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27/03/2006

PANINI AND MARVEL RENEW MASTER COMIC BOOK AGREEMENT FOR EUROPE AND LATIN AMERICA

Modena, March 2006

Panini S.p.A. and Marvel Entertainment, Inc. announced today that they have renewed and expanded their existing publishing agreement for Marvel Comics under which Panini retains a master license for Europe and selected Latin American countries to translate and publish all comics, trade paperbacks, graphic novels, encyclopaedias and art books released by Marvel in the United States.  The new agreement was announced by Marco Lupoi, Panini Group Publishing Director and Bruno Maglione, President of Marvel Entertainment International.  

Notable in the new agreement is an ambitious expansion of editorial projects where Panini will originate new content under the creative supervision of Marvel. Panini will continue to develop the top-selling Spectacular Spider-Man and Marvel Rampage children’s magazines and spin these out to the rest of the licensed territories in a variety of new formats including hardcover books and digests. Additionally, Panini will originate a third magazine aimed at younger readers and will develop new short Marvel comic strip stories for syndication in newspapers and periodicals throughout the license Territory.

Finally, Panini will publish a series of selected new Marvel projects aimed primarily at the international market , including:

• An X-Men mini-series and a Young Dr Strange mini-series produced by Red Whale,  artists of the top selling Disney W.I.T.C.H. title and acclaimed creators of the Monster Allergy comics
• A Women of The X-Men graphic novel written by X-Men icon Chris Claremont and illustrated by top-selling European artist Milo Manara
• A Wolverine graphic novel written by Jean-David Morvan with art by Philippe Buchet, two of the main stars of the French comic book industry and authors of the best selling series Sillage.
• A Daredevil/Captain America graphic novel written by Tito Faraci and drawn by Claudio Villa, top artist of Italy’s iconic and top-selling comic book title - Tex.
• A complete collection of Stan Lee and John Romita’s Spider-Man daily strips and Sunday pages, originally published in 1977-1980 and never before re-printed in their totality in book format.

Marco M. Lupoi, Panini Group Publishing Director, commented “This long term agreement greatly strengthens our alliance with Marvel and indeed takes it to an entire new level. These ground breaking publishing initiatives are quite unique in the comic book publishing sector and an ideal example of the creative synergies that can be produced between an incredible portfolio of iconic characters such as Marvel’s, and the know-how of a leading publisher of comics and magazines with a distinct European sensibility, like us.”

Bruno Maglione, President of Marvel Entertainment International added that “Panini have been a very successful publisher for us over recent years and are an instrumental partner in our strategy to develop and promote the Marvel brand internationally. We are especially excited about all the local origination projects which are consistent with Marvel’s new global outlook and openness to work with top creative talent from all over the world to develop Marvel content that is compelling and relevant for all of our audiences.”


Marvel Comics are currently published through Panini in 22 different languages and 34 countries (which will become 37 in the new agreement), with a publishing plan of close to 2,000 publications scheduled for release in 2006. The Panini Group, based in Modena (Italy) with subsidiaries in Europe and Latin America, is the world leader in the stickers and cards sector, the leading multi-national publisher of comics, mangas and anime DVDs in Europe and Latin America, and is the most important distributor of comics and graphic novels for the sector of specialized book shops in Italy. In 2005 the Panini Group had sales of 400 Million Euros, with distribution channels in more than 100 countries, and employed 640 staff.  For further information contact: Panini S.p.A. 380 Viale Emilio Po, 41100, Modena - Italy info@paninigroup.com  or visit http://www.paninigroup.com or www.paninicomics.com

With a library of over 5,000 characters, Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: MVL) is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies.  Marvel's operations are focused on utilizing its character franchises in licensing, entertainment, publishing and toys.  Areas of emphasis include feature films, DVD/home video, consumer products, video games, action figures and role-playing toys, television and promotions.  Rooted in the creative success of over sixty years of comic book publishing, Marvel's strategy is to leverage its character franchises in a growing array of opportunities around the world. More information about Marvel can be found at www.marvel.com .


Marvel, and all related character names and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used with permission. Copyright ? 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved. www.marvel.com



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