Marvel Entertainment (MVL, $32.48, up $2.23) couldn’t have timed this one any better. The stock is setting 52-week highs after a solid earnings report and a monster weekend as the company’s latest blockbuster hit, “Iron Man”, pulled in over $100 million. The movie was the second-best premiere ever for a non-sequel and believe me, Robert Downey Jr. makes this one work.

The company reported 1Q earnings of $45.2 million, or $0.58 a share, up from $46.8 million, or $0.54 a share from last year’s 1Q. The results were better than what Wall Street had expected which had pegged the company at $0.43 a share on revenue of $111.7 million.

For those who thought Marvel couldn’t expand on its characters they were certainly proved wrong this weekend. Aside form the “Incredible Hulk” debacle, Marvel does a pretty decent job of bringing these characters to life. The company gets another crack at the “Hulk” with Ed Norton starring in the upcoming release in June.

“Iron Man,” was the first release by Marvel Studios which was distributed by Paramount. After studio-backed hits such as “Spider-Man,” “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four”, it looks as though Marvel has another blockbuster on its hands. That isn’t hard to believe. What is hard to believe is that the theme song “Iron Man” sung by Black Sabbath/ Ozzy Osbourne is nearly 40 years old…

Rick Rouse