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San Diego Comic-Con International 2009
Marvel Animation

by Rob Bricken,
Panelists: Masao Maruyama, Warren Ellis

The Marvel Animation panel covered all of Marvel's various cartoons and straight-to-DVD animated movies, such as the recent Hulk Vs., which was animated by Studio Madhouse. However, the main attraction was the debut of Marvel's anime partnership with Madhouse. Marvel insisted that these five animated series have been primarily designed to work for Japanese audiences, although they fully expect American fans to enjoy them as well.

Marvel displayed two trailers for two of the five series — Wolverine and Iron Man. The Wolverine trailer featured the popular X-Men character with a lengthy mullet, but also his telltale claws, as he sliced through ninja, various yokai, and a giant supernatural samurai ghost in a traditional Japanese house setting. The style was highly reminiscent of Madhouse's Ninja Scroll movie and TV series, both visually and stylistically.

The second trailer was for Iron Man, which featured the character's trademark armor, but with an amazing amount of technical detail underneath. As Iron Man flew through Tokyo, he battled other armored foes (perhaps robots), tussled with missiles, and attacked a mysterious, eyepatch wearing foes who might have been the Mandarin. Pepper Potts also seemed to appear, trying to follow Iron Man in a car.

Writer Warren Ellis pointed out that the trailer were merely test animations, designed to convey the style, and will not be used specifically in the finished TV series. He specified that the Wolverine series would be based on the popular Wolverine comic of the '80s written by Chris Claremont, when Wolverine actually lived in Japan. Ellis said less about Iron Man, except that it would also feature Tony Stark in Tokyo, and would deal with "a clash of cultures" and the history of weapons technology.

Both series will premiere both in Japan and America in 2010. Ellis also revealed that the third Marvel-Madhouse anime partnership would be an X-Men series, followed by a Blade series, set in Southeast Asia.

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