Pow! Just like that, comic book sugar daddy Marvel(NYSE: MVL) knocked out its fiscal 2002 targets and bulked up nicely for the battle with 2003. The entertainment goldmine has just started to tap its gems and, by all indications, it has tapped into a mother lode.

For years, Marvel let its franchise of characters lay dormant. It took years of movie development deals gone bad before Spider-Man saw the light of day. But just as Blade and X-Men turned out into sequel-spawning box-office hits, it wasn't until this past summer that the company unleashed Spidey. It only wound up being last year's biggest flick, with $404 million collected in domestic movie tickets.

So far this year, it's Marvel's Daredevil riding in the pole position. While anticipated Matrix and Lord of the Rings sequels may duke it out for the 2003 crown, don't sell short Marvel's own X-Men 2 and The Hulk, due out in May and June, respectively.

With the movie studios conceding juicy royalties for Marvel's proven franchises, it's no wonder that the company is raising its 2003 outlook, again. While it raised the bar two months ago, it seems as if it's well coached in packing superhero strength.

Marvel now expects to earn between $0.64 and $0.69 a share this year on revenue of at least $215 million. It's easy to buy into its optimism. Theatrical blockbusters create a huge amount of product awareness and the licensing deals come pouring in. Last year, Marvel-licensed consumer products sold more than $2 billion in merchandise.

This Motley Fool Stock Advisor featured company has taken its overdue payday money and used it to pay down its burdensome debt. Marvel may be bulking up right now in terms of prospects and fundamentals, but it's doing so as a lean, mean, and Hulk-green content-licensing machine. And that's good. We wouldn't want to get Dr. Banner angry now, would we?