What's wrong with Marvel Animation?

  • Enter to win two tickets to Whisper of the Heart. Details here.

Latest News & Videos

Aplam

Banned
Jan 11, 2019
1
0
1
22
USA
I approach this with considerable baggage, I admit, I am heavily biased and perhaps not giving the shows a fare chance. I did enjoy Earth's Mightiest Heroes, so the other Marvel shows which have collectively replaced it? Not a good start. But it seems the whole lot of Marvel animated programs now are basically all mass-produced varieties of un-entertaining.


Characters who laugh at their own jokes, and when the jokes aren't funny, nobody calls them out on the bad one-liners. The Ultimate Spiderman doesn't have snark, he disrupts the pacing of his own show for bad stand-up. Everybody else is always stuck in 'On' mode with no sense they have home lives, like playing with action figures it feels they're confined to the way they came from the factory.

The voice directing lacks any nuance, the character designs all seem like they're just the same person with different skin, clothing, and accessories. In a better world, characters would be designed to work with this, - different facial structures and specifically engineered clothing, but in this world, the Avenger's designs are all just taken from the movies and it ends up looking like cosplay.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: Mr.O and Frontier

SweetShop209

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2014
5,706
-1
113
www.deviantart.com
Regardless of the shows' quality , they do at least give Marvel animation a chance to be propelled into the spotlight. I mean, pre -Disney merger, how many Marvel cartoons outside of Spiderman (1967, 1994, and 2008 cartoons) and The Superhero Squad Show got any sort of real attention?

I'd say the constant attempts to retain animated synergy are in trying to make an equivalent to the DCAU.
 

Frontier

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
May 28, 2010
17,302
0
113
Temecula California
The voice directing lacks any nuance, the character designs all seem like they're just the same person with different skin, clothing, and accessories. In a better world, characters would be designed to work with this, - different facial structures and specifically engineered clothing, but in this world, the Avenger's designs are all just taken from the movies and it ends up looking like cosplay.
I will say that from the start I've always had issues with them adapting the movie designs so rigidly in the cartoons since, with some exceptions, most of them are just too busy to look as well in animation, especially with the lower budget the Marvel cartoons seem to have to work with.

As far as voice direction...my opinion has always been that the Marvel cartoons generally have strong voice casts, they just don't always give them the best material to work from.

I mean, Fred Tatasciore is the definitive Hulk VA in probably most people's minds but there was only so much he could do in the early Avengers Assemble seasons and Agents of SMASH, and that goes for everyone on that show.
Regardless of the shows' quality , they do at least give Marvel animation a chance to be propelled into the spotlight. I mean, pre -Disney merger, how many Marvel cartoons outside of Spiderman (1967, 1994, and 2008 cartoons) and The Superhero Squad Show got any sort of real attention?
I think the second seasons of the Iron Man and FF cartoons in the 90's were kind of cult classics in a way, ditto the first season of the Hulk cartoon.

There's also Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
The glaring continuity issues bother me the most.
The animated continuities of the Marvel cartoons is such a mess.

I really wish they had just dropped all pretense of their being any kind of continuity among the cartoons early on so people wouldn't have gotten so worked up over it.
 

SweetShop209

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2014
5,706
-1
113
www.deviantart.com
1.I will say that from the start I've always had issues with them adapting the movie designs so rigidly in the cartoons since, with some exceptions, most of them are just too busy to look as well in animation, especially with the lower budget the Marvel cartoons seem to have to work with.

2. As far as voice direction...my opinion has always been that the Marvel cartoons generally have strong voice casts, they just don't always give them the best material to work from.

I mean, Fred Tatasciore is the definitive Hulk VA in probably most people's minds but there was only so much he could do in the early Avengers Assemble seasons and Agents of SMASH, and that goes for everyone on that show.

3. I think the second seasons of the Iron Man and FF cartoons in the 90's were kind of cult classics in a way, ditto the first season of the Hulk cartoon.

There's also Iron Man: Armored Adventures.

4. The animated continuities of the Marvel cartoons is such a mess.

I really wish they had just dropped all pretense of their being any kind of continuity among the cartoons early on so people wouldn't have gotten so worked up over it.
1. I guess you can say that Spiderman gets off easier in that regard for the 2012 and 2017 cartoons. I mean, he (Spiderman) wore a version of his MCU's initial hooded suit in the latter, but only early on. His suit and design are still their own things.

2. I think they're trying to make Colette Sunderman Marvel's go to voice director given how, of all of this decade's animated offerings, she's the second must used. Lisa Schaffer is third.

3. They may have fans, but it's not on the levels on constantly gushing (or at least talking about) about them.

4. I'd say its trying to be like the DCAU, another shared universe of action shows, which also occasionally contradicted established lore or dropped certain characters (albeit generally legal reasons for the latter).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Frontier

Troy Troodon

Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2014
2,141
0
113
I think there's a number of problems with Marvel Animation nowadays.


One problem is the influence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since the success of the first Avengers movie, there's been a new direction to treat their animation division as a marketing ploy, basically reverting back to the 80's approach. It's also because of that influence that Marvel has thrown tons of potential characters under the rug, at least until their relevant when their own movies are coming up; but this influence of the MCU also causes a stagnation in continuity turns up plot points that are directly tied again to the release of films like Civil War.

Another thing that hurts Marvel Animation, and even DC Animation to an extent is the current landscape of cartoons; more specifically cartoons on public television that are geared towards children. It's no secret that for the past five or even six years that Action Cartoons have all but died out on tv, (in fact cable television in general seems to be dying out altogether but one topic at a time) with most shows nowadays gearing more towards slapstick comedy, and any action shows left are basically treated as a side show (especially to movies and toy sells) which gives them less material to work with hence why the quality of storytelling or characterization isn't as strong as it was before, and it's also because that they're made for kids that the higher ups treat them like they don't need that much effort in making more complex stories with more relatable characters as they use to, thus relying on decades old tropes to tell their stories even when most of them are no longer relevant nowadays. Let me put it this way, the current marvel shows basically talk down to kids while previous shows were on the same level as kids; think Dora the Explorer as opposed to Sesame Street. (Maybe not the best analogy but I digress)

And lastly, perhaps another thing that hurts Marvel Animation would be the influence of the higher ups of the entertainment side of things; yes I am of course talking about Disney!

Since Marvel was purchased by Disney, Marvel has undergone quite an identity crisis, for the most part it wasn’t directly Disney’s fault, at least not in terms of their actual comic book division or their live-action properties; but it is more so on the animation and even video game side of things. Disney has had its own identity crises for about a decade or so, especially on television, but after a while their quality in animated shows has improved significantly, with such shows like Gravity Falls and Star vs The Forces of Evil; but the Marvel animated shows did not fare. Bare in mind Disney is a corperational industry, and as a company gets more corperational there is bound to be more stagnation in some parts.


This would explain why Marvel’s animated shows have been, and still technically are treated as marketing gimmicks for the movies, and why there generally isn’t that good a quality in their art style or in the writing department; and why these currant programs are playing it safe and not doing anything bold as they’ve done before.

It’s ironic to think that they would because Disney has proven they actually can tell strong stories and characters, especially in recent years with stuff like their ducktales reboot; but even shows like that are still a product of animation’s current landscape on television as they do still rely on being mostly comedy based. (they have to make you laugh first before they make you think or do anything else)


And I think those are Marvel Animation’s biggest problems nowadays; in the current landscape of cartoons, and under the influence of the higher ups (be it Disney or Marvel Entertainment) the animation division isn’t really taking a lot of risks with that they could potentially make, even with the material that they’re given. As is, there is no clear direction in Marvel’s animation division.

But hopefully this is just a dark time in Marvel’s history and their animation division will be reconfigured and get good again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Frontier

SweetShop209

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2014
5,706
-1
113
www.deviantart.com
This kind of topic seems better for a multi part essay discussion like the one linked below. Too bad there aren't that many sites online that talk about this Marvel animated continuity in great detail.


 

bigdaddy313

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2012
1,147
0
63
Streaming service I believe is the best form that Marvel animated shows and even action animated shows in general should undertake going forward.

I have a windows pc with windows 10 and I connect it to my 55inch 4k TV and I stream Netflix and ready to sign to Disney+ when available.

Network TV is no longer suitable for action shows in my opinion and streaming is the best way to support it, that is why Netflix is taking loads of risk with new content that actually looks expensive.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Troy Troodon

Webbed-Wonder

Still thwipping!
Feb 22, 2009
805
0
28
Phoenix, AZ
It doesn't really feel like Marvel puts much care into their animation department post 2012, basically when they started handling it all themselves. They focus too much on implementing synergy with the movies and it makes the cartoons feel more like a side gig to promote the real ventures. I remember they were touting their Guardians cartoon was gonna look really different and bring fresh things to animation and they kept showing that test footage and the show just wound up looking generic and stiff.

They were better when they were farming it off to other people to make their shows. I'd take both of the Sony produced Spidey cartoons (and the Spider-Verse animated movie for that matter) over Marvel's animated efforts since 2012 because all of those projects are riskier looking projects than the safe choices Marvel defaults to.

I hope future Marvel animated shows on the Disney streaming service are better produced/funded and are able to take more risks in terms of content/presentation.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Frontier

AdrenalineRush1996

Well-Known Member
May 13, 2016
1,720
0
63
22
I rather have Marvel Animation to improve with better shows than returning back with outsourcing stuff. Not every Marvel show has to be done by third party studios to be better than the ones produced in house and I mean I would like to see them doing a new shared universe once their current shows are over by starting with a new X-Men animated series since the Disney/Fox deal is almost finalised along with appealing it to both younger and older audiences since the problem with the current Marvel animated shows is that they're trying to emulate the MCU in order to appeal to younger audiences and this is to the point that the more well-received Big Hero 6 cartoon is instead produced by Disney's TV animation studio than Marvel Animation due to the fact that the film was a Disney Animated Canon film even if the source material itself is Marvel despite Marvel having no current plans to reprint the comics, not to mention that DC Animation is slowly moving away from its dork age with Young Justice: Outsiders and the Sony-produced Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has been met with a more positive reception than the last two Spider-Man animated series.

It's quite disappointing that the only good Disney Marvel animated show so far has been Avengers: EMH and I can certainly blame Man of Action for causing Marvel Animation to enter their dork age since had they not been involved in so and so, then we could've gotten more good Marvel animated shows under the Disney era.
 

Frontier

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
May 28, 2010
17,302
0
113
Temecula California
1. I guess you can say that Spiderman gets off easier in that regard for the 2012 and 2017 cartoons. I mean, he (Spiderman) wore a version of his MCU's initial hooded suit in the latter, but only early on. His suit and design are still their own things.
I was thinking more in the case of the Avengers and affiliated characters, who all usually wear variants of their movie costumes.
2. I think they're trying to make Colette Sunderman Marvel's go to voice director given how, of all of this decade's animated offerings, she's the second must used. Lisa Schaffer is third.
And I think she's generally done a solid job when it comes to casting and voice direction, even if the material hasn't always given the VA's much to work with.
3. They may have fans, but it's not on the levels on constantly gushing (or at least talking about) about them.
I would say that's true for the current Marvel cartoons as well.

Avengers: Panther's Quest is the first time I've seen a modern Marvel cartoon get pretty high, if not unanimous, praise online or on social media.
4. I'd say its trying to be like the DCAU, another shared universe of action shows, which also occasionally contradicted established lore or dropped certain characters (albeit generally legal reasons for the latter).
Although the DCAU came out organically and without originally intending to be a shared universe, contrasted with the Marvel cartoons where the continuity seems forced sometimes.

I would also say the contradictions in the DCAU is nowhere near the level of inconsistency among all the Marvel cartoons.
I remember they were touting their Guardians cartoon was gonna look really different and bring fresh things to animation and they kept showing that test footage and the show just wound up looking generic and stiff.
Compared to the design revamp of Marvel's Spider-Man and Avengers: Black Panther's Quest, I'd say Guardians is currently one of the better looking Marvel cartoons.
 

brodie999

Active Member
Jul 1, 2016
486
0
28
19
I rather have Marvel Animation to improve with better shows than returning back with outsourcing stuff. Not every Marvel show has to be done by third party studios to be better than the ones produced in house and I mean I would like to see them doing a new shared universe once their current shows are over by starting with a new X-Men animated series since the Disney/Fox deal is almost finalised along with appealing it to both younger and older audiences since the problem with the current Marvel animated shows is that they're trying to emulate the MCU in order to appeal to younger audiences and this is to the point that the more well-received Big Hero 6 cartoon is instead produced by Disney's TV animation studio than Marvel Animation due to the fact that the film was a Disney Animated Canon film even if the source material itself is Marvel despite Marvel having no current plans to reprint the comics, not to mention that DC Animation is slowly moving away from its dork age with Young Justice: Outsiders and the Sony-produced Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has been met with a more positive reception than the last two Spider-Man animated series.

It's quite disappointing that the only good Disney Marvel animated show so far has been Avengers: EMH and I can certainly blame Man of Action for causing Marvel Animation to enter their dork age since had they not been involved in so and so, then we could've gotten more good Marvel animated shows under the Disney era.
Agreed. Marvel should start reviving their own shows like Avengers: EMH, Spectacular Spider-Man, Wolverine and the X-Men, the Super Hero Squad Show and Iron Man: Armored Adventures under the guidance of Craig Kyle. The first 6 episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders were exceptional beyond the point of pure goodness, so that's a good start in making good superhero shows by reviving the old ones in a while.
 
Last edited:

colomb

New Member
Jan 7, 2019
10
0
3
27
Canada
"A fan then asked if Marvel Animation has plans for shows and films that have a more adult bent to them -- Wacker and Lane both commented in the affirmative but explained that they have "nothing they can announce right now.""

So I wonder what became of this? Maybe we will get an announcement this year? Part of me wants to believe there are better days ahead but who knows.
 

TheMadSlasher

Member
Sep 20, 2011
377
0
16
Long time I've been away. I'll just make this quick.

The problem is that the cartoons are fundamentally seen as advertisements for other products, in particular the movies and the merchandise.

Additionally, Disney is not Warner Brothers. Disney has a strong family-oriented, broad-market-entertainment image and focus. Warner Brothers has more latitude in their brand, which allows them to go for things that are a little bit 'edgier' in tone.

Finally, the idea of respecting your audience died a long time ago. Many creators see the audience as either morons who'll like anything, bigots who need to be re-educated, or a target demographic that must be appealed to in order to sell toys. Writing a show with the premise that your audience is able to understand deep and complicated issues, that they are to be sympathized with rather than shouted at, that they are capable of enjoying a non-trivial serial fiction with good writing... these are no longer common sentiments.

Another point: probably the most obvious example of an animated superhero series in relatively recent years that had substantial depth, serial storytelling, characterization effort and the like is Young Justice. That show survived for two seasons, and only got brought back for a third because of a very large and vocal cult following that mostly consisted of mid-to-late teens and young adults who waged long social media campaigns. This isn't the market that buys "the merch," and if you can't sell "the merch" that's one less potential profit stream.

I mean we see a similar problem in the video game market. Its cheap, easy and potentially very lucrative to target a casual smartphone-game audience that's willing to spend boatloads of money on microtransactions. Pay-to-win shovelware has a high return on investment. Meanwhile, making a high-quality, systems-heavy, gameplay-focused single-player title targeted towards the "core" gamer market (which is itself a very picky and sophisticated demographic that is quite jaded), where such gamers just pay once, has a low return on investment.

Making cartoons for an older, smarter, less lucrative audience requires higher investment for lower returns.

So what can we do? Marvel need to make a profit and people like us are less profitable and frankly, not too many writers are willing to write for an audience like us in the first place.

The streaming services are absolutely a positive, from our standpoint. Enabling direct-to-consumer product provision at least makes lower-margin customers look less unattractive relative to higher-margin customers, but by the same token when the merch-buying kids start using Netflix etc. that doesn't bode as well for us.

How to fix Marvel animation? Well the first thing to do is to segment the market appropriately and direct a variety of different products to the various market segments. Let the kiddies have their To Sell Toys show, but produce something intended for an older and more sophisticated demographic too. Make sure this latter show is written by writers who genuinely respect the audience and write for the audience's pleasure. Don't turn the characters we're meant to like into loathsome bullies or spineless pathetics, and don't degrade characters the audience is meant to relate to. Preserve their dignity.

But will Mouse-Marvel want to put their money into that when they can churn out Saturday Morning Advertisements with less effort, less controversy and more merch sales?
 

bigdaddy313

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2012
1,147
0
63
This article is long yes but it proves that streaming services is the best form for animations. Netflix has invested a lot on animations, increasing demand and creating loads of job opportunities. Amazon is doing the same, with Disney to follow.

The time is now, forget this old rules, kids network TV is quite done and hence y Cartoon Network has become what it is now.

 

JoeMabbon

Time Traveler
Aug 8, 2014
7,334
0
113
Little Blue Planet
3. They may have fans, but it's not on the levels on constantly gushing (or at least talking about) about them.
Honestly, outside of this website I rarely hear anything about Marvel animation outside of past shows, X-Men, Spider-Man, and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

4. I'd say its trying to be like the DCAU, another shared universe of action shows, which also occasionally contradicted established lore or dropped certain characters (albeit generally legal reasons for the latter).
I think people, fans and showrunners, forget that people only really like shared universes when the actual content is good. People don't like or care about shared universes for their own sake.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Frontier

Similar threads


Spotlight

Staff online

Who's on Discord?

Latest profile posts

Amphibia looks pretty deece so far. The premise is like the isekai anime genre, except the main protagonist isn't stuck in a typical fantasy RPG world that most isekai anime take place in.
With all of the drama, hype and rumors going amok- past and present, inside and outside the animation community- I almost just want to escape, a la the late, great Jimi Hendrix:
I wish a happy 52nd birthday to Fred Tatasciore. He's known for many roles like the Hulk, Solomon Grundy, Rocksteady, Megatron, and many more.
This new "Amphibia" show actually looks interesting.
Noggin got a new logo