Could Disney be getting closer to reigning in Marvel’s comic book publishing arm?
There are rumors circulating that the House of Mouse is unhappy with Marvel Comics’ rapidly declining sales and creators’ combative presence on social media. To remedy this, the rumors state, Disney is demanding creative shake-ups to bring the books in line with the classic versions of its characters as they appear in the movies. And the final solution may be to relocate Marvel Comics to California so Disney Corporate can keep a closer eye on them.
Now, these rumors need to be taken with a grain of salt as they originate from an anonymous poster on various comic book message boards who claims to be a intern writing from a back office at Marvel. Many of the rumors have to do with the shuffling around of creative teams, but we’ll post the bits that have to do specifically with Disney and Marvel’s relationship going forward.
Editorial is miserable. Understaffed, under experienced and overworked. The direction at the top corporate level is a mess of politics and in-fighting. They all look the fool to Disney because of Feige’s split and the bad PR & constant gaming of their declining sales is wearing on them. Top brass want to make a hard left back to what worked with Steve, Thor, Tony, Banner and other recognizable faces. Editorial knows how bad it’s going to look to push all their diversity celebrations to the side. Reality is those books didn’t sell. A lot of it had to do with Marvel’s chincy practices finally reaching a breaking point with fans but the internal editorial spin is that comic shop fans aren’t ready to embrace change.
The Feige split, of course, refers to Marvel Cinematic Universe mastermind Kevin Feige, who was able to get out from underneath the thumb of Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter in 2015.
Basically, the guy who is mostly responsible for Marvel characters still being relevant to the general public (via the movies) no longer has to answer to Marvel Comics at all. He answers directly to Alan Horn at Disney.
Since the Marvel movies are inarguably more culturally relevant than the Marvel comic books, this marginalizes Marvel Comics’ input in the future of these characters even more, and puts the ball firmly in Disney’s court.
As we’ve said before, to Disney the MCU is the “real” Marvel Universe — the comic books are just ancillary merchandise, and often an embarrassing PR fiasco for the company.
And the fear at Marvel is that Disney will do what Warner Bros. did with DC Comics — relocate them to California to more tightly integrate the comics with the movies.
The real fear is Disney seeing that Warner had success moving the comics office to Burbank and lining everything up under one roof. Moving Marvel Comics out of NYC and onto the Disney lots is a real possibility. A lot of us will get downsized or just not relocate if that happens.
That might be Disney’s quick solution to “right the ship.” And in the process, they’d lose some NYC-based editorial and creatives, starting fresh with overseers who do things the Disney way.
When it needs to, Disney can move very, very quickly for a company of its size. And should they decide to intervene to save Marvel, it’ll likely be very sudden with the New York office being given very little notice.
While I can’t comment on the creative shuffling (comics news site Bleeding Cool claims a lot of it is untrue) I do completely believe that Disney is not happy with Marvel Comics’ underperformance and big changes are coming.
It’s not a matter of “if” it’s more a matter of “when.”
[Source: Bleeding Cool]