While the site for Disney’s D23 Fan Expo doesn’t mention Marvel Comics at all, one has to assume that the studio’s recently-announced acquisition of the comic book giant plays nicely into a convention that they, as well as the mainstream press, have been comparing to Comic-Con International.
While “D23″ (Short for Disney, 1923, the latter being the year that Walt Disney arrived in Hollywood) was formerly just the name of a fan community of Disney enthusiasts, their decision to launch their own, Disney-centric convention in Anaheim and use it as a springboard for Disney properties raises a number of questions: If Disney expands beyond just their own broad media empire and seeks out partners to make the appeal of the conventions a little greater, will comics publishers or their representatives be invited? What if they decide that D23 and its Disney-only, Marvel-only focus is better press for them than other shows, and begin to trim back Marvel’s convention appearances, or limit the number of high-profile Disney events that can happen at San Diego? Does this render moot the conclusions that some of us were starting to draw regarding Marvel choosing a couple of recent Reed conventions over their Wizard-owned counterparts?
While Marvel’s experiments with “exclusive” conventions was less than impressive, it seems logical that Disney (who already have two year-round attractions dedicated to celebrating their properties) could take the D23 show on the road and “bring Disney to the masses,” as it were. Adding Marvel Comics to that empire stands to help them attract convention-goers who are more than just tourists; they’re walking photo-opportunities, enthusiastic Internet posters and just generally people who are used to the idea of expressing their fandom by getting together in large groups and celebrating all the best things about the entertainment they love.