By Christina Diem Pham
Iron Man reunites his super heroic teammates to face some of the biggest baddies around in the one-hour “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” preview event inside Marvel Universe on Disney XD this Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET! But in the meantime, we sat down with the one and only Eric Radomski, Marvel Animation’s Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Animation and director of the two-episode pilot debuting this Sunday.
|The cast of "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"|
Plus, take a peek behind the curtain with our full gallery of color storyboards from the premiere episode!
Having been with Marvel Animation since “Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man,” Radomski has worked in the industry for years and fully understands the nuts-and-bolts inside the animation realm.
“My position is really from concept through delivery of all assets,” he explains. “We knew which direction we were going with ‘Marvel's Avengers Assemble.’ It’s a lot of pre-planning from the business and creative side, [and] managing that process from beginning to end, so my duty is supervising all those aspects.”
The “concept” Radomski refers to includes giving fans more of the characters they fell in love with in last summer's blockbuster, “Marvel’s The Avengers.”
|Thor gets ready for battle in a color storyboard from "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"|
"[We're] respecting the character types illustrated in the movie without doing direct interpretations of Robert Downey, Jr. or Chris Hemsworth," the director elaborates. “It had more to do with the characters themselves, personality-wise, and the way they interacted with each other. We wanted to honor the origins and general view of those characters, [while speaking] to that younger audience on a level they can appreciate. The target audience we try and speak to is much younger. We want to invite them into the Marvel Universe, and this is sort of the first stepping stone.”
In addition to that foundation, some of the character's appearances in "Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man" led to their looks in this series.
|The Hulk leaps into action in a color storyboard from "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"|
“That was the first show on [our] agenda, so it absolutely directed ‘Marvel's Avengers Assemble,’” the executive remarks. “We had guest appearances of Cap and Hulk in Spider-Man, so those character designs were adapted with a bit of adjusting for the new series. Ultimately, they’re the same design that carries across all the animation produced so far.”
As for individual artists, when it came to selecting whose creative minds were most suitable there were a number of traits and characteristics that made them fit the mold best.
“I inherited part of a crew that existed at Film Roman at the time,” Radomski recalls. “As the needs of production demanded, we’d look [for] people who could do realism in a simplistic way, on top of other requirements [since] we borrowed and brought on a lot of concepts from ‘Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man’ by the time we got to this show.”
|Tony Stark suits up in a color storyboard from "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"|
The producer goes even more in depth with these artists, pointing out some of the many talents that had a hand in bringing this show to life.
“Jeff Wamester, who was one of our principle designers on the first season of Spidey, was commissioned to do the main cast of the Avengers,” reminisces Radomski. “I wanted characters that would look not only strong, but also true in a comic sense, while still able to be interpreted into animation. He just has a natural skill for that drawing style.
“I can throw some reference [to Jeff] and give him an idea of what I’m looking for. Nine times out of 10, he comes back and it’s exactly what I was looking for. He puts it down on paper and is just super talented! He deserves the most credit on design because it’s really his pen that puts it down.”
|Captain America in a color storyboard from "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"|
While Wamester’s pen crafted the Avengers' initial looks, Character Designer Jerome Moore proceeded to follow up.
“We brought him in to be a clean-up character artist,” continues Radomski. “He’s taken what Jeff had done as a three-quarter view just to set the character in tone. Jerome then interprets it and does the mechanical turns on characters so overseas production understands what the character looks like in profile and from the back. With [Jeff and Jerome], the drawings look beautiful and effortless.”
With that being said, we asked Radomski what he enjoyed most about being involved with “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble.”
|The Red Skull enters the fray in a color storyboard from "Marvel's Avengers Assemble"|
“As sappy as this might sound,” he laughs, “it really is the opportunity and privilege of working with so many talented people. Animation requires every credit given at the end of every episode. Literally, you take one brick out of that wall and the show is less, so [it’s] most satisfying to be part of the team. I, fortunately, get to be at the front of the charge on that, but it’s great to know all of us are working toward the same goal.
“We celebrate the successes and work on the problems together. Everyone’s work contributes to the end product, and that is really [rewarding]. To be a part of Marvel is great, but being a part of the animation team is the best job I could ever ask for.”
Now Marvelites, to see that hard work pay off mark your calendars and tune in to “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” this Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET, only inside Marvel Universe on Disney XD!