washed away and I can't wait to see them in print again. While not a direct project to come out of Disney's acquisition, I'm happy to see it now because it's guaranteed to see the light of day post-Disney.

8) Marvel & DC Patch Things Up

What? How does Disney buying Marvel correlate to Marvel and DC playing nice again? Well, Marvel has always been open to doing team ups (heck, Bendis has been begging for a Daredevil/Batman team-up). It's been more about DC's taking Jemas's and Quesada's public trash talking a bit too seriously (it was unprofessional, but let it go man!).

With Disney owning Marvel and DC having some shake-ups and becoming DC Entertainment, I'm hoping the two parent companies can get their kids to play nice and stop this little feud fromgetting in the way of making a whole lot of money that us fanboys will spend on these Marvel/DC mash-ups (yes, I bought Marvel vs DC and all the Amalgam Comics and would do it again in a heartbeat! Such is my blind fanboy devotion and I know there are thousands of others like me waiting for more of these types of comics.

So, on my fantasy list of items, this gets a spot regardless of it having very little to do with or even likelihood of happening because of this acquisition.

7) Marvel Gets Film Rights Back

Back when Marvel was in the crapper for bankruptcy, they did some stupid, but necessary things, like signing over the rights to Spider-Man and X-Men in pereptuity, which means forever, basically. Marvel now has their own studios, yet can't produce their biggest franchises in house. Disney buying them changes all that and have the lawyers that basically changed copyright laws so Mickey Mouse wouldn't be up for grabs. Like the Marvelman point, if anyone can get these properties back from Sony and Fox, it's Disney. I know I'd rather not see emo Peter Parker doing dance routines and a near Shumacher-like Spider-Man sequel again. Here's hoping they can get these back some day.

6) Disney Buys Boom, Folds Into Marvel

This is actually one I could see happening on some level. Disney licensed itself out to Boom Studios! to make comics based on their properties, most notably Incredibles. Disney now owns their own comic company. I can't see them letting outsiders look after their properties now, but I don't want to see them just rip it from Boom either, as that could cripple the fledgling company that has shown some promise.

Maybe a buyout of Boom and collapsing it into Marvel is in order? It would bring more marketing power and talent to the company and get those Incredibles comics out there for more to see, possibly in Disney stores and other chains, too, without ending Boom. DC seems to be able to sustain imprints like Vertigo, Wildstorm, et al, so I could see Marvel easily taking them on. Would make a home/imprint for their literay adaptations, like Wizard of Oz and the like, too.

5) More, Better Cartoons

Let's be honest here, Marvel's cartoons, for all they've done, come up well short of the bar set by DC's JLA, JLU, Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond and numerous other properties (sadly, mostly only Batman though).

The 90's Spider-Man was okay and there's some love for Spectacular Spider-Man and the odd X-Men cartoon, but here's hoping for some better offerings from now that they have access to Disney's expertise. It should be easy to do a good Iron Man or Fantastic Four or Avengers or any other property as a cartoon, but, sadly, they've all come up lacking.

There's also the whole direct-to-DVD market, which Marvel has been working on lately, that Disney could help expand and open up doors for. Imagine an actual good feature length cartoon movie alla the recent Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight and other DC offerings?

4) Goodbye Diamond, Hello Harper!
“At minimum I would expect that Diamond Book Distribution will lose Marvel from its catalog as they will no doubt move to Harper.” - Dan Vado of SLG Publishing, home of Disney properties “Haunted Mansion,” “Tron,” and “Gargoyles,” among others.

While that above quote came with a big "not a Disney employee or Disney standpoint, Vado is saying what everyone else is thinking - Disney, and now Marvel, have no reason to stick with Diamond Publishing's draconian stranglehold on the market and could just as easily use Harper, Disney's own publishing company, as their primary means of distributing comics.

While Diamond did a great number of good things for comics and I give credit where it's due, to turn an online meme phrase, they are currently the cancer killing comics with their publishing monopoly. With DC Entertainment contemplating a move to a new distributor, it seems Diamond's days are numbered if Marvel switches out to Harper.

Marvel tried their own publishing once before and failed due to bad timing and business on their end, but I would be all for them moving to Harper simply to break Diamond's hold on the market. This move could also see a reduction in costs, as Diamond is taking over 60% of the pie on cover prices as it is, which could be passed onto consumers. Another plus would be the increased profile, maybe a small return to the newstand or, at the bare minimum, spotlights in Disney stores.

3) A Pixar Marvel Movie

Who doesn't want this? Seriously, it has to be the number one thing that popped into people's heads and there were already rumours of the oft-mentioned Ant-Man project being in the works. Incredibles is already the best Fantastic Four movie you'll ever see. I can only imagine what Pixar could do with an actual licensed property.

However, I think this is all a pipe dream at this point. Disney has no creative control over Pixar and Pixar has shown no interest in non-original properties at this point in time. A man can dream, though, can't he? I'd love to see what they could do with more off-beat Marvel properties, like a Runaways or even an all ages version of the Iron Fist mythos.

2) Kingdom Hearts - Marvel Edition

Everyone that's played a video game before has heard of Kingdom Hearts. It's a mash-up between Disney and Square-Enix characters, particularly of the Final Fantasy variety. It's also beloved by just about anyone that's played it. As such, my penultimate item for this list goes to a Kingdom Hearts Marvel mix. It could simply be Marvel and Disney only or continue the tradition with the Square-Enix crew, but with Marvel characters on top of the Disney ones, or any variation of this theme.

1) The Return of CrossGen

CrossGen was a comic book company that launched in 1998. It featured unique ideas and concepts, both in their comics and behind the scenes, and was a breeding ground for new talent, such as Greg Land (before he traced), Steve McNiven, Josh Middleton and the list goes on and on. Sadly, they went bankrupt and had to close down shop. Disney bought the rights to CrossGen back in 2004 for $1 million to get access to the rights to Abadazad, which they had future plans for (it became a sort of hybrid children's book).

What does all this mean? Well, just about every creator that worked for CrossGen at the time now works for or still has a working relationship with Marvel. Disney owns Marvel. CrossGen's line ended abruptly with many comics unpublished or in script format. See where I'm going with this?

At the very least, I would expect to see the comics back into print (Disney licensed the reprints to Checker Books, but nothing major ever came of it) and, if we're lucky, maybe see CrossGen reborn as Marvel's Wildstorm-like imprint. The Path, Meridian, Sojourn, Crux, Negation, Route 666, Ruse, Brath and several other of the various titles put out by CrossGen were well done and I honestly believe if they had launched just a few years later after the whole comics depression at the tail end of the 90's (say post-Ultimate Universe), they'd still be publishing and thriving today. Hopefully Disney can be persuaded to shuffle the rights over to Marvel so we can see some new projects or reprints of this once great line of comics.


There you have it! Ten things I'd like to see come out of the whole Disney/Marvel acquisition. I'm not sure if all or any of them will see the light of day, but, hey a man can dream, can't he? What about you? What's on your dream list for Disney/Marvel projects or happenings to come out of the dealings?

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The Phoenix King said...

Great list, Kirk. In particular, I am in wholehearted agreement about you regarding the CrossGen stuff. I've heard a lot of people say that stuff like the Ultimate Marvel line was their first real entrance into comics, bt for me, it was CrossGen. Titles like Meridian and Sojourn were some of the first comics I read back in my teenage years, and the school library was stocked full of them. Even if this deal with Disney simply allows for CrossGen titles to be republished in TPB format on a wider scale than currently, then I'll be a happy man.

Good about about Boom! Studios too. It gives me fresh hope that Disney won't mess up or nerf Marvel's titles knowing that they've owned a company that has printed a lot of hardcore stuff in the past, including some Warhammer 40K comics, if I'm not mistaken.

btownlegend said...

I forgot about Crossgen being in their clutches...

Daryl Tay said...

I would LOVE a Crossgen resurrection! Especially if they could get Tony Bedard and Paul Pelletier back on Negation! One of the best comics ever!

Matt Ampersand said...

I've heard many good things about Ruse from Crossgen. The first part of it was written by Mark Waid, who is also the EIC of BOOM!, and writing currently for Amazing Spider-Man. Funny how he is a common factor between the three companies that may now fall all under the same umbrella.

Good call on Disney's lawyers being able to do anything.

David Not David said...

I really hope that they don't buy Boom! studios as I think that would kill it as an independent entity and it'd quickly become a fifth wheel in the corporate car.

syoyocool said...

I want to say that i've been a long time lurker here at the weekly crisis and this blog is often the first place i visit when i log into the net. I really enjoy all the bloggers here (Eric, Kirk, Matt, and Ryan) posts and i'm glad i can look into a place that keeps me up to date on the comic book world.

As for me, i rarely visit my Local comic book store sadly as being a college student i really have no money to afford a pull list for even a ONE TITLE. The agony of it all these tough times T_T

Yet, i love visiting here since i feel that you guys do a excellent job of keeping people up to date on what's going on in the Big 2. Being honest though, my first post was as a ANON questioning when Kirk was going to get around to posting his reviews. For that i'm sorry.

Other than that, i love crossgen comics and i was a big fan of Ruse. The First (the ones with the god i think) kinda sucked though. All the women were too unrealistically busty and the guys had the look of muscular rob liefied characters.

Other than that, I'm looking forward to a KH3/4 game featuring marvel though i wouldn't like it if sora outstaged/beat a marvel superhero. IT would be interesting to see though what would happen. Sora vs Galactus maybe?

One last thing though about something that isn't quite clear to me. How does Harper at this stage help Marvel? I mean logistically? Like do their printing presses hi def colors of modern comic books along with the printers to scale for the single issues of comics? I can understand maybe graphic novels but right off the bat i don't think harper is ready to do direct market stuff.

Btw, Hero's World Distribution didn't work out for Marvel because they were too small for nation wide and canada shipping. Maybe if they had a bigger infrustructure they could have made it. From what i read; comics that came from Hero's World often came late and thus lost customers.

Kirk Warren said...

@David Not David - I don't think Boom has to be bought by Disney or necessarily think it's the best solution, but if Disney rips their licenses back, it could be a death knell for Boom losing several properties like that. So that's why I'm hoping they buy Boom instead of outright taking away thigns from them.

@syoyocool - Re: Harper, it's not so much a quality thing, as printing is printing for all intents and purposes, but costs could easily go down as Diamond has a monopoly and uses it with impunity. They literally take 60% or more of all prices from comics (Big 2 might get a small discount on that). There a holiday on Monday? Diamond pushes shipping back since no one can tell them otherwise. They want to increase minimum orders (they did)? Nothing small indies can do and it also limits some options for Marvel if they want to experiment.

Additionally, Harper is big and has access to a lot of non-direct market areas, like Disney stores, that could see Marvel comics break back into bookshelves and other non-comic shop locales in the future. I'm not predicting every street corner like in the glory days of comics, but baby steps aren't out of the question.

While comic quality/printing will remain relatively unchanged if they did move to Harper, at the bare minimum, it would force Diamond to rethink their business practices and thus be an improvemetn for the industry and consumers as a whole.

Syoyocool said...

I see now that now but Marvel has been doing some comic book issues in Book stores like Waldenbooks for years. At least the ones i visit have like a rotating rack at the front for the kids to look at. And places like half price book store has a section for back issues. I pretty much found like issues 1-20 of X-Factor that way.

I maybe at more prestigious bookstores like Barnes and Nobles maybe in the Kids section where a parent can justify buying something like 2.99 for their kid.

For me still, i doubt their would be changes to be like where walmart be carrying them in the newstands but i guess if Diamond can be held in check now it better for the industry.

mrpeepants said...

"there's some love for Spectacular Spider-Man"

I'm not disagreeing with your point and I've been saying it but I'll keep saying it because it should be getting more than just some love - spectacular spider-man is the best animated comic series ever and probably the best current spidey story in all mediums.

Patrick Hulman said...

while it's true that fox has x-men in pereptuity, Sony doesnt have Spider-man for pereptuity. In fact they gave up the rights the tv version of spidey for more live action rights. see http://tv.ign.com/articles/102/1020699p1.html

Matt Ampersand said...

syoyocool, I have seen comics in Borders, Waldenbooks and Barnes and Nobles, but it's usually a very, very small selection and (unless you happen to be there on re-stocking day) it is weeks or sometimes months old. I have never seen smaller titles from the big two, only big franchises like X-Men, Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, etc. What's weird is that there would usually be a pretty big selection of Dark Horse and Archie comics though.

Klep said...

I believe Fox only has Fantastic Four rights as long as they keep making Fantastic Four movies.

Nicholas S. said...

Not to nitpick, but Disney owns the publisher Hyperion, not Harper. One of Hyperion's subdivisions is Disney Publishing. Harper is owned by News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch's outfit). I certainly agree that Diamond's days as a Marvel distributor are numbered (the contract expires in 2010), and they know it.

Hadoken13 said...

That's a really interesting point you make there about Disney owning the rights to Crossgen and most of the creators now working for Marvel. I would love for Disney to start back up the sigilverse comics. I don't really read much comics, actually forge was one of my first (although I have a few graphic novels), but being able to read more of the crossgen stories would be amazing.

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