Smell like Spider-Man as Marvel debuts cosmetics (and more) for women

Marvel Comics is expanding its merchandising outreach to women, Women's Wear Daily reported today.

After more than 70 years of gearing the bulk of its merchandise efforts toward the young men's market, selling everything from Captain America business card holders to Incredible Hulk T-shirts, the entertainment company is making a major push into the women's apparel, cosmetics and accessories markets.

Since 2007, the $5.7 billion consumer products division at Marvel has been testing select items for females, such as graphic character T-shirts at Hot Topic and Gap and jewelry at Claire's.

Susan Fields, vice president of product merchandising at Marvel, said the company plans to roll out a series of female-friendly products with a new range of licensing partners.

Currently, stores are selling contemporary fashion tops licensed to Mighty Fine, junior fashion tops from Junk Food, mass fashion tops with Fortune Fashions and jewelry with H.E.R. Accessories. A larger array of items will soon be introduced, including handbags from Bioworld, stationery with iScream, color cosmetics with Lotta Luv and watches and fashion jewelry with MZ Berger.

The plan, said Paul Gitter, president of consumer products, North America, is to have a full Marvel lifestyle brand of products available before 2012. Marvel is negotiating deals for footwear, swimwear, outerwear, intimates and loungewear.

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