News: Marvel Signs Plush Deal posted August 10, 2004
August 10 -- Marvel Comics signed yet another licensing deal, this time with Russ Berrie for the "plush" and "gift" categories. Russ Berrie is an industry leader for such toys, and is a publicly traded company with over $300 million in annual sales.
What makes the deal more interesting than the standard blanket arrangement by which Marvel handcuffed itself in the 1990s is how specific the deal gets in terms of characters and markets covered. The deal includes a list of characters -- X-Men, Iron Man, Hulk -- and limits sales so that mass merchants and retailer exclusives can be negotiated by the company at a future date. For now, flower shops, drug stores and military exchanges have found their Marvel plush and gift supplier.