Introduction: Marvel (03:07)
Marvel Comics has captivated superhero fans across the globe with bestselling comic books, cartoons, video games, and blockbuster movies. “Inside the Storm: Back from the Brink” explores the publisher’s challenges that preceded today’s success.
Golden Age of Comics (01:56)
The characters many love today were created in New York in the 1930s. DC Comics defined the superhero genre with Superman and Batman. Timely Comics illustrators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby responded by creating some of Marvel’s most iconic characters.
Marvel Universe Rules (06:28)
DC Comics had success with its first superhero team, inspiring Marvel Editor Stan Lee and Kirby to come up with hits of their own. Marvel was the top comic book company in the world by the 1970s, thanks to the popularity of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and other characters.
Comic Book Bubble (10:52)
Comics had become prized items by the 1980s, and speculators began buying in bulk for resale on the lucrative collector market. Ron Perelman bought Marvel in 1989 and implemented cynical gimmicks that initially spiked but ultimately tanked the company's sales.
Marvel Goes Bankrupt (07:46)
Marvel’s marketing division increasingly creative decisions. Top talent left to join rival companies or start their own publishing houses. Marvel’s market share dropped by 15% and the market imploded as speculators lost interest. After bankruptcy, CEO Peter Cuneo was hired to revitalize the company.
Rebuilding the Marvel Brand (05:43)
Cuneo attempted to lure back talent that had left the company and hired former sports executive Bill Jemas. Marvel rebooted storylines for a new generation. The company turned to licensing to boost profits but insisted on tighter creative control of its characters onscreen.
Marvel Cinematic Universe (05:12)
Marvel made a small fraction of the $3 billion that Sony accrued with Spider-Man and executives decided to start a studio. “Iron Man,” a major hit, was followed by a series of blockbusters with overlapping storylines. Disney purchased Marvel in 2009.
Manga Market (05:19)
At the peak of the industry, comic publishers sold a million copies of an issue. Today, a run of 40,000 is considered successful. Marvel wants to expand in Asia, which means recruiting regional talent and competing with a style of comics popularized in Japan.
Credits: Marvel (00:30)
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