By Christina Pham
Iron Man, Cap and friends assemble onto "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!" Vol. 5 DVD September 25, and to commemorate this occasion, we had a chat with Story Editor Chris Yost, one of the key creators behind the series!
As Story Editor on Season 2, Yost worked alongside producer Joshua Fine during the season two production of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!”
|Captain America faces his Skrull captors in "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!"|
“Story Editors on animated series are responsible for every aspect of the writing of the show,” explains Yost. “Along with Josh Fine, I would develop stories, any season long arcs, develop the characters and their relationships and put it all into a season ‘bible’ which [was then distributed] to writers of the show. Plus I gave the episodes their titles, which was my favorite part.”
Season 2’s primary storyline, Secret Invasion, was inspired by Brian Michael Bendis’ comics. And since Yost wrote some of the episodes, he wanted to incorporate other time periods from past Avengers books.
“We [played] with every era of Avengers stories from the comics,” he mentions. “Not only did we hit classic stories like Avengers vs. Loki, Kang, Ultron, etc., but we did new stories from current comics like “Breakout” [from NEW AVENGERS] and SECRET INVASION. We liked Secret Invasion because a) it was awesome, but b) it showed such an interesting side to the characters. Ant-Man said it best--early on, they weren’t a team. That [took] time. It [took] trust, and Secret Invasion put that trust to the test.”
|Nick Fury reveals the Skrull threat to Tony Stark in "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!"|
“Brian got it 'right' as the fans like to say in comics,” adds Yost. “So to the best of our ability, making some concessions for the medium, we tried to just put Brian's story on the screen.
Some adaptations Yost spoke of included minor changes in the Skrulls’ dialogue, in addition to character changes and appearances. For instance, throughout the Secret Invasion books, the Skrulls say words along the lines of “He loves us,” but throughout “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightest Heroes!,” they don’t.
“I worked on a Secret Invasion comic book, SECRET INVASION RUNAWAYS/YOUNG AVENGERS, and saw some early drafts of the comics Brian worked on,” he shared. “In one draft, the Skrulls actually used, ‘As it is written,’ which stuck with me. Being a kids show, we strayed away from more religious aspects of the Skrulls’ crusade, so ‘as it is written’ seemed like a better fit for us.”
|The Guardians of the Galaxy debut in "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!"|
While Season 2 focused heavily on Bendis’ works, the Guardians of the Galaxy were introduced into Marvel Animation for the first time, too. Starlord, Quasar, Groot, Warlock and Rocket Raccoon made their animated debut during “Michael Korvac” (Season 2, Ep. 6), written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
“The ‘theme’ of Season 2 was the cosmic season, so we dealt with all manner of Marvel’s cosmic universe--Skrulls, Kree, you name it,” reveals Yost. “And Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s premiere cosmic groups. It was interesting to show the Avengers that they weren’t alone out in the universe, and there were others—‘Space Avengers,’ as Iron Man called them.”
Apart from Season 2’s cosmic theme, Power Man and Iron Fist--two characters more associated with the streets of the Marvel Universe--were called into action. The “Heroes For Hire” helped Hank Pym when his Ant-Man gear went missing, all while Pym figures out what to do with his super hero identity in “To Steal an Ant-Man” (Season 2, Ep. 5).
|Captain America in "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!"|
“It’s an evolution of Hank Pym’s character as he tries a new way to use his science to help people, instead of just beating [them] up,” elaborates Yost. “But part of our job as writers was to make our characters lives as difficult as possible…so as Hank evolved, we wanted to put Ant-Man out in the universe.”
As Pym evolved, other heroes throughout the show did the same, specifically Thor in “The Ballad of Beta-Ray Bill” (Season 2, Ep. 8).
“Asgard’s greatest warrior saw in the Avengers that there were other heroes out there, heroes who saved all the Nine Realms,” Yost says of Thor’s frame of mind. “But meeting Beta-Ray Bill showed Thor’s maturity. He was willing to give up his hammer to Bill, and that kind of sacrifice is the trademark of a true hero.”
Looking back at the 13 episodes contained in "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!" Vol. 5, Yost feels a sense of pride at the work he and the creative team accomplished.
“Working on ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!’ was one of the best, most satisfying experiences of my life, only topped by the love that the fans have for the show. We are eternally grateful.”