Web-Slinger Spiderman Joins Mickey Mouse? Disney Buys Marvel Comics

Disney now owns Marvel Comics
Disney now owns Marvel Comics

I woke up this morning to some major comic book news – Disney is buying Marvel Comics for four billion dollars! Here’s some words from ‘The Mouse‘ himself:

Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:MVL) in a stock and cash transaction, the companies announced today.

Wow! Can you imagine four billion dollars? Here’s more:

“This transaction combines Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories,” said Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney.”

New York times has a nice article on the matter. Here’s a quote:

Disney said in a statement that it would pay a combination of about 60 percent cash and 40 percent stock to acquire Marvel, which has a stable of some 5,000 characters that includes the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor.

Mike Allred's X-Statix
Mike Allred's X-Statix

As a major Marvel fan (but not so much Disney), I’m not sure how this will change Marvel’s relationship with artists, comic book stores…and comic book fans. Will Disney use it’s power to drastically change Marvel’s freedom to create edgy stories in order to appeal to shareholders? Will we see another edgy series like Mike Allred‘s X-Statix/X-Force?

I think we’ll certainly see more visibility from Marvel books and characters – Disney will certainly put a lot more comics in retail locations (hopefully). It will also be fun to see Marvel Comics characters like Spiderman, X-Men and Fantastic Four in all of the Disney parks, rather than the standard Mickey, Donald, Lion King, etc.

Disney had been hit hard as late with the tanked economy ‘economic downturn’, and this is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen their brand, IMO.

Newsarama, one of my favorite comic book sites has a great ‘reaction’ article with insights from fans and comic book professionals on the whole ‘Disney buys Marvel Comics‘ deal. Here are quotes from two fans:

“I hope I’m wrong, but this seems like the worst news in comics’ history,” wrote another.

“So long as Disney keeps their fingers out of the story content of the books, I am okay with it,” another comic book reader posted.

Followed by a more grounded look at the deal from professional comic book writer Kurt Busiek:

“I see the fan community already salivating over Pixar X-Men (has Pixar done any adaptations, guys?) or dreading Hannah Montana joining the Avengers,” said comics writer Kurt Busiek. “Or hoping that Disney will immediately fire Joe Quesada and reinstate the kind of comics they use to love back when Disney had no interest in Marvel. Or dreading that Disney will ‘wimpify’ Marvel. Or exulting that now Marvel can be like Vertigo and publish comics that don’t make money, because they can spend Disney’s money without expecting to make a profit. And a lot of other things that don’t seem likely, either.

“My reaction: This will change things. Whether it’ll change things in a good way, in a bad way or (most likely) in a mixture of both, it’ll change things,” he said. “How? No way to tell yet, so there’s not much point in drawing conclusions of any kind. I hope we have Roger Langridge “Muppet Show” comics for a long time to come, though…Continue reading at Newsarama.com

I’m sure we’ll get some additional details and insight in the next few weeks, but for now, what do you think about Disney purchasing Marvel Comics?

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