Marvel brings big guns to animated series

Iron Man, Wolverine among heroes in 'Squad'

Marvel Animation is powering up the "Marvel Super Hero Squad."

The Marvel Entertainment division said it is producing 26 half-hour episodes of a new "super stylized" animated series aimed at 6- to 8-year-olds. It will feature such well-known heroes as Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Thor, Fantastic Four and Captain America; all occupy a caricatured Super Hero City and are thrust into humorous adventures as they thwart the villainous plans of Doctor Doom, Magneto, Loki, the Abomination and others.

Marvel is in discussions with networks for the distribution of "Squad," expected to be available for broadcast in 2009. The company already has two new series -- "Wolverine and the X-Men" and "Iron Man: Armored Adventures" -- set to debut early next year on Nicktoons.

"This initiative is part of an overall strategy to create new brands and maximize exposure for the characters in the Marvel universe by keeping them fresh and relevant for a new audience and to provide a consistent presence in the marketplace," Marvel Entertainment president of animation Eric Rollman said.

Film Roman ("The Simpsons") will provide production services for "Squad."

Marvel also is developing a multimedia and merchandising campaign for the show, with Hasbro handling the toy line. Marvel Comics is introducing a "Squad" book series in the fall, and a direct-to-video animated feature is in development for 2010.

The news comes after theatrical "Iron Man's" $102.1 million four-day opening frame.