Virgin Comics continues its generally sound expansion plans with a licensing deal for European distribution via Panini.

The Panini Group is pleased to announce that it has signed a contract with Virgin Comics L.L.C., to become its long term master licensee for comic books, comic magazines, trade paperbacks and graphic novels, in Europe (UK and Ireland excluded) and in all of Latin America.

Virgin Comics is the recently announced entertainment company formed by Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group alongside world-renowned author Deepak Chopra (How to Know God, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success), acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth, Four Feathers) and South Asia’s leading publisher of comic magazines, Gotham Entertainment Group LLC.

Under this agreement, Panini will market in a variety of periodical and book formats the bold new titles produced under the Virgin Comics logo, which combine the mystical and epic aspects of Indian culture – mostly reintroduced by Deepak Chopra and Shekhar Kapur, with the cutting edge concepts of some of the leading filmmakers and performers worldwide, including John Woo (Face-Off, Mission Impossible 2), Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels) Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), and more.

Panini, who is the foremost publisher of US comics in Europe and Latin America, is no stranger to introducing new concepts to the publishing world, having spearheaded the translation and adaptation of hundreds of Japanese manga titles in all the main European territories and Brazil in the last eleven years.

Panini’s partnership with Virgin Comics marks Panini’s strategic move into new thematic grounds and into graphic novel and magazine content that can reach out to the general public thru the strong marketing power of brands such as Virgin and the stable of artists and directors connected with its comics line.

Marco M. Lupoi, publishing director, Panini group, declared “Virgin is one of the strongest brands worldwide, and the line of comics they have developed is ground breaking in the themes covered and the original vision of the world they embody, which can have a strong impact on European and Latin American audiencesâ€?.

Sharad Devarajan, Co-Founder and CEO of Virgin Comics LLC, commented, “We are thrilled to form this relationship with Panini, whose unparalleled resources and experience in international comic book publishing offer us exactly the kind of partner we are looking for to effectively bring the Virgin Comics line to a whole new audience of readers around the world.“