Marvel Enterprises (NYSE:MVL) is a great company. It is, in its own way, a bona fide superhero, as Seth Jayson intimated last July. Unlike Peter Parker, however, Marvel isn't spinning webs and fighting for the safety of the citizens of New York. Instead, it is caught up in the eternal battle for truth, justice, and increased value of its outstanding shares.

It continues on with the noble struggle via the consummation of another deal for one of its intellectual properties. Fantastic Four is scheduled to hit theaters sometime in 2005, so it is only natural that a new cartoon series featuring the likes of The Thing and The Human Torch should hit the airwaves at some point. In this case, that point is fall 2006, when Marvel expects Antefilms Productions (a French animation shop) to have 26 episodes in the can and ready for broadcast. You can bet that the shows will look a lot snazzier than the cartoon series based on this particular universe that appeared in the 1960s.

Marvel is certainly in the driver's seat here. It doesn't have to pony up any cash for the development, according to the release. Antefilms will make (and pay for) the cartoons, and Marvel will assist in the area of creative control. Marvel will then have certain rights to the series, such as distribution in the United States.

Think about it: Nothing to lose, a lot to gain. Shareholders should be as happy as passengers on a runaway train that was suddenly stopped by a web-slinging mutant. That's how the market can feel sometimes; when it's at its choppiest, individual investors want a company in which they can sense long-term safety. Marvel, in my opinion, fits that bill because it has a rich cache of characters that can be exploited for many years to come. And the exploitation can take the form of video games on Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox, and in all kinds of assorted merchandise at Target (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and any other appropriate retailer.

Marvel says it has more than 4,700 characters in its portfolio. What that says to me is that the company has a long, long way to go toward saturation of its overall brand equity on the pop cultural matrix. Undoubtedly, there will be many missteps along the way, as not all of the characters will find places in the hearts of consumers, but every box-office or licensing failure is sure to be balanced out by an overpowering success, and the net effect will be an upward trend for the stock. This equity could be a keeper.

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You don't have to tell David Gardner how great Marvel is. He's recommended it three times for Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers. To learn more about the newsletter, sign up today with the benefit of a six-month money-back guarantee.

Fool contributor StevenMallas owns none of the companies mentioned.