By Marc Strom
Some old favorites get a new twist inside the Marvel Universe on Disney XD with “Marvel Mash-Up,” a new series of interstitials that takes footage from classic animated series like “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” and re-edits them to make something completely new—and completely hilarious.
“We were inspired by things that fans had done on the internet with our old footage, and so we thought, ‘Well, what if we did some of that ourselves, but with a distinctive Marvel sense of humor,’” explains Vice President, Animation Development & Production Cort Lane of the series’ origins.
“We have all this great classic footage [that’s] often very kitschy when you look at it today, [so] we did a pilot to just test it because we had no idea if kids would get it or if they would think it’s funny. And they actually thought it was hilarious at all ages.”
While fans at WonderCon this past weekend laughed uproariously at a preview of “Marvel Mash-Up: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends,” two other series will also receive the “Mash-Up” treatment.
“We started on a pilot,” recounts Lane. “We decided ‘Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends’ is such an iconic, classic cartoon that that’s the first one we’re using. We will also be using the ‘Incredible Hulk’ series from 1982, and later on we’ll be using the ‘Fantastic Four’ series from 1978.”
Once they knew which show they’d use to create a pilot for “Marvel Mash-Up,” the producers brought in a few very talented helping hands.
“We worked with a great production company named Retrofit Films. We brought in a writer on the pilot to help us, Erik Richter--co-creator of ‘Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law’--because we definitely wanted some of that sensibility.
“We just went at it, taking sections, re-editing them, trying to do dialogue with them, and we got in the booth with some amazing voice actors such as Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob Squarepants and Doctor Octopus on ‘Ultimate Spider-Man.’ We even encouraged the voice talent to riff off of our script.”
Many jokes presented themselves to the producers and writers of the interstitials by watching the original episodes.
“Because this is clearly classic footage and we’re just having lots of fun with it, it allows us to push the comedy envelope further than we normally would,” Lane explains. “We all loved those classic cartoons, but this is a way to celebrate them and still have fun and use the footage in the way that’s cool for kids today.
“You look at some of this old animation and go, well, that’s a little bit odd looking. Why is Spider-Man on Doctor’s Doom’s shoulders? Why does he seem to be hugging Green Goblin? And that’s where you could just come up with ideas and have fun with it.”
In addition to “Marvel Mash-Up,” a new series of promos entitled the “Fury Files” will air inside the Marvel Universe.
“We’re doing eight of them, and they are focused on introducing kids to characters they’ll see in Marvel Universe block and want to know more about,” Lane divulges. “I can tell you that we’re doing them for Iron Man, Iron Fist, White Tiger, and even villains like Doctor Octopus.
“We have Chi McBride as the voice of Nick Fury in ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ narrating these. He’s selecting each of these heroes for a S.H.I.E.L.D. mission and reviewing their secret S.H.I.E.L.D. file.”
Marvel Universe premieres on Disney XD at 11 a.m. ET April 1, and you can catch a preview of “Marvel Mash-Up” directly below!