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Marvel Super Heroes, The

Entry updated 8 July 2018. Tagged: TV.

Animated tv series (1966-1967). Grantray-Lawrence Animation/Krantz Films/Marvel Enterprises. Produced by Steve Krantz and Robert L Lawrence. Syndicated. Directors included Shamus Culhane, Chuck Harrison, Sid Marcus, Jerry Siegel, and Kay Wright. Writers included Jim Carmichael, Don Christensen, Stan Lee, June Patterson, and Jewell Schubel. Based on characters created by Bill Everett, Don Heck, Larry Leiber, Lee, John Romita Sr and Joe Simon. Cast includes Sandy Becker (uncredited), Len Carlson, Max Ferguson, Arthur Pierce, Paul Soles, John Vernon and Chris Wiggins. Narrator: Bernard Cowan. 65 25-minute episodes overall. Colour.

An anthology series, the programme was Marvel Comics' first venture into animated Television. The five main heroes featured were Captain America (Pierce, then Becker), the Incredible Hulk (Ferguson, with Soles as Bruce Banner), Iron Man (Vernon as Tony Stark/Iron Man), The Mighty Thor (Wiggins as Don Blake/Thor) and Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner (Vernon again), Prince of Atlantis. The characters faced many of their usual Comics foes including Dr Doom, Magneto, the Red Skull, the Mole Man, the Crimson Dynamo and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Occasionally other heroes would guest-star, such as the original line-up of the X-Men, Spider-Man and Dr Strange. The animation was in a very limited format leading to criticism that the series was little more than comic art projected on television. While this was justified to some degree, the artwork used included many examples of 1960s "Silver Age" artwork by Steve Ditko, Kirby, Heck, Romita, and others. Each episode usually comprised three seven-minute instalments featuring different Superheroes. Sometimes Stan Lee appeared live to discuss the characters about to be seen; the actors also occasionally featured in brief live-action segments.

The Marvel Super Heroes was popular, but along with other animated and live-action series seemed to fall prey to the crusade by various pressure groups against violence on US Television. Some segments starring the Hulk, Thor, and others have since been shown as parts of other series, sometimes without acknowledgement of their original context. [GSt]


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