Friday, February 18, 2011

Disney Pursues New Comic Book Strategy!

There is some interesting news emerging in regard to Disney comic books.  Last October, I wrote about my overall disappointment with the production and marketing strategies of Boom! in relation to their Disney-licensed comics.  The focus at Boom! has always been the direct market--specialty distributors and retailers, and they very distinctly under serve a more mainstream readership, especially younger kids.

Now we have word that Marvel Comics will be producing an ongoing magazine featuring the Pixar characters.  Pixar-related comics were removed from the Boom! publishing schedule a few months back.  Now we know the reason.  According to the Marvel Comics press release:
Marvel and Disney Publishing will debut DISNEY•PIXAR PRESENTS, a new monthly magazine featuring some of the most popular characters from the acclaimed Disney/Pixar films. Intended for readers of all ages and priced at $5.99, the first issue will hit stores in May 2011.
Each issue of the magazine contains 96 full color pages of content, including a mix of brand new stories, classic adventures, puzzles, games and more. Featuring characters from Disney/Pixar’s hit movies Cars, Cars 2, The Incredibles, Toy Story 3, and more, DISNEY•PIXAR PRESENTS will be available at bookstores, retail chains, comic stores and more. The series debuts with DISNEY•PIXAR PRESENTS: Cars Magazine #1
“We’re excited for the launch of DISNEY•PIXAR PRESENTS, teaming with our friends at Disney/Pixar to bring some exciting new material to fans all over the world and introducing a whole new generation to comics,” said Axel Alonso, Marvel Editor-in-Chief. “We’re committed to providing a great product and ensuring these books are available in locations that parents and kids frequent. The Disney/Pixar library includes some of the most popular characters of all time, making DISNEY•PIXAR PRESENTS exactly the kind of comic magazine that kids and parents have been demanding!”
Rev up those engines and join your favorite characters from CARS in DISNEY•PIXAR PRESENTS: Cars Magazine #1 as Lightning McQueen organizes a charity race for young cars with special needs, but he didn’t invite Piston Cup champion Chick Hicks. The snub gets Hick’s competitive juices flowing, and he’s out to show McQueen a thing or two about racing! Will Hicks ruin the good nature of the Radiator Springs Rally Race? Find out this May everywhere books and comics are sold.
I am indeed, very encouraged.  Marvel appears to be potentially addressing many of the issues I mentioned in my previous article.  The magazine will be content-heavy, comparatively less expensive, have wider distribution and most importantly, be marketed to kids.  It does appear that Marvel will be recycling some of the previously published Boom! material, indicating that they are strongly targeting an audience that Boom! did not pursue and who will perceive such content as brand new.

Despite media spin to the contrary, the Boom! Kids line is floundering.  The Muppets titles have been apparently canceled.  The recruiting of Warren Spector to write DuckTales seems to be just a bone-throw to fanboys.  The recent much-hyped return to more traditional stories and reprints for the classic Disney characters line (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge and Comics and Stories) has been disappointing at best, a poor imitation of publishing strategies that both Gladstone and Gemstone utilized, but without the academic underpinnings and evident passion for the material that those previous publishers provided.  Hopefully these remaining Disney comic book licenses will eventually migrate to potentially greener pastures as their Pixar cousins just did.

Explore the 2719 Hyperion Archives:
Disney Comics Go Boom! . . . and Fall Down


FigmentJedi said...

I'm just hoping Marvel decides to finish Incredibles. It had a great running story, but the series stopped right at a big cliffhanger before the climactic battle the whole thing had been building up to.

Cory Gross said...

I don't have as much to say about this post, but I did read your previous comments on Boom's bust and wanted to say that I would be all over a Disney Adventures-style digest. Heck, I used to be a reader of it way back when it first started. I probably still have the first issues in a box in my parents' basement somewhere.

I don't really have the time or money to collect a regular series anymore. The closest I come is Jonah Hex, for which I pick up the latest trade paperback every six months. Otherwise I prefer quality, entertaining, self-contained stories/TPBs. Just today I picked up DC's World Greatest Superheroes TPB because I already knew them to be solid work that didn't bog me down in sequential stories. I stayed as far away from Blackest Night or any of the infinite Crises. I also introduced a former coworker of mine to the DC heroes at all through digests of the Justice League and Teen Titans cartoon tie-ins.

Anyways, my point before my digression is that I would love a compact, affordable little Disney digest with some written features and stories alongside multi-franchise comic shorts... Some Epic Mickey, Darkwing Duck, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Tron, etc. Heck, the sky would be the limit. I'm willing to use to popularity of Pixar to sneak in a periodic Captain Nemo or Absent-Minded Professor comic. It would be a great launchpad for rebuilding some franchises.

Anonymous said...

The Incredibles has been an ongoing series for over 50 years. It's called The Fantastic Four.