Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney + Marvel = AAARRGGH (but not for the reasons you'd think)

So everybody is worked up about Disney buying Marvel, and I am too. Not because I'm worried about some kind of "Disney-fication," or that Disney might not even be inclined to print low-selling pamphlets at all. It's too soon to tell; I suspect not even Disney and Marvel have got a 10-year plan with every i dotted and every t crossed yet. I see no reason to become alarmist and scream OH MY GOD NO MORE SPIDER-MAN COMICS. Warner Brothers hasn't closed down DC Comics, after all.

But I am worked up. And here is why:

In 199 ... oh, was it 6 or 7 or 8? When Marvel was going through bankruptcy. I was in middle school, and I remember being dimly aware of how the stock market works. I opened up the business section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to find how much Marvel stock was worth. I seem to remember quite clearly that it was around 25 cents a share (which, with cover prices at the time, meant one copy of Deadpool could buy you eight shares).

Even at the time, I thought I should buy some stock. If nothing else, for the fun of getting the little certificate with the Marvel logo on it. I remember even my dad was joking about it. But we never bought any. As a preteen, of course, I couldn't have done it myself, and even as an adult, I doubt I'd get up the gumption to actually find out how to buy stock. Thus, I own zero shares of Marvel stock.

TODAY, MARVEL STOCK IS AT $48.41.

Now, I know little more about the market than I did as a child; I may calculate this incorrectly, so correct me if I am missing something. But if I had bought even 100 shares at 25 cents (a $25 dollar investment, the rise in stock, plus the $30 per share that shareholders are being given, would mean that I could have cashed in today for $7,841 ... NOT EVEN COUNTING the shares of Disney stock the purchase comes with. And if I could have bought more than 100 shares?

IMAGINE A WORD IN LETTERS FIFTY FEET HIGH THAT BEGINS WITH "F" AND ENDS IN A HALF-MILE OF EXCLAMATION POINTS.

I have been pretty fortunate in life not to have too many horrible regrets. If this is, possibly, my worst one, I suppose I ought to be VERY VERY thankful.

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