Comic Fodder

Marvel Mash-up Madness

All of the positive reassurances in the world can’t stop comic fans from fearing the worst: the Mouse is going to kid-ify all of the Max books! While that hysteria is a tad misplaced, that hasn’t stopped everyone from having fun with all sorts of mash-ups. Chadwick Matlin at wrote a fake Bob Iger letter announcing the incorporation of comic characters into every aspect of Disney operations. Asa Hawks at has “The Top Ten Disney and Marvel Crossover Movies.” Superpunch has compiled a great showing of some of the best mash-ups between the two companies. The Wall Street Journal is even getting in on the action, featuring Gooflactus.

Stan Lee has commented on things as well, and of course he remains the good-natured, optimistic pitch man. His bread is buttered by remaining associations with Marvel of course, but he has always been one to look on the optimistic side when talking to the press. Even he can’t stop himself from using the term, ”synergy.” I still have the Dilbert cartoon on my door for the top-secret company plans: “They’re going to utilize synergy. We’re in trouble now!”

Kidding aside, most reporting emphasizes the wish, and the stated aims to leave Marvel alone and just let them do what they do best, in the words of a furry little Canadian. Newsarama and others are quick to mention Pixar just as most of us were. One of the biggest points I agree with is the tendency to want to merchandise the (censored) out of things, so expect to see a big boom in all sorts of toothbrushes, underoos, bedsheets, etc. with your favorite Marvel characters on them. Another big thing is the possible collaboration between Pixar and Marvel. AICN has already reported the possibility of seeing Iron Man 1 and 2 in 3-D.

Finally, Finke has a good breakdown of all the existing deals with movies, theme parks, toys and video games, all of which will have profits going to other companies. Since Marvel will be part of Disney, Marvel’s share of those profits will count towards Disney’s bottom line in the future, but Disney will want to use the resources in their own mighty empire to share in some of that in the future. That’s where the synergy will come in.

The investor call was decidedly relaxed, with all of the officials from both companies sounding very laid-back. It was obvious that this was not a deal that either company felt was a “do or die” sort of thing, but just something that made sense for all involved when they talked about how they could help each other out. One cute thing: the Disney men were very complimentary towards the things that Marvel has achieved, but in a way that sounded like they were praising ten-year-olds. It had a tone like, “You guys did really well so far, and we’ll be happy to come in and take you to where the rest of the grown-ups play now.” It was not intentionally presented in that way, but the wording and the tone did come off as a little condescending, in that I’m-just-trying-to-flatter-you kind of way.

One of the main things that press articles are focusing on is the idea that Disney tapped into this idea to try to get the boys’ market. This is not quite reality as far as publishing goes. The Disney channel has proven a runaway hit with girls, and Disney is trying to look for ways to appeal just as much to boys that age. The problem with going after a comic publisher is that the average age of a comic book reader is 35 or 36! There is still a way for it to work out, as the younger boys will be glomming on to future video games, cartoons and toys and such, but the press could stand to differentiate things a little better: it is poor writing to lump the comics themselves into that category, either by implication or omission.

Oh, and an answer to my investor question from when the news first broke: according to my advisor, the companies should finalize the merger before the year is over because it is relatively straight-forward. If I hold tight, I should end up basically getting my entire investment back in cash, and still having around 70 shares of Disney for about $2 a share for my cost. So unless I have a major emergency, I'm keeping my Marvel shares at least until everything is finalized. I guess that lets me use this phrase in a different way than I ever would have imagined: Make Mine Marvel!

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop. Unfortunately, he also can't resist corny lines like that last one up there.