By Marc Strom
Your favorite Marvel heroes just got a little more animated.
|Wolverine: Origin by Joe Quesada, Paul Jenkins and Andy Kubert|
Announced during the Marvel Television Presents panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Knights Animation will bring five more fan-favorite storylines to life in their signature style, including “Inhumans” by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee; “Wolverine: Origins” by Joe Quesada, Paul Jenkins, and Andy Kubert; “Wolverine: Weapon X” by Jason Aaron, Ron Garney, and Esad Ribic; “Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk” by Damon Lindelof and Leinil Francis Yu; and “Eternals” by Neil Gaiman and John Romita, Jr.
Marvel Knights Animation Season Two marks the next evolution for the group, and we’ve got the exclusive trailer showing off upcoming releases “Astonishing X-Men: Torn” and “Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable,” along with teases of each upcoming project.
You can watch the trailer right here on Marvel.com, then scroll down to read our interview with Marvel Knights Animation Supervising Producer Kalia Cheng on what fans can expect in Season Two!
Marvel.com: What do you look for when choosing a series to adapt to Marvel Knights Animation?
Kalia Cheng: Mostly, we look for a good, strong story with clearly defined and relatable characters; something that has a clear beginning, middle, end, and a consistent art style throughout. Because of the nature of the comic industry, it's common for artists to balance their work over multiple projects, and sometimes, due to availability, that leads to having a few issues of a series divided between different artists. Unfortunately, when translated to video form, that shift is definitely more awkward and noticeable, so we avoid it.
|Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk by Damon Lindelof and Leinil Francis Yu|
Another thing we look at is the balance between dialogue and action. Luckily, most Marvel series are all about action. But an action scene with lots of back and forth dialogue, while doable in comics, tends to slow down the pace of a scene and feels very impractical when played out in real-time.
Marvel.com: With eight Marvel Knights Animation series produced to date, how structured is the process of adapting a storyline?
Kalia Cheng: As far as development goes, most of the work is already done for us. What we do is take those already fleshed-out storylines and art, and fill in the blanks and connect the dots. We get to answer questions such as what the characters sound like, or what the back of so-and-so's costume looks like, and add to the picture. In the comics, we might see the start of a punch and the end result that implies what happened, but with Marvel Knights, we get to create the fight and see the full swing, from start to finish, in motion.
Adaptation is an art form in and of itself. There are good adaptations and there are bad adaptations. The key to creating a good adaptation is to stay as true to the core of the original as possible, and that's what we try to do, so the development process on our end is fairly similar from project to project.
Marvel.com: What was it about each series you chose for Season Two that made it a good candidate for the Marvel Knights Animation treatment?
|Eternals by Neil Gaimain and John Romita, Jr.|
Kalia Cheng: Aside from the reasons I outlined above, Inhumans, Eternals, and Wolverine: Origins were perfect candidates because of their uniqueness and accessibility to new fans. Wolverine: Origins, in particular, is a great gateway because it reveals a new, untold side of a well-established, fan-favorite character. And it only seemed natural at that point, to take the opportunity to delve deeper into the character with Wolverine: Tomorrow Dies Today, and Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk is just plain fun.
Marvel.com: Of the upcoming lineup, is there one series you’re particularly excited to see brought to life?
Kalia Cheng: It's a tough decision, but I think I'm most excited about Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk. I'm a huge fan of Leinil Yu's work--his art is just gorgeous, I wish I had a fraction of those skills. And Damon Lindelof is truly a mad genius in every sense of the word. But beyond that, you get to see two titans of the Marvel Universe, Wolverine and Hulk, go head to head in an all-out brawl. I'm not saying who wins, but it's a fight worth seeing.
Marvel.com: What do you think are some of Marvel Knights Animation’s greatest strengths?
Kalia Cheng: Marvel Knights is intended for an older audience, so we want to take the opportunity to tell the stories that we can't tell on TV with our regular series. We get away with a lot more violence and mature themes, all that jazz. Also, unlike the rest of our regular animation programming, Marvel Knights projects are more creator-driven, so we get all the perks that come with that: A unique point of view, edgier designs, and complex thematic and character arcs.
Marvel.com: How are you going to be pushing Marvel Knights Animation even further to continue improving and refining the medium with this upcoming slate?
Kalia Cheng: Marvel Knights Season Two + Kalia = More Awesomeness! But in all seriousness, we have the privilege of working once again with a fantastic studio in Canada called Atomic Cartoons, and this isn't their first time at the rodeo. So, we're just going to take Season Two by the horns and get the show on the road. Each project brings more experience, and with each experience, we get to try new things. Experimentation is the way to discovery, and we plan to keep on pushing those boundaries to see where they take us.