Wolverine and the X-Men just started airing in the U.S., and it is clear that Marvel’s animation group has hit full stride. With a combination of direct-to-DVD features, web series, and animated series on TV, they are bombarding the fans with a constant stream of entertainment.
At NYCC ’09, Black Panther got his own spotlight. Later in the day, Marvel Marketer Extraordinaire Jim McCann joined folks from Marvel West to show off the latest slate of animated projects and give some insight into what’s coming up.
Cort Lane, director of development for Marvel Animation started things off by mentioning 5 series and 2 DVD movies this year. He then introduced Eric Rollman, the head of the studio, and Jim McCann.
Wolverine and the X-Men was announced as the #1 rated show in the U.S. for all kids' networks. Nicktoons’ viewers increased by 808% year over year with the premiere of the show. Fans applauded loudly at the announcement. A newer trailer giving hints to the rest of the series was shown, including an attack on Genosha by a huge squad of Sentinels, and Magneto taking control of several of the massive robots. Scarlet Witch, Archangel, and Jean Grey were all teased as well. The trailer again drew quite a bit of applause.
Hulk Vs. was up next. The 6th animated direct-to-DVD film is the best reviewed film they’ve done yet. Rollman joked that all those who haven’t bought it yet should stand up and leave the room. He then gave a shout to MadHouse Studio, the animators of the films. A trailer for “people who live under a rock,” said Lane, was then shown of the two-in-one DVD. For the uninitiated, the films follow a fight against Wolverine and a fight against Thor, both being very action packed.
Black Panther is “very different in tone,” said Lane. He went over the cast that was announced at the panel earlier in the day. The show is an 8 episode series based on the first story written in the comics by Reginald Hudlin.
For something completely different, Marvel Super Hero Squad was discussed. The show features chibi-style “super deformed” versions of “Every Marvel Universe” character. They are excited at the studio to make an action comedy, with an emphasis on the funny. The voice talent will be announced soon, including comedy “voice over veterans you know by name.”
A mixture of action, comedy, and fun is the goal here, with a final product that works for kids and longtime Marvel fans alike. The core team is Iron Man in the lead, with Thor, Falcon, Hulk, Wolverine, and Silver Surfer backing him up. The team has some very argumentative relationships.
Reptile is a new character introduced for the show, and he will be making an appearance in Initiative soon. Captain America and Ms. Marvel were shown, too.
The villains, the “Lethal Legion” include Doom, MODOK, Loki, Abomination, Mole Man (who is very gassy in the show), and Fin Fang Foom. Doom leads, and the image shown was very comical, drawing laughter from the crowd. A “TON” of villains are also going to jump in, like Screaming Mimi, Dormammu, Claw, and the Wrecking Crew. The Villains’ base is ridiculous, and the heroes rent a Helicarrier from S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Heroes for Hire, and Defenders will all make appearances; they truly want to make this the Marvel Universe.
A brief animation sample was shown, along with the theme song by Perry Grip of Nerf Herder (who also did the famous theme to Buffy). The goofiness of the show was very present in this demonstration, and in the song itself. Redwing takes a liking to Wolverine, for more great zaniness. Rollman wrapped up the talk about the show by giving credit to Lane for taking control. A video game from THQ and toys are accompanying.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures has a theme by the pop band Rooney. In lieu of a trailer, they decided to show episode 4 of the series. Iron Man here starts out as a teenager, trying to make him more relevant for kids. The series premieres on NickToons Friday, April 24th. It features Iron Man and his classic villains re-imagined and rendered in CGI. Young versions of Mandarin, Happy Hogan (here a jock), Pepper Potts (a rambunctious over-the-top girl), and James Rhodes were shown in this episode, along with Tony, of course.
There were some good funny moments, and a good high school dynamic between the characters. We won’t spoil anything specific from the episode, but if this one was an accurate indication, it should be a fun and unique series. The animation was the best TV CGI since Reboot. A couple Marvel Heroes are promised as guest stars, as well.
Q&A kicked off with a release date question on Thor: Tales of Asgard. It’ll be late 3rd quarter or early 4th quarter this year.
Wolverine and the X-Men was announced here as already in production on the second season. The entire cast and crew are back, with tons of new characters.
More direct-to-DVD after Thor and Planet Hulk are possible depending on sales support of those films.
Maya animation is what’s featured in Iron Man: AA, for the techies out there.
Spectacular Spider-man is going to be on Toon Disney very soon for a new season on this new channel. DVDs with extended episodes are on the way.
Marvel Zombies was suggested as a film. They said they’d consider it, but they need to make it marketable to the largest audience possible.
More “Vs.” movies? They love them, and would love to do more. Some fun matchups will be in Superhero Squad, too.
No plans to kill Gwen Stacy on the current Spidey cartoon. “It’s not necessary to go there.”
Why the delay for Wolverine and the X-Men in the U.S. versus Canada/UK? Just network launch negotiations and politics, really.
Will Colossus be back in the show? “Watch and See!” said Rollman.
Are the Avengers and Thor animated series still coming? “We’re in early development” on Thor, and Avengers will be out in a couple years, and in production now.
MORE ANIMATED DEADPOOL! Was a common theme. While he won’t have his own series, they’d like to find more places for him.
Nick Fury in any cartoons? “You will see him prominently in several series,” said Lane.
With voice talent, they try to deliver some consistency, like with Steve Blum as Wolverine.
The Toon Disney syndication of 90s Marvel animation will continue, and they’ll also show up on Marvel.com soon.
A fan liked the theme songs for these new series. Marvel Music has just been launched, and will feature music more prominently in their shows from now on.
The final question was if Nickelodeon would air the current X-Men series in addition to NickToons for those that don’t get the latter channel, and they are hopeful.
Ironman Armored Adventures will have a web-based videogame coming soon.More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page