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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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