Boom!: Disney-Fox Deal Puts Studio in Comic Book Business Again

Lumberjanes - H 2015
<p>Lumberjanes - H 2015</p>   |   Noelle Stevenson/Boom! Studios
The studio now finds itself a minority owner of Boom! Studios, the company behind 'Lumberjanes' and 'Goldie Vance.'

Disney’s acquisition of Fox has fans beside themselves over what it means for their beloved X-Men franchise. Political types are pondering the meaning of Disney CEO Bob Iger staying on until 2021 and his potential run for U.S. president.

Lost in the shuffle is the fact that Disney, which bought Marvel in 2009, is now involved with yet another comic book company, in this case, Boom! Studios. The studio finds itself with a minority stake in the company, after Fox became an investor in the indie publisher in June.

The two companies could not be more different. Marvel primarily focuses on superheroes and has a market share of upwards of 40 percent. Boom! is not in the cape business (minus one or two titles) but boasts some strong and buzzy original series. It has a focus on licensed material such as Planet of the Apes and Big Trouble in Little China (and ironically, publishes comics featuring Disney and Pixar characters). Its market share hovers around the 3 percent mark.

Insiders say it’s too soon to tell what the Disney deal means for Boom! Disney could sell off its stake or it could go all in.

But a Disney-Boom! axis could be a strong fit for both as Boom!, a creator of original material, has several titles that seem primed for a wide Disney audience, whether for theatrical or streaming. Many have been in development for some time and already have considerable talent involved. Disney could stay on that development track or start from scratch if it wanted to.

Among the titles with strong Disney appeal:

Goldie Vance — Written by Hope Larson, it features a mixed-race teen girl detective who lives in a hotel. Rashida Jones just came on board to direct an adaptation, with Kerry Washington as one of the producers.

Lumberjanes — A fan-favorite co-created by Noelle Stevenson, it tells of a group of girls at a summer camp who battle the strange and supernatural. Cat Vasko wrote the current script.

Mouse Guard — This long-running series is an epic tale set in medieval times and features mice who form a brotherhood to fight predators. Wes Ball, the filmmaker behind the Maze Runner movies, is attached to direct, and Matt Reeves is one of the producers.

Rust — Carlos Saldanha of Rio fame is attached to direct this story of robots big and small. It centers on a family struggling to keep its farm afloat when it encounters Jet Jones, a boy robot with a mysterious past.

Marvel isn’t the only comic publisher that Disney owns. In 2004, five years before acquiring Marvel, Disney picked up the assets of bankrupt publisher CrossGen Comics. Some of those titles were put into development, but not a single one has made it to the screen, big or small. Marvel Comics also half-heartedly tried to restart some of the titles, but quickly abandoned the plans.