Today we were greeted with a big surprise: Disney bought Marvel Entertainment at the modest cost of $4 billion, grabbing control of thousands of Marvel characters while giving the comic company a tap into Disney's global power. It should bring about a lot of change, for Marvel at the very least, and a myriad of possibilities, but will stronger female characters be on that list? It would be great to be proven wrong, but this new deal doesn't inspire confidence.
On the one side, we've got Disney. Their best female potential lies in Pixar -- a company that has yet to have a real front-and-center female lead in their films, but has done a really great job with supporting characters. Unfortunately, that's about as far as it goes. Beyond that, laying in stark contrast to gals like Ellie, is Disney's princess mania. They provide the main femme arm for the company, plying young girls with pastel colors, pretty dresses, and dreams of princely saviors. In fact, they have become such a backbone for the girl side of Disney that even Pocahontas, who is not a castle-dweller, is lumped with the rest. Her characterization is similar enough, but really -- if they didn't throw her in with the rest, there would be no place for her. The Mouse House is all about their pretty, pretty princesses, and rarely, if ever, seem interested in expanding that focus.