And So It Begins: The Disney-Ing of Marvel

Way back in 2009, when it was announced that the Walt Disney Co. had purchased Marvel Entertainment, fans immediately did what panicked fans usually do when they see their beloved childhood icons threatened by change of any kind. They hit the web to express their fear of a "Disney-fied" Marvel Universe with the only weapon they could possible use against such a formidable corporate force.

Photoshop. LOTS of Photoshop.

For every potentially good idea stirred up by the internet rumor mill (Pixar's Dr. Strange!) there were 20 godawful doomsday scenarios ("Chip 'N Dale: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.") - but both Disney and Marvel kept saying the Mouse would be keeping its giant, pillow-sized white hands out of Marvel's often gritty and violent playground.

Which brings us to what could, perhaps, be an even worse situation: Disney ham-fistedly shoehorning superhero crossovers into its properties without regard to little things like, "Does this make sense?" The opening salvo of this corporate synergy run amock may occur tonight on (Disney-owned) ABC's "Castle."

For those who don't know, "Castle" is a sharp action/comedy series starring Nathan Fillion as crime fiction author Richard Castle, who tags along with Stana Katic's tough-as-nails NYPD detective Kate Beckett seeking inspiration for new books. In tonight's episode, Castle and Beckett investigate a…wait for it….masked vigilante!

A red-horned, masked vigilante stalking the streets of New York City! Where do the "Castle" writers come up with this….oh, right…

This episode also involves some seriously vertigo-inducing meta product placement. Get this: During the show, Castle - who rose to fame thanks to a series of crime novels starring a character named Derrick Storm - learns that there is a graphic novel adaptation of one of his "Derrick Storm" novels. And it's published by….wait for it….Marvel. And Marvel really IS publishing a Derrick Storm graphic novel. So to recap:  the fictional detective created by a fictional writer playing a wannabe detective is now being made into a comic book based on the fictional novels written by said fictional author. End scene.

Is this worse than "Mouserine"? That remains to be seen. But if one of Charlie's new Angels suddenly develops the ability to teleport or sprout claws from her fists, don't say you didn't see this coming.

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