One fact lost on most people covering the Disney/Marvel acquisition: Bob Iger (currently Disney CEO) is the descendant of a comic book pioneer.
His great uncle was Jerry Iger an important player at the ground floor of the comic book industry, and a very smart business man. Iger began producing comic books in the thirties with his company Universal Phoenix Features. His titles mainly reprinted material from daily comic strips, as did most early comic books. But they also included some originals. One of the artists he found for that task was future legend Will Eisner.
Looking at the quality of Eisner’s work, the number of comics on the newstands, and the limited amount of reprint material, Iger guessed that comic book publishers would soon run out of strips to reprint. So he came up with an idea, if he created a studio of artists he could produce material and sell it to the comic book companies at a profit.
Thus, in 1936, the Eisner and Iger Studio ( a.k.a. Syndicate Features Corp.) was born. One of the first “comic book packagers”. The studio was not only successful, making Iger and the young Eisner wealthy men, but it introduced many fine artists to the industry. In addition to Eisner, the studio also employed Mort Meskin, Lou Fine, Wally Wood, Bob Kane and Jules Fieffer. And the studio created a lot of characters. Probably it’s most lasting creations was “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle”. Eisner would leave the studio in 1940 to create “The Spirit,” but the studio continued under various names until 1955.
With this kind of person in Bob Iger’s family tree, we think the he has a better handle on this business than many may think.