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INSIDE This Issue
Real American Heroes page 1
Book Review: ‘The Productivity Project’ Which Perks Do Employees Desire Most? page 2 Disaster Preparedness Tips for Your Business Did You Know? Back-to-School Edition Sudoku page 3
Marvel Comics’ Heroic Comeback page 4
From Bankruptcy to Billions
MARVEL COMICS’ HEROIC COMEBACK
With a star-spangled shield, a thunderous hammer, and an iron suit, Marvel Comics built franchises recognized across the globe. Of the 10 biggest box-office successes in history — not adjusting for inflation — three of them are fromMarvel Studios: “The Avengers,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “Iron Man 3.” With Marvel’s beloved heroes dominating the entertainment world, it’s easy to forget that just two decades ago, Marvel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 1993, Marvel was more powerful than a teenager after a radioactive spider bite. Unfortunately, few people realized their success was built on collectors buying several copies of the same issue, hoping the comics would be worth a fortune in the future. The comic market was a bubble, and when it burst, Marvel sales plummeted a devastating 70 percent. By 1996, Marvel stocks had fallen 93 percent, forcing the company to file for bankruptcy. To survive, Marvel merged with toy company ToyBiz and sold the rights of their biggest names — including Spider-Man, X-Men, and The Fantastic Four — to movie studios. Marvel struggled to stay afloat for 10 years, and then turned it around with a crazy gamble. In 2005, an unexpected deal withWall Street firmMerrill Lynch
gave Marvel the opportunity to make movies under their own banner. When Marvel Studios first announced plans for films about characters who were relatively unknown to the public at the time, like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, one newspaper mockingly declared, “Marvel Rolls Out the B-Team.” A post-credits scene at the end of 2008’s “Iron Man” revealed Marvel’s endgame: a series of crossover films, the likes of which moviegoers and comic fans had never seen. Fans went wild for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Iron Man” raked in five times its budget at the box office. The Marvel brand showed so much promise, Disney shelled out $4 billion to buy the company in 2009. When “The Avengers,” the company’s first big crossover, hit theaters, it became — and remains — the highest-grossing superhero movie in history. Today, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought in over $11 billion worldwide, with additional movies planned for well past 2020. On their comic home turf, Marvel still enjoys popularity and profit. Their “Black Panther” and “The Mighty Thor” titles were bestsellers across the industry in 2016. It’s a comeback story you usually only find in the pages of a comic.
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