In the extra content of Hulk Vs. there’s a sequence where
supervising director Frank Paur holds up a pencil drawing of Asgard
floating in outer space. This background shot hasn’t been colored, but
the amount of detail is way beyond what one usually expects in the
(Hulk Vs. Thor video gallery here)
“With Thor, we really wanted the feeling of scale and
grandeur,” said the supervising director and producer of the
just-released direct-to-DVD set. “We put a lot of detail in that. The
guys just ate all that stuff up.”
“That [sketch of Asgard] was Fedja Jovanovic. Usually what happens is I
come up with an idea. Now I’m a fairly good background designer myself.
I hand my idea to Fedja. Then he creates this look. It’s all rich in
details. Then you bring Allen Cummings into it and he cleans all
Fedja’s stuff up.
“That shot of Asgard we had, they were the team. They helped fill the
world. We took a lot of care with them. The idea of Asgard, well I
didn’t want this goofy little city on a rock floating in the middle of
no where. I wanted us to see the edge of a vast continent floating in
front of this giant nebula. Gods live on it, so it had to look like it
went on for thousands of miles. If you go through the old [Jack] Kirby
stuff, you see that. In fact, we do stuff you can’t see in a comic
book. Being on the printed page prohibits them from doing that. We can
give a better perspective of scale.”
In fact, Jack Kirby is critical to one’s appreciation of Hulk v. Thor. Paur is a tremendous fan of the legendary co-creator of the Marvel Universe.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Kirby’s more cosmic adventures,” Paur admits. “When you look at Gargoyles,
you would definitely see that blend of science and mysticism, the same
kind of comedy and all that stuff. It’s all from what I remember from
the Lee/Kirby team up. It had all of that. To me, that was the golden
age of Thor. So it’s kind of fun trying to capture that feeling.”
the animated Thor
Unlike Hulk v. Wolverine, where Paur gave more latitude to
veteran animation directors Kevin Altieri and Butch Lukic, Paur openly
acknowledges he was all over Thor, with the assistance of relative newcomer Sam Liu.
“We did Thor here,” says Paur. “All the pre-production was done here. The stuff for Wolverine,
we had Butch and Kevin illustrate the key stuff, then I had Jeff
Matsuda come in and do key characters. From there, just some sample
backgrounds and other things that we wanted. Then we gave it to
Madhouse and let them take off with it.
“Thor was a bit different. It was a bit more traditional production
where most everything was done here and then we only farmed out only
what we needed to. The idea was, at least to me, that the backgrounds
aren’t there to surround the character. They are part of the scene. I
had some particularly strong ideas about how a scene is emotionally
going to play, and the backgrounds do have an emotional impact. So I
was very particular about some of the things I wanted. Sometimes the
best way is to just show them.”
In fact, the entire production process may sound familiar to old school
comic book fans. It’s the ‘toon equivalent of the Marvel Method - plot and art first, full story second.
“In more ways than one!” Paur agrees. “When we came up with the story,
Sam and I started by drawing story ideas. Then Craig Kyle would come in
and make comments, pretty much unifying it into a real story. Then when
they were happy with the story, they brought in Chris (Yost). He would
do the dialogue. He would write the script based on the stuff. In a
way, this backwards from the way you usually do animation. It’s
basically the Marvel process.
“The thing is, when we knew we were doing Hulk Vs., when
we knew we were doing two separate stories, that kind of freed us. We
realized we didn’t have to do the traditional kind of film. We could do
it like a chapter or three from a comic book. Yes, you might be missing
a couple of chapters from the comic book, but you do get all the
essentials. That’s how we played it up.
“Now with Thor, we had more internal thought processes going on because it required it. With Wolverine,
Wolverine is not far removed from a monster himself. After all, this is
pre-X-Men Wolverine. Everything is guttural for him. It’s what he does
and what he does best. Wolverine is not having the internal dialogue
From there, Paur made it sound like he had an epic party.
“It was a blast! I mean c’mon!” said the Kirby fanboy in Paur. “We
tried to throw as much as we could in there. Frankly, I’m surprised we
managed to throw in as much as we did. That was the point. We wanted to
bring in as many people as we could. When we did it, we decided to put
it in Asgard because as far as I know, nobody has done that. We also
figured we’d use Loki because that had to be done. Yes, we included
Odin, but you can’t really do too much with Odin. We had to put him in
the Odin sleep so he wouldn’t interfere. Then we said we had to have
the Enchantress because she’s so hot. Throw in Sif because we had to
have that love triangle going on. From there you have all these other
characters you want to see, like the Warriors Three, on through the Ice
Giants. We even squeezed in a shot of the Executioner in there.
“Then there comes the problem. What do you do with them? That’s where
we came up with a way to effectively put them all in there in an
animated form. It also helped that we were able to do it in a way where
general TV standards didn’t apply. That’s a real opportunity.”
This isn’t the last we’ll hear of Marvel’s God of Thunder either. In
the extra content is a long plug for another Kirby-inspired epic,
entitled Tales of Asgard.
“That’s Gary Hartle’s show,” Paur explains. “I did do a little work on
it because he’s such a close friend, a few storyboards here and there.
Based on what I’ve seen, it’s going to be spectacular. That is, if my
show gives you a taste for Asgard, wait until you see a whole
feature-length movie of it.”
As for Paur? As you read this he’s flying off to Japan to work on his
next project for Marvel. What that is he won’t say. No matter what, one
thing he also acknowledges is we should probably see many of the same
crew members from Hulk Vs in his next project.
“All I can add is everything is going great, or at least seems to be,”
says Paur. “I also have some other development things going with
Marvel. You know, it’s a very small business. A lot of the guys do this
are all big comic book fans. I’m more of a Marvel fan because there’s
more emotional development. I was a Marvel reader when I was growing
up. As you know, first impressions are always very important.. We all
have that kind of respect for these characters. So that we can make a
living doing these things, carry the torch in many ways, even if it’s
in a different format, it’s pretty gratifying. Also, that I’ve managed
to keep all these wonderful, talented people together, it just makes my
job easier. Marvel’s a lot happier because they know they have all this
wonderful talent on these shows. They also try to keep us busy. It’s
been a good run. ”
And fans will just have to acknowledge Paur has kept that run going with Hulk Vs.
TEEN TITANS START ON BOOMERANG THIS MONDAY
As previously announced, Cartoon Network’s sister station Boomerang,
will begin airing Glen Murakami’s much-beloved superhero series, Teen Titans starting Monday, February 2. The series will join Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited as part of the network’s “Boomeraction” block.
As any fan knows, Teen Titans is led by Robin. Joining him
are Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven and Cyborg. With every adventure, as the
press release says, they fight for “freedom, justice and the last slice
"Now is a great time for young people to see they can accomplish
anything," said Stacy Isenhower, SVP of programming and scheduling for
Boomerang and Cartoon Network. "Teen Titans is a perfect fit for
Boomerang as the show depicts young people accepting responsibility for
their futures and the well-being of others."
They have also released the episode schedule for the first week. To wit:
• Feb. 2: "Divide and Conquer" - Cinderblock busts into prison -- and the Teen Titans show up to stop a jailbreak.
• Feb. 3: "Sisters" - When a mysterious alien probe shows up to haul Starfire away, sweet-natured Star has no idea why it came.
• Feb. 4: "Final Exam" - Before Slade will hire the new Hive Agents, he
requires they pass one 'final exam' -- they must destroy the Teen
• Feb. 5: "Forces of Nature" - Dark ominous clouds blow in from the East, bringing Thunder and Lightning with them.
• Feb. 6: "The Sum of His Parts" - Cyborg's power cell is dying reminding him of something he doesn't like to think about: he's not completely human.
RENEGADE ANGELS RETURNS TO ADULT SWIM
The new season of Xavier: Renegade Angel will air starting Thursday, February 12 at 12:15 a.m.
Xavier is from John Lee, Vernon Chatman, Alyson Levy and Jim
Tozzi. He’s a self-absorbed wanderer who considers himself a wise
master to anyone he assumes is in need of his help. He likes to think
of himself as profound and pretty much spends most of his day looking
for someone to force his wisdom onto so he can take credit for it
later. At the end of day, he’s still a bird-beaked, hoofed, tennis-shoe
wearing creature with mommy issues.
But that ain’t all. The second season will consist of nine new
episodes, including one episode created and produced entirely by fans.
Ongoing until March 28, viewers and fans are being asked to birth their
very own one-minute episode of Xavier at http://www.adultswim.com/promos/xavi...est/index.html.
It doesn’t matter what format they choose, as long as they are guided
by the inspiration that is Xavier. The show creators will compile their
top picks into a full 15-minute episode that will cap off the second
season on April.
RESIDENTS COMPLETE BUNNY BOY SERIES
The Residents are pleased to announce the broadcast of the complete
Bunny Boy Internet Series via YouTube starts immediately. Episodes 1-15
are appearing on YouTube sponsored by MVD
-http://www.youtube.com/seeofsound. There will be three episodes posted
per day starting on Monday and ending on Friday.
Then, during the week of January 26th, Episodes 16-30 will be added in
the same fashion: three episodes posted per day starting on Monday and
ending on Friday. In the same respect, Episodes 31-44 will begin on
On February 16th, a set of brand new episodes will commence: Episodes
45-47entitled Arkansas. The three-episodes-per-week schedule will
continue until the series is complete.
The Bunny Boy is a man desperately reaching out for help in locating
his lost brother. He has decided to create videos in his secret room,
his personal sanctuary, and post them online in the hopes that someone
will reach out and help him. The series is a vast psychological
mystery, at once frightening and empathic. Viewers will feel
apprehension and sympathy for this strange character as he disjointedly
reveals clues to his brother's disappearance. The videos are also
filled with the Residents' characteristic dark humor.
NEXT COLUMN: It’s the voice of Wolverine. Steve Blum finishes off
our discussion of Hulk Vs….and does a mean Yakky Doodle while he’s at