Animated Shorts: The Voices of the Next Avengers, 2

The cover to the Marvel Animation direct-to-DVD feature 'Next Avengers'

Click here for part one.

There’s a story Tom Kane relishes telling when it comes to how he got the part of Tony Stark/Iron Man in Next Avengers.

“I don’t live in Los Angeles anymore,” says Kane. “I now do most of my auditions via email. So when Marvel asked me I just did my best interpretation, sent it and then after a month forgot about it. Then they called me and told me I had the part.

“By that time, I thought I had only auditioned for Ultron. What surprised me was they demanded that I had to fly into LA to do the session. I thought that was silly. Ultron only has about 12 lines. Why should I fly in to do that? I almost just told them to forget it. So I came on out. I figured I could catch up with some old friends anyway. When I get to the studio, they start giving me this long story about what happened to Tony Stark and Iron Man. Now I have my script turned to Ultron’s first line, so I’m asking why are they telling me all this stuff?

“That’s when Gary and Craig said let’s get going and I read my first line as Ultron. Then from the booth comes ‘We’ll get to Ultron later. Let’s do Tony Stark first. We want to get the Stark stuff out of the way.’

“That’s when I realized I was doing Iron Man,” Kane concluded. “I couldn’t help but say ‘Oh! I’m the star of the movie!’ So that was an unexpected treat, but I still had to tap dance right on the spot.”

As it happens, doing Stark is a natural for Kane. The reason for that is simple if you ever heard his natural voice.

“It was an easy part as this is the first time I did it in my own voice,” says Kane. “They wanted me to do Iron Man, but with an added perspective of it being from a father’s perspective. In the past he’d always been Tony Stark playboy millionaire or playing with all his inner demons. Of course, he’s also been Iron Man, who kicks butt and takes names; Just add a vocoder or something like that. That’s the main voices of the character. The sad part is I have about a million kids of my own, and I know what it’s like to be a father. If it wasn’t for the tap dance I would have called it one of my easiest jobs ever.

“That’s unusual,” says Kane. “It’s about the only time that it’s just me talking. The next closest is when I did Professor Utonium for PowerPuff Girls, but that also was just me doing Gary Owens. It’s still slightly exaggerated. For voice over guys, that’s not too common. Then again, I was Him, too. Not that there aren’t difficulties. At times I had to not only play worried father, but also angry inventor or angst-ridden for having all of his friends killed. That could switch from line to line.”

Even though Next Avengers was Petriw’s first voice over job, the admitted comic book fan found the job not too difficult, even if he wasn’t supposed to know he was playing Hawkeye. As he stated in last Tuesday’s article, the only reason he had a clue was due to a slip. That also didn’t mean he know he was playing a new Hawkeye, the son of the previous one.

“I didn’t find out until I got to the audition,” said Petriw. “They showed me when they showed me some sketches and the script. At first, I went ‘Hmmm…this is kind of interesting.’ I guess I had the same reaction a lot of other Marvel fans had when they heard of the project. Then when I started reading the script, I was really blown away. I felt this new version of Hawkeye adds to the whole Marvel mythology. He does have a lot of the classic Hawkeye in him.”

“In the comics, the Hulk can be really super dark,” Fred Tatasciore says about his role. “He sometimes can be as manipulative as Hannibal Lechter. He’s not really a good guy. He’s more inbetween, a wild card. Calling on him is like using a volcano or cyclone on to solve your problem. There’s a possibility we’re going to get hurt doing it. Yet he also has the instinct to help. What you really have to remember is this Hulk is like a child and he wants to be left alone. He doesn’t mean anyone any specific harm. Also, the people who provoke him are just as likely to get smashed as those who are really the villains.

“In Next Avengers, both Hulk and Banner know he’s a problem. Another thing is when we first meet him, he thinks everyone’s dead. So he quarantines himself. He’s not sure if he did some of it himself. I think he’s a little worried about that possibility. So both Bruce Banner and the Hulk are slightly loony. This makes him a bit more of maniac, too. The only time we see the Hulk change from this is because of Betty. Betty is his salvation, not only because he loves her, but because she’s the only one who truly sees the human inside the Hulk.”

That isn’t all Tatasciore did with this DVD either.

“I made him a little more aggressive,” he said.. “I also made him a little more tired. He’s really had enough of this. When he gets into it, you can see him groan just a little bit more. There are been times when I thought I was going to pass out. I have to be really careful with my voice or I’ll blow it out. At the same time, you do have to sound like you’re the strongest guy there. The Hulk really takes that to heart.”

In the meantime, all the actors are busy on new projects. Petriw is back to live action, with a role in the upcoming film Run Rabbit Run due later this year.

As for Tatasciore? The man is super busy. For starters, he’s just wrapping up work on the Hulk vs. D2D where he’s working alongside another big name, Steve Blum.

Hulk v. Wolverine is a real beat’emup,” says Tatasciore. “At the same time, it’s almost a buddy movie. One of my favorite things about it is Wolverine trying to get my ire up, and I’m knocking out everybody in my way.

“Also, Steve Blum is so brilliant as Wolverine,” at this moment, Tatasciore does a great imitation of Blum’s ‘honey and gravel’ voice. “’Atta boy buddy! Break it up!…Oh crap!’ Steve and I work together all the time. It’s really fun because I see what he does, he sees what I do. Even in the booth we have these mock battles. He’s not only one of my greatest friends, but his talent is just tremendous. Now while Hulk v. Wolverine is the smash’em-up, there’s also a lot of comedy thanks to Noah North, who plays Deadpool. He’s just funny as hell. It’s also much more a traditional Hulk fight movie.”

While he’s at it, Tatasciore also drops some clues about the other half of Hulk v., that of Hulk versus Thor.

“Now with Hulk v. Thor that’s much more a fantasy. Without giving away too much of the story, Hulk is being manipulated by someone we all know quite well. You know who. Everyone familiar with Marvel knows who. So Hulk ends up being just a machine of destruction. Of course, he will eventually get himself free. So I played him more like your traditional monster, like Boris Karloff. It’s also a lot of fun.”

That isn’t all we’re hearing of the big man either. In fact, it’s barely the tip of the iceberg.

“We got the upcoming Wolverine and the X-Men show,” Tatasciore counts down, “where I’m the Beast as well as Hulk, when he comes up. It’s great doing Beast because he’s the opposite of Hulk. He’s want I want to be, but I’m really the Hulk. I’m also doing a bunch of stuff for Nickelodeon, like Barnyard, where I play the Farmer. There’s also a new show called Planet Sheen coming out, which is a spin-off of Jimmy Neutron. I’ll be the king of that planet, a very loquacious kind of fellow. Also doing Secret Saturdays, where I’m the kimodo dragon, the pterodactyl and the henchmen to the main villain, Argost. There are a lot of different things coming up. I’ll also be in the new Cleveland Show.”

As for Kane? He’s getting ready for a number of awards ceremonies, where’s he is usually is the announcer. He’s also one of those rare people who does the voice tracks for film trailers. If that isn’t enough, he’s the voice of Yoda in the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Magneto on Wolverine and the X-Men.

Still, there’s one project Kane would like to see continued, and that is Next Avengers.

“I saw it at Comic Con,” says Kane. “I can tell you without any reservation it is amazing, regardless of my connection to it. I can’t remember when I watched a cartoon that was ostensibly for young kids that left me with a lump in my throat. And it wasn’t just me.

“So you understand, when they did the showing, it was at 10:00 p.m. So the majority of the people there weren’t children. They were mature adults. Nobody moved for 90 minutes. Nobody was whispering to each other. Nobody got up and walked out. It was absolutely rock silence. Then in the end it got a standing O! That’s a great production to me.

“It’s a perfect set-up for a weekly series,” says Kane. “The next generation of Avengers have stepped into their parents’ suits. It’s ready to go.”

From the sounds of it, Tatasciore, Petriw and Kane are more than ready to go with it.

BOOMERANG TO HAVE SUPER FRIENDS MARATHON

Boomerang will present its first-ever all-day tribute to the world's most famous and beloved superheroes who teamed together in the 70s and early 80s to form broadcast television's Saturday morning Super

Friends.

On Saturday, Sept. 27, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ET), Boomerang will spotlight more than 30 specially selected episodes from four favorite animated series that served as popular spin-offs from the original Super Friends (1973). The series include The Challenge of the Super Friends (1978), The World's Greatest Super Friends (1979), Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984) and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985).

As anyone on this site knows, the Super Friends comprised multiple heroic characters from the DC Comics universe, from the familiar and highly popular Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, Apache Chief, Hawkman and Black Vulcan. The shows also featured several "mere mortal" human characters that joined the Super Friends, who essentially provided opportunities for comic relief within the adventures. Opposed to the good intentions of Super Friends,

were members of the fearsome Legion of Doom, including Lex Luthor, The Riddler, Brainiac, Black Manta, Toyman, Giganta, Cheeta, Captain Cold, Scarecrow and Grodd the Gorilla.

"In light of the success of this summer's superhero movies, I think it's definitely the right time to pay tribute to the animated heroes who once captured our imaginations every Saturday morning," said Rico Hill, vice president of programming and scheduling for Boomerang and Cartoon Network. "People often ask me why audiences are so drawn to superhero adventures. I think that elevating the classic battle between good and evil to the highest level of superhero vs. super-villain is something that has appealed to the kid in all of us since comic books were first introduced in the late '20s and early '30s. These animated stories bring out our fighting spirit, so we love to root our heroes on to victory. "

ANIBOOM ANNOUNCES NEW CONTEST

Www.aniBoom.com today announced a call-out for submissions for its Third Annual aniBoom Awards from independent animators of all types around the globe. Submissions are welcome from today through December 1, 2008, during which time the animations will be viewed and ranked by the community on aniBoom.com and by a select panel of entertainment industry luminaries. At stake is a Grand Prize for the overall winner that includes a $25,000 investment in commercial development and a distribution deal with aniBoom that will enable the winning animator to significant career-making exposure through a variety of outlets and channels.

In addition, three selected Community Favorites will be selected based on aniBoom’s online animation community ranking, as well as three Top Selections by the competition’s panel of Judges. All six selections will be awarded a share of the $50,000 in cash and prizes, including ToonBoom software and CG Society books. All 50 of the top picks will receive prizes.

“We’ve watched the aniBoom Awards evolve, over the past two years, into a genuine industry showcase reflective of the company’s mission: to inspire and publish untapped talent worldwide, introduce new work to global mass audiences, and to partner with these preeminent creators to commercialize original animated content for multi-platform distribution,” said Uri Shinar, Founder and President of aniBoom. “We have every reason to expect this year’s competition will be robust and exciting – meeting and even surpassing what we’ve come to expect from our aspiring artists’ community.”

The panel of judges for this year’s aniBoom Awards competition includes some of the leading content and entertainment industry’s executives:

• Yair Landau, former President of Sony Pictures Digital.

• Mr. John Mass, Executive Vice President at the international William Morris Agency.

• Peter Hirshberg, Chairman of the Executive Committee & CMO, Technorati Inc.

• Mauro Del Rio, Founder and Chairman of Buongiorno.

• Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Founder and CEO of the Gotham Group.

• Barbara Corday, Senior Television Producer at Columbia Pictures.

• Mr. Yehuda Wurtzel, Senior Vice President, Content Development and Productization, Aniboom.

Previous winners of the Aniboom Award Competition program have successfully transformed respective wins to career boost and commercial opportunities

aniBoom’s vision is to leverage the web to identify the best global animation talent, and develop their work for commercial applications for TV, Advertising, Gaming and Mobile Content customers. One recent successful example of this unique model is the company’s recent music video contest for songs from Radiohead's “In Rainbows” album. One thousand videos were created by the independent professional community, four of which were selected by Radiohead and awarded funding to complete final production of their videos.

NEXT COLUMN: LOTS OF NEWS, VIEWS AND SOME INTERVIEWS IN THE WORKS, FIND OUT WHAT NEXT TUESDAY.

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