§ CNN looks at Marvel’s balance sheet, and Spider-Man has not been the cash cow you might expect.

Spider-Man, as any comic book fan knows, isn’t the most powerful superhero. He can’t push planets around like DC Comics’ Superman (owned by Time Warner (Charts, Fortune 500), parent of Fortune and CNNMoney.com). He’s just an insecure teenager who, after his encounter with a radioactive spider, can climb walls and swing around on a web. But Marvel’s wisecracking web-slinger is Hollywood’s most bankable superhero. Sony’s “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man 2” have made $3 billion from ticket sales, DVDs, and TV revenue globally. And “Spider-Man 3” had a record $151.1 million U.S. opening weekend.

You’d think David Maisel, recently named chairman of Marvel Studios, the publisher’s Hollywood division, would be eager to talk about Spider-Man’s success, but he’s not. Why? Marvel (Charts) won’t disclose its profits from the first two Spider-Man films, but according to a Lehman Brothers analysis, Marvel’s combined take was only $62 million.

Spider-Man isn’t the only Marvel star to make lots of money for somebody else. Fox’s “Fantastic Four,” released in 2005, has grossed $624 million. Marvel only made $13 million. (A sequel, “Rise of the Silver Surfer,” opens on June 15.) The three X-Men movies, also produced by News Corp.’s (Charts, Fortune 500) Fox, grossed a combined $2 billion. But Marvel’s total share was $26 million.

§ Rapper Master P is BLACK SUPAMAN.

Well, it may not be dignified, but when Master P’s first movie as producer and star arrives on DVD August 7, it’s at least unlikely that it will contain a lot of profanity. THE ADVENTURES OF BLACK SUPAMAN stars P as the hero of the hood in New Orleans of 2069. The film co-stars Tony Cox, Chris Kennedy and Michael Blackson. No plot details are revealed on the movie’s website, and no word yet on whether DC Comics and Warner Bros. will come down hard on P for infringing on their copyrights, though the “parody defense” might be the strategy in place.

Dept. of You Don’t Say?: Students learn while creating comic books

Pioneering female bowler treasures comics appearance.


  1. You know, I don’t feel sorry for Marvel (millions is millions), because isn’t that what happened to guys like Kirby and Ditko? They create these characters, Marvel banks, and the writers/artists get a mere fraction of the profits?

  2. Marvel will likely make lots of money when their in-house properties get made. Isn’t Iron Man their first in-house flick? I’m sure that will make tons of cash.

  3. I really can’t pity Marvel either. If memory serves, they tried to rip off Stan the Man Lee too a couple years ago when the first Spider-Man movie was made, by not giving him his share of the profits. He had to sue them, and may have reached an out-of-court settlement in the end to get his share.

  4. My bookstore, Barnes & Noble, hosted Dr. Bitz and the local New York City students, educators, family and friends! Dark Horse supplied preprinted blank comic books with panels, and each student wrote and drew a story. On display were the best from each school, and awards and prizes were handed out. One group was a class of First Graders! Another was sponsored by the Queens Public Library! Proud parents were taking pictures, kids were reading the comics on display, and the place was PACKED!
    Next year, I’m going to try and set up a display of howto books and try and offer advice to the parents.

  5. If you make it so that Creator X gets more money if his work sells well or is turned into a movie does that also mean that Creator X will pay back his salary if the project does worse than expected? It would only be fair

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