Thursday, September 10, 2009

Secret Publishing Crisis Wars of Vengeance

August 31, 2009:
Disney buys Marvel Publishing Inc (aka Marvel Comics)

September 9, 2009:
DC Comics hires new President and becomes DC Entertainment

The future:
Anybody’s guess.

First things first:
Disney buys Marvel.

Anybody who knows me (see: nobody) knows that I despise pretty much any product Disney makes. Incredibly. (Their last good film was Sleeping Beauty, and that's only because Maleficent is kinda hot. So yeah, I'm a Disney-hater.) But, I also recognize that they do a lot of animation work within US borders paying US animators reasonable wages. Yet I also blame them (and Pixar, which they bought) for the uprising of computer animation which seems to be by-and-large leaving traditional cel-style animation in the dust. To me, things just look better when actually DRAWN. Regardless of data, I just feel like the Disney of my lifetime is the perfect representation of everything that's wrong with American culture. It's decadent, fake, and ultimately empty - overpriced and self-assured. Back on point.

Things could go either way. Could Disney ruin Marvel’s characters?

Sure, if they tried to – which would be incredibly stupid from an investment standpoint, and I’m still not sure they could do better than Marvel’s done of sullying respectable characters. (Gimmick covers? Beast is still a cat? Captain America a complete and total sellout? Spider-Man a reboot? Ultimate a reboot? Ultimatum? No Cable/Deadpool? Daken exists? Greg Land on X-Men? Oh how I long for the DeFalco and Harras days.) Back to Disney.

See, Disney doesn’t appeal to guys. They know this. They're pH balanced for women, much like Secret deodorant and Mario Kart. Disney already monopolizes girl-money, they want guy-money. But when they try to make something to get guy-money they fail again and again. In buying Marvel, Disney doesn’t have to create something that appeals to guys to get their dollars, as they've bought something guys already buy. I feel like that's a smart move. So, things at Marvel might not get tremendously better, but I feel like they won’t get much worse.

Too, I always say that comics by-and-large should be for children. They should be tales about looking outside of your own opinions and worldview and about questioning authority – things that entertain kids while teaching them how to read and teaching them how to think. Will Disney do that? I don’t know. But I bet damn well there’ll be more Marvel cartoons on TV – and increased visibility to young children is what ensures the future stability of the medium. That's plus marks all over the place.

DC Entertainment? This seems to be coming in response to Disney’s buy, but really I’m not so sure of that. Between the continuity reboots and tossing out the bullet logo, I feel like DC’s been trying to figure out where they’re going for the past 4-5 years now – and when it comes to movies they’ve been nowhere near as successful as Marvel has been. DC really hasn’t been able to keep a one together. Superman Super-Sucked. Watchmen did well, but there was so much legal trouble over it I doubt DC views it as the financial success it could’ve been. The most-recent Batman did well, but I believe that was largely due to the buzz that a certain actor’s death attached to it. Whatever the case, there’s no sequel in sight, which I view as a positive, but again, I’m getting off-point.

You know what has done well and has stayed fairly in-line with the characters’ origins and personas? The DC straight-to-video animated flicks. Wonder Woman, GL: First Flight, the upcoming S/B Public Enemies. The NEW DC President was largely involved in these when out in Hollywood. So, while she’s Hollywood, and obviously looking for stuff to please WB that they can churn into more money – she’s got a track record of doing that WITH RESPECT TO THE CHARACTERS. So, it’s not like she’s the anti-christ or something.

I am choosing to look at both of these scenarios (Disney-Marvel and DC Entertainment) with a “the glass that does not yet exist might well be at least half full” mentality. Could it suck? Yes. Would it be easy to say it will suck? Yes. But that’s only because it HAS sucked for SO long. Maybe some changes (to what ISN’T working) is just what the genre needs. And maybe we’ll be looking back 20 years from now as the present being when things in comic books didn’t just change, but changed for the better.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This is Pretty Awesome...

I've owned this original art for about 3 years now, originally from the 1982 DC style guide, and used all over the place, including posters/signs/action figure images, etc. Cool enough, right?

But I only JUST found out it was, at least in part, used in making commemorative coins back in 1987.