When Marvel posted details of its November 2015 releases earlier this week, there was a surprising absence of Big Hero 6-related material despite that month’s release of the Disney animated movie based on the Marvel characters. If that seems strange, it gets more so: The publisher also has decided to bench the characters to coincide with the movie’s release.
Not only is Marvel not planning any reprints or new material to tie in with the Disney movie released Nov. 7, but it turns out that the characters aren’t scheduled to make appearances in any other Marvel comic titles in the foreseeable future, either. A spokesperson for Marvel confirmed that it has “no plans” for the property when contacted by THR, following up on an earlier report from Newsarama.
The last time the characters appeared in a Marvel title was 2012, when the team showed up in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man to help defeat Doctor Octopus. Around the same time, the publisher released a collection of the group’s earlier appearances to tie in with then-contemporary rumors of the Disney project, which was officially announced a year later.
Unusually, while Marvel isn’t publishing any Big Hero 6 material, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a comic book tie-in to the project. Since the beginning of this month, Japanese publisher Kodansha has been serializing a story in its anthology series Magazine Special focusing on the robotic character Baymax seen in initial trailers for the movie. Traditionally, Kodansha has enjoyed a close relationship with Marvel’s parent company Disney, sponsoring Tokyo Disneyland and releasing manga versions of other Disney animated projects, including The Lion King, Beauty & The Beast and Frozen.
In the U.S., Disney subsidiary Random House has a line of Big Hero 6 material planned for publication around the release of the movie.
The lack of Marvel material may point to the company not maintaining full financial participation over the property due to the partnership with Disney Animation. As the Newsarama report points out, Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort has previously suggested that Marvel prioritizes properties it has complete control over. As he wrote on his Q&A Tumblr, “If you had two things, and on one you earned 100% of the revenues from the efforts that you put into making it, and the other you earned a much smaller percentage for the same amount of time and effort, you’d be more likely to concentrate more heavily on the first, wouldn’t you?”
For those curious to read some of the original Big Hero 6 comic material, the 2012 collection remains available digitally. If you would prefer print, it looks like it’s time to hit up the back issue bins.