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NYCC2009: Marvel Animation Panel Report

by on February 8, 2009

On hand to give the state of the union for Marvel Animation were Cort Lane, Director of Animation Development and Eric Rollman, President of Marvel Animation. The Hulk Vs. DTV and upcoming Black Panther show were briefly mentioned, though no news was announced. The success of the animated series Wolverine and the X-Men was touched upon, and an episode of upcoming series Iron Man: Armored Adventures screened. The bulk of the panel focused on Marvel Superhero Squad.

Wolverine and the X-Men
During the premiere on NickToons, ratings increased 505% the 1st half hour and 1055% the second.

Marvel Superhero Squad
This animated series will be the first all-encompassing Marvel Universe show as well as their first action-comedy. Marvel Superhero Squad is a huge initiative for Marvel. There are plans to have a comprehensive licensed line across all media. Marvel will announce the network to carry the series and the voice talent to be utilized in the coming weeks. Lane stated the voice line-up would be “recognizable”. Film Roman will be providing production services for the series. Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder has done the theme song for the show.

The main team of heroes will be Iron Man, Thor, Wolverine, Silver Surfer, Hulk and Falcon. Their headquarters will be based in a helicarrier. Recurring characters will include Captain America, Miss Marvel, as well as new character, Reptil. Lane encouraged viewers to keep an eye out for appearances from the Fantastic Four, Storm, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Dr. Strange and the Wasp. Featured villains will be Dr. Doom, Modok, Sabertooth, Magneto, Juggernaut, Loki, Mole Man, Abomination, The Wrecking Crew, Screaming Mimi and The Claw.

Iron Man: Armored Adventures
The show will be more like Ultimate Iron Man, in that it will focus on young Tony Stark. Pop band Rooney has been signed to do the theme song. The show will debut on the evening of April 24th, 2009.

The episode screened at the panel was titled Secrets and Lies, the fourth epsiode in the series. Characters featured in the episode are Tony, Pepper, Rhodey and Mandarin’s alter ego, Gene Khan. Research into the diary of his recently deceased father leads Tony to meet Gene, who is a soon-to-be transfer student to the school Tony attends. During the episode, Tony, Pepper and Gene are kidnapped by an organization that is at odds with Gene’s father. While in captivity, Tony attempts to get a signal out to Rhodey so that the teenagers might make an escape.

The humor fell a little flat for me, though I’m almost certainly outside of this shows’ demographic. The cel shading technique used is definitely a pleasant sight. The character animation was usually smooth, with only an occasional slight unnatural jerkiness. It was certainly less noticeable than other shows animated using similar techniques.

Q&A Hit List

  • No date has been announced for the Thor: Tales of Asgard direct-to-video movie. It’s expected to come out in the third or fourth quarter of 2009.
  • Wolverine and X-Men has been green lit for a second season, with 26 additional episodes on the way. The same cast and crew are on board. New characters will appear throughout the course of the season. They’ll be touching on familiar X-Men storylines in new episodes. A DVD of the first story arc will be released on April 21st.
  • Iron Man was animated in Maya by India’s DQ Entertainment. Method Animation developed the character models.
  • Spectacular Spider-Man will come back soon to a “network with ears.” There’s no Spider-Man DTV in the works. Upcoming DVDs of the show will include additional footage, and there are no plans to kill Gwen Stacy.
  • There are currently no plans for more entries in the Vs. series, though it has been discussed.
  • A Thor animated series is in development. They’re currently searching for a direction for the series.
  • An Avengers animated series is also in development and will be out in a couple of years.
  • There are no plans for a regular Deadpool series. However, they will find places for him to show up in other Marvel animated series.
  • There are no plans for a regular Nick Fury series. He will show up in several other Marvel series.
  • Marvel Music has just been launched. Expect music to play a larger part in the shows.

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