So Marvel has been making business headlines all day with the news that the boards of Marvel Entertainment and Disney have agreed to the latter acquiring the former for around $4 billion in cash and stocks. Marvel's stock shot up 26% on the news.
What will this mean for Marvel? For the comics, probably not much -- except that Disney may use its new comic-book arm to publish comics of its characters. The main benefit will likely be for media exploitation of the characters, since that's what Disney does best. The movie projects for the major characters are locked in for the next few years, although Disney will eventually displace Paramount as the distributor for Marvel-made films. I'm guessing that Disney will get busy with the TV versions of the characters. After all, Disney owns ABC and a bunch of cable channels (one of which was running lots of reruns of Marvel cartoons even before this deal). Live-action TV is wide open for Marvel. Although there've been many pilots made of Marvel characters, the only truly successful live-action Marvel TV show was the HULK series in the seventies. Compare that with DC, which had the '60's BATMAN series, the Lynda Carter WONDER WOMAN series in the '70's, LOIS AND CLARK in the '90's, and currently the longest-running superhero series of all, SMALLVILLE. If Marvel could carry off something like SMALLVILLE in prime-time, it and Disney would likely be ecstatic.