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Posts tagged with “Marvel Comics”

The Future is Now for Comics, Thanks to the iPad

There was some rum­blings on a few comics boards and Apple boards online about this hap­pen­ing.  But no one was expect­ing it to occur by iPad launch.

Mar­vel Comics will be the first of the major comic book com­pa­nies to have a dig­i­tal plat­form for their comics. The maker of Spider-Man, the X-Men, Cap­tain Amer­ica, Thor, Iron Man, and a list of hun­dreds of other char­ac­ters will be found on an App for the iPad.  The app itself will be free, comics down­loaded — included new books just like in your local comic book store, every Wednes­day — into the iPad will cost you only $2.

Mar­vel Enter­tain­ment is proud to announce the launch of the Mar­vel Comics App for iPad on the App Store. This land­mark app launches with over 500 of Marvel’s great­est comic books, from clas­sic sto­ries to mod­ern tales, fea­tur­ing Iron Man, Cap­tain Amer­ica, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor and more of the world’s most pop­u­lar Super Heroes. The Mar­vel Comics App brings the world of Mar­vel to iPad own­ers with each comic pre­sented at incred­i­bly high res­o­lu­tion on iPad’s full color screen, a user-friendly search engine, inno­v­a­tive view­ing options and more.

We’re excited to intro­duce an unpar­al­leled dig­i­tal comic expe­ri­ence to our fans with the Mar­vel Comics App for iPad,” said Dan Buck­ley, pub­lisher & CEO, Mar­vel Pub­lish­ing. “The iPad is the first device that offers us a chance to present dig­i­tal comics that are even close to repli­cat­ing the expe­ri­ence of read­ing a print comic. This new world of dig­i­tal comics dis­tri­b­u­tion pro­vides us great oppor­tu­ni­ties to reach new read­ers, allow con­sumers to sam­ple our diverse sto­ries and char­ac­ters, and we believe it will drive these new fans into the App Store and local comic shops each week to find even more.”

Fans will be granted unri­valed access to Marvel’s rich library of comics, with launch titles rang­ing from the first appear­ances of char­ac­ters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men to mod­ern clas­sics like the debut of Red Hulk, Jonathan Hickman’s acclaimed FANTASTIC FOUR run, Joss Whe­don & John Cassaday’s ASTONISHING X-MEN and lots more. Every comic avail­able through the Mar­vel Comics App is opti­mized for the iPad through painstak­ing re-coloring and re-digitizing of select content.

Mar­vel worked with ComiXol­ogy to cre­ate the per­fect app for new read­ers, offer­ing the option to pre­view two pages from each avail­able comic before pur­chas­ing and a cut­ting edge rec­om­men­da­tion engine for every fan to find a comic they’re sure to love. The app also arms fans with a handy comic shop loca­tor, allow­ing them to find their local retailer’s address and phone num­ber and then jour­ney even fur­ther into the Mar­vel Uni­verse. To enhance the mobile read­ing expe­ri­ence on the iPad even more, the Mar­vel Comics App fea­tures mul­ti­ple view­ing modes, tak­ing read­ers panel-by-panel through the comic book in a smooth, action-packed pro­gres­sion using just the swipe of a finger.

As Marvel’s dig­i­tal comics pro­gram has devel­oped over the last few years, we’ve focused on deliv­er­ing the best pos­si­ble con­sumer expe­ri­ence across dif­fer­ent ser­vices and devices,” said Ira Ruben­stein, Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent, Mar­vel Global Dig­i­tal Media Group. “We’re con­fi­dent that the iPad is one of the best ways to read Mar­vel dig­i­tal comics from any­where, at any time.  Since the iPad was announced, we have heard from our Mar­vel fans that this is the device they really wanted to see our comics on. This is just another step in the evo­lu­tion of Mar­vel Dig­i­tal Comics.  We hope you love it as much as we do and we will con­tinue to make the con­sumer expe­ri­ence even better.”

Mar­vel also promises they will even­tu­ally put their entire library in dig­i­tal for­mat; which will allow an entire new gen­er­a­tion to expe­ri­ence clas­sic tales in the Mar­vel Uni­verse with­out search­ing for what could be costly back-issues.

It’s unknown when rival DC Comics will also go dig­i­tal.  Word inside the indus­try is they are light-years behind Mar­vel on what is the likely next step for comics dis­tri­b­u­tion.  They have made some strides in recent weeks with the announce­ment that their top writer (Geoff Johns) is now in charge of the cre­ative direc­tion of all DC Comics prop­er­ties in all media.  They also hired famed artist Jim Lee as co-publisher of DC Comics, and was to lead the charge in mak­ing DC Digital.

Those are good first steps, but DC has a long way go now to play catch up.

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It’s Official: The Mouse Owns the Spider

And the Cap­tain, ‚the Ghost Rider, the Thun­der God, the Dare­devil, and so much, much more.  Dis­ney has offi­cially acquired and merged with Mar­vel Enter­tain­ment and with them the comics, movies, and so much more.

Walt Dis­ney Co. (DIS) com­pleted its acqui­si­tion of Mar­vel Enter­tain­ment Inc. (MVL), accord­ing to a fil­ing with the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion Thurs­day after­noon. The cash-and-stock deal was val­ued at about $4.3 bil­lion, based on Disney’s stock price of $32.25 a share in 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange trading.

The announce­ment was expected, and fol­lowed a meet­ing Thurs­day morn­ing at which Mar­vel share­hold­ers approved the acqui­si­tion, first announced in Sep­tem­ber. Mar­vel investors are receiv­ing $30 a share in cash plus about 0.745 Dis­ney share for each Mar­vel share. When the deal was announced, it rep­re­sented a 29% pre­mium over Marvel’s pre-announcement share price.

Thursday’s fil­ing said Marvel’s stock would be removed from the New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 11.

Marvel’s ros­ter of 5,000 comic book char­ac­ters, includ­ing Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the X-Men, promises to broaden Disney’s port­fo­lio of enter­tain­ment assets. Bur­bank, Calif.-based Dis­ney his­tor­i­cally has been stronger in appeal­ing to girls than to boys, par­tic­u­larly as they enter their teenage years.

The tough and psy­cho­log­i­cally com­plex char­ac­ters Mar­vel is known for could pro­vide fod­der for every­thing from theme park attrac­tions to cable-television shows and, of course, movies.

But fully exploit­ing some of the best-known of Marvel’s char­ac­ters could be tricky for Dis­ney, espe­cially in the near term. That’s because Mar­vel, based in New York, has over the years entered licens­ing deals that allow var­i­ous Hol­ly­wood stu­dios to make movies based on many of those char­ac­ters. Gen­er­ally those licenses expire after a set num­ber of movies. But at least one such arrange­ment, Sony Corp.‘s (SNE) right to make Spider-Man movies, essen­tially lasts in per­pe­tu­ity, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with its terms.

Dis­ney, like Mar­vel, will receive a roy­alty on movies other stu­dios make out of its new enter­tain­ment prop­er­ties. But it could be some time before the full pha­lanx of macho Mar­vel heroes fully joins forces with Han­nah Mon­tana and Mickey Mouse.

All I can think of at this time is that I really should have bought shares of Mar­vel Enter­tain­ment back when the stock was trad­ing below $2 per share in the late 90s.  Oh the return on that investment…

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Cartoon of the Day

If it’s any­thing like this, God help us all.


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The “Mouse” Engulfs the “Spider”

A moment of silence please…

Walt Dis­ney Co said on Mon­day it plans to buy Mar­vel Enter­tain­ment Inc for $4 bil­lion in a deal that would add char­ac­ters like Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Fan­tas­tic Four to its enter­tain­ment empire.

Dis­ney is strik­ing the biggest media deal of the year so far — one that will unite the Incred­i­ble Hulk and Mickey Mouse — at a time when the media busi­ness is strug­gling to cope with spend­ing cut­backs by both con­sumers and advertisers.

Mar­vel, how­ever, has a sta­ble of wildly pop­u­lar char­ac­ters that it has brought to the big screen in home-run films like “Iron Man.” A sequel, “Iron Man 2″ is due to hit the the­aters next year, while “Thor,” “Spider-Man 4″ and the first “Avenger” movie are slated for a 2011 release.

For Dis­ney, movies like those should help address a key area of con­cern among investors: How it can bet­ter reach more young males.

Indeed, Dis­ney has long been a block­buster brand with girls thanks to char­ac­ters like “Han­nah Mon­tana,” “Cin­derella” and “Snow White,” but has strug­gled to achieve the same kind of suc­cess with boys.

To do so, Dis­ney agreed to pay $50 per share in cash and stock for Mar­vel, a pre­mium of 29 per­cent to Marvel’s clos­ing stock price of $38.65 on Fri­day. The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies.

Marvel’s shares shot up to $48.85 in early trade.

On a sheer busi­ness deci­sion, this is the smartest thing both com­pa­nies could do.  Mar­vel is often still seen as “Just a Comic Book Com­pany” while rival DC Comics is part of the Time Warner empire.  So, look­ing at it that way, Mar­vel would have been stu­pid to turn this deal down.  They get to keep their char­ac­ters, con­tinue doing what they’re doing, and can con­sol­i­date a mess of over­lap­ping enti­ties with the Walt Dis­ney Company.

Mar­vel over the past three years has evolved into “a comic book com­pany which sells its char­ac­ters for movie rights,” into “a film com­pany that makes comics” as it has done a spec­tac­u­lar job with not just the Spider-Man and X-Men fran­chises, but made hits out of ‘lower tier’ char­ac­ters like Iron Man, The Pun­isher (at least the one with Thomas Jane), Ghost Rider, and the Hulk films.  Many peo­ple may not know this, but “Iron Man” was the first film done by the company’s newest divi­sion, Mar­vel Stu­dios and was a hit beyond all expectations.

With the Mar­vel acqui­si­tion, Dis­ney gains a built-in infra­struc­ture it can now use to can­cel and con­sol­i­date their still (though barely) oper­at­ing comic books and adds a sta­ble of char­ac­ters for movies which have a proven track record of suc­cess at the Box Office in demo­graph­ics they have a hard time with.  Mar­vel gains a built-in ani­ma­tion stu­dio at their dis­posal, a well-known movie stu­dio with its own infra­struc­ture, a series of TV chan­nels to use their char­ac­ters in pro­grams for, and enough syn­ergy to make you hurl.

This deal is as win-win as you’re going to get when it comes to media marriages.

IGN.com, the video game and comics news web­site, posts part of the press release on the news of the mar­riage.  Nobody in the cor­po­rate struc­ture seems to be unhappy with what’s going on.

Dis­ney Pres­i­dent and CEO Robert A. Iger explains:

    “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. Ike Perl­mut­ter and his team have done an impres­sive job of nur­tur­ing these prop­er­ties and have cre­ated sig­nif­i­cant value. We are pleased to bring this tal­ent and these great assets to Disney.”

Ike Perl­mut­ter, CEO of Mar­vel, adds:

    “Dis­ney is the per­fect home for Marvel’s fan­tas­tic library of char­ac­ters given its proven abil­ity to expand con­tent cre­ation and licens­ing busi­nesses. This is an unpar­al­leled oppor­tu­nity for Mar­vel to build upon its vibrant brand and char­ac­ter prop­er­ties by access­ing Disney’s tremen­dous global orga­ni­za­tion and infra­struc­ture around the world.“

Early indi­ca­tions are Dis­ney will allow Mar­vel Enter­tain­ment to main­tain its cur­rent lead­er­ship in both cor­po­rate and cre­ative and use them expand Mar­vel prop­er­ties across the global Dis­ney empire.

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