Marvel assembles cartoon 'Avengers'

5:00 AM PST 10/08/2008 by Borys Kit, AP

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The cry of "Avengers assemble" will soon be coming from the television.

Marvel Animation, the cartoon division of Marvel Entertainment, is beginning production on "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes," the company's latest animated series.

Film Roman, the company behind "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill," has been tapped to produce the 26-episode series, which will be available for broadcast in 2011, in time for Marvel Studios' releases of the tentpole live-action movies "The First Avenger: Captain America" and "The Avengers."

Producing the series is Ciro Nieli, whose credits include "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!" and "Teen Titans," based on the DC Comics title. The series' story editor is Christopher Yost, who has worked on the Marvel cartoons "Iron Man Armored Adventures" and "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes."

"Avengers," based on the long-running comic, features some of the company's most popular characters, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Giant Man, and the comely Wasp, who fight forces of evil that no single hero stands a chance against.

Marvel Animation is in the midst of a big push in the toon sector. Its all-new series "Wolverine and the X-Men" and "Iron Man: Armored Adventures" debut on Nicktoons in 2009. Also coming is "Marvel Super Hero Squad and the Black Panther."

"(This) continues our plan to complement each of our tentpole live-action features with an animated series," said Marvel president of animation Eric Rollman, who is exec producing with Simon Philips. "This new ensemble series tracks perfectly with our 'Road to the Avengers' strategy."

Marvel has released two direct-to-DVD animated features based on the Avengers characters: 2006's "Ultimate Avengers" and "Ultimate Avengers II." (partialdiff)
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