ITEM! Wouldja believe that even with the boffo box office performance of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, not to mention a Q2 earnings report showing a quantum leap from $101.5 million in 2007 to $156.9 million in 2008, that Marvel stock dropped on the NYSE by over 8% this morning? Ouch! That’s even going to hit Yours Truly right in my Aunt May pocketbook! What’s all the Wall Street fuss about? Are the bears and bulls fighting again? Or is it the Hulk and Wolverine?
Nope — turns out the problem is with the goose that lays the golden eggs, which is to say the publishing division. You know... the part of the company that actually creates the intellectual properties that in turn feed the rest of Marvel’s monolithic merchandising machine... the part your Uncle Stan used to run. While earnings were way up for Marvel’s in-house Film Production and Licensing divisions, the Publishing division was down over the same quarter a year ago for the second quarter in a row. Get all the gory details here.
So while the publishing goose may not be dead yet, he’s certainly feeling a little under the weather. And the comic shops and dealers that depend on direct sales of floppies (comic books) as much as droppies (trade paperbacks and hardback reprints that hurt if you drop them on your foot) are feeling the sales-pinch as well. Secret Invasion sales were expected to push the publishing division to “traditional margins for the full year 2008.” Those Skrulls better get pushing before the publishing division is pushing up Skrull-daisies. My retirement fund, should I ever actually do that sort of thing, is at stake! Yeesh! If yah ever need my help, Joe, all yah gotta do is call!