Parragon has acquired the Marvel Comics license for a variety of children’s books in North America, Latin America, Germany, and the U.K. It will publish more than 100 titles across all territories in the first year of the deal, starting in April 2012.
"We were exceptionally excited about the Marvel properties being acquired by Disney early last year," says Venetia Davie, v-p of new business development at Parragon, a longtime, multiterritory Disney licensee. "Disney has so many platforms, from great movie distribution to great TV distribution. It will really help to build the Marvel franchises, especially in some territories where they haven’t performed as well as in the U.S."
Parragon becomes Marvel’s master licensee for children’s books in Germany and the U.K. "Retail is quite consolidated there, and we can present Marvel as a brand, much as we present Disney as a brand," Davie explains.
In North and Latin America, rights encompass a number of specific formats, with publishing being rolled out for a variety of individual characters and Marvel sub-brands. Some of the key focuses in the U.S., initially, will be characters starring in recent and upcoming Marvel films, including Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Avengers. "These are great characters, great for boys especially, and they’re a good fit with our formats," Davie adds.
For the U.S. license, Parragon will take advantage of some of its best-known formats, including fill-in journals for boys and sticker books. These feature the company’s proprietary Tri-D technology—which does not look distorted when viewed without glasses—along with a range of book-plus sets. First up will be activity books based on The Amazing Spider-Man and Marvel Super Heroes, the latter an umbrella brand featuring assorted Marvel characters.
All of Parragon’s Marvel books are aimed at children, but they span a variety of age brackets. "Historically, the movies have been age-graded for an older viewer, but the TV series are targeted at a younger age,” Davie points out. “It’s rare to have a property with such a broad range."