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In a battle between the animation world’s powerhouses, which one will come on top?
Martin Goodman founded Marvel Comics, formerly known as Timely Publications, in 1939 in New York. He released his first publication, Marvel Comics #1, in October 1939. In the 1940s, Timely Publications teamed up with Jack Kirby to create Captain America, one of a series of pro-American superheroes.
Following the Second World War, Timely dropped its patriotic superheroes in favor of comical and more realistic characters. By the 1960s, most of the company’s characters, both heroes and villains, exhibited strengths and weaknesses. Some its characters, including Spider Man and the Hulk, suffered from depression and low self-esteem.
In 1968, founder Goodman sold his publishing house to the Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation, which renamed it, Marvel Comics Group. It was later sold to New World Entertainment, which within three years sold it to MacAndrews and Forbes.
In the 1990s, Marvel Group established Marvel Studios, which began producing the cartoons and movies you saw during your youth.
Three weeks ago, Walt Disney acquired Marvel for $4 billion.
Yes, its history is a little dizzying.
Founded in 1923 by Walt Disney and his brother Roy as a tiny animation studio, the company today is the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate. It boasts a Hollywood Studio and is the licensor of numerous theme parks and television networks. Out of all the characters Disney created, Mickey Mouse is the company's mascot.
Judging by the company's acquisition of Marvel in August 2009, it's obvious Disney's still growing.
It’s true that they’re only cartoon characters, but Marvel’s heroes and villains are intrinsically human. Unlike Disney’s perfect good and bad guys, the lines are blurred in the Marvel’s comics. A journalist for the Associated Press described them as “reluctant superheroes transformed by radioactive spider bites and weird cosmic rays, costumed avengers who are in therapy, struggle to pay the bills and grouse about their superhuman lot. Shades of ambiguous gray, drawn in color-drenched shadows.”
The characters are dark, morose and essentially unhappy who do good (and bad) deeds because they’re programmed to. It’s a hard life being a superhero (we wouldn’t know).
Disney’s characters, which are mostly doe-eyed, morally supreme, valiant characters, are reminiscent of Walt’s small town ideals. While innocent and caring on the one hand, they can be out of touch and irrelevant on the other. However, with animations such as Toy Story (1995), its 2006 acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios (which produced The Incredibles), Disney is working to making itself relevant to today’s youth.
Perhaps its recent purchase of Marvel Comics may catapult Disney’s characters into the real world. Frankly, it’s about time: maybe they’ll do away with headaches like Hannah Montana (although we doubt it, but there’s no harm in dreaming).
Marvel has licensed its characters for theme-parks around the world, including at the Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure, in Orlando, Florida, California and Japan. In 2007, Marvel and UAE developer Al Ahli Group announced a partnership to build Marvel’s first full theme park in Dubai. The project was set to open in 2011 and boasted a direct investment of over $1 billion.
There have been no updates regarding the theme park in Dubai, although we’ve read reports that it may have been postponed to 2012. We need information.
The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is world’s most popular tourist destination. The property is twice the size of Manhattan, although only a quarter of it has been developed.
Other theme parks and resorts around the world include Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Resort in California.
The company also runs Disney Cruise Line, which operates two ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. They each stop at the company’s private island, Castaway Cay.
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