Captain America and Mickey Mouse, match made in corporate heaven?
As the Entertainer reported yesterday, Disney announced this morning it is to buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, adding characters such as Spidey and the beloved Fantastic Four to its curtain call. The iconic godfather of comics will hand over its 5,000 characters to join the ranks of Mickey and Donald Duck in a deal that is being called one of the largest U.S. corporate transactions of the year.
With San Diegan’s still buzzing about the 40th anniversary of our local Comic-Con festival, it seems fit that the milestone birthday of such an event would celebrate these legendary characters that we all grew up admiring and the people that have kept them alive.
Marvel Comics was founded in 1939 by Martin Goodman under the name Timely Publications, and just two years later developed and launched the king of super-comics, Captain America. Now almost 70 years later, the Marvel cast has grown tremendously in size and led way to alternate forms of entertainment such as the lucrative X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man movies.
Those comic based characters that we have grown to love will now be featured in Disney’s television shows, movies, theme-parks and video games, adding a more masculine and “edgy” tone to their image. This is something much needed as the Disney programming had much been directed toward young girls with shows and characters such as “Hannah Montana” and the various princesses in Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.
This new plethora of faces “transcends gender, age, culture and geographical barriers” Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, told Guardian News and Media. And Disney is no stranger to the business of adding diversity to its playing field, as it bought Pixar Animation Studios in 2006 for an estimated $7.4 billion. An investment well worth it for characters including “Woody” and “Buzz Lightyear” from the Pixar hit Toy Story.
Everyone at Disney and Marvel are excited about the marriage of these two creative families. “Both companies have their roots in great storytelling and innovative artistry”, explained Marvel Chairman, Mort Handel to Guardian News and Media.
On Wall Street, Marvel’s shares have risen over 25% to $50. With shareholders receiving rewarding compensation for the deal, along with Marvel’s CEO, Ike Perlmutter, pocketing $1.4 billion in cash and stocks, it seems that this buy-out may have a happy ending for all.