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Wondercon 2012: The Marvel Animation Panel! by Joe Starr

This year at Wondercon’s Marvel TV Panel, Jeph Loeb brought the goods.

Among the announcements, the Marvel Universe block will debut on Disney XD on Sunday, April 1st.

The block will kick off with the premiere of Ultimate Spider-Man and the season 2 premiere of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, as well as a number of different extras, including Joe Q art classes, Fury Files on different Marvel characters, and Marvel Mash Up Shorts.

Marvel Mash Up shorts are re-dubbed clips of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends written by the creators of Harvey Birdman and Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. Several were shown, and were very funny. The highlight had to be Red Skull arguing with his henchmen about who broke their new flat-screen television.

Eventually, the Marvel Universe Block will expand with the help of the newly announced Marvel Animation Studio, headed by Eric Radomski (Batman: The Animated Series, Spawn).

Currently in development at M.A.S. (or ‘mas marvel’ as Loeb called it) is the action epic Hulk and the Agents of SMASH. Test animation featured Hulk, She Hulk, Rulk, Skaar, and a Hulky Rick Jones code named A-Bomb fighting massive tanks spliced with ‘talking heads’ type footage from each character.

Panel attendees were treated with a screening of the Ultimate Spider-Man trailer, written by Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series). The pilot revolves around Spider-Man weighing an offer to receive SHIELD training from Nick Fury with plenty of plotting by Norman Osbourne, who wants Spider-Man’s DNA to sell spider soldiers to the military.

The show moved quickly, and told Spidey’s origins in flashbacks as the information was required. It contained plenty of “cut-to humor” and voice over, feeling like a mix of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Avatar: The Last Airbender with Marvel characters. JK Simmons voices J. Jonah, and Clark Greg will be playing Agent Coulsen. Stan Lee rounds out the supporting cast as Stan the Janitor.

After the pilot, Loeb wasn’t done. We also got a Season 2 sizzle reel of Earth’s Mightiest Avengers, as well as the Season 2 premiere! I won’t spoil anything here, but here are some keywords: Kang! Kree! Skrull! Baxter Buildings! Poker games! DOOM!

The status quo has long been that DC rules animation while Marvel owns the big screen, but with guys like Paul Dini at the wheel, and from what we saw at the panel, Marvel looks to be stepping up their game in a big way.

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