…That was a rather amusing user comment I found on one of the many articles talking about the Disney/Marvel merger yesterday that I believe is a perfect fit for what I am about to start writing.
Before I begin my rant, I want to state that, obviously, I am in no way a spokeswoman for Disney. I am not here to 100% confirm or deny anything. I am just a girl, possibly even your friend, hanging out here to put a few things into perspective for you guys before your heads finally explode from all of the “nerd-rage” that has been going on.
Just because a company becomes Disney-owned, does NOT necessarily mean that Disney and each of their personalities are going to be plastered all over that company. I used to have the same mentality as a lot of you seem to have– Disney is nothing but Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana and Mickey Mouse and whatever else is on the Disney Channel. Oh, this must mean that by Marvel Entertainment getting bought out by Walt Disney, we can expect to see Spider-Man hanging out with Donald Duck. All of the plots will change and, actually, there will no longer be archenemies, but everyone will actually have a powwow, hold hands, and sing “Kumbaya.”
What the general public seem to not know, or have forgotten (and hey, it’s okay if you didn’t know, because as I said, I was once in that boat myself)… is that Disney actually owns a whole lot of companies that most wouldn’t have even imagined Disney to even have any sort of part in– because, again, Disney is nothing but what we see on the Disney Channel, right?
Wrong, my friends. So very, very wrong.
As I have watched all kinds of people (including a lot of my own personal friends) freak out over the big news yesterday, I have repeatedly said the same things… and I will say them again:
- Just because a company becomes Disney-owned, does NOT always mean it’s going to become branded like crazy with mouse ears and talking ducks.
- For you LOST fans, did Miley Cyrus ever get tossed in there? Was I just imagining things, or was there still blood and violence in the Kill Bill movies? Did Disney decide to switch out Jeff Bridges with Joe Jonas for Tron Legacy (which IS branded as a Walt Disney film)? Were there mouse ears stuck on John Travolta during Pulp Fiction? Were the few cuss words bleeped out from Ryan Reynolds’ mouth in The Proposal?
If you are now in a state of complete confusion and about to ask me what on earth any of that has to do with Disney, I advise you to do some digging and research… and there, you will find the connections. Or, if you are really too lazy to do any researching yourself (and yet still insist on jumping the gun anyway), basically, Disney owns a whole lot of properties– more than you may even realize. You can say you hate Disney all you want. You can say that Disney ruins everything they touch all you want…. However, chances are, you LOVE something that, at the end of the day, is owned by Disney. You just may not realize it because it doesn’t have the big ol’ Walt Disney logo slapped across it anywhere. Touchstone, MIramax, Hollywood Pictures– and that’s just naming a few.
The basic idea of this deal is to draw the male demographic to Disney, and in turn, Marvel gets more funding and distribution. So… what’s the problem? Oh no, give a company more funding to do what they do best?! Help them spread their hard work even more?? Bring them more clientel? GASP!!! OH NOEZ!!! NOT THAT!!!
Before any of you start commenting with the same questions and concerns that I have read and heard over and over and over and over across various platforms, allow me to tackle the most common ones for you:
- “The goal is not to rebrand Marvel as Disney but to shine a spotlight on the Marvel brand.” Marvel is still staying Marvel. It isn’t going to suddenly be renamed as Disney’s Marvel, Walt Disney’s Marvel, Mickey Mouse’s Marvel, etc.
- Everybody’s favorite comics will remain unchanged. It is highly unlikely there will be any sort of “Mickey Mouse taking the place of Peter Parker as Spider-Man” mumbo jumbo going on. Think about it for a moment. Really think about it. DC is now owned my Warner Bros. Did we see Bugs Bunny hanging out with the caped crusader? What makes you so sure that Disney is going to send Mickey Mouse to Xavier’s School for the Gifted? Before anyone tries to complain that “Well, it’s DISNEY! They’re not known for edge,” let me remind you of what I stated earlier. Walt Disney owns a lot more properties than you may realize, and they’re not all about fluffy bunnies and rainbows. Did we see Disney taint them?
When it comes to a few of the other common concerns, allow me to quote from Johanna at ComicsWorthReading.com, who attended the investor call yesterday morning:
- Regarding existing agreements (such as Marvel’s deals with other studios on the production of upcoming films such as Iron Man 2): “Disney felt Marvel had ‘attractive licensing and distribution agreements with third parties’. Disney will assume those agreements as part of this transaction. As licensing agreements conclude over time, Disney will either bring them in-house or pursue third-party agreements depending on what they feel will most create value.”
- Regarding the impact of the film rights of characters already at other studios: “Disney said they thought Marvel did a good job putting attractive deals in place, and those deals would stay in place under the terms Marvel entered into.”
- Regarding the concern that this deal means brand new writers: “Several times it was reiterated that Disney trusted Marvel as a ‘good group of people’. They said they were not only buying properties but ‘buying people who know the brands, stories, characters very well, and they will be relied on in this process. No one knows their characters and stories better than the folks at Marvel.’ Disney said they were impressed by both what they’ve done and what they’re doing in approach from both a creative and business perspective. They feel Marvel has managed both smartly and diligently.”
[To read the full article from ComicsWorthReading.com, click here.]
Will Marvel be added to Disney’s theme parks? Even if it does indeed happen, think about it, why would that be such a terrible idea? Does anyone walk into Six Flags and complain about the Batman ride? Why would it be so horrific if you walk into Disneyland and see a Marvel section (C’mon, use your noggin’ a bit… IF they bring Marvel into Disneyland, do you honestly believe that instead of creating it’s own section of the park, that they’re going to stick Wolverine in spinning teacups?) with their own Marvel rides? I, personally, would be way into it, just as much as I enjoy all of the DC stuff at Six Flags.
“But Sarah… you know that big corporations always take away creative freedom!” Actually, and I can speak from personal experience, that’s not always the case. When I worked for Warner Bros. Records, I was encouraged to use my own creativity. They wanted to see what I personally could come up with, and for the most part, they loved it…. Just as now, with this company, I am encouraged to do what I do best. It is very rare that I am given a specific direction.
“Oh, so I get it now. You are only for this merger because now that you work for them, it benefits you.” Actually, no. Am I excited that Marvel work may land in my lap? Sure I am… but I am writing this because this is how I actually, honestly, truly, genuinely feel about it. If you don’t think I had similar concerns when this company was bought out by Disney, think again. However, for those who have known me, did any of you see me freak out about it? Did any of you see me make assumptions and jump to conclusions so much that I would give up and quit the company? Obviously I stuck with it to see how things would pan out. I took a chance.
Shouldn’t that be what part of life is about? Taking chances? How are we supposed to grow if we don’t risk anything? How are we supposed to learn and grow if we don’t make changes?
If I didn’t take chances and make risks, I know exactly where I would be right now. I would still be stuck in a ridiculously close-minded town that’s way behind on the times, where there is always at least one story about a methhead getting busted on the front page every day. I would be stuck in that town, probably stuck working at a gas station, in a town full of people who are so quick to assume and judge. I would still be in a miserable relationship with some loser who was convinced that my dreams were unattainable. I never would have paved the way for the underclassmen because I never would have worked up the guts to stand up against the heavy discrimination that was going on towards me from the Board of Education. I never would have had the opportunities to work with some of my favorite artists, celebrities, musicians, comedians, etc. I never would have gotten to travel the entire continent. I never would have had the chance to see my work literally plastered everywhere. I never would have had the chance to work on stuff that ends up on billboards and in theaters… and I certainly wouldn’t be working at a job that I genuinely love.
“Sarah, you just don’t understand how us comic geeks feel.” Uhm, hello, I AM a comic geek. You don’t think I grew up on X-Men? Spider-Man? The Fantastic Four? Try telling that to my mother, who recently put all of my countless piles of oldschool comics and chrome Marvel cards that were laying around her house… in one hell of a giant trunk.
I understand the concerns. I get it. I really do… but honestly, nobody (including myself) really knows what is going to happen. None of us really know if this is going to work or not because nothing has even truly begun yet. You can be concerned and have your theories all you want, but don’t be so quick to write something off when you cannot even be certain.
We live in an ever-changing world. You can either take a chance and go with the flow, or you can dig your feet in the ground of the past and be left behind.
For some other interesting and informative quotes from industry professionals, check out this article from ComicBookResources.com
For other interesting and informative articles explaining the merger: