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NEW YORK -Marvel Comics, the nation's leading comic book publisher and a division of Marvel Enterprises, Inc., will enhance its successful growing front list of graphic novels with the creation of its first prose imprint - Marvel Press. Based upon characters in the Marvel Universe, the new line of fiction broadens Marvel's reach in the fast-growing graphic novel market by penetrating both traditional and new markets. Marvel has hired seven-year veteran of children's and young adult publishing, Ruwan Jayatilleke, formerly of Scholastic, to head Marvel Press and oversee its aggressive launch list with three prose novels scheduled for 2004 and a minimum of 12 for 2005.

"The primary purpose of Marvel Publishing is to create great fiction. Marvel Press is an exciting new way for us to do this, and we are enormously happy to have Ruwan on board to lead the way," said Dan Buckley, Publisher.

While prose novels are not new to Marvel Publishing (in 2003, Marvel produced Mary Jane, a critically acclaimed young adult novel focusing on Mary Jane Watson, the long time love interest of Spider-Man's Peter Parker), the creation of Marvel Press takes this initiative to the next level. Marvel Press will focus on three regular lines of prose aimed at grade school readers, young adults, and adult fans.

Gui Karyo, Marvel's President of Publishing added, "Marvel Press is an important milestone for our publishing division, as it is a new tool for expanding the world of our characters and stories, while also bringing them to new audiences."

Mary Jane II will arrive in bookstores in June, followed by a fantasy Wolverine title for adults in October, and then a middle grade Spider-Man title in November.


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