Sm Spidey Mouse• Bob Iger held a meeting with Marvel folks yesterday morning, and by all accounts, it went over very well. C.B. Cebulski tweeted :

“The essence of Marvel, that lives mainly in its comic books, will remain as is.” – Disney’s Bob Iger speaking at Marvel this morning.

And then, the usually unstoppable tweeter Cebulski….fell silent for the remainder of the day.

Rich Johnston had an excellent piece on the European situation. Basically, Disney is an overseas powerhouse, and the biggest publisher in many European countries — however, its market share has been slipping of late. BUT, Marvel is distributed by Panini, a rival of Disney’s Italian office and a company that was once OWNED by Marvel but came out of the deal one of the biggest comics licensors in Europe. This one is going to be rough!

• It has been a busy week! I recorded two interviews yesterday! One with Mike Melia for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer’s Art Beat blog.

And another with Scott Hinze for Fanboy Radio , who also nabbed Rich Johnston, Rick Marschall, and Media Professor, Dr. Derek Kopare of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.


  1. Disney doesn’t publish comics in most European countries, they LICENSE comics. They do publish the Italian comics, and comics in Spain.

    According to Disney Comics Worldwide
    Egmont is the predominant Disney publisher (Germany, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Czech Rep., Slovakia, Albania, Sweden, UK, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Belarus, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Serbia, China, Taiwan…)

    Regarding Disney competing with Panini in Italy… how is that different than any other publisher in Europe? Panini in Italy is doing the same thing that Egmont is doing in Northern Europe: publishing original material which then gets sent to other licensee to reprint. (Don Rosa, for example, is first published in Denmark, where the royalties are greatest, not the U.S.)

    France = Hachette (owner of Warner Books)
    Japan = Kodansha

    Also, it is possible in foreign countries for multiple publishers to print titles from the same U.S. publisher.

    Interesting… Panini publishes both DC/Vertigo and Marvel in Germany… and Buffy and Star Wars comics.

  2. “The usually unstoppable tweeter Cebulski….fell silent” as he was bombarded by talent and press inquiries over that single tweet which kept him busy the rest of the day. :)

    Bob Iger was wonderful. He and some of his Disney staff openly and honestly answered all the Marvel employees various questions about numerous aspects of the merger as best they could for almost an hour. It was very cool of him to take the time and do, and we all greatly appreciated him giving us the opportunity to speak with him.

    Now back to regular twittering today!

  3. That CB.. he’s everywhere!

    Torsten, I did talk about how Disney was only the big publisher in Italy and how it licensed everywhere else.

    And Italy is different because Disney has taken a very different market stance there.

  4. Panini doesn’t publish original material except for Rat-Man (bimonthly and ongoing) and rare miniseries. In 2009 they have published only two issues of David Murphy 911, two issues of Le cronache del Mondo Emerso and six issues of Rat-Man.

  5. Bob Iger was wonderful. He and some of his Disney staff openly and honestly answered all the Marvel employees various questions about numerous aspects of the merger as best they could for almost an hour.

    In that situation, the questions would be more interesting than the answers. Actual changes would be announced by Marvel’s management and then disseminated downward; a more horizontal approach would mean that Marvel’s management had lost power. If people were fearing change or longing for change, their questions might indicate that — to their detriment.


  6. C.B.: Yay! The closest I came to meeting Michael Eisner in my 8 years at Disney was seeing the back of his head ONCE in our publisher’s office. It’s really impressive that Iger & co. took the time to come meet the Bullpen.

  7. mea culpa as they say in Roma… got my thoughts crossed.

    But… if Disney/Marvel is competing with Boom! and SLG just as Disney is competing with Panini…

    ah… holiday is here…

  8. So, do people actually think Disney’s crew would come into Marvel and say “listen, the Mouse owns you and the mouse says from now on you publish nothing but Zack and Cody fumetti. Capish?” Really??? Of course they say nothing is going to change. That’s what every buying company tells the employees of the just-purchased company… right before half of them get axed!

  9. Re the value of Marvel’s characters:

    Nikki Finke seems fairly enthusiastic about the Disney-Marvel deal. Her comments included:

    Fast forward to Monday’s Disney-Marvel deal, which I’ve learned was 10 years in conception, and three months in negotiation between Iger and Ike Perlmutter for the 7,000 Marvel characters — that’s right, 7,000, not the 5,000 number every media outlet keeps reporting including me.

    Just how many of those 7,000 characters are actually worth anything, in terms of licensing value and being able to support a storyline in any non-comics format? Even if the dead/alive status of a character isn’t significant, assuming that the “7,000” means practically every named (owned) character Marvel’s ever used means that many of them are failed characters (not appearing in more than one or two storylines), were created for specific storylines and would have little use outside of them, are character types without mass appeal (Dr. Strange-related characters, martial arts characters, horror characters (Satana?!), cosmic characters), are associated with particular heroes, etc.

    There are ways to gauge whether a particular character is successful (was a title character, was featured in “x” storylines within a ten-year period), but success as a Marvel Universe character doesn’t necessarily translate into success outside of that space.

    If the characters are to be used for programming aimed at preteens who’ll watch almost anything that doesn’t bore them, then the number of characters isn’t significant.

    I wonder whether Disney will find any uses for more than one-two percent of those 7,000 characters.


  10. Regarding the 7,000 characters: did Bob Iger discuss John Lasseter’s plans for Brother Voodoo?
    Also, Howard The Duck can finally revert to his Barks inspired appearance.

  11. The whole Disney/Marvel character team-up thing is getting old already and it hasn’t yet been a week? What am I supposed to do? Take a vacation from a news story? How does one do that anyway?