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Marvel Performing, Well, Marvelously


In fearful times, US looks to comic books, fantasy for solace.

Superheroes, they're not. Ben Shalom Bernanke lacks a certain physical toughness. Paulson's got the look, but his inability to muster financial miracles reeks of ordinariness. And Bush? Polls show that zits inspire greater confidence.

Reality is setting in: We are, in all our humanity, mere mortals. And as we're torn from our fantasies of McMansions and credit everlasting, we're humbled by a force greater than anything we can control: The free and wild market.

No wonder that, amid all the financial chaos, the comic book business is healthier than ever. It gives us all the supermen we could ever need, and generally for less than 5 bucks.

Revenue at Marvel Entertainment (MVL) has been growing in double digits for the past 3 years, according to Fortune. Meanwhile, profit margins clock in at around 40%.

Home to the X-Men, Spiderman, and Iron Man, Marvel is performing, well, marvelously. And while licensing its properties to Hollywood does indeed bring in an obscene amount of money, publishing accounted for $32 million of its $157 million in revenue in the quarter ended June 30th.

Here's a heartwarming statistic: 60% of comic book sales take place at…comic book shops. Imagine that. People congregating around a shared passion in the real world. For a demographic forever condemned to the realm of online geekdom, comic book fans still understand the value of face-to-face interactions.
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