Yesterday’s announcement of Disney‘s move to acquire Marvel to the tune of $4 billion caught many by surprise, including yours truly. Disney has made no secret of the fact that they’re after boys. After years of success with Princesses, Hannah Montana and that pregnant Spears girl, Disney has been rich in estrogen, but poor in testosterone. Then, they shortsightedly rejected my idea for a Disney Prince line of toys, fashions and accessories for boys. What little boy doesn’t want to dress up like Eric or Charming or Phillip? I ask you. So Disney gets to fill their new Disney XD network with all the Marvel they can muster. But what does this mean for Marvel? Turns out, not much. At least, not for a while. Marvel has deals in place, both in terms of merchandising and movie-making with other studios and third parties for years and years to come. Disney will only step in when those deals come to an end or require re-negotiating. Until then, Paramount, Sony, Fox and Universal will be dealing with the Mouse. Universal’s theme parks are practically drenched in Marvel characters, so it will be interesting to see if they hold on to that exclusivity, or if some other Marvel characters (and merchandise) begin popping up in Disney’s theme parks. Since they want those elusive boys to actually buy stuff, I have to imagine they’ll figure something out.
The initial panic that this somehow means Marvel will be Disney-fied like Times Square, American history and Billy Ray Cyrus is unjustified, I think. Look at Warner Bros. and DC. Despite the endless ads for Warner Bros. properties in DC books, there were never any Bugs Bunny/Superman cross-overs. Wait, there was that Scooby-Doo/Batman cross-over. But that was Saturday morning fare, far, far away from Frank Miller and the gang. Parents are, by nature, eternally oblivious. They will undoubtedly remain blissfully unaware of the darker, more violent themes in some of Marvel’s creations. That is, until some preacher or politician comes along and accuses Disney of promoting Mickey and Deadpool to the same demographic. If I were Northstar, however, I might want to watch my back. But, then again, if I were Northstar I’d want to be doing that anyway. But Disney has gotten bolder over the years, especially in flirting with the gay community, so I’m not worried. They haven’t shut down this super gay viral tribute to Miley yet, have they? And some would say that’s more shocking than anything you’d find in the pages of Marvel.
And is it wrong that I kind of do want a Mickey as Wolverine figure, just for the pop culture kitsch overload of it all? I know: Bad fanboy! Bad!
EDIT: I have been informed by site member Darrin that there actually was a Bugs Bunny/Superman cross-over, so I’ve changed my mind. No good can come of this! Beware! Beware!