EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Marvel Anime Supervising Producer Cort Lane
SUPERHERO TOONIVERSE: Marvel has announced a number of Anime versions of their characters. Can you provide some background on this project?
Marvel is launching Anime versions of Iron Man, Wolverine, the X-Men and Blade that will be created in Japan. While debuting overseas, these shows will also be broadcast in America on G4. In this exclusive interview, supervising producer Cort Lane discusses the various shows.
CORT LANE: It’s a very unique project for us. There are two reasons to do it. The first is, it’s really a fricking cool idea, to do an interpretation of these characters in an anime style, but also to help us expand into a market where our characters are not as popular, so you get to have your cake and eat it, too. You get something that’s really cool for fans around the world, and in the US, but also to grow our market presence in Japan. And as part of it, we had to be comfortable with letting loose a little bit with our characters, and allowing Madhouse and their brilliant creative team, to do a little bit of a different interpretation of our characters. To our surprise, it really came back to our core aspects and storylines, and visuals for the characters that everyone will be familiar with, so that was reassuring.
SUPERHERO TOONIVERSE: But their interpretation of Wolverine looks pretty different.
CORT LANE: That was just a promo clip, but I will say that in the show, he is much closer to a classic comic book Logan, and it’s fair to say his storyline is heavily inspired by the Frank Miller mini-series that everyone knows and loves.
SUPERHERO TOONIVERSE: These shows are 12 episodes each?
CORT LANE: They’re all 12 episodes each, exactly.
SUPERHERO TOONIVERSE: What’s unique about each of them?
CORT LANE: The settings are mostly in Japan and the rest of Asia, so each of the characters are put in that context, and in some ways, like with Wolverine, that’s a very organic idea, because his character has so many roots there. Whereas with Iron Man, he’s sort of a fish out of water, and that sort of creates lots of conflict and challenges for him as a character. With the X-Men, it’s actually a very brilliant story idea that I can’t even give away, but it’s core characters that you love, in a story that touches on some of the most classic X-Man stories. And then with Blade, there is this brilliant and horrifying universe of Asian vampires that we’re able to explore through the story.
SUPERHERO TOONIVERSE: How far away from is the Blade series from happening?
CORT LANE: Well, I can’t give you a schedule right now because I think that would be premature, but they’re being done with some overlap in sequence. Iron Man comes first, then Wolverine, then X-Men and Blade. Iron Man will be available in the US on DVD or broadcast, in the first half of next year, and Wolverine will follow shortly thereafter, and then each one will roll out, so I don’t want to give dates. It’s one of those things where it takes the amount of time that it takes, and Japanese animation can go quickly, but it also is just really detailed and beautiful, and that’s what’s exciting, to see that form of animation applied to these characters. And I have to say, it’s the highest quality anime – they’re not doing this quick and dirty, they’re spending the time to do it right. Have you seen the Ironman trailer? There’s a new one you can find on the Internet or the G4 site, there’s a new trailer that’s actually from the series. All the shows are airing on G4.
SUPERHERO TOONIVERSE: Do you view these anime shows as a way to open up these characters?
CORT LANE: These characters are not that familiar in Japan – Japan traditionally is not that open to American animated content, but has their own huge animation and comic book industries, and American content has always, traditionally had a hard time breaking through. There is awareness of our characters because they are so iconic, but this is a way to really deliver story around those characters for that audience. This is also a great way to deliver new animated content for American adult fans.
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