Kevin Feige seems determined to prove just how high one Hollywood producer can ascend, with Marvel hitching every one of their entertainment properties to his leadership. That's the new reality and corporate structure governing the Disney brand, with reports claiming Kevin Feige now controls Marvel's creative vision.
It had previously been reported that Feige's Marvel Studios would be handling TV as well, but in his new role as Chief Creative Officer of Marvel, it seems the creative leads across Marvel's many channels will be reporting to Feige directly. That means Marvel Studios, Marvel Television, and Marvel Comics. While the promotion makes perfect sense given the success of the MCU, and the new Marvel shows coming to Disney+... what the heck does it mean for Marvel Comics? Fans may be surprised, so let's break down just what is changing for comic readers in the near future.
Will Kevin Feige Be 'In Charge' of Marvel Comics?
The simple and admittedly less exciting answer to the big question is that... he doesn't, really. While there will be shake-ups or increased oversight on the film and television side, the realm of toys, comics, video games, licensing, and promotional events have been divided for some time. Until now the day-to-day operations of that side of the company - referred to as Marvel Entertainment - have been handled by President Dan Buckley, reporting to CEO (and recent controversy magnet) Ike Perlmutter. And while Buckley was only appointed to the role of Marvel Entertainment President in 2017, he has effectively been part of the company's leadership since his appointment as Publisher of Marvel Enterprises back in 2003.
How will this structure be changing with Feige's new role? Dan Buckley will remain President of Marvel Entertainment, so no changes there. Perlmutter will be promoted (though not necessarily with respect to his hands-on influence) from CEO to Chairman. There will apparently be no new CEO installed, but instead Buckley will report to Feige in regards to 'creative' matters, with Feige acting as Chief Creative Officer (the role best demonstrated in the modern comic industry by Marvel's Joe Quesada and DC's Geoff Johns). On matters of business, like operations, sales, licensing, and video games, Perlmutter as Chairman still oversees Buckley (as before).
Hopefully this paints a clear picture of how much will and will not be immediately changing in regards to the actual corporate structure/oversight of Marvel Comics, as part of Marvel Entertainment. But if fans are curious to know how Feige's role as the new Chief Creative Officer may inform Buckley's leadership as pertains to the comics, that answer may take years to truly be revealed. And it could turn out to be better or worse in the end.
Will Kevin Feige Make Marvel Comics Better, or Worse?
The real question hinges on what potential Feige sees in Marvel Comics, as it relates to the rest of Marvel's brands and entertainment channels. For starters, fans shouldn't expect Feige to kick in the doors of Marvel Comics come Monday, demanding changes in an industry that he's not as familiar with as films. Not to mention a publisher whose President has been leading the ship for over fifteen years, and by all accounts, working with Feige relatively frequently over the past decade. Buckley has been leading the ship as Marvel Entertainment President, and that isn't changing. But Feige is replacing the previous Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, himself a creative lead since becoming Editor-in-Chief back in 2000. But before anyone assumes scandal in that replacement, it seems Quesada will be staying on board in an unspecified creative capacity (not surprising, considering Quesada stepped down from the EiC position... basically because he wanted to do something new).
The main difference now is that Feige is positioned, more than anyone before him, to create a much stronger link between Marvel's films and the comic books they are based on. But the main question is: which direction will that creative relationship be flowing? There are many who have long suggested Marvel Comics could be doing more to turn moviegoers into comic readers. Just as many have claimed Marvel Studios could do more to drive moviegoers into comic book shops, as well.
So, will Feige see potential gains in making the comics reflect the successful product being put on screen--an idea likely to be criticized by those in the comics industry. Or will Feige encourage unrestricted creativity, knowing successes can be adapted to film and television--the forgotten reason the MCU had their stories to tell in the first place.
Those questions will only become clear after months, or potentially even years of Feige's tenure overseeing Marvel Entertainment. In the end, it's just as likely Feige will make himself available to help Buckley continue to do what he's been doing for close to twenty years, more than his famous Marvel rival Ike Perlmutter did previously. Only time will tell. But if Feige actually does start kicking in doors at Marvel Comics' offices, you can expect that to make news.