Without emitting a single particle beam or firing a single nuclear blast, the greatest comic empire of all time has been sucked into the vortex of hell. In a day when "Disneyfication" is widely used to mean "turning something into crass, commercial crap," the entire roster of mighty Marvel superheroes has meekly succumbed to the greatest evil of all time: that bottom line-watching, focus group-obsessing, innovation-destroying, suit-wearing, glad-handing, gormless, cultureless, Essence of Big Corporation.
It would have been better if Nick Fury, Thor, Spidey, Wolverine et al. had just died and gone away. Instead, their copyright is now the exclusive property of Disney (along with thousands of other once-proud independent characters - Disney even owns the image of the RCMP). My heroes will be distorted and disgraced, exploited and over-exposed.
Marvel's edge was its edge: its superheroes were unhappy; they were failures; they were plagued by doubt and fear. At their best, the stories and drawings sprang from a deep well of geeky angst, and demonstrated that the strength of independence is sometimes the result of the weakness of loneliness. This wonderful art form was born because the audience was prepubescent and the writers connected with that time of frustrating powerless life on the cusp.
For the last few summer seasons, the cinematic extension of the superhero genre has got more and more interesting. The commercial potential is there for the genre to continue, but what form will it take now? The fear is that Disney will take it down the path of big budget pablum (X-Men, Transformers) vs the innovation of the very best (Watchmen, Iron Man, Hancock).