Robot 6

Uncovering Marvel’s lost ’80s cartoon pitches

MARVEL_Iron Man

Marvel has long had aspirations for Hollywood. Decades before The Avengers was a mega-blockbuster, years before George Lucas produced the ill-fated Howard the Duck movie, Stan Lee and his superiors knew the heroes at the House of Ideas could sell more than just comic books.

In the early ’80s, Marvel’s developed pitches for animated shows based on a number of its titles, and a number of new creations. And it’s no wonder, given Marvel’s past with the Fantastic Four show and the success DC Comics had with cartoons on the small screen. But the properties they prepped were, well, something else.

Courtesy of the excellent comic scrapbook site The Dork Review, we’re seeing some the long-faded Comics Features magazine (Issue 33, in this case), showing off art from pitches Marvel had prepared for various television networks. There are some stalwarts there, including a swank Iron Man, a Six Million Dollar Man-esque Ant-Man, and a Daredevil show that pairs the blind attorney with a dog named Lightning, but that’s just the beginning. In addition, you have a buxom barbarian called The Monstress (with art looking like Doug Wildey), two spinoff renditions of the Hulk titled Teen Hulk and Hulk-Hound, and then best (or worst) of all, a story about a transforming VW bug named Muffy.

Somebody get Jeph Loeb on the line, I think we have something here.

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MARVEL_Ant Man MARVEL_Teen Hulk MARVEL_Muffy2 MARVEL_Hulk Hound  MARVEL_Monstress Doug Wildey MARVEL_Muffy

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Comments

25 Comments

Darth Eradicus

March 6, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Teen. Hulk.

Teen. Hound.

Well, we know a group who DIDN’T listen to Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign…

Wasn’t Teen Hulk a recurring strip in Cracked magazine back in the day?

I’m sure I’ve seen that “Muffy” concept art before, in Comic Scene Magazine I think?

Good god…

Go home, The Eighties, you’re drunk.

Was Muffy before or after Bumblebee?

I’d watch the hell out of that Ant-Man cartoon. And Monstress, while a bit on the cheesecake/silly side, also looks like it could’ve had potential.

But Teen Hulk? A teen screaming “Mommy!”? That sounds about right, as far as what Hollywood types would think a teen would sound like back then.

Cory Arsenault

March 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm

That Muffy robot looks a lot like one of the Gobots.

I’d watch the fuck out of Teen Hulk., just look at that it sounds hillarious.

I remember Teen Hulk but it was in Marvel’s own Crazy Magazine.

Still, is it any worse than “Thing ring, do your thing!”?

It WAS in Crazy Magazine. The main character was a “craven nerd” named Chester Weems who “due to a prolonged exposure by a demented dentist’s Gamma Ray Cavity Decoder”, changed into the Teen Hulk in “moments of dire humilliation”. Invariably he went “Help! Mommy!” Then as he was about to change he uttered “Oh, no! Everything’s . . . going . . .” and as soon as he became Teen Hulk, he bellowed, “MEAN GREEN!”

That Daredevil & Lightning series looks like it’d be infinitely more entertaining than stories that have actually been published, such as the “Fall From Grace” arc.

My new goal in life….become a comics writer, get assigned to daredevil, reintroduce lightning with a grim and gritty reboot. Sort of Matt Murdock’s neglected seeing eye dog, turns evil, and gains super powers for somer reason, then plots his revenge!

David Gallaher

March 7, 2013 at 5:00 am

There is a missing X-MEN one I remember seeing, which featured Ms. Marvel as Lady Lightning.

And I also recall that – one of the reasons – we saw Daredevil and Iron Man make cameos in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was to launch each character into their own respective cartoons.

David Gallaher

March 7, 2013 at 5:06 am

As a follow-up, if you want to see the original pitch art for Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends — check out spider-friends.com

David–

Can you help me with a sanity check? I have a very vague recollection of DD and Iron Man appearing on Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends (I was five when I watched it). I’m pretty sure that I saw those episodes again a few years later, and there was no DD and Iron Man–just Matt Murdock and Tony Stark. (I specifically remember the Beetle capturing Stark, who was rescued by the Friends and then funded all their computer equipment. I just don’t remember Tony ever suiting up.)

So–did Matt and Tony ever appear in costume? Were those scenes deleted? Or is my memory just really bad?

omg a teen version of hulk and also a hulk dog. guess marvetl had the idea of a hulk dog . the montress looks like shana of a the jungle. and muffy the vw. wonder what the reaction was from the execs who got pitched that thing

THING RING, DO YOUR THING!

Horrible. Just horrible.

@ Adam, having watched Spider-Friends recently, I recall the Matt Murdock episode. He appears as Daredevil for maybe 30 seconds.

I love the concept art on Iron Man, DD, Ant Man, and Monstress. To tell the truth, that Iron Man looks so awesome, I wish for an Iron Man cartoon set in the early 80s was in production. However, Lightning the super dog as DD’s sidekick? Not so much.

–B

I could swear that panel with the leg narrowly missing stepping on Ant Man and the Wasp was drawn by Gene Colan. It looks like his style.

Now I’m wondering if Joe Kelly knew about Lightning when he gave us Ace, the Devil-Dog.

‘Scuse me, Deuce the Devil-Dog.

The Ant-Man presentation art (and a few of the other pieces) was drawn by Doug Wildey.

David Gallaher

March 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Adam,

You can see those scenes unedited on Netflix, they were deleted in syndication:

This is IronMan in a cameo:

http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/04/30/the-avengers-iron-mans-tv-history

And Daredevil:
http://www.manwithoutfear.com/daredevil-cartoons.shtml

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