Since those early days, Marvel has gone from strength to strength – even surviving filing for bankruptcy in the ‘90s. But there was, until recently, one thing that always eluded it: Hollywood success.
When superhero movies first began to dominate the box office, from
(1989), they were all DC titles. Marvel never seemed to be able to keep up, despite being bought by movie company New World Pictures in 1986.
Film rights were flogged to studios but all we ever got was super-crud like
(1989) or direct-to-video
Then came sleeper hit
in 1998. “The character was virtually unknown, didn’t even have his own comic book, and had been part of
Tombs Of Dracula
,” recalls Arad. But the franchise went on to create $1 billion in revenue and paved the way for
Suddenly Marvel Comics were hit-makers at the box office and the company even set up its own movie division – Marvel Studios – in the in the ‘90s. With such a rich back catalogue to work with, it was a no-brainer.
As Arad pointed out: “I had a poster of the Marvel universe, with all these beautifully drawn characters, and we used to say you could throw a dart, hit a character and make a hit movie under the Marvel brand. There’s a long list yet to be unleashed.”