Marvel Entertainment as a Creative Entity

With a library of over 5,000 characters, Marvel Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies. Marvel's operations are focused on utilizing its character franchises in licensing, entertainment, publishing and toys. Marvel Entertainments areas of emphasis include feature films, DVD/home video, consumer products, video games, action figures and role-playing toys, television and promotions. Rooted in the creative success of over sixty years of comic book publishing, Marvel has successfully transformed its cornerstone comic book characters into blockbuster film franchises.

Marvel Studios Hollywood renaissance has been nothing short of spectacular, with record-breaking franchises such as Spider-Man, X-Men and The Fantastic Four, resulting in a string of eight consecutive #1 box office openings. Since 1998, Marvel films have grossed over $4.9 billion worldwide at the box office, firmly establishing itself as one of the top entertainment brands in Hollywood.

David Maisel, Chairman of Marvel Studios, explains why Marvel has been so successful in adapting its comic book characters to the silver screen. Our films are as much about the man as the superhero. We cast great actors who will appeal to both kids and adults. We set our films up to appeal to everyone.

Over the past seven or eight years we have had great luck in combining unique and original talent with our spectacular world-renowned characters, adds Iron Man producer and Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige. Weve been very fortunate that with the Marvel brand, we have been able to attract talented filmmakers as well as the best technicians, visual effect supervisors, cinematographers and visual effects companies in the world, which has resulted, we believe, in the best kind of genre mega-event summer pictures out there.

In 2007, Maisel spearheaded Marvels announcement to self-finance a slate of ten films which would begin with the 2008 releases of Iron Man and The Hulk, as well as the development of such titles as Captain America, Thor and Ant Man.

One of the original Marvel Comics, Iron Man has enjoyed a long and prosperous run dating back to the characters first appearance in the Marvel comic Tales of Suspense in April 1963. Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby, Iron Mans alter ego Tony Stark was inspired partly by the personality of the late American icon Howard Hughes.

“Howard Hughes was one of the most colorful men of our time, says executive producer Stan Lee. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-millionaire, a ladies man and, finally, a nutcase.”

Lee continues, What triggered me to create a character like Iron Man was that I wanted to do something different than the usual super hero. In 1963, Iron Man was all the things that young readers in those days didnt really care for: he was an industrialist and created war machines. I thought to myself, Im going to make these kids like him by making Tony Stark a rich, glamorous, handsome, interesting guy. I also gave him a weak heart so that he would have one thing about him that made him less-than-perfect and would also give the readers something to worry about. The response to the character was amazing and, of all the Marvel characters, Iron Man received more fan mail from female readers than any other property. People of all ages connected to the human side of the character.

A unique and vastly popular character in the Marvel universe, Iron Man is the only self-made superhero whose superhuman strength and abilities come from the powered suits of armor created from the genius mind of Tony Stark.

In the comic book world, Iron Man stands proudly alongside Spider-Man, The X-Men and The Fantastic Four, says producer Kevin Feige. Its been that way for decades and Iron Man really connected to readers because hes not a mutant, he wasnt transformed at a biological level and wasnt bitten by any sort of genetic insect. He simply is a man who has used his genius to build an armored suit, which is essentially the greatest piece of human ingenuity ever invented.

It was the superheros decidedly flawed character and flashy playboy lifestyle that made the Iron Man comic ripe to be the next Marvel franchise and first film under the companys new Marvel Studios banner.

Iron Man is an interesting character for us, adds producer Avi Arad. Weve done superpowers very well with Spider-Man and the X-Men, but what makes the property so adaptable for a movie franchise is that its a story that deals with social issues and the world we live in today. Its about redemption and a man who has a hero in him, but it takes a set of dire circumstances to bring that out.

Marvel has a terrific history of successfully bringing comic book characters to life, and Iron Man is the next logical step, injects executive producer Peter Billingsley. Its Marvels first venture into fully financing a film and they have invested a lot of time and care developing this potential franchise. The title has been around for a long time. It has a rich history with 40 years worth of story lines to explore.