Marvel has announced that they are creating a division of their company specifically for the production and development of television! Without a doubt this will include animated series, beginning with Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Ultimate Spider-Man, but the press releases also mentions direct-to-DVD features and live-action!
While live-action TV shows aren't the focus of this blog, direct-to-DVD features definitely are! With Marvel having completed their eight-picture deal with Lionsgate, it's great to hear that we haven't heard the last of the Marvel Animated Features. Since DC is owned by Warner Bros., they have access to their very own animation studio and are able to produce their film at a much higher rate, a luxury that Marvel now has since their merger with Disney.
The press release names Jeph Loeb as the head of Marvel Television. If you are at all familiar with that name, you will know that not only is he an accomplished comic book writer, but he has also been heavily involved in the production of such television shows as Smallville, Lost and Heroes.
Here are a few snippets from a recent interview between Loeb and Newsarama:
"After the Disney buyout it became apparent that Disney was very interested in bringing Marvel into television. There was already an ongoing relationship within the world of animation and because Disney has so many networks — ABC, ABC Family, Disney Channel, XD, ESPN — there were a number of opportunities that suddenly became available to Marvel to get into that medium."
"Well, there's three different areas that Marvel is exploring and will continue to work with: the first are the direct-to-DVD animated videos, like Planet Hulk — which I loved. The second are continuing and expanding in the areas of animation"
"Our hope is to bring Marvel Animation up to the quality and notoriety of the publishing and movie division. We're now part of the legacy of Disney, where animation is king, and it's our responsibility to up our game and create something that sets Marvel Animation apart from everything else that's out there. At least that's our challenge and our hope."