Old-school comic book fans like me might remember a classic title called Marvel Team-Up. In this title, Spider-Man would join forces with another hero to tussle with one or more of the titans of terror from Marvel Entertainment's (NYSE: MVL ) cast of villains.
I'm reminded of that old series today with news of a new team-up. This time, Marvel is teaming with Japanese game developer Sega to bring three more of its more popular characters -- Captain America, The Hulk, and Thor -- to the video screen.
That's according to The Hollywood Reporter, which is also reporting that Sega recently inked a deal to develop a game that will coincide with the 2008 release of Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow.
But there's more at work here than timing, apparently. The Hollywood Reporter says that Sega and Marvel are working to bring the best of the big screen to console gamers. If the result is anything like this, I'm intrigued.
Same goes for The Hulk. Sega reportedly already has a developer working on a game starring the green giant. It should be available in time for the June 2008 debut of The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton, in what seems to be a popcorn remake of the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno TV series from the 1970s.
Regardless, history says that investors should cheer this deal. Marvel's box-office hits Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were also successes as video games for Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI ) . Now, Activision's Spider-Man 3 is planned to coincide with the box-office release of the third flick. Thanks to pre-orders, it's already No. 241 on the Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) bestseller list for video games.
Success of that magnitude offers leverage. Stock Advisor pick Marvel should have put it to good use, extracting generous licensing terms in its deal with Sega. If so, the armored avenger won't need to do anywhere near as well as the friendly neighborhood web-slinger has in order for Marvel to produce meaningful profits from true-believing gamers.
In short: this team-up could be a classic in the making.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers, ranked 1,117 out of more than 27,200 in our Motley Fool CAPS investor-intelligence database, owns more than 2,000 comic books but no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. All of his portfolio holdings can be found at Tim's Fool profile. His thoughts on the movie business, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a hero to your portfolio.