Marvel and the Mouse

You've probably heard by now that Disney is buying Marvel.

Jack Kirby's contribution to Craig Yoe's The Art of Mickey Mouse
© 1991 Yoe, the Kirby Estate, and/or Disney.

I don't have any insight to share at the moment beyond the fact that most of the jokes — some of them made as much warily as humorously — are just that: jokes. The House of Ideas, as Marvel was once known, won't be "Disneyfied" by The Mouse House (or The House That Mickey Built; choose your colorful correlative). Disney also owns ESPN and Miramax, remember.

Plenty of mash-up artwork has made the rounds since the announcement, some of it done for just plain fun long before yesterday's acquisition news. While many of the character smooshes are quite good, and it's interesting to see that Wolverine is as prevalent as Spider-Man when choosing a signature Marvel character to cross with Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck, my favorite is this in-joke (although it should have used the original red-headed Marvel character instead of Eeyore). One of the best-looking and oldest illustrations circulated is the above piece drawn by Jack Kirby and colored by Craig Yoe for Yoe's coffee-table book The Art of Mickey Mouse, in which famous artists of all stripes interpreted the icon; its resurgence in this context shows how closely Kirby is associated with the quintessential Marvel style when he's really genericizing himself and not the publisher.

1 comment:

Arben said...

Good point about Kirby's piece. I think it's also the only one I saw that has a Disney character "wearing" the costume or attributes of a Marvel character -- or in this case, as you say, a generic Kirbyesque superhero. Other than the few pieces that have the Marvel and Disney characters "facing off" it's Donald as Wolverine, Mickey as Spidey, etc., which only makes sense, because it would be hard to dress Marvel characters in the accoutrements of Disney characters and get the same instant recognition, unless you had, say, Spidey wearing a Mickey outfit from Disney World and taking off the head to reveal his familiar masked visage.