Consider the multiple properties it owns, from Pixar to Lucasfilm to Marvel, and how each of these streams feeds into the other and it becomes a little overwhelming to comprehend. Take, for example, last week's announcement that Marvel Comics would now publish all "Star Wars"-related comic books, taking over from Dark Horse Comics, who had been publishing the four-color spin-offs for over 20 years. Disney owns Marvel and "Star Wars," so it should lead to perfect, cross-promotional bliss, right? Especially since the first books are scheduled to come out in 2015, around the time J.J. Abrams's "Star Wars: Episode VII" is released into theater. Right?
Well, not so fast, according to a Hollywood Reporter report, which suggests that the merge could mean fewer "Star Wars" comic titles (and less standing for the always wonderful Dark Horse).
The analysis on the Hollywood Reporter suggests that the Marvel acquisition could mean way fewer "Star Wars" comic books. They point to the fact that the property is the financial backbone of Dark Horse Comics, the publisher of "Hellboy" and the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" books (along with a number of influential independent titles from the eighties to today), with some five "Star Wars" titles being published every month. This probably won't continue.
Not only does the Hollywood Reporter point to Marvel's spotty track record in terms of adapting other Disney properties (everything from "TRON" to "John Carter"), but when Disney bought Marvel and wrangled the rights away from BOOM! Studios for the Disney and Pixar animated characters, the output dwindled significantly. A Toronto comic store owner wrote in 2012, " "At the height of production, BOOM! Studios had been publishing as many as 10 comics a month featuring the Pixar and Disney characters. During their tenure with the license from January 2009 through December 2010 (2 years), they produced roughly 200 comics, and more than 30 trade paperbacks of that material... In the two years since Marvel acquired the license (January 2011-December 2012), they will have produced approximately 8 comic books, 8 magazines, and near as we can tell, 4 graphic novels (only 2 in 2012)." That doesn't exactly bode well for "Star Wars" at Marvel, does it?
And while the license may boost the dwindling Marvel sales, the loss could conceivably crush Dark Horse, or at least weaken it dramatically. Which is a shame considering that they have been putting out ace entertainment for years now. They'll survive, but the hit will be huge. As the Hollywood Reporter piece notes, " It's possible that we'll see some great Star Wars comics from Marvel as a result of today's announcement, but it's difficult to shake the feeling that this move is more akin to the Empire Striking Back than any kind of New Hope, at least for now.
Read more over at The Hollywood Reporter.