Marvel Comics is one of the major publishing companies producing comic book properties today, rivaled primarily by DC Comics. Founded by Martin Goodman in 1939, five years after the establishment of DC, the company was initially known as Timely Comics, and later Atlas. By 1961, however, following experimentation with science fiction and funny animal characters, the line was relaunched as Marvel (taking its name from one of their earliest comic titles), and re-focused on superheroes. The company soon became DC's most notable rival, with such properties as Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men, all of which, like their DC counterparts, have been adapted into animation, films, television, and video games. Stan Lee, whose history with the company goes back to its early days and who is credited with creating, or co-creating most of the iconic Marvel superheroes introduced in the 1960s (and featured in the current Marvel Cinematic Universe films) makes a cameo appearance in almost every single Marvel film project.
Marvel's first publication of a Disney comic was a graphic novel adaptation of Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988. It was followed up by an original graphic novel, Roger Rabbit: The Resurrection of Doom, in 1989.
In 1994, following the closure of Disney Comics, Marvel acquired the license to publish comics based on then-modern Disney properties, such as Beauty and the Beast, Gargoyles, and Darkwing Duck. Although most of these were extensions to the original films and were original stories, they also did two official comic book adaptations of The Lion King and Pocahontas, both of which were published as graphic novels and two-issue mini-series, as well as in concurrent issues of Disney Adventures. Marvel's Disney comics were eventually condensed into one title, Disney Comic Hits!, in the summer of 1995. Unfortunately, due to Marvel filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 1996, Disney Comic Hits! was cancelled after 16 issues that very month, and the comic book license for Disney's modern properties was moved to Acclaim.
In December 2009, the Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment (the parent company of Marvel Comics), allowing Disney to produce future films and television shows starring the Marvel Comics characters. However, much of Marvel's new Disney comic output afterwards was mostly reprints of Pixar and Muppet comics originally published by Dark Horse Comics and Boom! Studios, with much of the focus instead going to Disney Kingdoms, a line of original titles based on Disney's theme park attractions, and a series of comics based on the Star Wars franchise (after Disney acquired it in 2012). Eventually, the license for the "core four" Disney comic books (Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Uncle Scrooge) was instead handed to IDW Publishing, while the comic licenses for the Disney animated features (notably including Big Hero 6, which itself was based on a Marvel comic) and television shows moved to Joe Books.
Disney comic titles published by Marvel