“In 2015, the cosmic adventures of Luke, Han, Leia and Chewbacca will make the lightspeed jump back to Marvel, to begin a new age of adventures within the Star Wars universe,” said a press release from Disney recently. It’s been big news here on MajorSpoilers.com as well as other comics news sources on the Internet.
The question is, based on past performance, will that be a good thing?
MARVEL REMAINS A BIG DOG IN THE COMICS ARENA
In my opinion, DC Comics has been giving Marvel more of a fight since the debut of the New 52 initiative back a couple of years ago. Personally, I think that’s very good for comics. I feel both companies are creating better product as a result. I also think other companies are also stepping up the quality of their books. Image Comics leaps to mind right away, but others aren’t far behind.
Of course Disney is going to want Marvel to have access to their newest franchise because they now own that company. I’m sorry to see it leave Dark Horse who, for over 20 years, has changed the way TV and movie properties have been handled in comics. They’ve taken Star Wars where no comic has gone before, to turn a phrase.
DISNEY IS NOW A MULTI-MEGA MEDIA CORPORATION
I’ve often heard people complain about how Warner Bros. is a HUGE company, and that DC benefits too much from being a part of it. Oddly enough, I don’t hear those same concerns expressed now that Disney owns Marvel, The Muppets and Star Wars, just to name a few.
Disney owns several cable channels, influences the ABC “broadcast” network and has a huge Internet presence. And from what I hear, they’re not done yet.
As Disney continues to gobble up more and more media franchises, will there be a time when it’s finally “too big” for even fans of the House of Mouse (and the House of Ideas)? Time will tell.
I’m suspicious of what Disney is doing and has in mind. I’d rather see smaller companies in charge of media than the House of Mouse because that offers more opportunities to things NOT owned by that corporation. And in my mind, that’s a very good thing!
MARVEL’S HISTORY WITH ACQUISITIONS
No comics company is blameless in this, but I’ve been very upset with how Marvel has treated its obtained properties over the years.
For instance, has anyone seen an issue with any of the Disney cartoon characters since that franchise was taken away from BOOM! Studios, who was doing a terrific job? Besides the occasional Toy Story miniseries, I think the last time I saw one of these books was like a year ago when Marvel reprinted product BOOM! had already created. Will they ever make any more? As I keep checking the PREVIEWS, I don’t see any new titles featuring Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse or any other Disney favorites coming. And they have long been good sellers in the comics industry.
Then too, what happened to Hedge Knight and the Anita Blake comics? Marvel did a great follow-up to the first HK tale, then it vanished. Also, Anita Blake’s conversion from novels to comics did well, but then it suddenly stopped. Maybe folks out there know more than I do, but I’d like to know what happened. Were the sales too low to continue?
I also remember when Marvel bought Malibu in order to gain their excellent in-house coloring studio. They did some books with the Malibu Ultraverse heroes, but they also have faded away into obscurity.
This last deal I can actually find something out about. On Wikipedia, Joe Quesada is reportedly quoted as saying, “I wanted to bring these characters back in a very big way, but the way that the deal was initially structured, it’s next to impossible to go back and publish these books. … While this is a logistical nightmare because of the way the initial deal was structured, it’s not the reason why we have chosen not to go near these characters. There is a bigger one, but I really don’t feel like it’s my place to make that dirty laundry public.”
The article goes on to say, “In May 2012, Steve Englehart suggested in a podcast interview that the reason Marvel will not presently publish the Ultraverse characters is because five percent of the profits from those books would have to go to the Malibu creators that are still alive. Marvel Editor Tom Breevort later denied that the five percent was what was holding Marvel back, but was unable to give a real explanation due to a non-disclosure agreement.”
I understand the desire to keep certain business transactions private, but if Marvel doesn’t want to use these heroes, why not let someone else have a go at them? Or do they own them forever?
Marvel also had the rights to the aforementioned Star Trek universe, and did a good job on several of these incarnations, but not so much on others. I’d still like to see some of the Trek books come back besides the ones produced by IDW based on the current films.
I also understand that when you use characters from a franchise like Star Wars, you have to pay for that privilege. It’s my understanding that’s why the Trek comics have ceased. Paramount wants too big a piece of the pie, I hear.
WILL MARVEL LIVE UP TO THE DISNEY HYPE?
Will Marvel truly create new Star Wars at “lightspeed?” I certainly hope so. While the past is the past, those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, to trot out some competing old cliches.
I like to point out that it’s called show business for a reason. For instance, DC tried to resurrect the Red Circle heroes a while back, but the sales weren’t strong enough for that to continue. I’m glad some of them are rising up again via Archie Comics/Red Circle.
There were a lot of rumors when Disney obtained Marvel that Spider-Man would meet Mickey Mouse, for example. Now I keep hearing that Luke Skywalker will appear in Guardians of the Galaxy or Nova. It’ll be interesting to see if Disney keeps these parts of its conglomerate as separate as they have so far.
Marvel has big shoes to fill moving forward. I believe that the changes that have happened to the House of Ideas over the last several years will make this move more likely to succeed. And more great Star Wars comics in 2015 would make so many of my friends very happy, after all!