Marvel Enterprises, Inc., the dominant force in the comic book market through its Marvel Comics division - has entered into major licensing agreements with four of the world's leading publishing houses: DK Publishing, Harper Collins, Meredith Books and Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books as part of a strategy to increase the presence of its leading character franchises in various mass market book publishing formats. The agreements were announced today by Tim Rothwell, President of Worldwide Consumer Products and Bruno Maglione, President of Marvel International. Collectively, the new publishing licenses will bring the Marvel Universe to broad consumer audiences and demographics by establishing a significant presence in the largest mass-market book categories including adult novelizations, children's fiction, all-age non-fiction compendiums, as well as pre-school novelty formats and picture and sound storybooks.
The new agreements reflect Marvel's licensing-driven approach to develop new product markets for its leading character franchises and category management strategy. By teaming up with selected industry-leading partners who can provide extensive marketing support and distribution reach the Company enters lucrative new product segments quickly and with the support of established specialized industry players. Initial products from these new licensees will be available at retail in first quarter 2005.
"The foundation of the Marvel legacy is in the richness of our characters and our storytelling established through our core Marvel Comics division. The publishing marketplace, therefore, remains one of the most important and impactful avenues to capture new and existing fans and keep them immersed in our character base," said Tim Rothwell, Marvel Enterprises' President Worldwide Consumer Media Group.
Bruno Maglione, President, Marvel International commented, "Mass market trade publishing has been under-served of Marvel products to date. There are a variety of publishing formats we identified as natural fits for our character franchises and the audiences they attract. In each case, we have teamed up with a specialist leader imprint in the field who has the capability and market knowledge to address these commercial opportunities rapidly, and with the support of long-term publishing strategies."
DK Publishing will develop an extensive line of children's and all-age non-fiction titles in their globally renowned illustrative style and under the publisher's best-selling "Ultimate Guides" series. DK's initial lines will spotlight Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, X-Men and The Avengers.
HarperCollins will create movie tie-in books for several upcoming Marvel feature film events including this summer's Fantastic Four, X-Men 3 (May 2006 theatrical release) and Spider-Man 3 (May 2007 theatrical release). Products will target children ages 5-12 and will include junior novelizations, picture story books, chapter books and manga story books in addition to coloring and activity titles.
Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books will launch a series of adult paperback novels spotlighting new adventures of several classic Marvel greats including Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Wolverine and Marvel Ultimates.
Meredith Books will develop and publish a portfolio of children's book products ranging from sound storybooks and coloring books, to picture story books. The products will feature many of the highly popular Marvel characters such as Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Iron Man, and Captain America, as well as the pre-school property Spider-Man & Friends.
Marvel Comics' award-winning creative talent will work closely with each publishing house to further ensure that each of their respective product lines captures the richness of the Marvel Super Heroes backgrounds and personalities and features the type of compelling storytelling fans immediately associate with the Marvel brand.