Disneyland, get ready for a "Doctor Strange Adventure." Pixar, prepare your animators to enter the world of the Inhumans. Disney has a whole new mess of toys to play with. ---
News broke today that Disney will be purchasing Marvel Comics -- home of Spider-Man, X-Men and the Fantastic Four -- for around $4 billion. That's quite a turnaround for the comic-book publisher from a bankruptcy filing less than 15 years ago, most of it thanks to the box-office successes of several movie franchises based on its characters once special-effects technology caught up with the super-powers portrayed in print.
Not that Disney is going to be able to cash in on all these familiar names right away. Existing deals with Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Paramount are going to tie up the rights to Spider-Man, the X-Men and Iron Man, among others, for some time to come. But with Disney's monolithic cross-media reach, it's easy to see a lot of previously minor characters emerging into the mainstream in coming years. Spider-Woman, get ready to rumble.