The news of the day seems to be that Disney has created an inhouse department called Kingdom Comics to create original graphic novels that could possibly be used as film projects. As a Disney Comics fan can I just say... Yawn!
I suppose this could be good news, but Disney's track record when it comes to producing their own comics is poor at best. The in-house studio program from years ago produced some good things but mostly they were printed overseas and not even available in this country. Disney destroyed the nice niche market that Gladstone comics created in the 1990's by thinking they could do a better job themselves. They've split the comics license up into so many different pieces that it's hard for any licensee to make a profit. They purchased the CrossGen comics company and shut it down so they could get their hands on the Abadazad property and haven't done anything with it to speak of except turn it into a children's book series that they seem to have given up on. They made a development deal with Stan Lee which doesn't seem to have made much progress. Now they announce Kingdom Comics which is going to be run by film people as a development tool for film projects as well as possibly reinterpreting classic Disney live action properties.
Disney publishing has first look at anything they produce and if they don't want it then it may be published by someone else according to the press release so anything they may produce might not even get published.
Dark Horse is presently publishing Gremlins and possibly some more movie adaptations.
SLG has Haunted Mansion, Gargoyles, Tron and Wonderland.
Gemstone has Uncle Scrooge, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories and collections related to the duck and mouse families of characters.
Tokyo Pop has or had Kingdom Hearts, various Disney Channel stuff. not sure if they are still a licensee or not.
Now we will have Kingdom Comics which will be published by whoever. Sounds like it will be on a case by case basis.
The smart thing for Disney to do here would be to hire the people who run Gemstone and put all the comics under the same banner. Or let the different comic companies do their own projects but publish them all under the same banner.
Hopefully, Kingdom Comics will turn out to be a good thing, but hiring film people to develop comics that can be turned back into a film project isn't likely to work. You have to create a great comic first. If you have your eye on making a comic to turn it into a movie, odds are your not going to make a great comic.