Wednesday, September 2, 2009

If a man goes into business with only the idea of making money, the chances are he won’t

That evil and despicable mega-corp Disney has gone and done it again. The day before yesterday it was announced that Disney is buying Marvel. Let me repeat that. Disney, as in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, is buying Marvel.

Now, this may not mean a whole lot to most of you. In fact, most of you probably don't care. To me, though, and to othr comic book nerds around my age this is a pretty big deal.

Marvel comics were an integral part of my teens. X-Men, Spider-Man, The Hulk and, above all, Daredevil, were like friends to me. The Marvel universe is the first that I found escape in, and regardless of the ups and downs Marvel and it's titles have gone through over the years, I will always look back at all that stuff I read in the early to mid 90s with a smile on my face.

My favorites are X-Men circa 1991-1995, Frank Miller's Daredevil and some Punisher stuff. Oh, and Marshal Law, but that's not really Marvel Marvel.

So now Disney is swooping in, assuming control of a Marvel Comics once again on the top of their game. This is a company that filed for bankruptcy in 1996, after being the most visible comic book company for a long time. The recovery they've gone through since then is nothing short of remarkable. And much of this is due to the success of the movies based on Marvel characters. This began in 1998 with Blade, and continues to this day with blockbuster hits like Iron Man.

Let's take a moment to ponder all them Marvel films. Being a fan of many of the original comics, I have watched these movies with a mix of fascination and utter dread. There have been disasters and there have been surprising highlights.

The surprise was Iron Man. I was never a die-hard fan of the character itself, but as soon as that first trailer surfaced and I saw Robert Downey Jr's crooked smile, I knew it would be a wild ride. And it was, and still is. I await Iron Man 2 with a not so crooked smile.

The disaster? Daredevil. A train wreck, of epic proportions. I know the word may seem inappropriate here, but it was a downright rape of one of my favorite characters. Horrendous.

Daredevil, which is sort of Marvel's equivalent to Batman, is one of the reasons why I view the acquisition of Marvel by Disney with a great deal of horror. Sure, they had the good sense not to mess with Pixar's recipe for success after they bought them, but that's not really the same thing, to me. Marvel has a darker side that I imagine may be hard to swallow for some Disney execs. This dark side is rarely more evident than in Daredevil. And there has been talk of a reboot of the Daredevil franchise, a la Batman Begins. Darker, edgier, without Ben Affleck and Colin Farrell. Oh the possibilities.

Now though, Scrooge McDuck has opened his vault of infinite dollar bills and let them rain over Marvel's shareholders. An astonishing 4 billion dollars is the price for my childhood nostalgia. Time will tell if anything good comes out of it. I expect disappointment. My gut feeling is that Disney is after the possibilities to sell toys, video games and all that jazz, and will focus on churning out blockbuster movies based on Marvel characters. Not in itself a bad thing, but like I said, I doubt they will embrace the darker side of Marvel.

If there are any comic book fans reading this (and yes, the question is to you too, Steelwheels, oh mighty Marvel geek), please share your Marvel memories and tell me your fave Marvel movie. If anyone says Daredevil, I will disown you.

4 comments:

Joel said...

Disney may own Marvel, but there is always the Touchstone label they use when Disney wants to make a project but distance themselves enough so people don't connect Disney and whatever abomination it is they're putting out.

Yes, Disney is evil. But there is a shot (like Pixar) that they might get it right...

Steelwheels said...

I will write something about Marvel soon. About the ritual of Wednesdays and such.

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