A new rumor indicates that Disney might be shutting down Marvel Comics sooner rather than later.
The rumor comes from Jude Terror at Bleeding Cool who cites a press release from Marvel Comics indicating that Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and Joe Quesada are heading down to Austin, Texas to discuss the importance of comics to Disney’s business based off the Marvel intellectual properties.
In fact, Terror speculates that Cebulski and Quesada are heading to Austin, Texas to save Marvel Comics because “comics must continue to be published even if they add little value to the budget on their own simply because they provide the genetic material to make actual profits elsewhere.”
Terror even questions, “If less people are buying comics and the direct market is on the verge of collapse, then why should a megacorp like Disney continue to bother publishing them at all, especially when they can make far more money mining the intellectual properties for other mediums?”
Terror’s speculation isn’t anything new. Thom Pratt at The Kingdom Insider speculated about Disney cutting out Marvel Comics back in 2017.
Pratt notes that Disney’s entire profit on an entire year of Marvel Comics amounts to what they make “off one single Marvel Studios movie.” He bluntly writes, “Comic book sales look absolutely pathetic compared to an MCU release.”
Pratt who has his own sources at Disney even stated that “comic books have about as much value to Disney right now as a T-shirt.” In fact, he states it might even be less because “T-shirts have a higher profit margin.”
Pratt even addresses the idea that the comics are needed to mine for future stories in movies, video games, and other genres.
He quickly refutes this writing, “The MCU has taken characters and concepts in a totally different direction than the comic books, and Disney could easily hire away the best “idea guys” to work directly for Marvel Studios.”
Pratt predicts that Marvel Comics as a publisher will be done away with. He sees it existing in some form but being an “office full of brand managers overseeing licensed deals.” He even believes that Disney will license out the Marvel superheroes to other publishers similar to what they do with their Disney characters to IDW and Dark Horse.
Part of Pratt’s prediction has already come true as Disney has licensed their Marvel superheroes to IDW.
Pratt would return to his predictions in a video on Clownfish TV:
He would describe comics as “ancillary merchandise that supports [Disney’s] movie, television, and theme park business.”
He would also touch on the fact that Disney dislikes bad press. He specifically points to the Chuck Wendig firing. Wendig not only wrote for Marvel Comics, but also wrote Star Wars novels. Wendig made some extremely inflammatory comments over and over again on Twitter and he was eventually canned by Disney. Pratt indicates Disnwy would rather not deal with these situations. Instead, they would rather license the properties to a different publisher like IDW and have them deal with managing freelancers.
What do you make of this rumor that Disney might be looking to shut down or at the very least radically transform Marvel Comics?