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September 1, 2009

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More Meta-Marvel

I did a quick email back-and-forth with my friend Anastasia over at Ypulse about the Disney/Marvel merger. In short:

So that’s my concern. Disney’s been mining (and protecting) old IP for years. Acquiring Marvel isn’t a move to balance that strategy; it deepens it. The tagline for a combined Disney/Marvel might be: “Finding new ways to sell you the same stories, again and again, forever.”
Posted September 1, 2009 at 2:36 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted


“Finding new ways to sell you the same stories, again and again, forever.”

I love that line, because that's what we all do. :-)

The Gavin With a Thousand Faces :-)

Archetypes, allusions, deep themes -- got it. Luke Skywalker is Harry Potter is Jesus.

But I'd argue the specifics of those stories -- the settings and details that surround and cloak the deep ur-tales -- are a) just as important, and b) more than half the fun.

And so Marvel deprives us of NEW fun by taking us, again and again, to Graymalkin Lane.

I can't help but agree that I get more than a little tired of Wolverine showing up in the pages of every title in the Marvel Universe every month just because "he's the best there is at what he does," and what he does is sell comic books.

Still, I think that while I agree with you that a monolith sucks for everyone involved, that:

a. There is a way in which a 30-year-old character can be played with that many others can't. Grant Morrison is the master of this. Think of how jarring (and thus how perfect) it was when Cyclops left Jean Grey for Emma Frost. Awe. Some.

b. Marvel (and DC) does introduce new characters all the time, and always have. It's just that most of them suck, and always have. (Iron Fist anyone? Anyone?)

Thus, I think a good argument can be made that Marvel just throws things against the wall and sees what sticks, and that the merger with Disney isn't likely to change that.

At the same time, however, it's the little comics companies that are more adventurous, and this merger, for better or worse, does little to improve or substantially worsen their situation.

And in its own way, could one not argue, economically speaking, that Marvel and DC's comparative advantage is the long histories of "their" characters, and that they should, in fact, focus on that and leave the introducing of characters to companies that are better at it? :-)

Yeah, you're right on all counts -- I mean, this is why somebody like Grant Morrison, who made a name creating new characters and new worlds, ultimately really wants to write Batman storylines, X-Men storylines. It's an incomparable sandbox.

Specifically the last point -- yeah, you could say, "Listen, the truth of it is that Marvel is an IP holding company. Let them be that. And let the next Marvel rise up somewhere else, far from Disney's HQ"—maybe in a high-rise in Mumbai, serving the Indian comics market, which is totally exploding...

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