One of the biggest factors in Marvel's financial turnaround has been an upsurge in licensing revenue and the once beleaguered publisher announced a new agreement today with THQ, Inc to create a series of videogames based on the classic Marvel characters Captain America, The Punisher, and Nick Fury. The deal with THQ provides the game developer with exclusive interactive game licenses for every viable game system and platform through 2007. This deal does not affect separate videogame licenses with Activision for Marvel's two top properties, X-Men and Spider-Man, as well as Blade, Fantastic Four, and Iron Man (see 'Activision Expands Marvel Roster').
Marvel also announced that it was working with THQ on the development of a new comic series, The Call, an all-new property about real-world heroism. The Call will appear as a bonus insert in half of Marvel's May books (see 'Marvel's May Inserts'), then will debut in the fall of 2003 followed by an interactive debut in spring of 2004. Although the press release did not indicate exactly how, it did mention that The Call may feature some of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe including Spider-Man and X-Men. The first THQ release will be based on The Punisher and is slated for a holiday 2003 release.