IGW returns with a look at some Disney properties that would work well in the Marvel Universe!
It was announced at New York Comic Con that Marvel would be running a backup feature in select books during December, featuring characters from the Disney property "Prep and Landing" entering the Avengers Mansion to prepare the house for Santa Claus's coming. Many see this as the first step towards fully incorporating the Marvel characters and intellectual properties into the wider Disney portfolio and using the famed Disney marketing machine to cross-promote the hell out of Marvel's properties (and vice versa). It also marks the first time that Disney characters have popped up within the Marvel universe, albeit in out-of-continuity Christmas backup features.
Since Disney is so keen on incorporating some of their properties into the Marvel universe, I have compiled a brief list of some Disney properties that would work well in a world filled with angry green monsters, occasionally homicidal Canadian mutant headmasters and a talking raccoon whose best friend is an alien tree.
[Note: IGW understands that there's very little chance of any of this happening, as Disney would probably not want to sully their children-friendly characters by putting them in an adult and oftentimes graphic Marvel universe. So, save the "Waaaaaah, Disney wouldn't want to show children these comics because they're too violent and sex-filled" comments for someone who cares.]
[Other Note: I deliberately left Darkwing Duck, Duck Tales, Chip N Dale's Rescue Rangers and The Incredibles off the list in part out of respect for the fine job Boom did adapting the various Disney properties until Boom's licensing agreement expired. I would be shocked if there wasn't a comic published by Marvel featuring some, if not all, of the properties mentioned above sometime in the next two years.]
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
What it is: While everyone knows of Buzz Lightyear from the popular Toy Story series, not everyone remembers the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command television show that ran in 2000-2003 on UPN and ABC's One Saturday Morning block. The cartoon, featuring Patrick Warburton as voice of the title character, fleshed out the fictional world of the popular action figure featured in Toy Story. The television series introduced other members of Star Command, the intergalactic peacekeeping organization to which Buzz belongs, and expanded the character's foes beyond that of the evil Emperor Zurg.
Why It Could Work: Marvel's cosmic characters were given new life thanks to the Annihilation miniseries and its subsequent sequels. However, the cosmic line largely failed to gain a following outside of a dedicated group of readers and has recently seen its two ongoing series cancelled, leaving the line only with a chain of miniseries for the last year. Bringing in one of the most recognizable characters to come out of Disney in the last fifteen years would instantly make Marvel's cosmic line a sales titan and give Marvel Cosmic the spark it needs to avoid fading into obscurity once again.
How it Could Work in the Marvel Universe: With the fall of Nova and Peter Quill in the events of The Thanos Imperative, the galaxy finds itself in need of a peacekeeping force in the vein of the defunct Nova Corps as opposed to the nuclear option that is the Annihilators. While the Worldmind is insistent on reforming the Nova Corps, Robbie Rider, Richard Rider's little brother, has been working with a newly formed Galactic Alliance to create a new peacekeeping force that can handle planetary disputes and respond to galactic threats quickly. Rider's first recruit? A no-nonsense humanoid space cop by the name of Lightyear.
American Dragon, Jake Long
What It Is: An adolescent boy from a multicultural, multiracial family living in Manhattan must take up the mantle of a hero after becoming imbued with powers due to a family secret. I'm not talking about Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man featured in Ultimately Ultimate Spider-Ultimate-Man Ultimate Comics (or whatever they're calling it nowadays); I'm talking about Jake Long, a kid who, like Ultimate Spider-Man, found out he had amazing, vaguely animal-based powers and uses them to fight evil. Oh, and Long's power is to turn into a dragon. Basically the gist of the television series, which ran on The Disney Channel from 2005-2007, is that Jake Long is the first American Dragon, a protector of magical creatures, and he must learn how to use his powers from his grandfather (also a dragon) and his talking Shar Pei dog so that he can defend himself from the Dark Dragon. Also, his girlfriend is a member of a secret society that kills dragons for fun.
Why It Could Work: Teenage heroes are in vogue at Marvel right now. Young Avengers, Avengers Academy, Wolverine's School on the Morality of Mutant Death Squads, and the aforementioned Ultimate Spider-Man are all among Marvel's most hyped series right now. Throwing in a kid who can turn into a dragon seems like a no-brainer.
How It Could Work: Surprisingly, there doesn't need to be a lot of change to throw Jake Long into the Marvel universe. Long's origin and powers could remain relatively unchanged (the dragon thing is hereditary, FYI). Throw in some mystical threats, some explosions, maybe the death of a loved one (my vote's for the talking Shar Pei), and a Dr. Strange appearance and you have yourself a relatively powerful magic user based in New York who can interact with the three hundred other heroes that interact in New York. If the character doesn't take, then just kill him off in a hyped event and bring him back a couple years later with edgier powers and attitude.
What It Is: Gargoyles is a critically-acclaimed fan-favorite television series based around a group of nocturnal creatures that awaken in modern day New York after being betrayed in Scotland a thousand years prior to the start of the series. Featuring an ensemble cast of Shakespearean characters, interspecies romance and incorporating myths and legends from a variety of different cultures; the series remains a fan-favorite to this day, and was even resurrected as a comic book in 2006.
Why It Could Work: This wouldn't be the first time that Marvel released a Gargoyles comic. Marvel had previously produced a licensed Gargoyles comic in 1995 which lasted eleven issues. Also, as mentioned previously, producer Greg Weisman released a second Gargoyles series through Slave Labor Graphics which was cancelled only due to Disney's raising its licensing fees. Weisman, now a producer for Young Justice, has expressed hopes that he'd someday be able to continue his Gargoyles series in comic book form.
How It Could Work: The main problem that I see with Marvel developing the property is that there is now an entire generation of fans who have no idea who the characters are. If Marvel wanted to resurrect the series, it would be best if they worked with Weisman to develop an updated version of the television series' plot into comic book form while laying out some of the story elements that Weisman had discarded as being too deep for a children's television show.
Perry the Platypus
What It Is: Perry the Platypus lives a double life on the Disney Channel's Phineas and Ferb. While the character poses as the title characters' house pet, he is in reality a secret agent for a espionage agency known only as the O.W.C.A (short for Organization Without a Cool Acronym). Perry, who also goes by the codename Agent P, is a semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal of action who battles the mildly evil Dr. Doofenschmirtz on a daily basis while keeping his second life secret from his adopted family. He also has this very catchy themesong.
Why It Could Work: To be blunt, Agent P is the BEST character to come out of Disney's House of Ideas ever. He's better than Aladdin, better than the Lion King, and most certainly better than Mickey Mouse. (The only characters that could hold a candle to Perry's awesomeness are the Muppets, who I've excluded from conversation as they were originally developed outside of Disney and were only recently purchased by the entertainment conglomerate). Agent P is a tough, fearless spy who is easily capable of staring down the toughest foes (although he does have a penchant for getting captured due to his bold entrances) and can easily handle the roughest aspects of being a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent while doing it with a suaveness that even James Bond would struggle to match. Perry also oozes charisma and charm, despite the fact that he's a functionally mute platypus who's unable to communicate outside of a distinctive growl.
How It Could Work: There's a lot of ways this could go down. Wolverine could recruit Perry to run security at his school, which would provide it with a level of protection that might actually ensure that half of its students survive the first week (an increase of about 45%). Or, the Canadian government could recruit Agent P, making Alpha Flight relevant for the first time ever. Cyclops could stop by and recruit Perry for his team of powerhouse X-Men, since being a mutant is optional and he'd be a better and more interesting fit than the rest of the team. Or, Reed Richards could recruit Perry for the Fantastic Four, allowing the Thing some much needed time off as the team powerhouse. Actually, come to think of it, Perry's owners, Phineas and Ferb, would probably fit in with the Future Foundation as well, due to their advanced intellect and knack for inventing crazy, scientifically complex devices. Personally, I think Steve Rogers needs to personally show up and recruit Perry the Platypus to join S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, and assign him to team up with Wolverine, the Hulk, Spider-Man and Batman on his first day. Regardless, Disney and Marvel NEED to make this happen. The only obstacle I see to making this a reality is that Agent P is the hero the Marvel Universe deserves, not the hero that the Marvel Universe needs right now.
[One More Note for the Hell of It: Yes, this entire article was just an excuse for me to lobby Marvel to incorporate Perry the Platypus into their world. No, I am not ashamed of this at all.]
So what Disney properties do you think might find a good home in Marvel's universe? Do you think that the Wuzzles would work as bizarre creations of the High Evolutionary? Or think that Quail Man might have a place fighting alongside the Young Allies? Feel free to add your ideas to the comments.
Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer