14 January 2010

Disney and the Many Possibilities of MARVEL TV

Mickey's corporate Mousketeers have had a busy two weeks.  Yes, it's been exactly fourteen days since Disney officially assumed ownership of Marvel Comics, and it doesn't surprise us to hear that the reverse-imagineering has already begun full throttle.

According to our buddy  'Honor Hunter' on the quite excellent, Disney-centric Blue Sky Disney blog,  Mouse execs are closely scrutinizing Marvel's many Tier 2 and Tier 3 characters to identify those heroes   best positioned to attract the attention of the elusive young boy demographic.  Although their DisneyXD Channel (formerly Toon Disney) is geared towards young males, Disney's been unsuccessful capturing their attention a la Hannah Montana.  If you've ever tuned into DisneyXD, you'll fully understand why.

Disney's CEO Bob Iger's never made a secret of the goldmine his company believes Marvel's lower rungs to be, and the rest of us will likely find out how prescient he was before the end of this year.  Considering Iger wants as close to instant cred as he can get with his new heroes, maybe even before then.  

We've always harbored a secret desire for an exclusive cable  superhero channel, and Disney's definitely going in that direction. They're expected to green light at least two new Marvel projects for DisneyXD  shortly, with more to follow.  While no official time-line's been given, we're thinking DisneyXD's lineup will become very superhero-heavy just before we're buying tickets for Thor.                                                                                               

Of course, there's still the small and potentially conflicting matter of Marvel's animated  projects in development pre-Disney. A Black Panther cartoon is set to debut this Spring, and The AVENGERS: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, featuring Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Giant Man and Wasp, is expected to  for broadcast in 2011 to coincide with the release of The Avengers feature film.   Will Disney be assuming these developing projects, or be limited by pre-existing deals  set to prevent the Mouse from reaping Avengers guaranteed bank?    

With all that's involved, it's a tad premature to be calling DisneyXD MarvelTV.   But with everyone's attention tuned into TV, we've got to wonder how Disney's XD Directive will impact the future of Marvel comic books.  After all, isn't that about what we're most concerned?  

If the new Disney 'toons prove as popular at Marvel's Super Hero Squad,   we can probably count on each new show getting the comic treatment. Bolstered by Disney marketing and distribution, we're as certain of their success as we are of the precedents these comics will be setting.  Disney's superhero cartoons may be the first real litmus test of their Marvelous purchase,  as well as a clear sign of what's to come. Perhaps it's in this way that Disney will wrest editorial control, with the extent of its reach being measured in cable subscriptions and by boys twelve and under.   Source: [link]

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