Robot 6

Your Mileage May Vary: More on the Marvel/Disney Deal

The Disney-buying-Marvel announcement was the biggest news this week, and it’s been discussed pretty much everywhere. Which means that naturally, it’s being featured in this column too.

Blogger Nicki Marvel examines what she percieves as the pros and cons of the deal:

Disney-Marvel

Disney-Marvel

# Pro #1 – Disney will probably let Marvel be the brains behind their movies and animation industry, a la Pixar/Disney, since they know that the experts are the better movie makers. The success of “Iron Man” certainly proved that Marvel could handle its own characters well, and although “The Incredible Hulk” did not perform to ridiculous numbers, it did alright.

# Con to #1 – On the other hand… there is the possibility that one wrong move on Marvel’s part, if a movie fails rather than surprisingly succeeds like “Iron Man,” that Disney will step in and sell the soul of the comic in order to make the money back. Just look at FOX to see something like that in motion, and can we say “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and leave it at that? Sure they might be given freedom … at first, but Disney is a smart studio and it will take control if things aren’t working out. Thus sending millions of fanboys crying to bed.

Ragnell considers the implications of the deal for female fans:

Of course, the question all over my Twitterfeed is “will this make things better for female fans?” There’s some people dreaming of a bright future where X-women marketed side by side with Cinderella and superhero comics aimed for teenaged girls are sold as well as illustrated fairytale classics, but I find myself pessimistic.

Yeah, Disney’s good with girls, but a) the word is they acquired Marvel to attract male customers and b) they’re the producers of the ultra-feminine Disney Princess line, the long-standing keepers of traditional gender roles. I wouldn’t hold out hope that Disney will make Marvel somehow more girl-friendly, when what they want is a boy’s club under their banner and they aren’t exactly into kickass women themselves.

While Elizabeth of Magnet Junkie has a different perspective:

Back in 2000, comic artist and writer Joe Quesada was named Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief. I remember catching a glimpse of him in an office during my Marvel tour earlier that year. I pointed at him and hissed at a fellow comic lover to look, there’s Quesada! Yup, he overheard. I was so embarrassed. Regardless, I thought it was pretty cool that an artist had taken the reigns at Marvel. He’d previously co-owned a comic book company, Event Comics, so he must know how this was done. And he’d get the comics industry in a way no suit ever would, right?

Wrong – ever since, Quesada has made some pretty bad decisions. He got rid of some of the most respected senior artists and writers working for the company. These guys are legends for a reason! His worst choice was to have Spider-Man unmask himself to the world as Peter Parker. It may have grabbed headlines, but it was a bad idea. He also made it so that Peter and Mary Jane have never been married, tossing away twenty years of continuity. Comic sales at the company over his tenure have plummeted. The only Marvel comic I’ve read over the last five years has been Pride and Prejudice – and that was mainly for the novelty and to support my local comic book store. Given the current state of Marvel Comics, I really can’t believe that Disney could do much to make it any worse. I guess we’ll have to see.

So what do you think?

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15 Comments

“The only Marvel comic I’ve read over the last five years has been Pride and Prejudice – and that was mainly for the novelty and to support my local comic book store”

how would she even know whether or not Quesada is doing a good job if she hasn’t picked up a Marvel book in five years? declining sales doesn’t always directly correlate with the quality of the books. it’s like assuming that there aren’t any good books in book stores because sales have been declining for the major chain stores. i guess there’s just not any good authors putting out books anymore! no one is reading anymore! sounds pretty silly to me.

Female fans? Please. Isn’t that what manga is supposed to appease?

Well I guess 2 out of 3 responses ain’t bad…

Sales have plummeted? Come on, Elizabeth, Quesada took Marvel out of bankrupt and has managed to put it in the top charts (sales wise).

Yeah, OMD was just the wrong way to do things, but I’ve got to say that this decade gave us better quality than, say, the 90’s.

What writers and artists is she saying Quesada ran out of Marvel? Also I don’t think she is quite accurate in saying that sales have plummeted because of Quesada. There has been a drop- but there has been a drop in the industry as a whole. Opinion is one thing but basing it on incorrect information and trying to persuade others is another.

true having mary jane and peter no longer married was stupid under Quesda but as head of marvel he one got the legendary Jla vs avengers to finaly happen finaly dared to reveal wolverines origin . not to mention made the x-men become unique again. as for the legends he drove from marvel most retired before he came on board true he keeps having j,m keep leaving the books he is on but no one can expect an editor of a comic company to be able to please every one.

As usual, the fanboys all rush to the defence of their beloved Joe Q…! Elizabeth is right, however: Marvel under Quesada has been a disaster of Events, Crossovers, rapes, murders, wife-beatings, drug-addiction, alcoholism and every other filthy, stinkin’ abomination that Marvel’s editors and writers could possibly dream up. The only things we haven’t seen under Quesada are tight, compact and effective plots that actually make sense, and superheroes who are actually VIRTUOUS (as heroes are supposed to be). But I guess if there was a difference between the behavior of the heroes and the villains, all the fanboys would get offended. And if every story wasn’t continued endlessly FROM every other story TO every other story like a soap-opera on crack, the fans wouldn’t be able to feed their pathetic addiction to this $#!+. So yes, Quesada has been a terrible Editor-In-Chief, continuing the fine tradition of terrible Editors-In-Chief that Marvel has had from Jim Shooter right up ’til now….and if Disney wants to slap these guys down hard, all I can say is, it’ll be a fate they RICHLY deserve.

That’s laying a lot on Quesada’s door that’s not strictly his problem. Marvel’s share is up but the market is down as a whole. OMD was poor but it didn’t sink the whole industry!

I think Disney does have a lot of kickass heroines, if ass-kicking is what you’re looking for in a heroine.

At least in terms of their animated movies, which is my major exposure to them. Particularly from Little Mermaid on to…hmm, Esmeralda in Hunchback of Notre Dame? Megara in Hercules, maybe? It’s been a while since Disney stopped doing their annual big 2D cartoon.

Anyway, it seems the Disney “princess” characters of the last few decades are tremendously active compared to the first one, Snow White. And even the old-school princesses like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella may have stepped aside for a boy to slay the dragon or to have mooned for a prince, but they were still female protagonists…something Big Two comics could use more of, regardless of whether they’re kicking ass or not.

Wow, sharp-tongued bloggers and following commenters that blame everything on the bend-and-will of Joe Q.

How ORIGINAL.

You’re all missing-out on some pretty quality stuff, which is fine, since I’m sure if you DID read it you’d attempt picking it apart so much, finding Editorial and continuity flaws in every word-balloon, that the risk of ruining the entire thing for any other person would be present.

Go bury your noses in “Chew” or whatever it is you people actually DO enjoy and stop beating this 10-year-old Marvel Zombie horse to death. It obviously keeps getting back up, still not caring…

I look at it like this Joe Q has turned Marvel around.
Those famous writer and artists that were let go could have been done by the suits who over rule Joe Q.
Joe also could have gotten rid of them too. Again who knows.
What I would like to see is a good product and thats the bottom line.
What I can’t stand are people who don’t know what a deadline is.
Causing delays on titles. Quality I agree. But consistincy also has to be maintained.
I’ve seen some of these last mintue fill in and I am blown away at how low the standards are for art is!
The latest Exiles Series for example. The art is horrendous! It would not hurt to have a back up crew for Marvel books. Doing touch ups or even full fill ins.

Marvel is not a zombie. There is no doubt that it still the most potent force in the industry. However, a rethink of its titles would not be a bad idea. I think what Abnett and Lanning have done with Marvel Space titles has been nothing short of phenomenal and has completely resurrected a previously neglected part of the universe. Likewise, Marvel Knights has continued to prove its quality and if anything I would love to see more MK minis along the lines of Magneto, 1602, Inhumans, etc. That being said the mega-crossovers which don’t go anywhere have to stop. Secret Invasion anyone – which was basically a 100 issue plot device to resurrect Normon Osborn’s relevance. Similarly, the X-titles are awful with the exception of Peter David’s X-Factor. The stories are hackneyed, poorly plotted, regurgitated crap distributed for mass consumption because Marvel knows the X-Zombies will keep buying to see how many times Wolverine gets angry or which new cutesy teen female sidekick will take Kitty Pride’s place. Where is the quality of Claremont’s Proteus, Days of Future Past, or Dark Phoenix saga or the wonderful creative re-imagining of Morrison’s New X-Men or Whedon’s Astonishing? Have we grown so comfortable in the status quo that we tolerate mind-numbing, predictable cross-overs like Messiah whatever? I fear that Disney as a mass consumption force will push more X-schlock and less MK genius as they look to attract the lowest common denominator. But maybe they will prove me wrong.

Disney does have a few kick-ass women… Caleb mentioned some (though calling the Little Mermaid “kick-ass” is a bit of a stretch), but he did miss two of Disney’s best examples: Mulan and Kim Possible! Great characters both.

If you want to bring Pixar into the equation, look no further Elasti-Girl and Violet, and even Toy Story 2’s Jessie.

I’m not gonna knock Joe Quesada’s reign at Marvel Comics. But there are a couple of things that need to be pointed out:

1) He did not turn Marvel’s fortunes around. Not alone, at any rate. That was more due to the movie and other licensing deals, and that was Ari Avid’s job, not Joe’s.

2) Recently I’ve been poking around ICV2’s sales predictions since they started keeping them, which was around the time Quesada started. It’s impossible to tell exactly what each title is selling because those numbers aren’t released to the public, but to my mind Marvel’s sales have been relatively flat for the past ten years or so. They may have trended upward a little, but I believe Marvel is selling about as many units as they were in 2000.

Now, is that spread over twice as many titles? Maybe, but obviously somebody thinks he’s making them money. I haven’t agreed with everything Quesada has done (actually, I’ve disagreed with a lot of what he’s done), but absolutely nobody can say is that Marvel under his hand has been boring.

And for anybody who thinks Marvel’s heroes’ primary motivation is their nobility doesn’t read Marvel comics. Spider-Man’s reluctant, mopey and self-absorbed and was always that way right up until he got married. Bruce Banner and The Thing would walk away from their alter egos if they could. Three-quarters of Cap’s Kooky Quartet were villains at one point, and Professor X left his X-Men or New Mutants in the care of Magneto probably a dozen times.

Nobody got along with each other, and even heroes on the same teams fought with each other. That was something that was lost in the 90s, and it was something that Quesada brought back in Civil War and Secret Invasion. Heroes don’t trust each other anymore, and that’s a good thing for stories.

I’m a DC guy. I agree that heroes should be noble and get over themselves. But that’s DC. The thing that makes (and has always made) Marvel so dynamic is their characters are so messed up, self-involved, unhappy. And whether or not you like what Quesada has done, you can’t disagree that Quesada has helped return Marvel to that status quo.

Wow.
Such overreaction over the buy-in. Slow down people.

Get up and walk away from the computer and sleep it off.
We don’t know what they’ll do next over this.

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