Along with their big movie projects, Marvel Entertainment is also branching out onto TV. Marvel already has a varied track record on the small screen. The publisher enjoyed massive success with their Hulk series back in the day, lackluster results with the Spider-Man program (though I personally champion it) and the unmentionables Dr. Strange and Captain America.
The ‘heroes with real world problems’ angle makes Marvel superheroes ideal for TV adaptation, but will the characters chosen make the grade or will they join Reb Brown in their legacy as duds? Only time will tell. The details of the line-up come from MarvelousNews.com, a site that I heartily recommend for sterling up to date news regarding the House of Ideas and their various action figure lines.
Jeph Loeb shared some new information for the Marvel Television panel about upcoming live-action shows. Below are the highlights of the shows:
The first series for ABC is “AKA Jessica Jones” and described as a story about a failed superhero. The show would feature Carol Danvers and Luke Cage. The story follows a character named Jessica Jones, a former costumed superhero named Jewel who left that avocation to become a private investigator. The running thread is Jessica’s character development, as the layers of her past and personality are revealed to the reader while, simultaneously, she tries to come to terms with them herself.
The next project was the Del Toro “Hulk” project, set in the early years of Bruce Banner and the series will be focused on the love story between Banner and Betty Ross.
The third project was “Cloak and Dagger“, which is a story that centers on “two teenagers who discover each other and find their powers both complement and complicate their lives.”
The final live-action TV project announced was “Mockingbird“, which will depicting Bobby Morse as “a Peter Parker Nerd” who is recruited to a secret organization. So she will be a student by day and a special agent by night.
Additionally, three animated projects were featured:
First up: Spidey. Loeb talked about how the show really has a very special look to it, and as he did so a sketch of Spider-Ham showed up on screen? What the f’?
He was joking around, of course, and yet he wasn’t. The new look he was referring to is the Ultimate feel of the design. Having said that, Loeb did confirm that there will be a Spider-Ham episode of the show!
Loeb then ran a sizzle reel, including what looked to be fully rendered footage, shots from the Ultimate comics and behind-the-scenes interviews with the talent charged with creating the show (including Stan Lee). This is a very playful, funny Spidey, one who fights Doctor Doom while talking to MJ on the phone (in a split screen shot, we see her cutting vegetables in the kitchen and him dodging Doom’s attacks while he’s trying to get off the phone). As he swings through Times Square, with a villain in hot pursuit, Spidey momentarily turns into a spider-toaster after the baddie says, “You’re toast!”
Stylistic flourishes like that will separate the show from past Spider-Man cartoons. Expect the character to break the fourth wall at times, as when he says to a bad guy “Costumes don’t sew themselves” and we quickly cut to Peter at home, sewing his costume. He turns and looks at the camera and says, “What?”
Other glimpses included Spidey riding a motorcycle in a subway tunnel while a tentacled robot chases him, a battle with Venom, Spidey reflecting on Uncle Ben’s birthday, Steven Weber voicing Norman Osborn, J.K. Simmons voicing J. Jonah Jameson, and more.
In the reel, Loeb said that this is actually the first time that Marvel is making its own Spider-Man cartoon. We can expect a lot of forced perspective, suggesting the character is thrusting at you, and a prime example is the classic web-shooting “thwip” which was right in our faces at one point in the clip. The backgrounds will change in mid-shot and look highly stylized at times, and Spidey also appears to exhibit more facial expressions through his mask here (such as “closing his” eyes). The show will have lots of guest stars too — Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Nick Fury (who is mentoring this young Spidey to become the “ultimate Spider-Man,” and is voiced by Chi McBride) and, of course, Stan Lee. He’ll have a recurring role as “Stan the janitor” at Peter’s school.
Many fans may recall that the current Avengers cartoon contains material initially intended for a Hulk animated series. The project was put aside but after Hulk fanatic Jeph Loeb became involved in the TV production arm of Marvel Entertainment, it was only a matter of time before the jade giant returned.
It will be called Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Beautiful, right?
Loeb brought scribe Paul Dini up on stage during the Marvel TV panel this morning, and much like he did last year regarding the Ultimate Spider-Man show, he mock put Dini on the spot as if he was asking him right there and then, for the very first time, to take a job on the show. Last year it was Spidey and this time it was Hulk.
Little was revealed about the series aside from the title, the team roster (Green Hulk, Red Hulk, She-Hulk and A-Bomb), and this promo image:
Finally, spoilers for Avengers series 2 below:
Things begin with a robotic voice reading through the roster of Avengers as holographic displays of each member appear. The threat level and abilities of each Avenger is mentioned, and then the camera reveals that it’s Doctor Doom and his fembot servant who are studying the team. Cut to the main titles.
At Avengers Mansion, Hawkeye answers the door — it’s the Human Torch and the Thing, there to play cards. But as the Hulk enters the room, he immediately runs and attacks the Thing. Because that’s what they do, right? It’s a funny motif that continues throughout the episode.
Meanwhile, Iron Man and Wasp arrive at the Baxter Building, where they’re updating Reed Richards and Sue Storm on the Asgard situation from last season. (Wasp: “We basically saved the universe.”) Back at the mansion, the card game is in full swing and Cap and Black Panther have joined in. The two teams are arguing about who saves the world better, and Cap doesn’t know who the Human Torch is. “How can you not know that?” screams Johnny Storm. Hawkeye nonchalantly says, “Give him a break, Torch. He’s like a hundred years old.” Then the Thing wins the hand and the Hulk attacks him. Again.
Soon the action kicks in as Doom’s robots attack the Baxter Building and the mansion simultaneously. Lots of cool action beats here, with a Doombot’s hand launching from its body and grabbing hold of Wasp, Reed deactivating a robot by wrapping his arms around its body and then accessing its control panel in its head, and the Thing trying to get the Hulk angry, resulting in the Hulk using the Thing’s body to smash robots. The scene culminates with the realization that the Doombots were a distraction while Doom’s crony made off with Wasp and Sue.
At Doom’s castle, the girls are trapped in force fields. The Wasp is berating Doom: “Putting on a skirt over your second-rate Iron Man armor? Not helping.” Soon, the FF and Avengers stage a two-pronged attack on Doom’s castle, which results in some more nice action moments (the Black Panther takes out Doom’s fembot with a claw through the gut, Doom’s hit so hard at one point by the Hulk that his hood momentarily drops to reveal his full metallic helmet). Eventually, Doom simply allows everyone to leave. “Why, Victor?” says Reed. “This isn’t over,” says Iron Man. Doom does not respond, as we close-in on his face and the scarred flesh behind his mask.
The episode ends with the heroes back in New York, pondering why Doom did what he did. And then we cut back to Doom’s castle, where we see the results of scans he had performed on Wasp and Sue…
Sue Storm is a Skrull!