The Marvel/Disney Partnership | The Science of Adaptation

In 2009, media empire Disney added another number to its repertoire – Marvel Comics and everything that came with them. This was a logical purchase – Marvel, coming off of the success of Iron Man and already laying the seeds for 2012’s massively successful The Avengers, it only made sense that one of the biggest names in Hollywood wanted in. So now the Disney logo appears before Marvel Studios films, you can buy your favorite Captain America merchandise at the Disney store, and Guardians of the Galaxy are taking over the Tower of Terror, but are these the only things to come out of the partnership?

My only question is this – Disney seems to get some of the profits from Marvel’s revenue and of course they end up making more money, so we can tell that the partnership is good for both parties. That being said, why on earth haven’t we seen comic adaptations of Disney properties? (Other than Star Wars, of course.) So, in this installment I’m going to mention a couple of Disney properties which really deserve a Marvel comic series.

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My original plan for this post had been to discuss a bunch of different properties which would work well in the medium of comics, but I could only really think of one that I would like to discuss comprehensively, and then a few others that I could simply mention in passing. For example, MulanMulan is fun and exciting and has enough action and compelling characters – in this way, I feel like it could make for a fun weekly comic series. But the advantage here isn’t just for the fans – there’s a lot of money here at stake as Disney preps for its live-action remake of the 1998 film. (There’s been a great deal of hype around the Mulan remake thanks to a mention of the original promotional campaign involving Szechuan sauce after it was referenced on Rick and Morty.)

A frequent criticism of the Pirates of the Caribbean is that it gets too bogged down with the magical aspects of the world when all we really want to see are some cool pirate action sequences. Find anyone who enjoys the Kraken from Dead Man’s Chest or the Mermaids from On Stranger Tides half as much as any of Jack Sparrow’s daring escapes. So now that we’re about to have the fifth movie of “Jack Sparrow versus some incarnation of death,” why don’t we finally have just a comic series where it’s Jack escaping from the authorities? Tell me a Pirates of the Caribbean comic series wouldn’t be great!

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But let’s just cut to the chase. There’s one obvious property which doesn’t just deserve – wouldn’t just benefit from – but absolutely needs a comic adaptation.

The Incredibles.

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Think about it. The world lends itself very well to a weekly comic series. Every issue, the family could fight a new villain and gradually grow as a family. But maybe the writers are saving all their great family-oriented ideas for the sequel. If the writers didn’t want to resume the story with the family, why don’t they show us the years when heroes were in their prime? How fun would a series focusing on Mr. Incredible and Frozone be? Hell, I’d probably read just a Frozone comic.

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The movie makes it seem like there’s so much history in this world. Think about how characters reference various superheroes (such as in the “No capes” montage) of the past. There are plenty of heroes to pick from. And although the film only shows one villain at length, they show a few others like BombVoyage or the Underminer which indicates that this world has no shortage of supervillains. I just feel like this is the kind of world that Marvel Comics could do something interesting with. Readers were give a short Marvel/Attack On Titan crossover and Stan Lee alluded to a possibility of a Marvel/Star Wars crossover, when will I get to see the Incredibles fight alongside the Fantastic Four?

And again, a comic adaptation wouldn’t just make sense from a narrative standpoint, but also from a promotional standpoint. At long last, viewers are finally getting The Incredibles 2. What better way to promote the new movie then a comic book series

My main point is this: Disney has all these cool properties, and they have Marvel comics. Why don’t they make the most of what they’ve got? If you’re going to make fans wait fourteen years for The Incredibles 2, why not give them something to whet their appetites?

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