Movies & TV / Columns

Would Disney Ever Stop Publishing Marvel Comics?  

July 15, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Marvel Legacy

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last week we discussed our Favorite Documentaries About Comic Books. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Edward J Witherspoon: “Chris Claremont’s X-Men on Prime was a great look at the publishing history of the greatest comic team of all time. The material on the continuing expansion of the X franchise was tremendous. On the soft side, it was great to put faces to some of the classic editorial names that made Marvel great again in the 70s and 80s”

Steed: “In Search of Steve Ditko.
One time 11 years ago when I had the nerdiest conversation for a few minutes with Neil Gaiman one on one after watching his wife play a gig about our love for Spiderman and Ditko’s work in general. I loved how him and Jonathan Ross covered the unsung hero and co-creator of Spiderman who deserved a lot more credit in the documentary itself. I was so happy when they managed to track him down despite staying true to shying away from public attention by the conclusion.”

Cami: “I thought Crumb was a brilliant documentary. Even for non fans of comic books.”

СЯ: “One of my favourite comic docs is also on YouTube – Jack Kirby: Storyteller. It’s such a joy to see monumental talents like Neal Adams, Alex Ross, Barry Windsor-Smith, Jim Lee, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Erik Larson and more totally mark out like us fanboys over Kirby’s work and his towering influence.

I do love the PBS documentary Superheroes: A Neverending Battle. And also, Superman: Requiem & Rebirth, about the death and return of Superman in ’93. And although it probably doesn’t count, i could watch Alex Ross’ YouTube channel all day. My favourite living artist.”

William Jansen: “Tintin et moi is my personal favourite.”

Tayo Jones: “Necessary Evil was a great exploration of the villains of DC comics (if Only DC gave that same level of respect to their heroes who are not called Batman). I loved Batman and Bill. It was really emotional and the ending was heart warming.

The Search for Steve Ditko was an amazing loom into the life of the co creator of Spidey and Dr strange. It was great seeing the host get do emotional when talking about Steve and his work. It really shows how much of an impact Steve had on Spidey and gave him the credit he deserved.”

Solomon Grundy: “Lost heroes is a pretty good documentary and taught me some things I didn’t even know about. Primarily about Canada trying to create their own “brand” of superhero (and some history associated with that). I little Niche for sure…but still interesting.”

Thank you to everyone who commented!

This week we discuss our…

Would Disney Ever Stop Publishing Marvel Comics?

Let’s play a little “What If…” for a moment and see what things could be like in the distant future…or maybe the not so distant future. With the current pandemic we find ourselves in and the impact it has made on the comic book industry, things might be changing quicker than we realize. 
When Disney bought Marvel back in 2009, many saw that as a great thing and dreamed about ways the new alliance would bolster the comic book industry.

Reality set in once everyone realized that Disney was more interested in the intellectual property Marvel offered and not much else. Which makes sense. They see much more profit with the movies than they ever will with the comic books.

Recently I’ve been seeing more and more articles speculating and predicting the day when Disney would cease to publish Marvel comics and focus on the movies, television, and merchandising.

But how realistic is that? While I can see Disney start to pair down the comic line, I can’t see them doing away with comic books entirely.

Other options include:

Farm Out the Publishing
Is it out of the realm of possibility that Disney would make an agreement for someone else to do the publishing of the comics while they own all the other rights? Of course not. With enough guidelines in the contract, you’d have a number of people lining up to take over Marvel. It’s not like Disney is very concerned about the comic book side of things anyways. They are more than happy to change whatever they like when it comes to the cinematic universe.

Switch to All Trades & Graphic Novels
This is a very viable option. They can do away with single issues and just focus on collecting classic storylines and original graphic novels showcasing our favorite hero or team. In a way, it would be like the Netflix model and let’s fans “binge” read their books in on sitting instead of waiting for the storyline to play out over months.

Digital Only
This has been tossed around for years. Will the comic book industry ever switch over to digital only? Look at the music and film industry. When’s the last time you purchased a CD or DVD? Everyone is going towards streaming.

The comic book industry has been in a state of flux for years now and it seems that the longer publishers resist change, the more they drive potential customers away.

Do you think Disney would ever do away with the Marvel comic book line?

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!