Disney has purchased Marvel Comics and we’re all still trying wrap our heads around what it will mean for the future of some of our favorite comic book heroes. Well, I was in the shower last night washing my hair (TMI?) and somewhere in that shampoo veil a question occurred to me: Will Disney-Marvel try to sign Superman in 2013?
If that question has you scratching your head, allow me to catch you up on some of the Screen Rant articles you should’ve been reading(!) and break down for you why this Disney/Marvel grab for Superman is not nearly as implausible as it might seem.
THE SUPERMAN CUSTODY BATTLE
OK, so DC Comics and Warner Bros. have been in a decade-long legal dispute with the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Recently WB lost the rights to use Superman’s origin story in any films or shows, and a judge has already ruled that in 2013, the rights to the character revert entirely back to the estates of Siegel and Shuster.
This will essentially make Superman a “free agent,” not tied to any comic book company or comic book universe. Of course, anybody with a toddler’s business sense would naturally assume that DC/WB is working out a deal to retain Superman – after all he is their flagship character and still the most beloved superhero in the world (yes, Batman fans, our dark icon still has not surpassed Big Blue).
I’ll tell you up front: I don’t know anybody involved with this lawsuit, personally or professionally; I haven’t gone over all the legal fine print with a microscope; and really, I am nothing in this situation other than an outsider (WAY outsider) looking in. But I can say this: Maybe DC/WB is working out a deal to retain Superman, and maybe they aren’t. After all, there is PLENTY of reason for the Siegel/Shuster heirs to want to part ways with Warner Bros. and never look back. Personally, I’ve already been wondering just how attractive of an option Marvel would be (I even asked Stan Lee about it!) – but now, with Marvel backed by the fat purse of Disney, I don’t even have to wonder: I have only to listen to the one thought in the Siegel/Shuster heirs’ minds: Cha-Ching!
TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE DISNEY WAY
Our own Paul Young spelled it out for you in his Disney/Marvel’s future article: Disney is a pro at making smart buys and developing them into massive success stories (ABC’s Lost and Pixar, for example) – Do you really think the House of the Mouse hasn’t already had Marvel under a microscope, watching what’s worked, what’s been wasted, and what would best maximize their profitability? Do you really think a man as wily as Disney C.E.O. Roger Iger wouldn’t be looking at all the ways (read: angles) that could catapult Marvel into a higher stratosphere of success than it has ever reached?
Let’s just assume that Disney has been doing just that for a moment. What better coup d’état could there be than snagging Superman at what could, conceivably, be the one time in our lifetimes when Big Blue is free to play for another team? And if Disney/Marvel could pull off the deal, how could any other superhero venture even HOPE to rival them?
Remember that the Disney suits aren’t fanboys (most of them at least) and don’t have the same kind of reverence for continuity and comic book mythology and all that great stuff. They don’t care that Superman and Batman are pals; they don’t care if we ever find out what was up with Lois Lane’s son in Superman Returns; and they don’t care if Lex Luthor is going to ever return on Smallville. These guys see opportunity for growth and profit and staying ahead of the competition. They also know (if they’re smart) that they just got a whole bunch of creative comic book guys on payroll who have either worked with Superman before, or have been itching to try him out and (gasp!) maybe even make the character relevant again for the masses.
And would Superman getting a fresh start in a new camp really be such a tragedy? Sure, like any custody battle the transitional period would be a little strange, a little awkward (how DO you write Superman out of the DC Universe and into the Marvel one?) but once the dust has settled just imagine some of the pros:
- FRESH Superman stories!
- NEW Relationships with Marvel Characters!
- Films put out by one company (Disney) who know big-budget movies done right, and another (Marvel) who knows superhero movies done right!
- Superman-themed rides at Disney World!
Ok so I’m (semi-)joking about that last one, but I will confess this much: In a weird way, it would feel almost right to see Superman under the Disney banner. Comic books are a changed place these days, heroes are “darker” more “complicated” and most of our favorite titles have definitely gotten more adult-themed along with their 20-30 something readership. It’s why Superman – whether on page or on film – has floundered a bit in the last few years, allowing other DC Heroes like Batman and Green Lantern to eat up some of his popularity.
I think we can all at least agree that Superman is the most “Disney” superhero out there. Seeing Disney/Marvel snag the character wouldn’t just be a victory for Marvel (and Disney’s vested interest therein), Superman is the type of character through whom Disney could sell their famous brand of magic to a whole new audience of little boys, who each want to be the Prince Charming square-jawed superhero who swoops in to save the day (and the princess!).
You seeing the bigger picture yet?
Again, I have no inside info on any of this; I’m not close to either Disney, Warner Bros., DC Comics, Marvel, or the heirs of Siegel and Shuster. I’m just some guy on the outside looking in, speculating “What If?”
You tell me: am I crazy for wondering if Disney/Marvel can and/or will sign try to Superman in 2013? Or is it crazy ENOUGH to maybe happen?
Superman vs. Spider-Man image source: Fan Pop