Disney, Diablo, and the King Kirby clan’s Spidey claim

Just  a few interesting items in recent movieworld news.

* Nikki Finke selects a possible future “toldja” candidate for the next Disney chairman. Toothy, bespectacled Rich Ross is not a name that’s likely to excite movie fans, as his background is pretty much Disney Channel material. Interesting comments on this one.

* Fresh on the heels of the bad box office of  the graphic comedy horror flick, “Jennifer’s Body,” “Juno” authoress Diablo Cody’s next outing will be a major dialing down of the “edgy” factor, as she will be adopting the Sweet Valley High book series for the movies. I had only heard of the television series until I saw this item, but according to the Heat Vision blog, a humongous 150 of the books were published between 1983 and 2003 and 60 million copies are in print. That’s not small and reminds me of a female-skewing variant on classic pulp series based on characters like the Shadow and Doc Savage.

Attaching Cody to this project strikes me as a canny move. Not only is she apparently a fan, but giving it to a writer with a known “edge” might broaden the appeal to cynics and, possibly, males. I’m far from Cody’s biggest fan, but I’m still a lot more likely to check out the movie than I would have been otherwise.

* Also courtesy of Heat Vision, the Jack Kirby estate law suit against the Disney owned Marvel continues to play out. The THR blog’s Borys Kits and Matthew Belloni say that they’ve seen some of the legal “termination notices” and that this might be a more sweeping suit that was thought. To me, the really interesting portion of this is that one of the notices was for Spiderman, a character Kirby never drew that’s usually credited largely to the eccentric and brilliant Steve Ditko. However…

According to several accounts, Kirby, with his Captain America co-creator Joe Simon, did create a character called the Silver Spider, whose alter ego was an orphaned boy living with two elderly people, and that character was morphed into Spider-Man. Other accounts have the Silver Spider becoming the Fly for another comic company.

It gets a lot broader than that, with the Kirby claiming some possession of several Spidey supporting characters, but that may be just so much legal jockeying. We’ll see.

  

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

Related Posts

Disney buying Marvel! World as we know it ends! (Updated)

Okay, only the first part is true, but it’s pretty weird as it is — the House of Ideas and the Mouse House are likely to become one. It’s still quite early here on the West coast  and all we have right now are mostly still the raw public facts as reported in the press release which is being carried this morning by Comic Book Resources (CBR), Variety and Nikki Finke.

Unless I’m missing something, the deal involves a massive buy-out of Marvel stockholders to the tune of $4 billion and it still may have to clear some antitrust hurdles. This is obviously my bias talking, but I hope the Obama administration’s regulators take a good look at this deal before allowing it to go through. In my opinion, Disney is already far, far larger than any single media company should be allowed to be. On the other hand, the deal with Marvel is obviously not on the scale of Disney’s past deal with ABC in terms of its size and scope and they aren’t a direct competitor.

Marvel’s real strength is the wealth of characters mostly created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others. If it makes Marvel a healthier enterprise, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing. Finke is entirely bullish on the deal and praises Disney head Robert Iger for it, but I’m not sure we share the same exact priorities. We do both wonder if the association with Disney will somehow lower Marvel’s cool-factor among the young geeks. As for antitrust, I’m waiting to hear what the people who actually understand this stuff have to say, but I guess if we allowed the ABC deal to go through, this is nothing.

The word at this point is that Disney will allow it’s currrent licensing and third party deals — including fimmaking ones with the big studios it’s been working with up to now — to stand pat for the time being. It sounds to me, however, like the Mouse House might well be stepping in there at some point and a more recent item from Marketwatch definitely allows for that possibility. It also says that some lesser known Marvel characters might also be hitting silver screen. So, I guess Ant Man and Millie the Model might finally see their name in lights.

All I know for sure is that it’s feels almost like a sign of the geek apocalypse (the “geekalypse”?) to have Spiderman, the X-Men, Iron Man, and the Mighty Thor under the same roof as Mickey, Donald and Winnie the Pooh.  On the other hand, the distance between the Mickey Mouse Club and the Merry Marvel Marching Society might not be all that great in some ways.

UPDATE: Thanks to BKS for sending this NY Times article with more info. A couple of quick lifts: Marvel characters will start popping up at some Disney-owned theme parks fairly soon and Paramount may have the most to lose as Disney gradually brings the Marvel film franchises in-house.

  

Related Posts