disneylogo.jpgIn a deal that will rattle the very foundations of the comic book industry, the Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has struck a deal to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:MVL).

The company press release valued the cash and stock transaction at $4 billion, based on stock prices on Friday. Disney now owns the rights to more than 5,000 Marvel characters, an nearly endless supply of spin-off possibilities. Hardboiled author and Marvel writer Duane Swierczynski proved this point on Twitter: “I want to write a Punisher/Jiminy Cricket team-up.”

Disney CEO Robert A. Iger had this statement, laying out the huge swath of imaginary territory now controlled by Disney: “This transaction combines Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories.”