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Disney Publishing Adds Crossgen Ent. To Comics Portfolio

Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) has acquired of the assets of CrossGen Entertainment Inc., an innovative publisher of comicbooks and graphic novels. CrossGens stable of epic fantasy and science fiction properties include ABADAZAD, RUSE, WAY OF THE RAT, MERIDIAN, MYSTIC, ROUTE 666 and SOJOURN. Disney represents approximately 50% of all childrens comic magazines sold around the world, reaching readers of all ages, with 220 million comics each year.

To maintain our leadership position, we are committed to developing and acquiring top-quality, powerful content that expands our rich comic portfolio and CrossGen has some great properties, said DPW president Deborah Dugan. In light of recently reported declines in reading, we are developing creative new approaches using comics to engage children in the written word, and we hope to benefit from CrossGens experience in this area.

CrossGen was founded in 1998 and by 2000 had grown into one of the largest independent comic publishers in the U.S. The companys quality and handling of its intellectual properties has earned it Comic Publisher of the Year among small comics publishers for three consecutive years. Other Cross Gen assets include a comics-based educational and literacy program; the proprietary BeeVee Player and Chameleon technologies that enables enhanced online publishing of comics and magazines as well as new digital business models; and an initiative to publish comics online in several countries, including China.

Given Disneys legacy in comics, global distribution relationships and talent for multi-media storytelling, I believe we have found a great home for these properties, said CrossGens ceo/founder founder Mark Alessi.

DPW plans to develop CrossGen title, ABADAZAD, a complex and deeply engrossing story of a girls search for her lost brother, set in a fantastical world within a world. Four ABADAZAD books are already slated to be published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of DPW.

The most successful publishing properties also generate excitement throughout Disney, including its motion picture, television and games units, Dugan said, and ABADAZAD lends itself perfectly to Disneys synergistic philosophy.

Disneys long history in comicbooks began when the first MICKEY MOUSE and DONALD DUCK comic magazines were published in 1935 and 1942, respectively. DPW has enjoyed tremendous success with W.I.T.C.H, a comic magazine for tween girls that debuted in Italy in 2001, and is now the fourth largest magazine in the world in terms of international editions (33 editions generating more than one million copies/month). W.I.T.C.H. books are published in 20 countries, and a TV series launch is planned for early 2005.

Disney Publishing Worldwide is the largest childrens publisher in the world, with books and magazines in 55 languages in 75 countries, reaching more than 100 million readers each month.