Thursday, September 3, 2009

When the Spider Meets the Mouse

Magnet # 27: Universal Studios Hollywood

Material: Metal

Purchased By: Mom & Dad

By now, you've probably heard that Disney bought Marvel Comics this week for a whopping $4 billion. Obviously from this blog, I'm fond of both companies (or rather, their characters). And it's been interesting seeing what people have had to say for the past two days. Some are happy, many are not. They're concerned Disney is going to destroy the Marvel characters we know and love. Well, I’m not sure they could do much worse than the company itself has. Marvel’s comics have been on a downward slump for awhile now.

Back in 2000, comic artist and writer Joe Quesada was named Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief. I remember catching a glimpse of him in an office during my Marvel tour earlier that year. I pointed at him and hissed at a fellow comic lover to look, there’s Quesada! Yup, he overheard. I was so embarrassed. Regardless, I thought it was pretty cool that an artist had taken the reigns at Marvel. He’d previously co-owned a comic book company, Event Comics, so he must know how this was done. And he’d get the comics industry in a way no suit ever would, right? 

Wrong – ever since, Quesada has made some pretty bad decisions. He got rid of some of the most respected senior artists and writers working for the company. These guys are legends for a reason! His worst choice was to have Spider-Man unmask himself to the world as Peter Parker. It may have grabbed headlines, but it was a bad idea. He also made it so that Peter and Mary Jane have never been married, tossing away twenty years of continuity. Comic sales at the company over his tenure have plummeted. The only Marvel comic I’ve read over the last five years has been Pride and Prejudice – and that was mainly for the novelty and to support my local comic book store. Given the current state of Marvel Comics, I really can’t believe that Disney could do much to make it any worse. I guess we’ll have to see. 

Personally, my biggest question is what is going to happen to Marvel Island at Universal Studios in Florida? I can’t imagine Disney is going to be all that happy with their competitor drawing in crowds across town using characters they now own. But there are contracts in place, right? They can’t just shut down the Marvel part of the park entirely, can they? I hope not – I still haven’t been there. I know - it’s not too far away. I was staying with friends once with plans to visit, but one convinced me Marvel Island really wasn’t all that great. And I’m not exactly a thrill ride lover. But I like that I still have the option of visiting someday. And they’re planning an entire Marvel theme park in Dubai! It would open in 2011. Going there would be so cool – I really hope that still happens.

Yeah, I know – this magnet is from Universal Studios in California, not Florida. It was the closest I had, and this did seem like a good time to post it. I did go there once, years ago. From what I remember, it was fun.

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