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The Marvel Super Heroes
Marvel-Super-Heroes-titleca.jpg
Black-and-white still of The Marvel Super Heroes color opening sequence
Format Animation
Starring Peg Dixon
Paul Kligman
Arthur Pierce
John Vernon
Chris Wiggins
Country of origin  Canada
No. of episodes 65
Production
Running time Half-hour series
Broadcast
Original channel first-run syndication
Original run September 1, 1966 – December 1, 1966

The Marvel Super Heroes[1] is a Canadian-made animated television series starring five comic-book superheroes from Marvel Comics. It was first syndicated, on U.S. television, in 1966.

Produced by Grantray-Lawrence Animation, headed by Grant Simmons, Ray Patterson and Robert Lawrence,[2] it was an umbrella series of five segments, each approximately seven minutes long, broadcast on local television stations that aired the show at different times. The series ran initially as a half-hour program made up of three seven-minute segments of a single superhero, separated by a short description of one of the other four heroes. It has also been broadcast as a mixture of various heroes in a half-hour timeslot, and as individual segments as filler or within a children's TV program.

The segments, and their original rotations, were:

Contents

Production

Title card for a Sub-Mariner episode

Sixty-five episodes of three seven-minute segments were produced, for a total of 195 segments that ran initially in broadcast syndication from September 1, 1966 to December 1, 1966. [3] The series, produced in color, had extremely limited animation produced by xerography, consisting of photocopied images taken directly from the comics and manipulated to minimize the need for animation production. The cartoons were presented as a series of static comic-strip panel images; generally the only movement involved the lips, when a character spoke, and the occasional arm or leg. Some animation fans have criticized the production as shoddy while noting that the series used the original stories largely in their entirety, showcasing classic Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Don Heck art, among others, from the period fans and historians call the Silver Age of comic books.

Stan Lee, Marvel's editor and art director at the time, said in 2004 that he believed publisher Martin Goodman negotiated the deal with Grantray-Lawrence and that Lawrence chose the characters to be used. Lawrence rented Lee and his wife a penthouse at 30 East 60th Street, near Madison Avenue, for Lee's use while he worked on the series. (Lee lived in Hewlett Harbor, New York, on Long Island, at the time.) Lee recalled, "I really don't remember any reaction from the Marvel artists involved. I wish I could claim to have written the [theme song] lyrics, because I think they're brilliant, but alas, I didn't".[4]

Marvel announced the series in the "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins" of the November 1966 issues, stating in that monthly fan page's hyperbolic style that, "It won't be long before our swingin' super-heroes [sic] make their star-studded debut on TV, appearing five nights a week — that's right, five — count 'em — five nights a week, for a half-hour each night. So you've just got time to make sure your set's in good working order — check your local paper for time and station — and prepare to have a ball!"[5]

Cast

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Other cast

Guest characters

Appearing in guest roles were:

  • The X-Men — The original lineup of the Angel, the Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Marvel Girl appeared in a Sub-Mariner episode, "Dr. Doom's Day / The Doomed Allegiance / Tug of Death". The story was an adaption of Fantastic Four 6 (Sept. 1962), but since Grantray-Lawrence Animation did not own rights to the Fantastic Four, the producers substituted the X-Men — although referring to them instead as "Allies for Peace". However, the characters retained their original designs and individual names from the comics.
  • The Avengers — The lineup beginning in Avengers #4 (March 1964), with Thor, Iron Man, Giant-Man, the Wasp and the newly installed Captain America, appears in several Captain America episodes.

Stations

A Captain America title card

Source: Marvel Comics house ads in Strange Tales #150 (Nov. 1966) and The Amazing Spider-Man #45 (Feb. 1967), each of which said the list was "incomplete at time of publication".

Alphabetized by city.

Others

Home video and DVD

A Thor title card

Segments of the series appear on at least two VHS home video releases, containing three videocassettes each: Marvel Superheroes: Triple Pack #1 (UPC #024543004127) and Marvel's Mightiest Heroes: Triple Pack #2.[7] Fox Video released a version titled Marvel's Mightiest Super Heroes Gift Set (EAN #0024543004134).

In 2003, Hulk segments giving his origin story appeared as an extra on the Buena Vista Home Entertainment DVD release of the 1996 animated television series The Incredible Hulk[8].

TVShowsOnDVD.com reported in September 2004 that Buena Vista Home Video planned to release the series on June 28, 2005, as a five-DVD set titled The 60's Superheroes, and that Amazon.com had begun taking preorders.[9]. In February 2005, however, the site reported that the release was off the schedule.[10]

On May 21, 2007, the UK company Maximum Entertainment released four two-disc sets, for Region 2, each set containing 13 episode of the Captain America, Iron Man, Sub-Mariner and Thor segments respectively, with each episode re-edited into continuous, half-hour segments.[11] On August 25, 2008, the UK company Liberation Entertainment released a two-disc set of the Hulk segments, re-edited into 13 20-minute episodes..

Footnotes

  1. ^ Title per the animated opening credits on YouTube. The title is rendered inaccurately as "The Marvel Superheroes" at its entry on the Internet Movie Database, at IGN.com, at TV.com, and at Toon Tracker
  2. ^ Robert Lawrence interview, Jack Kirby Collector #41, Fall 2004, pp. 42-47.
  3. ^ TV.com: The Marvel Superheroes Episode Guide
  4. ^ "A Minute of Stan's Time" (sidebar by Adam McGovern), Jack Kirby Collector #41 (Fall 2004), p. 47
  5. ^ Marvel Bullpen Bulletins: "Sensational Secrets and Incredible Inside Information Guilelessly Guaranteed to Avail You Naught!", in Tales of Suspense #83 (Nov. 1966) and other Marvel comics that month.
  6. ^ Weekend Magazine (May 24, 1969)
  7. ^ Rotten Tomatoes: Marvel's Mightiest Heroes: Triple Pack #2
  8. ^ DVD Talk (June 17, 2003): "The Incredible Hulk (Animated Series)", review by James W. Powell
  9. ^ TVShowsonDVD.com (Sept. 24, 2004): "The Marvel Superheroes - Capt. America! Hulk! Thor! Iron Man! Sub-Mariner!" by David Lambert
  10. ^ TVShowsonDVD.com (Sept. 24, 2004): "The Marvel Superheroes - Studio Says Superheroes are Off the Schedule", by David Lambert
  11. ^ ToonZone (July 23, 2007): ""The Marvel Super Heroes": Classic Comics in Suspended Animation", by Jon T

References

External links


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