Marvel Comics has signed an 'expansive' three-year licensing agreement with Diamond Select Toys, a sister company of Diamond Comic Distributors.  The agreement includes calendars, posters, resins, and seasonal products.  Three Marvel calendars and one Marvel poster that will be produced under the new agreement are being offered in the current June edition of Diamond Previews.  The first products solicited include: the Marvel Spider-Man 2002 Calendar, the X-Men 2002 Wall Calendar, The Art of Marvel 2002 Calendar, and the Punisher #1 poster by Tim Bradstreet.


This new agreement signals a growing alliance between Marvel and Diamond.  Marvel recently shifted its book distribution from LPC to Diamond (see 'Diamond Moves Into Bookstore Distribution'), a major move given the increasing importance of bookstore sales and Marvel's commitment to creating more bookstore friendly trade paperback editions.  Industry rumors abound that Marvel will expand its toy offerings to the specialty market with action figures and statues created and manufactured by Diamond Select.  Though no one at either Diamond or Marvel will confirm the rumors, Steve Geppi is quoted in the Press Release announcing this agreement as saying, 'Once we agreed in principle, it was just a matter of bringing the folks at Diamond Select Toys on board and letting their imaginations run wild throughout the Marvel Universe.'  Will there be DST/Marvel Ultimate toys in your future?  Stay tuned.