Publisher Dan Buckley Talks Marvel/Dabel Brothers Deal

While news of a partnership of sorts between the Dabel Brothers and Marvel Comics has been rumored for about a week now and first mentioned in Rich Johnston's LYING IN THE GUTTERS column here on CBR, confirmation wasn't yet available. Tonight at the Diamond Comics Retailer Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, Marvel made it official. The two companies have signed a publishing and distribution agreement. We caught up with Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley to learn more about this agreement and what the implications are for both companies.

When asked simply why partner with the Dabel's, Buckley told CBR News, "The Dabels and Marvel have decided to enter into this publishing arrangement because it is mutually beneficial. Marvel's sales, marketing, production and distribution resources will allow the Dabels to create and develop great graphic fiction product for the best-selling properties they represent."

The impetus for this decision was both companies were looking to grow their business and expand the graphic fiction category. "After some initial discussions we saw that we were a good strategic and cultural fit," said Buckley. "We have been talking to each other for several months and are very pleased with the final result.

"We'll be working in partnership with them and providing assistance in any level of production and editorial as needed. Marvel will be taking charge of marketing, distribution, promotions, and P.R. In addition, we will be making it easier for retailers to learn about the products, order the products, and sell the products."

While the deal may have been announced just today, the results from this new publishing agreement will be seen very soon. This October, Marvel will release collected editions of "Red Prophet" and "Magician: Apprentice," collecting the sold-out first two issues of each. Both books will be available on October 11th.

In late October, "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures" #1 will see release. This mini-series is based on the popular series of novels by Laurell K. Hamilton and will be the first in a series of mini-series based on the character. This will be followed in November by the first issue of the mini-series "Ptolus: Spire by the Spire," based on the new RPG. All four series will be published on a monthly schedule thereafter. Finally, Marvel will also issue a premier hardcover edition of the graphic novel adaptation of George R. R. Martin's "Hedge Knight" in December.

Since their inception, the Dabel Brothers have made noise by signing agreements to publish comics based on high profile properties, but at the same time the company has been plagued by numerous production problems and delays, keeping the company off the radar of most comic fans. "Yes, this announcement is probably a bit of a surprise to everyone, but I think that you will find that most everyone will see how logical this relationship is when they sit back and look at the respective strengths and resources of Marvel and the Dabel Brothers," explained Buckley. "The plan that we have developed with the Dabels allows each party to focus on their respective strengths, which will in turn stabilize the publishing schedule for the Dabel Brothers. They will be allowed to focus on developing their product and we will deal with all the hassles that come with marketing, sales and distribution."

The Dabel Brothers have an extensive line of licensed product to offer, primarily focused on the fantasy genre. Buckley finds the pairing of Marvel and the Dabel's to be of great benefit to both companies. "The beauty of this relationship is that the Marvel editorial offerings and the Dabel editorial offerings stand on their own and they serve different consumers. Our products do not need to work together, they compliment each other."

Finally, is there any possibility of a cross-over between the Dabel produced books and any Marvel Characters? "Anything is possible, but I can safely say that you will not see anything in the near term," said Buckley.

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