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The Middle Ground #43: When Bad Things Happen…

by  in Comic News Comment

The more I think about the news that BOOM! Studios has lost the Pixar license, the more it depresses me. It’s not that I don’t think that Marvel is capable of producing good Pixar comics – they’ve done some great all-ages work recently, with Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Paul Tobin’s Spider-Man and Super-Heroes titles and the Oz books – but more that… it seems unfair that BOOM! lost the license, if that makes sense.

Oh, I mean, sure; it more than likely comes down to money and the fact that Marvel is owned by Disney, just like Pixar, so there’s probably much more money to be made doing everything in-corporate-structure, if not in-house. But I’ll admit to being a little naive, and being surprised that what would’ve seemed the most obvious creative benefit from keeping everything in the company family – That a Marvel-produced book might have work by Pixar talent – seems to be something that’s completely bypassed by the announced Disney*Pixar Magazine apparently featuring reprint material instead of any new strips.

To make matters odder, it’s material reprinted from the BOOM! books, which – Am I the only person that strikes as odd? I know that Cars isn’t a relatively long-lived concept (The movie came out, what, five years ago? Back when Owen Wilson had a career, anyway), and that there isn’t exactly a long line of Cars-related comic material to reprint, but the Boom! material is less than a couple of years old, and chances are already familiar to the target audience of the magazine. Isn’t there any European material out there that kids won’t already have seen, or – and this is probably missing the “Hey, cheap magazines made out of pre-existing content!” aim of the whole enterprise, I know – brand new comics that could have appeared in its place?

At least reprinting the BOOM! material shows that Disney apparently loved what Boom! were doing – it’s a weird backhanded compliment, after taking the license back for Marvel (“We loved what you guys were doing – It’s just that it has your logo attached. I’m sure you understand”), but a deserved recognition of the great work that BOOM! was doing with the characters and the material. I wonder whether BOOM!’s creators will produce new material for the Marvel books, or whether that’ll fall to more familiar Marvel hands (if there’s any new material at all, of course), but more than anything, I wonder what’s going to happen to BOOM! as a result. The publisher is already relaunching its kids line as KaBoom!, and has both Peanuts and what looks like a new Roger Langridge series already announced, so it’s not as if we’re going to see any fall in quality, but – even though BOOM! is keeping the “regular” Disney line – does losing the Pixar books mean a loss of visibility, or a loss of credibility with other licensers, for the company?

Like I said: The Pixar move to Marvel was inevitably all about money and corporate interests than anything else. But I find it depressing, nonetheless; despite the quality of their work – work so good that Marvel are immediately reprinting it – BOOM! has to deal with the rumors and reality of losing such a high profile license and series of books. I’d complain it was unfair, but that’d suggest I thought that the comic industry had to be fair in the first place.