I recently saw Big Hero 6, Disney’s 54th animation in their coveted Animated Classics range of films, based on an obscure Marvel Comics property from the 90’s.
I was very excited for this film, which the creators made clear is not a Marvel comic book movie, going so far as to not have the Marvel logo play before the film, it delivered on many levels, and for a film not released under its high profile creator’s banner, it still had a fun cameo by Marvel legend, Stan Lee.
Even before I walked into the theater, I was considering this film a milestone.
Because of exactly what I mentioned above; Big Hero 6 is a Marvel property, taken from its mother franchise, and given new life to be immortalized as a Disney classic.
This is a major win for the comic book world.
Disney is known for adapting fairy tales, folk tales, and classic novella as part of the sacred Animated Classics films, but as with 2012’s Wreck It-Ralph, Disney has, post-millennium, been experimenting, and in recent years they’ve made strides in the right direction.
Big Hero 6 is the accumulation of The Great Comic Book Boom we are experiencing in our theaters and on our televisions. Disney was quick, since their acquisition of Marvel, to put this film together as a Disney property.
It’s impact and importance is that the 14 years of streamlined comic book productions since X-Men has finally branched itself out of the stigma of being just comic book movies.
Removing its ties to the comic company that founded it, on the surface at least, as members of Marvel were still involved in the creative process, was a bold move. Yet Disney managed to handle it with respect and create something unique for their own branding.
Those of us who always loved and indulged in comics as a reading medium now get to experience watching the general audience entertain the seriousness of our passions, whether labeled officially as a comic film, or inspired by a comic.
Our comic book world is expanding in a big way.