Newsarama has some unbeatable coverage on the Marvel / Disney merger. Among the highlights:

10 Questions about the merger

8) What happens to Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park?

Today’s press release did not mention Disney’s theme parks, so one would guess that Universal, which licenses Marvel characters for its Orlando and Osaka, Japan attractions, has long-term deals in place. But this has the potential to be the most contentious battle to rise from this merger. Nikki Finke’s www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com has a statement from Universal regarding the Disney/Marvel deal and how it could impact Universal’s Orlando theme park that says, “Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the Marvel characters are a beloved and important part of the Universal Orlando experience…We believe our agreement with Marvel stands and that the Disney/Marvel deal will have no impact on our guest experience.”

From that statement, it would appear that for the foreseeable future, if people want to check out the Spider-Man 3D adventure or the Dr. Doom ride, they will have to visit Universal’s park. But considering how important Disney’s theme parks are to the company, it’s doubtful the company’s lawyers aren’t looking at any possible ways to figure out a solution. The Marvel rides at Universal could also help Disney address a long-standing problem at their parks: providing “cool’ rides for people over the age of 10. Let’s face it. After riding the Hulk rollercoaster, Space Mountain doesn’t really cut it

Marvel/Disney: The Animated View

“Disney has been trying to do comics for a while,” he said. “It’s gotten to the point where there were times their booth was virtually ignored at last year’s Comic Con. Now they have Marvel, a team that certainly knows how to sell comic books. Marvel’s comics and graphic novels are some of the best selling titles in the industry.”

More Marvel/Disney Details

The Disney execs then opened the call up for questions. Singer was asked about the cost savings in this deal: “One thing that’s important to note is that this deal is not motivated by cost savings or redundancies,” Singer said. “What I think drives that is the synergies over time.”

Meanwhile, another person asked Stagg about whether or not Disney could bring several of the characters used in features films at other studios, such as Spider-Man or Iron Man, back to Disney. “The deal that Marvel has put in place, which we have looked at, those deals generally stay enforced in the terms that they started with at Marvel,” Stagg said.

Marvel/Disney Industry Reaction

Industry insider Jeff Katz knows the power Marvel has in Hollywood after serving as an executive producer on this summer’s blockbuster, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” the Marvel property-based movie that now has two spin-off movies in development. The former 20th Century Fox executive has seen so much potential in comic book properties that he left Fox last year to start his own film/comics production house, American Original. He said the Disney/Marvel deal reflects a growing trend in Hollywood to consolidate efforts and cut redundancies.

“It’s a game-changer, clearly,” Katz said of the acquisition. “And long term, it’s a brilliant move for Disney that will be worth every penny. It makes a ton of sense for them at a corporate level, especially once some of the current Marvel deals expire and can then be exploited through the larger Disney pipeline. I think this is indicative of the general shrinking of the entertainment marketplace. There will be more consolidation along these lines.”

Marvel Milestones

1932: Martin Goodman starts the magazine publishing business that will later become Marvel.

August 1939: Marvel Comics #1 is published under Martin Goodman’s Timely Comics umbrella. Other logos would be used, including Atlas in the 1950s.

1961: A renaissance begins at perennial also-ran comics publisher Marvel with the publication of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four #1, the first of a new wave of super-heroes that would include Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, The X-Men, and The Avengers. Marvel’s market share would grow, regularly becoming the #1 publisher by the 1980s.

Op/Ed: We Should Have Seen it Coming

Common Ground: Were there ever two guys that represented the common man more than Mickey and Spidey? Mickey always wants things to be perfect, whether it’s a Christmas tree or a vacation; Spidey always wants Aunt May to be okay and for his dates to go right. Invariably, something (Pluto chasing Chip and Dale, the Green Goblin) gets in the way, and things end in disaster. Sure, our plucky heroes always pick themselves up and try again, but they sure do have tough luck.

Big Difference: Spidey’s girls have never been the mousy type. Mickey never made a deal with the devil to save Uncle Scrooge.