Sunday, March 7, 2010
What if Disney does away with the culture of freelance lifers at Marvel Comics and replaces pencillers and inkers with animators and storyboard artists?
WHAT IF? What if Disney takes control of the characters from the Marvel brass and assigns their own artists/animators to work on some properties like Iron Man or Spider-Man? Like what if they start developing a whole strategy around releasing a comic series that is intended be an animated series and also a live action movie? (And an iphone comic, etc, etc.) I just think that the parent company will eventually start orchestrating whole events around the launch of high profile projects and sort of blur the lines a little between what is a comic and what is an animated movie and who works on them. As it is now, it’s still the old system: there is a comic that fans love and then there is a movie version that many of the original fans despise because it is not true to the comic, the original text. I can imagine a comic that is developed at the same time as an animation or as a live action movie – which as Avatar has shown can be the same thing: animation and live action.
Or they could take the whole Silver Surfer* saga from the beginning, use all that written material and relaunch the comic using Disney animators who would streamline the storyboard process and skip over that awkward transition from comic book to animation, or from comic book to live action. Meaning replace pencillers with animators who are more suited to work with cgi effects because they understand how things move on the screen. Everyone working together planning for each stage of development.
I mentioned this all to Dan and he asked why I would think that Disney would want to do away with freelancers and pay health benefits to move full time animators over to the “comics department”. Then he said that Disney’s animation department is in production year round and that they wouldn’t have anyone to spare to make comics. He also said that that Marvel doesn’t have to make money now, that the new comics being published are just one big pile of development ideas. And beyond that Disney now has 50 years of material to plumb. They don’t need to do anything like what I am proposing. And I agree. A little bit. My pipedream, however, is that with specific projects they might just create a team of “comics people” and animators to work together to make a seamless launch. Sort of like the Kick-Ass comic/movie. Just add one more step. Instead of using someone like Romita,Jr. to pencil the book, it’s a storyboard-slash-comics artist like a Darywn Cooke and then that artist leads the team that creates the animated movie. I know, I know, New Frontier was sort of like that but I mean that it all comes out at once or is staggered in a way that keeps interest in the project. Silver Surfer comic, Silver Surfer animation and Silver Surfer live action staggered across a calendar year.
Forgive me, True Believers, if you are reading this and thinking “Yah, but that would never happen because…” Humor me. This is my own issue of What If?…
*UPDATE: A commenter below points out that the Surfer is tied up legally with Fox. So substitute in your favorite classic character who is not tied up legally with another studio and try and imagine what I’m speculating on here… thanks.