Marvel Comics and DC Comics have been the major distributors of comics to North Americans for more than 70 years.
These comic companies have spawned major icons that even non-comic fans know about, such as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Iron Man.
Legendary writers Frank Miller and Alan Moore have written for both Marvel and DC during their storied careers and helped elevate the medium to mainstream.
The industry has seen exponential growth in the past four decades with major motion pictures being produced including Richard Donner’s amazing Superman: The Movie and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy as well as Christopher Nolan’s well received yet uninspired effort in The Dark Knight.
Marvel has endured many highs and lows over these years. The company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996 but two years later experienced an unexpected resurgence. Marvel continued to excite readers and everything seemed to be fine in the world.
Then it happened. Black Monday.
On Aug. 31, Disney purchased Marvel for $4 billion. Disney receives approximately 5,000 Marvel characters plus all intellectual property for that amount.
Disney felt they were losing touch with the young male demographic and made a purchase of the franchise. I never thought this would happen.
The question: What will become of Marvel Comics now that they are owned by one of the most powerful conglomerates in the world?
Unfortunately, comic fans, it does not bode well for Marvel. Disney has a history of meddling in the companies it purchases. I can remember a once-great independent film company called Miramax Films that produced wonderful films. In 1993, Disney decided to take over and purchase the film company. The company was never the same after Disney management changed the artistic style. Disney purchased Miramax but obviously had no idea what to do with the asset.
My fear is that Disney might impose oppressive restraints on Marvel writers, bringing an end to exciting, aggressive, darker comics. Readers may never get another aggressive take on Daredevil like Frank Miller’s in the early 1980s. We might not have the insane shoot-out scenes from Nick Fury.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a pacifist and definitely no sadist. However, in this medium, conflict between the characters is necessary. The forces of good and evil are constantly in flux. Villains try to commit illegal dastardly acts and our super-heroes try to save the day.
I just hope Disney lets our heroes continue to do so.
graphic Alfred Straaf