Marvel Entertainment, the publisher of such popular superhero characters as Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Hulk, has inked separate deals to launch a children's book publishing program at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and to expand its publishing partnership with Bendon Publishing in Ashland, Ohio. Both programs feature Marvel characters in a variety of trade books aimed at kids that include novels, early readers, and pop-up books as well as story, activity, and board books.
The deals are being announced just before release of the much anticipated Iron Man 2 film and are geared to both introduce a new generation of kids to Marvel characters and attract existing comic book readers to other kinds of book formats. “The publishing marketplace is an enormously powerful means of attracting new and existing fans,” said Paul Gitter, president of Marvel consumer products for North America.
Beginning in the spring, Little, Brown will release six Iron Man titles and three of the first six Super Hero Squad books, a new series that introduces readers to the superheroes in the Marvel Universe. The titles include readers, 8"×8" storybooks and board books. Little Brown will also publish a junior novel with an eight-page color insert of stills from the forthcoming Iron Man 2 film, and the house has also launched a Web site, ironman2books .com, that offers information about Little, Brown Books for Young Readers movie tie-ins. Andrew Smith, v-p and deputy publisher for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, said the house was “delighted” to be the reading destination for kids already hooked on reading about Marvel characters.
Gitter said Marvel is expanding an ongoing publishing program at Bendon and plans to release new formats such as coloring books, pop-up books, flash cards, and board books. The program will focus on Spider-Man and other classic Marvel heroes as well as offering Iron Man 2–related works and the Super Hero Squad books.