Marketing: Move over, Spider-Man

Marvel Entertainment celebrates girl power in a new bid for female readers.

The art of rebranding is the ability to engage a new audience without alienating those already loyal to you. Marvel Entertainment, known for out-of-this-world male leads like Iron Man and Wolverine, is attempting such a delicate feat. Mark your Avengers calendar – 2010 is the year of Marvel Women. Announced late last year, the program will officially launch in March, with one-time title issues for secondary female characters like X-23 and Sif.

Marvel, which was recently bought by the iconic Disney Co., says the year-long event is a celebration of all the women who help make Marvel what it is, including artists, editors, inkers and the rest. But the company admits the program is also a push to attract new readers.

The male-dominated Marvel is reaching out to that audience with the launch of an all-ages series aimed at young girls, as well as with an anthology series titled Girl Comics, where the entire series is female from contributor to character. They will also be announcing their Women of Marvel of the Year at the San Diego comic conference in July. David Gabriel, senior VP of sales, says, “With a project like this, with so much branding, you have to go all the way.” Only time will tell if Marvel is as good at branding as their characters are at saving the world from evil-doers.