Op/Ed: Marvel & Disney - We Should Have Seen It Coming
Op/Ed: Marvel & Disney - Common Ground
We should have seen this coming. Disney. Marvel. The signs have always been there, even if we weren’t psychologically prepared to absorb them. Now, at this hour, it’s become obvious . . . the characters of Marvel and Disney have a lot in common. Let’s take a look at some of the common ground in this match made in pop culture history.
Common Ground: Were there ever two guys that represented the common man more than Mickey and Spidey? Mickey always wants things to be perfect, whether it’s a Christmas tree or a vacation; Spidey always wants Aunt May to be okay and for his dates to go right. Invariably, something (Pluto chasing Chip and Dale, the Green Goblin) gets in the way, and things end in disaster. Sure, our plucky heroes always pick themselves up and try again, but they sure do have tough luck.
Big Difference: Spidey’s girls have never been the mousy type. Mickey never made a deal with the devil to save Uncle Scrooge.
The Temperamental Guy: Donald Duck and Wolverine
Common Ground:They have a hard time expressing themselves underneath the bluster. Both are given to fits of rage which render them inarticulate. They are both occasionally seen without pants. Donald and Wolverine know what it’s like to have the whole world against them, and they’re not afraid to let everyone hear about it.
Big Difference: Wolverine never chaperoned Junior Woodchucks. Donald’s never killed ninjas. (Side Note: There’s a very good case to be made for Wolverine and Stitch as well.)
The Space Rangers: Buzz Lightyear & Star Command and The Guardians of the Galaxy
Common Ground: Gathered from races across the universe to fight monolith threats, both of these organizations boast diverse memberships and a desire for justice. Star Command has some talking animals, and the Guardians have Rocket Raccoon and Cosmo (Groot, as he will tell you, is merely Groot). Both can be extremely funny.
Big Difference: Not a lot, really.
The Mutants: X-Men and Dumbo, Stitch, and The Little Mermaid
Common Ground: Feared and hated by the world that they’ve sworn to protect, the X-Men are reviled and mocked by normal humans for their powers and gifts. Similarly, Dumbo, Stitch and Ariel are among many Disney outsiders that are ridiculed for either a physical or philosophical difference. With Dumbo, his ears make him somewhat equivalent to Angel; Stitch, as noted above, has a lot in common with Wolverine, and often has an alien government interfere in his affairs. Ariel has also been occasionally written by Peter David.
Big Difference: Dumbo is not frequently chased by giant robots, though I think we can all agree that’s a good starting point for a sequel.
The Incredibles and The Fantastic Four
Common Ground: Ya’ think?
Big Difference: The Incredibles was a good movie.
Dazzler and Hannah Montana
Common Ground: Both are pop stars that have had to conceal elements of their identity (mutancy, private life) from an adoring public. Both have a number of fans, and have close associations with popular groups (X-Men, Jonas Brothers). Dazzler’s outfits are frequently inappropriate for fighting super-villains, while Miley’s are occasionally inappropriate for the Teen Choice Awards.
Big Difference: There is no Billy Ray Dazzler.
Hercules and Hercules
Common Ground: Hey, it’s basically the same guy. Can’t you see Disney Herc growing up to be Marvel Herc?
Big Difference: Phil is no Amadeus Cho.
Iron Man and Lightning McQueen
Common Ground: Both are egotistical show-offs. Both learn hard lessons after suffering debilitating injuries. Both share the same paint job. They’re both occasionally fueled by flammable substances (in Iron Man’s case, Amaretto).
Big Differences:: War Machine has never taken Iron Man “tractor tippin’.”
Clearly, the list could go on and on. Agatha Harkness and Mary Poppins? Machine Man and Pinnochio? The sheer number of orphans? It’s easy to see that Disney and Marvel share many compatible features. And while I get the sense that many fans are nervous about what this collaboration might mean for their favorite characters, take heart: The Punisher will always punish the guilty, Wolverine will always be the best he is at what he does, and Goofy will always find a way to knock himself out . . . just like The Sentry.