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Ultimate Spider-Man Animated Series

Marvel Universe Helps Promote Children's Literacy

The stars & producers of 'Ultimate Spider-Man' helped promote children's literacy at a special event this past weekend!

By Nikki Griffin

Photos by Rick Rowell

Drake Bell ("Ultimate Spider-Man") reading to kids at the Reading With: Marvel Comics Up-Close event

On Saturday January 11, Disney XD, Marvel Entertainment, and First Book teamed up to champion Children’s Literacy through the “Reading With: Marvel Comics Close-Up” initiative. Held at the Burbank Public Library, the event was part of a larger program designed to encourage reading with a donation of more than 210,000 books to libraries across the country, and a series of interstitials that will debut during Monday's second season premiere of “Ultimate Spider-Man” and continue to run inside Marvel Universe on Disney XD.

Radio Disney provided a DJ and rocking beats to get the party started with the local Boys & Girls Club. The kids danced and answered Marvel trivia questions for prizes before the Disney stars were introduced. Drake Bell (“Ultimate Spider-Man” himself), Dylan Riley Snyder (“Kickin’ It” and “Marvel Comics Close-Up”), Olivia Holt  (“Kickin’ It”) and Cole Jensen (“Crash and Bernstein”) were on hand to read to the kids and talk about their own experiences with reading and comic books.

Spider-Man at the Reading With: Marvel Comics Up-Close Event

A clip from the “Marvel Comics Close-Up” interstitials was shown, which is hosted by Dylan Riley Snyder and Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada, who take fans deeper inside the Marvel Universe. Dylan’s excitement and love for comics is apparent when he spoke about this great opportunity. “I got to work with Joe Quesada, who is the top guy at Marvel, and that experience was amazing," exudes Snyder. "Getting to talk with him and hear all the origin stories that we went over, [even] having read them as a comic fan, I learned things I didn’t even know! I got the Marvel App and downloaded every comic I saw. It was awesome! I think that kids will watch 'Marvel Comics Close-Up,' and hopefully think, 'Wow, I really like that idea. I really do like Spider-Man, lets try reading these comics,' and they’ll go onto DisneyXD.com/comics. Hopefully, they love them as much as the creators have loved them, as I love them, as Joe Quesada loves them, and they’ll want to read more.“

"Ultimate Spider-Man" Supervising Producer Cort Lane and star Drake Bell pose with Spidey

“It was a fun event, I think we were able to evangelize how cool it is to learn to read more through Marvel Comics, and that is what the Marvel Comics Close-Up initiative is about--interstitials that introduce stories and characters," explains "Ultimate Spider-Man" Supervising Producer Cort Lane, who also attended the event. "Being able to digitally download those comics for free mak[es] it really easy. I learned to read through Marvel Comics, and now we’re making that more accessible.  Drake got to read to the kids, which was awfully cute. And it was really cool to see them excited about the comics and reading because they had somebody like Drake. “

Drake Bell talked about his favorite Marvel hero--Spider-Man, of course--and how his love for reading started with comic books, as well. He was proud to be involved in the initiative. “Comics are a cool way to get kids excited about reading, because a lot of the time, they see books, and they’re like, 'Ugh, I’d rather just go play video games right now,'" explains Bell. "But when they open up a page of a comic book, and get to see their favorite super heroes flying around, doing stuff and exercising that muscle. It’s really cool. They get to see that reading can be fun. When they progress onto books, their imaginations are already formed.”

Don't miss the first "Marvel Comics Close-Up" during the hour-long primetime "Ultimate Spider-Man" season premiere, beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET on Disney XD!

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