We already covered the DC Animated panel at NYCC ’11 – which featured DC Universe animated features coming to DVD/Blu-ray – and yesterday, we covered the Marvel Television panel hosted by Vice President of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb.
The topics and television properties showcased in the panel were wide-ranging – from live-action (A.K.A. Jessica Jones, The Hulk, Cloak and Dagger, and Mockingbird) to animated (Ultimate Spider-Man, Hulk: Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes season 2).
There was a lot to cover, so we’ve sectioned our report in order of the topics discussed. You can jump to specific shows by using the links below:
- Jessica Jones, Hulk, Cloak & Dagger
- Mockingbird & Ultimate Spider-Man
- Hulk: Agents of S.M.A.S.H. & Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
The first part of the panel dealt with the “Live Action-in-Development” television properties in Marvel’s lineup (Jeph Loeb stressed the words “in-development,” as these shows are still in the planning stages). First up was the live-action ABC television adaptation of Brian Michael-Bendis’ acclaimed comic book, Alias (no relation to the hit J.J. Abrams show of the same name) which will be called A.K.A. Jessica Jones.
- The show, of course, could not be called Alias because of the aforementioned J.J. Abrams show on ABC.
- Like the comic book, A.K.A. will see Jessica Jones as private detective in New York City trying to put her life together.
- Carol Danvers (A.K.A. Miss Marvel) and Luke Cage (A.K.A. Power Man), both of whom are Avengers in the comic books, will appear in the show.
- It was not elaborated on as to whether or not Carol and Luke will be superheroes, but if they’re “taking their cues from the Marvel movie universe,” we can probably assume that they will be to some degree.
Next up in the “Live Action-in-Development” portion of the panel was ABC’s The Hulk. Jeph Loeb revealed very little about that TV show, which is going to be produced by Guillermo del Toro, except that:
- The show will deal primarily with Bruce Banner and Betty Ross’ relationship.
- Special effects have reached such an advanced state that making a live-action Hulk show – with computer-generated Hulk effects – is totally possible.
- For an idea of what Hulk will look like in the show, watch The Avengers (we’ll believe this last part when we see it).
Cloak and Dagger
Third on the “Live Action” slate was Cloak and Dagger, an ABC Family show aimed a teenagers, which will take place in a “post-Katrina New Orleans.” For those not in the know, the comic book is about two teenage runaways: 1) “Cloak,” A.K.A. Tyrone Johnson, a seventeen-year-old Boston boy who runs away to New York because his debilitating stutter prevents him from calling out to his friend and saving him from getting hit by a car. 2) “Dagger,” A.K.A. Tandy Bowen, an incredibly privileged rich girl who runs away from her home because her super model mother doesn’t have time for her.
One thing leads to another, the two runaways accept an offer to go to a shelter with strange men, the men forcibly take the runaways to a criminal chemist who tests synthetic heroin on them – and voila! They get superpowers (although this was later retconned so they were mutants all along, and the synthetic heroin simply triggered their x-genes).
Cloak’s power is his ability to connect to the “Darkforce Dimension,” as well as to become intangible and to teleport (by vanishing inside of his “cloak,” of course). Dagger’s power is her ability to create “light-based” daggers – which can heal people, if she so chooses – as well as to eliminate people’s addictions, whatever they may be.
It’s easy to imagine that the show will follow the above basic storyline, with the only key difference (so far) being the change of locale from NYC to New Orleans.
Mockingbird & Ultimate Spider-Man…
Also on ABC Family will be Mockingbird, a story about Bobbi Morse – Hawkeye eventually married her in the comics – a freshmen in college (perhaps Stanford in California) who gets contacted by S.H.I.E.L.D. and becomes a secret agent. Basically, the thrust of the show is, “College student by day, secret agent by night,” and according to Jeph Loeb, it’ll be like J.J. Abrams’ Felicity meets J.J. Abrams’ Alias. That’s a lot of J.J. Abrams going on there.
Next was the animation portion of the panel, where Loeb debuted some of the very first footage of Ultimate Spider-Man (written by Paul Dini and the Man of Action team – Joe Casey, Joe Kelly – with additional help from Brian Michael Bendis, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, and more). Some things of note about the footage:
- As we reported previously, the Ultimate Spider-Man show is full of humor and the webcrawler himself even breaks the fourth wall (in a style that seems like a cross between Modern Family/Ferris Bueller).
- Drake Bell is voicing Peter Parker/Spider-man (and doing a pretty damn good job of it, too).
- Some of the jokes are reminiscent of the humor from Batman: The Animated Series, which makes sense, because Paul Dini wrote for both.
- Spider-Man battles Venom, Doombots, Doctor Doom himself, and the Green Goblin (voiced by Steven Webber).
- Nick Fury (voiced by the awesome Chi Mcbride) is Peter’s mentor in the series.
- Agent Coulson (voiced by Clark Gregg, the same actor who plays Coulson in the movies) has taken on the role of Peter’s principal to watch over him – this seems to imply that the animated Ultimate Spider-Man shares a universe with the movies.
- J. Jonah Jameson is voiced by J.K. Simmons, the man who played the character in the Raimi series.
- Stan Lee is the school janitor at Peter’s school.
- There’s a lot of forced perspective shots where Peter is punching at the “camera” or shooting his webbing toward us, the audience.
Frankly, of what little we saw, the show looks pretty excellent. The sense of humor and writing are top-notch, the cast and the acting are excellent, the characters and stories utilized looked good enough, and the visual quality of the show was a least two or three steps above Marvel’s Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
If there’s anything less-than-glowing to say about the footage, it’s that the animation retains a bit of that stilted Americanized anime quality due to the overuse of camera pans, push-ins, zooms, and tilts, as opposed to pure animated movement. Indeed, it doesn’t yet feel as energized as the wonderful (but canceled) Spectacular Spider-Man – then again, some deemed that show to be too cartoony.
After the footage, Clark Gregg joined the panel as a special guest and talked about how excited he was – as a comic book fan – to be a part of the not only the Marvel movies, but also Ultimate Spider-Man. Basically, he was the one who asked the producers if he could play Coulson in USM as well, and of course they said yes.
Hulk: Agents of S.M.A.S.H. & Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes…
Hulk: Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
Next, Jeph Loeb talked about Hulk: Agents of S.M.A.S.H., which is also being written by Paul Dini in the vein of the grand superheroics of yesteryear, as created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The cast of characters include Hulk, Red Hulk, Skaar (Hulk’s half-alien son), A-Bomb (Rick Jones with super irradiated powers), and She-Hulk. The show will hit Disney XD in 2013.
Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
And last, but not least, Jeph Loeb premiered the first episode of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes season 2, which saw the Fantastic Four and the Avengers teaming up to fight Doctor Doom and his multitude of Doombots.
The episode was action-packed, fun, and occasionally funny (Hulk repeatedly picks fights with The Thing and likes to make fun of the guy for never having won), and there was even a twist ending (SPOILER ALERT!):
Susan Storm (A.K.A. The Invisible Woman) was revealed to actually be a Skrull by Doctor Doom. Is it a coincidence that Skrulls are A) featuring prominently in the cartoon based on the Marvel movies, and B) rumored to be the villains of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers? We’ll leave that up to you to decide…
Are you looking forward to Marvel’s television slate over the next few years? Let us know in the comments.
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The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes season 2 and Ultimate Spider-Man hit Disney XD late this year and early next year, respectively.
A.K.A. Jessica Jones and The Hulk might be ready for the next pilot season. Keep your eye on the main page for news about the other shows.