Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney wins Marvel, but do women still lose?

Disney buys Marvel

Of course, the question all over my Twitterfeed is "will this make things better for female fans?" There's some people dreaming of a bright future where X-women marketed side by side with Cinderella and superhero comics aimed for teenaged girls are sold as well as illustrated fairytale classics, but I find myself pessimistic.

Yeah, Disney's good with girls, but a) the word is they acquired Marvel to attract male customers and b) they're the producers of the ultra-feminine Disney Princess line, the long-standing keepers of traditional gender roles. I wouldn't hold out hope that Disney will make Marvel somehow more girl-friendly, when what they want is a boy's club under their banner and they aren't exactly into kickass women themselves.

I suppose there's some hope after the Tinkerbell movie, where Tink was remade based on strength of her name into a complete gadget-geek. The Fairies stuff suggests they're branching out to girls beyond the Princess line, so maybe they'll use some of the superhero characters for that.

At best, we get a court above Judge Joe Q to appeal to when we see something truly heinous. We may even see them pass on the more disgusting ideas for the mainstream titles. But I just don't expect female superheroes to suddenly get better billing and treatment out of this, or that they'll be seen as more than just candy to entice a pubescent male audience.

Aside from the gender-worries, I'm happy for Marvel. Big company, more stable than Marvel on its own. Better resources, more movies and support. Possibly some Uncle Scrooge reprints under the Marvel banner. And a few hours coming up with silly jokes (as well as some inspiring realizations about existing stories.)