In a rather vague announcement, Disney revealed today that it will bring more of the Marvel Universe to its theme parks this fall, when Disneyland guests will have a chance to visit Asgard and “come face-to-face” with Thor himself.
It’s obvious the attraction is designed to coincide with the Nov. 8 release of Marvel Studios’ Thor: The Dark World, but beyond that, no details have been made public. More information is promised next month on the Disney Parks Blog.
Disney has a lot riding on Disney Infinity, the upcoming video game that will allow players to mix and match characters from different properties — for instance, Captain Jack Sparrow and Mr. Incredible — using collectible figures and a special scanner. The media giant’s fledgling Disney Interactive Studios has reportedly spent more than $100 million on development, even as the division laid off more than 500 employees and suffered $1.41 billion in losses from other ventures.
To free up resources for Disney Infinity, which seems like an all-or-nothing situation, The Wall Street Journal contends Disney also stopped production on an Iron Man video game that was planned to be released this year, and passed on chance to produce Star Wars video games following its $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm.
The promise of “Something Weird” at the D23 Expo didn’t lead to the announcement of a new project from Disney and Marvel, but rather the unveiling of another teaser — this time a poster that yields a few clues.
Available in the fan gathering’s Imagineering area, the poster shows two children standing in silhouette in front of a door and coffin-shaped clock adorned with a demonic face and battle-ax pendulum. Over the arch are the words, “Do You Dare Enter?” That’s the image at right, courtesy of Marvel’s Ryan Penagos.
The illustration would seem to lend credence to earlier speculation that the comic is based on the Museum of the Weird, an early concept for the Haunted Mansion. Disney began developing the idea for the big screen in 2010, but ultimately scrapped those plans.
But wait, there’s more: The Marvel AR logo on the poster unlocks a video promising more information on the comic book — it is confirmed as a comic! — from Marvel and Disney’s Imagineers in September.
Update: Marvel has released the official image, which you can see below.
It turns out that Captain America isn’t just the “First Avenger,” but the first costumed Marvel character to debut at a Disney event since the media giant bought the company in 2009.
The Disney news blog Inside the Magic takes note of the Sentinel of Liberty in its coverage from the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, where the costumed character appeared in the pavilion for Disney Parks and Resorts. He’s helping to promote the new Avengers Academy kids’ area that’s being added Disney Cruise Line’s flagship Disney Magic as part of a “reimagineering” of the 15-year-old vessel.
Disney also released a video (below) offering more details about Marvel’s Avengers Academy, which will be revealed this fall. You can see more photos of Captain America at Inside the Magic.
The doors open in just an hour on the D23 Expo, the official Disney fan gathering held through Sunday in Anaheim, California. Tickets for Saturday are sold out.
While much of the event, of course, caters to Disney devotees — theme-park fans, serious collectors and cinephiles alike — we should expect a decent amount of news that reaches beyond the Magic Kingdom. For instance, today there’s a presentation featuring many of the voice actors from Marvel’s animated television series, and a signing with the producer and director of Big Hero 6, Walt Disney Animation’s first adaptation of a Marvel comic. That movie, based on the characters created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau, is getting a promotional push at the event, which features a Big Hero 6 display (above, courtesy of ComingSoon).
“They say that every character is somebody’s favorite, but I really can’t believe that that’s true about Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck. Oh, I’m sure that lots of people collect their merchandise but it’s hard to imagine anyone does it because they’re such funny, fleshed out characters. Let’s face it, for the last seventy or so odd years they’ve been fairly toxic female stereotypes of Olive Oyl proportions: bow wearing, squeaky voiced, clingy, emotionally demanding killjoys who seem to have been exclusively engineered to let boys know from an early age that girls are weird and no fun. And to see them being turned into actual characters that girls might actually like, well, I never thought I’d live to see that day.”
— retailer Steve Bennett, on his discovery of the new Minnie and Daisy BFF Magazine, which reinvents the two ladies of Disney as middle-school friends. Like all the Disney magazines, it has a mix of content that includes comics, and Bennett points out that this is the first comic since BOOM! Studios’ last issue of Darkwing Duck to show classic Disney characters.
It looks like this is a special issue of Disney Fairies Magazine, and hopefully it will lead to more. It’s nice to see Disney reinventing its characters like that.
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. This weekend is the D23 Expo, the event that Disney devotees look forward to for months. But the latest installment also promises plenty for Marvel and Star Wars fans.
Before you pack your mouse ears, though, there are new comics to read, ranging from Sidekick #1 to The Thrilling Adventure Hour to In the Days of the Mob. Continue on to see what ROBOT 6′s contributors have to say about their picks of the week.
Made even more interesting in light of the looming announcement at the D23 Expo, Bleeding Cool discovers that the Disney Press will publish an original graphic novel in May based on the popular theme-park attraction Space Mountain.
The site characterizes the 176-page hardcover as “Disney Comics’ first original graphic novel,” but given the nebulousness of “Disney Comics” and the scope of Disney Publishing Worldwide, that would seem like a difficult distinction to make.
Written by Bryan Q. Miller (Smallville, Batgirl) and illustrated by Kelley Jones (Batman, The Sandman), Space Mountain: A Graphic Novel carries the following description in its Amazon.com listing: “The year is 2125 and the Magellan Science Academy has given two lucky cadets “golden tickets” to join a team of space explorers on a special field trip to journey 24 hours into the future. But when their mission goes unexpectedly wrong, the two kids must band together with a miniature flying saucer sidekick to save themselves and their crew–and return to Space Mountain–before time runs out and the universe is destroyed!”
Opening in 1975 at Walt Disney World, Space Mountain is the oldest operating roller coaster in Florida. The indoor ride is now part of all five Magic Kingdom-style parks.
According to Bleeding Cool, the graphic novel is planned as the first book in a trilogy.
A cryptic new teaser released by Disney and Marvel suggests the two may announce a theme park-inspired comic this weekend at D23, the official fan event held at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Using a design familiar to Marvel fans, the teaser states “Ask For Something Weird,” with only the final word receiving special treatment. It’s that dripping font that leads the Disney news blog Inside the Magic to speculate the project could involve Museum of the Weird, an early concept for the Haunted Mansion theme park attraction.
Beyond that clue, all we know is that it’s definitely a comic book, as the teaser is filed under “Comic News” on the Marvel website.
What as a simple request from Parks and Recreation‘s producers for Patton Oswalt to ramble on set about the subject of his choice turned into the comedian’s insanely epic pitch for a Star Wars/Marvel crossover, which became an Internet sensation before the episode even aired. That, in turn, gave birth to a movie poster, a video interpretation and now, thanks to Nerdist, an animated version — complete with Chewbacca’s head and new robot body.
Retailing | Publishers Weekly’s annual comics retailer survey yields some interesting commentary, although the sample size is small (just 10 stores): Sales are up, retailers are optimistic, and Saga is the hot book right now. Also, booksellers who underestimated the demand for Chris Ware’s Building Stories lost out to direct-market retailers who didn’t, making for some nice extra sales during the holiday season. And while readers seem to be getting tired of the Big Two and their event comics, they are more enthusiastic than ever before about creator-owned comics, and Image is doing quite well. [Publishers Weekly]
Awards | Ladies Making Comics presents the complete list of women Eisner nominees for this year, noting that women have been nominated in almost every category. [Ladies Making Comics]
As Licensing Expo 2013 gets under way today in Las Vegas, Variety reports that with first Marvel and now Lucasfilm beneath its umbrella, Disney is poised to expand its domination of the entertainment licensing market. Last year, the media conglomerate generated $39.4 billion in retail licensing, and claimed a staggering 80 percent market share.
Once again the world’s largest licensor, Disney now boasts six of the Top 10 franchises, according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association: Disney Princess (No. 1), Star Wars (No. 2), Winnie the Pooh (No. 3), Cars (No. 4), Mickey & Friends (No. 6) and Toy Story (No. 8). Disney Fairies comes in at No. 11, trailed at No. 16 by Spider-Man.
Patton Oswalt’s hilarious eight-minute Star Wars filibuster for Parks and Recreation is already legendary, earning the adoration of nerds everywhere, and even spawning a movie poster. But if you have trouble comprehending his his frenetic vision for a Star Wars/Marvel Universe crossover, don’t worry: animator Isaac Moore has you covered.
Using Oswalt’s own words, and Amy Poehler’s occasional interruptions, Moore brings the pitch to life in appropriately quirky fashion, with a blend of movie stills, comic art, stock photography and lord only knows what else.
In case you thought it was only comics that unnecessarily sexed up female characters, fear not: It happens in all media — and the newest guilty party is Disney.
On Saturday, the studio inducted Merida of the Pixar film Brave as the 11th Disney Princess. More accurately, it inducted some alternate-reality Merida who’s thinner, wears her dress off her shoulder and exposes more cleavage. A redesign of the character appeared on the corporation’s website in advance of the induction at Disney World, and faster than you can say “Wonder Woman’s pants,” someone launched a Change.org petition, which is now approaching 200,000 signatures. Disney removed the images of the redesigned Merida, not that it matters; the Internet never forgets.
I’m being somewhat flip about this but the whole thing is kind of amazing. I loved Brave, and thought it was the animated-princess story that was so overdue. It was so refreshing to watch an animated movie that stepped away from cliches to give us a female lead who isn’t pining after a man, can skillfully defend herself, and looks and acts reasonably like a girl approximately her age. And it not once felt like an agenda movie. Really, it’s pretty stupid that these kinds of characteristics feel like such a breath of fresh air.
Although a licensing deal with Universal Studios prevents Marvel’s superheroes from appearing at Walt Disney World, there’s apparently nothing stopping them from taking to the water.
Disney Cruise Line announced this morning that as part of a “reimagineering” of the 15-year-old Disney Magic, the flagship will introduce Marvel’s Avengers Academy, “a chance for young ‘recruits’ to unleash their inner super heroes.”
Part of Disney’s Oceaneer Club, the children’s activity center, the Marvel theme area (below) is designed to resemble the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier from The Avengers film — or, in the words of Disney, “a high-tech command post used by The Avengers for special missions and operations training.”