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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 08/31/2009

The Six Disney/Marvel Projects We Most Fear...

By Michael Cavna

My, but there's panic in the streets of Fanville. Disney lovers fear that Cinderella will run off with Iron Man. And Marvel lovers worry that Winnie-the-Pooh's new glum sidekick will be "Ee-Thor," and that Doctor "Doc" Who will be made the lead Dwarf.

O, what the news of the Fantastic Four-Billion Dollar Deal today -- with Disney acquiring Marvel Entertainment -- hath wrought?

Here at Comic Riffs, we approach the news with a cooler head. For one thing, this Riffster is guardedly optimistic that Disney will be a monster distributor but won't creatively corrupt the Marvel Universe (Pixar emboldens my confidence.). And second, the Disney deal could conceivably have been made with D.C. Comics, which might have resulted instead in the project: "Batman and (Christopher) Robin."

Still, forewarned is forearmed, so here they are:

Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice in Disney's 'Fantasia.' (Reuters/Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures)

"THE FANTASIA FOUR": When scientific apprentice Reed Richards opens the lair of Victor Von Doom, he suddenly unleashes a psychedelic fever-dream of villainous household supplies gone Technicolor mad. The highlight: Stravinsky's renamed "Rite of Thing."

"ORIGINS: J. JONAS JAMESON": The name of the Daily Bugle big-cheese is J. JONAH Jameson, you say? Not when you've got the tween-hot Joe Jonas on your roster. (Bonus: Look for the new role of Peter Parker's girlfriend, "Miley Jane.")

"IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN...GOBLIN": Yes, Kermit the Frog -- suddenly an amphibian gone bad -- inherits the role of the Spider-Man villain. (Bonus: Look for a new character: The Muppet Master.)

"FINDING NORRIN": Suddenly, the Silver Surfer -- aka Norrin Radd -- finds himself lost off the Australian coast, with a stalking clownfish with a daddy complex on his tail. Can a pod of tubular sea turtles guide him to safety?

"H.E.R.B.I.E. THE LOVE BUG": Bored with his previous robotics, Mister Fantastic turns his talents to a wacky, race-happy Volkswagen Beetle that has a mind of its own. But what role might Master Car -- Disney's corruption of "Master Xar" -- play in all these fun-lovin' high jinks?

"BEAUTY & THE APOCALYPSE BEAST": Poor, misguided Belle looks past the kind of social prejudices that can surround a villain who embodies the Apocalypse to waltz off with the Beast of Armageddon. (Bonus: Hear the Human Torch show off his musical chops as Lumiere.)

Are there Disney/Marvel creative mash-ups you fear? Then below: Be our guest, be our guest...

By Michael Cavna  | August 31, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Geek Buzz, Superheroes, The Holly Word  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Fantastic Four-Billion! Disney Buys Marvel in Mondo Deal
Next: The 'Riffs Interview: Stan Lee Sizes Up the Disney-Marvel Deal


There is a crucial difference between Pixar and Marvel that bodes ill for the latter. Read this with a grain of salt: I'm not a Marvel fan, I just dislike the idea of Disney buying up everything in sight.

Pixar's strength has been taking (generally) superbly written, family-suitable material, and generating stunningly excellent animation on high-quality celluloid. There's never been anything to censor, because the concepts have always been G or PG.

As I see it, Marvel's strength has been taking unevenly written, anything but family-suitable material, and churning out sensationalist, gore-splattered drawings on inexpensive pulp for voyeuristic (ex-) teenagers. The selling point has been plenty of violence, and as much spandex-covered sexual allure as the puritanical publishing distribution system in the United States will allow.

There is an obvious conflict between Marvel's and Disney's content standards, one that never existed between Disney and Pixar (where the conflicts were merely financial). I would evaluate Marvel's agreement to Disney's tendered offer as "selling out".

Posted by: kilby | August 31, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Disney's big money-makers in recent years under its own studio name have been the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, which were rated PG-13 (as are the usual summer comics-based movies, other than the R-rated "Watchmen", which of course was not a Marvel property). Disney thus has no objection to PG-13 movies per se, and they would probably have no trouble releasing a "Spiderman" film with no additional editing. In fact, they would probably then show it on the Disney-owned ABC network with only minimal editing for content. I am less concerned with what Disney will do with Marvel's movies than I am with what Disney will do with Marvel's comic books.

Posted by: seismic-2 | September 1, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

A Disney-Marvel mish-up is not that far-fetched a concept. It should be noted that in certain overseas markets, Disney is already associated with super-heroes, of a sort. See

So, will Bambi be bitten by a radioactive spider and battle the Incredible Hulk? Will the Wicked Witch from Snow White team with Doctor Doom to rule the world? And this time, will some super-powered Muppets **really** "take Manhattan"? Probably yes, if there's money to be made by such a match-up.

Posted by: seismic-2 | September 1, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I think the ultimate mash-up would be the Incredibles vs the FF! I mean in a lot of ways they're pretty much have the same powers.

It seems few have considered what will happen if Marvel influences Disney. Mickey would start to brood over being born a mouse. Mickey would start becoming a loner and anti-social. He would get in fight with the rest of his animated friends because fights are a cool way to waste panels until the villians come along. And Minnie would be killed off only to resurface from hiding to test Mickey's love for her or better yet a time-traveling clone made by Cruella DeVille's anti-matter self in an alternate universe.

As far as all the angst goes I think it's over blown. I'm a fan of Marvel, I'm a fan of Pixar and I'm a fan of Disney, despite Miley and the Jonas Bros. I think people forget that Disney also owns ABC. And since I'm a big fan of Lost that means that the Disney Corporation basically owns my soul!

Posted by: dre7861 | September 1, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

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