Broadway Books

Advance Praise for Comic Wars


"Who'd have thought that the battle over a comic book would produce such an incredible story. A page turning delight."
--Larry King

"A page-turner that is both a valuable cautionary tale about shaky junk bonds and other unwise investments, and a rollicking good read."
-- Marshall Loeb,, former editor of Fortune and Money

"Dan Raviv turns his well-known investigative skills to something new: the hidden story of the bankruptcy that had all us comic fans worried. So dramatic and true-to-life, that I couldn't put it down."
--Steve Geppi, President, Diamond Comic Distributors

"Raviv reveals the tragic consequences of financiers with supersized personas on a collision course with creativity. Moguls, wannabe moguls, and the countless victims of moguls will appreciate this mythic tale that really happened."
--Jeffrey Sonnenfeld
, Associate Dean, Yale University School of Management

"This is a great book. It tells an incredible story that will keep you on the edge of your chair."
--Wolf Blitzer, CNN anchor


Contact: David Drake


From the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Every Spy a Prince, The riveting behind-the-scenes story of the real life superheroes who rescued A beloved icon of American popular culture from bankruptcy

How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comics Empire--And Both Lost
by Dan Raviv

"Dan Raviv is a wizard. Though COMIC WARS is a factual account of the origins and aftermath of a corporate bankruptcy, he's managed to make it as suspenseful and exciting as the superhero thrillers over which most of the battle was fought. Even though I've lived through those harrowing days, thanks to Dan's book, I've gained a new understanding of the whole incredible event." -- Stan Lee

In 1996, Marvel Entertainment, legendary creator of Captain America, X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and the amazing Spider-Man, had accumulated a staggering total of $1.6 billion in debt and was headed straight for bankruptcy. Today, Marvel has risen from the ashes of financial ruin, reinvigorated and raring to become a media powerhouse. Friday, May 3, the date Sony/Columbia Pictures' Spider-Man hits theaters nationwide, will mark not only the arrival of a blockbuster movie, but also the triumphant return of a world-class entertainment company.

In COMIC WARS: How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comics Empire--And Both Lost (Broadway Books; On Sale: April 30, 2002; Hardcover; $24.95), award-winning investigative journalist Dan Raviv goes beyond the headlines to tell the colorful, dramatic, and frequently comical story of the fight for control over a company cherished for more than half-a-century as an icon of American popular culture. Combining meticulous research with a gift for riveting storytelling, the author brings to life a cast of colorful real-life characters and traces their cunning maneuvers in the boardroom and the courtroom. While unveiling the financial and legal machinations, Raviv brilliantly illuminates the personal stakes for the four men pitted in a unique Wall Street showdown: Ronald Perelman, Carl Icahn, Ike Perlmutter, and Avi Arad.

Suspenseful, sometimes astounding, and thoroughly entertaining, COMIC WARS follows Marvel's fate over a turbulent decade--from takeover titan Perelman's ownership in 1989, through ruthless raider Icahn's chairmanship in 1997, and on into America's most vicious bankruptcy battle. The tortuous tale culminates with the company's ultimate salvation in the hands of Ike Perlmutter and Avi Arad: two Israeli immigrant entrepreneurs with a passion for the toy business--and the nerves of steel to take on two determined billionaires.

The dedicated duo at the top of Toy Biz, Perlmutter and Arad, saw the lucrative potential of a business alliance with Marvel and its famous fictional heroes. In 1993, Toy Biz signed a partnership pact with Marvel chairman Ron Perelman--touted "Wizard of Wall Street," celebrated owner of Revlon, and one of the most abrasive, profit-ravenous dealmakers in corporate America. In 1995, the Toy Biz visionaries made an impassioned plea to the Wizard, in his high-security headquarters known as The Townhouse, to "start doing things"--like TV and and movies--to leverage the beloved Marvel characters and get the public talking and buying.

Perelman, however, did not seem to appreciate the untapped value of the distinctive piece of American culture that he owned. To him, Marvel was merely another platform for manipulating creditors and selling junk bonds. In less than a year, the comic book icon would wind up in federal bankruptcy court and embroiled in dozens of lawsuits. Battles present opportunities to men such as Icahn, the voracious marauder of TWA infamy. A man with scant interest in comic books or national icons, Icahn was driven by one burning goal: defeating and humiliating his rival in the booming hostile takeover business, Ron Perelman.

A gripping tale of greed, profanity, and power, of conviction, ingenuity, and perseverance, COMIC WARS deftly captures all the twists and turns in the conflict--and the hopes, ambitions, and egos of its key players.

Highlights include:

• How Perelman procured the trust of a respected banking group led by Chase Manhattan, lost a bundle on his brash acquisitions of sports-card subsidiaries, and still managed to pocket nearly $500 million while driving Marvel to devastation.

• Why Icahn risked $70 million on a personal vendetta, how he wrested control of Marvel away from Perelman, and how the formidable corporate shark eventually got swallowed by a minnow of a toy company.

• How Perlmutter's fierce talent for negotiation and Arad's creative genius and belief in comics as an authentic American art form combined to save and reinvent Marvel--with some help from a grassroots movement of comic book fans and a determined attorney.

• How Perlmutter and Arad navigated the convoluted maze of copyright and licensing agreements that nearly foiled the making of Spider-Man, the movie--and why the only clear winners in the whole Marvel saga are the lawyers.

For fans of business thrillers and superheroes--both cartoon and human--COMIC WARS is a rollicking, compelling, and instructive read.


About the Author DAN RAVIV is a national correspondent for CBS News, based in Washington, D.C. Winner of two Overseas Press Club of America Awards for his coverage of the Persian Gulf, he has contributed articles to the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Times of London and other major newspapers worldwide. He is also the co-author of three acclaimed books: Friends in Deed, Behind the Uprising and the New York Times bestseller, Every Spy a Prince. He lives with his family in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comics Empire--And Both Lost
By Dan Raviv

Published by Broadway Books
On Sale Date: April 30, 2002
Hardcover; $24.95
320 pages
ISBN: 0-7679-0830-9



Comic Wars
Dan Raviv

April 2002