Marvel Productions LTD. was a television and motion picture studio division of Marvel Comics, based in Hollywood, California. It worked on Spider-Man, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, The Incredible Hulk, "Pryde of the X-Men", X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. Other series and films the company worked on include Transformers, G.I. Joe, The Transformers: The Movie, Fraggle Rock, the Emmy winning The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, and RoboCop: The Animated Series just to name a few.
The company started as DFE Films in 1963. After DFE founder and company executive Friz Freleng left the company to return to his former job at Warner Bros. Animation the company was sold to Marvel Comics Group in 1981. David H. DePatie, company co-founder and Freleng's business partner, continuted to work under the Marvel name until his retirement several years later.
Ownership Changes and Closure
Marvel Comics and Productions would go through several ownership changes throughout the years. In 1968 it was owned by Cadence Industries Corporation until it was sold to New World Entertainment in 1986.
Between 1988 and 1989 Marvel went into bankruptcy and New World sold the company to MacAndrews and Forbes, which was owned by Ronald Perelman. Marvel subsidiary Toy Biz owner, Isaac Perlmutter, pruchased Marvel and Marvel Productions out of bankruptcy. He then decided to cut costs by selling the Marvel Productions' back catalog to Saban Entertainment, then closed the studio altogether. Instead opting to contract out all future animated projects to third party studios.
Today, Disney owns Saban's catalog following the purchase of Fox Family, the successor to Saban. Because of that Disney now holds the home video and broadcast rights to almost all Marvel animated programs made during the 1980s and 1990s including all Marvel series produced by DePatie-Freleng and Grantray-Lawrence Animation. It does not own the series produced by Hanna-Barbera and programs involving characters and trademarks owned by other characters such as G.I. Joe and Transformers.
Life After Marvel Productions
Studio executives, including Margaret Loesch and Lee Gunther, moved to other animation studios while Stan Lee signed a new lifetime non-exclusive contract with Marvel in 1998, enabling him to establish his own company for the first time in his 50 year career with Marvel.