SDCC 09 - Marvel Goes for Animated Super-Laughs in HERO UP!

Marvel raised the curtain on its new Hero Up! The Super Hero Squad Show animated series Saturday morning at Comic-Con International: San Diego. Joining the show’s producing team and lead voice actors on the panel were Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada and Stan “The Man” Lee.

Hero Up! marks a major animation detour for Marvel.

For the first time on a Marvel animated show, “we dared to be funny,” said producer Cort Lane. He described Hero Up! as a mash-up of the Marvel Universe, with tongue firmly in cheek.

Captain America is an antiquated old warhorse who still thinks Roosevelt is in office and says things like “ah, those were the days, hot jazz and skinny eyebrows.”

The Silver Surfer is a cosmically powered beach bum. The Hulk is a simple-minded behemoth who’s easily distracted and entertained.

Eric Rollman, who oversees Marvel’s animated shows, said it’s the first time they’ve done a show that merges all the Marvel universes into one series.

The premise of the show revolves around the Heroes, who reside in Hero City, and hang out in a Helicarrier that crashes … a lot.

[Its propellers also pose a danger to the Falcon’s feathered friend Redwing.]

Dr. Doom and his Lethal Legion reside in Villainville, where they plot to gather the shards of the shattered Infinity Sword so that Doom could rule the world.

In between, he also has to baby sit a group of whiny bad guys that includes M.O.D.O.K. and the Abomination, who’s apparently an avid gamer.

Dozens of Marvel Universe characters will appear at one point or another during the debut season, everyone from Galactus to certain X-Men members, Heroes for Hire, even well-known B-listers such as the Valkyrie and the Wrecking Crew.

The show’s tongue-in-cheek approach to superhero storytelling is its main calling card. Lee, who voices the mayor of Hero City, said seeing many of the characters he helped create decades ago in such a different type of show, poking fun at the superhero genre, was “wonderful.”

Lee also called the show’s voice cast, which includes vocal notables such as Tom Kenny, Charlie Adler, and Grey Delisle, “undoubtedly the best voice cast I have ever worked with.”

Expect a ton of guest voices in season one, including Heroes stars Greg Grunberg and Adrian Pasdar, BSG's Tricia Helfer, George Takei, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Mark Hamill.

Along with showing several clips from the first episode, the voice actors did a reading of a scene written just for the panel. It surrounds Doom’s quest to acquire a convention-exclusive ‘My Little Pony’ collectible at Comic-Con.

“8 bucks for a hot dog? And they say I’m evil!” is just one of the lines uttered by Doom during this inspired bit.

Hero Up! – which is a catchphrase on the show, FYI – is planning several merchandise spin-offs. That will include a fast-food partnership, a line of toys from Hasbro and a video game due out October 20th from THQ.

“It’s the first time in a long time Marvel’s opened up its checkbook to finance a project like this,” Rollman said.

This is the first animated series Quesada has ever had a hand in developing. He was surprised just how similar the process of creating an animated show is to the comics' side of the business.

Quesada enjoys the fact that he can watch the show with his young daughter, who is a big fan of the Silver Surfer.

Hero Up! The Marvel Super Hero Squad Show debuts September 19 with a four-episode marathon on Cartoon Network.

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