For Marvel Entertainment (NYSE: MVL), the weekend buzz surrounds Iron Man's ongoing assault on box-office rivals. The big-screen origin story of Marvel's ironclad hero is a gold-plated hit, with $177 million in domestic ticket sales in its first 11 days of release, compared to the mere $20.2 million Speed Racer eked out in its opening weekend.

Nice job, Shellhead. Now get ready for a curtain call. Marvel and THQ (Nasdaq: THQI) just booked a deal to bring you and your fellow heroes to a new kid-friendly game series called Marvel Super Hero Squad. Aimed at children ages 4-10, the target audience fits with THQ's Disney (NYSE: DIS)-themed games, such as the video game version of Pixar's Cars.

Of course, a look at THQ's recent financial results makes me wonder whether Marvel will make much, if anything, from this deal. Fair enough. But I wouldn't undersell it, either. Marvel's licensing business is already underrated.

Chief Financial Officer Ken West told me in an interview recently that Marvel has been booking 80-100 new licensing contracts per quarter. More of them are more like the deal Marvel inked with Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) than the $200 million blockbuster it forged with Hasbro (NYSE: HAS) in 2006. Likewise, this deal is likely relatively small.

Even so, Marvel has produced nearly $220 million in cash flow over the trailing 12 months on the strength of these small arrangements. Penny by penny, Marvel has built the world's sixth-largest licensing business, according to the latest survey by LICENSE magazine.

Today, it has a few more of those pennies for the bank.

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Fool contributor and Rule Breakers writer Tim Beyers had positions in Marvel shares and LEAP options at the time of publication. See Tim's portfolio and his latest blog entry. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is so money ... and it knows it, too.