Marvel is already looking to make 2017 a landmark year in its bid to consolidate its reputation as one of the world’s leading entertainment brands.
With massive blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok, as well as future hits like Marvel’s Iron Fist coming to our TV screens, it shows that Marvel is serious about being known for much more than its comic books.
But how did Marvel manage to make the journey from being a small comic book company in the 1930’s, to being a multi-billion dollar entertainment franchise that captivates the world with everything from theme parks to online slots games?
The answer lies in a perfect combination of uncanny business acumen, technological adaptation, and endless creativity. Marvel quickly captured the public imagination of post-war America thanks to the larger than life creations such as Captain America and Spider-Man and these characters undoubtedly played on cold war paranoia, but also quickly lent themselves to the burgeoning TV culture that saw The Incredible Hulk becoming a massive hit on the CBS Network.
In 1990 Marvel realised how important licensing was as a form of revenue as they made deals with trading card companies, and even bought the toy manufacturers ToyBiz in order to make action figures of their famous characters.
Although the company actually went bankrupt in 1996 due the comic book bubble bursting, it quickly made amends by branching out into other areas. This saw the brand teaming up with 20th Century Fox to create the immensely popular first X-Men movie that unleashed a succession of comic-book adaptations featuring everyone from Spider-Man to Blade and Ghost Rider.
It quickly became apparent that the skyrocketing video game culture would lend itself to Marvel’s endless range of dynamic superheroes. As early as 1982 there had been Spider-Man games for the Atari, but it wasn’t until 2000 when Marvel teamed up with Activision that the brand really went for the gaming market.
The gaming world has seen Marvel creating some pretty interesting crossovers too. As well as the Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes and Lego Marvel Super Heroes, gamers can even get free spin rewards thanks to Coral’s wide range of slots games that feature characters such as Iron Man and Thor.
And since Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, it’s shown that Marvel knows no limits. With everything from exclusive upcoming streamed Netflix series like The Punisher, to theme park attractions in Universal Studios in Florida and Hong Kong Disneyland, it’s clear that Marvel’s about so much more than the comic books.