Marvel Entertainment is one of the world’s most prominent entertainment companies. Indeed, Marvel is approaching its 10th decade of existence, with a family tree that would make any biological organism proud. But who owns Marvel? Is it Stan Lee? Robert Downey Jr.? Walt Disney–certainly they have their stake in the company’s existence!
Let’s find out who owns Marvel and once we do, you’ll be just as flushed with glee as we were when we uncovered this little gem.
The story of Marvel began in 1939 when writer-editor Martin Goodman’s comic book company was renamed Atlas Comics. In the 1940s, Fox bought a large portion of this publisher and merged with other media companies including Sterling from 1951 and went public as Timely Comics. Finally, in 1961 there was a merger between the company and another comics publisher named Marvel which occurred after it changed its name to that of its most successful character – Spider-Man.
Marvel Comics :
Writer/artist Stan Lee and the Marvel Comics company were responsible for the creation of many popular comic book superheroes, such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk and so on. While most people know this to be true, few are aware of how exactly Marvel Comics was created. In their recent blog post “How Secret Wars Became a Reality”, they explained that what is now known as one of the biggest comic book publishers started as a small publishing house called Timely Publications in 1939. To increase their sales and expand into different genres they renamed it Marvel in 1941.
Marvel Superheroes :
The Marvel Universe was first published by Martin Goodman’s Marvel Comics, an American publisher of various comic books and associated media.
In 1961, with success on his hands and eagerness to make a quick buck, Goodman decided to promote the company by having its staff show up at a major convention dressed as superheroes.
And so Stan Lee (editor and writer), Jack Kirby (artist), Gene Colan (artist), Bill Everett (artist) and Don Rico (co-editor) — decked out in full heroic regalia — made their way into the ballroom of the Hotel Roosevelt where thousands of fans were gathered for that year’s National Convention. And thus Marvel Super Heroes was born!
Marvel Cinematic Universe :
The Marvel cinematic universe is the shared universe created by Marvel Studios, under licence from Marvel Entertainment. Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU is a fictional reality that brings together characters from different comic book publications created by the American company Marvel Comics. Sometimes abbreviated MCU, it builds on plots in movies featuring some of these characters with tie-in action sequences and additional scenes in subsequent films.
From 2008 to 2013, eleven films were released in this series – one per year (except for 2011). The twelfth film was not released until 2018. So far, every film has been set within this same timeline with no time distinction between them; however, it is suggested that future movies may explore events outside of current continuity.
The Walt Disney Company :
The Walt Disney Company bought Marvel in 2009 for $4 billion. Since then, they have released several movies based on the company’s superheroes, including Iron Man 3 and The Avengers. Marvel’s becoming increasingly integrated into the Disney universe, not just with sequels to its recent films but also with major expansions of Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim, California.
What this purchase means is that not only are all Marvel characters now owned by Disney (including mutants like Cyclops and Wolverine) but so are all the future movies made by both companies.
To conclude, Marvel is not owned by Disney. It’s owned by The Walt Disney Corporation, a publicly-traded company. Marvel Comics is specifically an active company in the market and its shares are not listed on any stock exchange anywhere. So the question of who owns Marvel comes down to who owns The Walt Disney Company.
Another point of clarification: while you may think that Marvel has become a valuable brand name because it’s associated with movies, TV shows, and merchandise like so many other entertainment conglomerates such as Disney and DC Comics, it wasn’t always like this for them. This brand power accrued over time because of the ongoing consistency in their line of comic book characters that have been super popular for decades now.