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Marvel Kids get booked

Line's product features Spider-Man, Hulk, others

Look out, Dick and Jane. Here comes Spider-Man and he’s trying to capture his share of the beginning readers market.

Beleaguered Marvel Entertainment Group, which is about to implement its recently approved Chapter 11 reorganization plan, has announced the launch of Marvel Kids, a new imprint of children’s comic-book-sized, but heavier, stock activity/reading books, to capture ages 5-8, as compared to its traditional demographic for its comic books and TV shows of age 9 and up.

The line’s first four books, to debut this fall with print runs of 100,000 copies each, will feature Marvel superheroes Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four and X-Men.

“It’s a logical extension of building the brand and building an awareness among younger readers, and a reasonable way to go, particularly as Marvel works its way out of its troubles,” said Marty Brochstein, executive editor of the Licensing Letter.

The new younger line is being produced under the direction of Marvel Children’s Publishing vice president and editorial director Jackie Carter, a former educator with more than 15 years of experience in children’s book publishing — including a stint at Scholastic — who was hired by Marvel to pursue this initiative. “The material is age appropriate — it won’t be too violent for young readers — and we’ve hired new artists to make the images bigger, the (conversation) balloons more readable,” she said.

Karen Raugust, author of the Licensing Business Handbook, predicted that the company will use this new series not only to get younger readers hooked on current characters but to introduce new ones. Carter confirmed that the upcoming series titles will feature a new, younger demographic “Mighty Spideys” character line.

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