Not sure if anyone else saw this, but I hope it is of some interest. This brief article which ran on Slate.com today outlines the history of Marvel's struggle to build profits from it's characters using movies, cartoons and licensing deals. It's very interesting in that many of the names will be familiar to comic book readers, but only the people interested in the business end of the I.P. side of managing the rights (the few, the proud, the legal-minded) would know of others.
Many interesting notes in this article. This one, showing their strategy in risking the rights to The Avengers, sticks out: "And although the Avengers were on that list, Marvel wasn’t risking them, not really—in fact, the rights to Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, and the Hulk were already tied up with other studios. This was just a nice little sleight-of-hand: the super-team had included so many B-list members over the years that, Marvel could argue, the lien was actually only for a lineup of, say, Jack of Hearts, Two-Gun Kid, Tigra, and D-Man."
"Certainly we never would have seen Marvel’s $4.3 billion sale to Disney. “It’s almost laughable,” says Arad. “People were saying, ‘Wow, that’s a high price.’ It’s a cheap price! It’s nothing! It’s a very strong brand, and we planned on this brand. It wasn’t a fluke.”"