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DVD Shopping Bag: Planet Hulk

What’s Next For Marvel Features?

By Robert T. Trate     February 09, 2010

Alex Ross’ cover to Lionsgate’s Planet Hulk animated feature
© Marvel/ Lionsgate


It’s been a week since Planet Hulk has come out. Many of us were looking forward to this animated interpretation of Greg Pak’s thrilling comic. This would be a daunting task for Marvel to pull off in a feature length movie, let alone 81 minutes. I found the animated feature to be fun yet having read the entire Planet Hulk story line week after week I was let down. Then again, how could I not be? So much was left out and some of the changes where just odd; Beta Ray Bill for the Silver Surfer? WTF? I should have expected this after I interviewed Supervising Producer Craig Kyle (see interview) about Hulk VS. He mentioned Planet Hulk and said “Doing the exact translation from the books is really tough because you like this and he loves that.” There was a lot left out from Planet Hulk that I loved. I started to wonder just who is the target audience for these animated movies? Sure fan boys such as myself are going to pick up a copy but what about someone younger?
I took note last week at my local comic shop, the three times I went, that there were only guys (and a few gals) around my age buying comics. There weren’t any young kids reaching for the top shelf, adult comics, or even trying to buy an issue of Spider-Man. Is Planet Hulk, with its eye ball popping, limbs being severed and a child turning to ash actually for them? Cartoon features are Marvel’s hook for the next generation, like Saturday morning cartoons back in the eighties. Yet, it is a different world than the one I grew up in. I had Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends as my door to the Marvel Universe. The worst thing that ever happened on that show was Aunt May getting put into the hospital by the Shocker. Then again I didn’t have torture porn horror movies and news channels spewing harsh reality 24/7.
So this got me to thinking. What other classic Marvel arcs or stories would appeal and work for fan boys and their successors? It is tough decision because you have to walk that line between a great story and what is practical (time allowing) in an animated feature. In that interview Craig Kyle said he wanted to do the Phoenix Saga but hasn’t that been done to death already? Not to mention the scope in which to tell the tale properly. I jumped into my long boxes and flipped through the ages and found some great ideas for Marvel. Of course I want you to sound off with your ideas but hear me out first.  
The New Fantastic Four
In 1991 Art Adams and Walter Simonson created the most unlikely Fantastic Four of all time (F.F. #347-349). The Hulk (grey), Wolverine, Spider-man and Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch) were brought together to save Marvel’s First Family. A Skrull put everything into motion and it lead to one giant showdown with the Mole Man, his monsters and the Punisher. It was crazy fun and totally works itself into an animated feature. The studio even gets to work in many of its marquee characters into one film. More importantly it only lasted three issues. This wasn’t a life changing event for any character but the hook of seeing a “New Fantastic Four” should bring kids to the story. All of these characters have had major motion pictures made and outside of Ghost Rider have had their own cartoon or three.
Kraven’s Last Hunt
This story byJ.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck has a special place in my heart but I am willing to put it out there for a good cause. This was the first complete story arc I ever read. It has been well collected in trades over the years but it originally took place in Web of Spider-Man #31-32, Amazing Spider-Man #293-294 and Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132. Kraven kills Spider-Man, all right he drugs him, and then buries him alive. Spider-Man has to then crawl out of his own grave and find this mad man. All the while Mary Jane is searching for him. Kraven even dresses in Spider-man’s costume to completely become “the Spider”. It is a dark tale which perfectly falls into the studios Planet Hulk and Hulk VS approach, which I believe is no guts (on screen) no glory! Throw in Spidey’s black costume and the biggest problem becomes who owns the animated property: Sony? Disney? Lionsgate?
An Aged Undreamed Of
Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr. and Dan Green transformed the Avengers and the X-Men into medieval warriors (Uncanny X-Men #190-191) for this tale. Render Doctor Strange and Professor X helpless by Kulan Gath and you have a tale that begs for an animated feature. What could be more enticing than medieval superheroes for kids? Fan boys would eat it up as well. Think this is too crazy of an idea? Have you seen Marvel’s Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow? Check out my review.
There are of course many other stories that translate into animated features as well. Pick any one of Jeph Loeb’s “Color” books, Hulk: Future Imperfect or even one of “The End” titles. Marvel needs to stay away from the big all encompassing story arcs and look through their rich collection of mini series. Planet Hulk is more than proof of that.
Bad Girls of Film Noir 1 ~ Charlton Heston, Lizabeth Scott, Evelyn Keyes, and Charles
Bad Girls of Film Noir 2 ~ William Gargan, Janis Carter, Jeff Donnell, and Cleo Moore
Blade of the Ripper ~ Edwige Fenech
Bushido: The Cruel Code of the Samurai (Sub B&W) ~ Kinnosuke Nakamura
Bronson (Widescreen Edition) [Blu-ray] ~ Tom Hardy
Bronson (Widescreen Edition)
The Craving Heart (Ws Ac3 Dol) ~ Stan Harrington
Dangerous Man ~ Steven Seagal, Byron Mann, Mike Dopud, and Patrick Sabongui
Drop Zone (Ws Sub Ac3 Dol Dts) [Blu-ray] ~ Wesley Snipes, Gary Busey, Michael Jeter, and Corin Nemec
Endgame ~ William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller, and Mark Strong
Hard Rain (Ws Sub Ac3 Dol Dts) [Blu-ray] ~ Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Randy Quaid, and Edward Asner
Heist ~ Rick Jordan, Christian Mendez, Erik David, and Tim Aslin
King Lear ~ Orson Welles, Alan Badel, Beatrice Straight, and Bramwell Fletcher
Shoot First & Pray You Live (Ws Sub Ac3 Dol) ~ James Russo
Stick Up Kids ~ Tariq Alexander, Bryce Wilson, Hawthorne James, and Mel Jackson
Troubled Water ~ Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen - Jan Thomas and Trine Dyrholm - Agnes
When Soldiers Cry ~ Doug Junior
XIII - The Conspiracy [Blu-Ray] ~ Val Kilmer, Stephen Dorff, Jessalyn Gilsig, and Stephen McHattie
XIII: The Conspiracy
Dante's Inferno [Blu-ray] ~ Mark Hamill, Victoria Tennant, Vanessa Branch, and Graham McTavish
Dante's Inferno (2009)
Gaogaigar Season One Litebox ~ Yoshitomo Kometani
Girl's High Complete Slimpack ~ Mamiko Noto
Kirenji Girls Combat School (Unrated) (Sub)
The Life and Times of Tim: The Complete First Season ~ Steve Dildarian
Naruto: Shippuden, Vol. 6
Soul Eater: Part 1 ~ Micah Solusod, Laura Bailey, and Brittney Karbowski
Dork Hunters From Outer Space: The Animated Series ~ Stefan Ashton Frank
Couples Retreat ~ Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, and Jon Favreau
Couples Retreat [Blu-ray]
9 Lives of Mara ~ Chad Donella, Patrick Bauchau, Bret Loehr, and Pollyanna McIntosh
Butchered ~ Timothy Woodward Jr., Melissa Lukon, Shaun O Rourke, and Kristina Sipes
Lo ~ Ward Roberts
Dante's Inferno [Blu-ray]
The Phantom [Blu-ray] ~ Billy Zane, Treat Williams, James Remar, and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Polar Storm ~ Jack Coleman
Running Man [Blu-ray] ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, and Jesse Ventura
The Time Traveler's Wife ~ Rachel McAdams, Eric Bana, Arliss Howard, and Ron Livingston
The Time Traveler's Wife [Blu-ray]
Gary Unmarried: The Complete First Season ~ Jay Mohr, Ryan Malgarini, Al Madrigal, and Ed Begley
JAG (Judge Advocate General): The Final Season ~ David James Elliott, Chuck Carrington, and John M. Jackson
Law & Order: Criminal Intent - First & Second Year ~ Courtney B. Vance, Jamey Sheridan, and Vincent D'Onofrio
Miami Vice: Season One & Two (12pc) (Full Btb) ~ Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, and Edward James Olmos
Second Sight Complete Collection ~ Clive Owen, Claire Skinner, Stuart Wilson, and Eddie Marsan
Sliders: Third & Fourth Season (9pc) (Full Btb) ~ Cleavant Derricks, Jerry O'Connell, and John Rhys-Davies
Stargate SG-U: 1.0 ~ Robert Carlyle, Justin Louis, Brian J. Smith, and David Blue
Stargate SG-U: 1.0 [Blu-ray]
Studio One - Twelve Angry Men ~ Norman Fell, Robert Cummings, and Franchot Tone
Vega$: The First Season, Volume 2 ~ Robert Urich, Tony Curtis, Greg Morris, and Bart Braverman
Charlie Chaplin Collection (10 DVD Set) (The Kid, A Woman Of Paris, The Gold Rush, The Circus, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, Monsieur Verdoux, Limelight, A King In New York) ~ Charlie Chaplin
David Lean DVD Collection Box Set [9 Discs, Import, All Regions] (Oliver Twist /Great Expectations / Blithe Spirit / This Happy Breed /Brief Encounter /Madeleine /The Sound Barrier /Hobson's Choice)
JAG (Judge Advocate General): The Complete Series
Spaghetti Western Collection (6pc) (Rmst Box) ~ Lee Van Cleef, Gianni Garko, and Franco Nero
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.


Showing items 1 - 10 of 10
ElBaz13 2/9/2010 6:38:28 AM

We all know Silver Savage was replaced by Beta Ray Bill due to rights. Surfer is part of the FF rights and I believe his animated rights are somewhere else. You could tell from the silhouettes of the two Iluminati in the shadows at the beginning. We assume they are Richards and Namor or Black Bolt (all FF). At least they replaced Surfer with another powered Marvel character as opposed to creating a lame one from scratch (like Spike or Reptyl)

As for storylines. I would love to see Secret Wars. Not the half-assed one from the 90s animated Spidey, I mean all of the characters that appeared. Again, rights would be an issue. Phoenix Saga would be great but 80 minutes is not enough. It would have to be 120-150 minutes. Other potential great Marvel stories are the Kree/Skrull war, The Korvac Saga, The X-men in Asgard (from the 80s), World War Hulk (again...character rights issue). 


themovielord 2/9/2010 7:14:49 AM

So now the question becomes... how long till DIsney gets the Marvel house in order?

ChadDerdowski 2/9/2010 7:52:51 AM

I barely read anything about Planet Hulk before I picked it up, so I didn't know that the Silver Surfer wouldn't be in it.  I am a HUGE Beta Ray Bill fan, so I was ecstatic seeing him onscreen.  And changes are to be expected so I wasn't too upset with any of it.  Overall, I liked it quite a bit.

As for whether or not it would be appropriate for kids... if you read Comicscape, you know how in love with Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends I am because I mention it like, seven times a week.  Like you, it was my intro to the Marvel U.  But along with that cartoon, my other introduction to the Marvel U was... well, Marvel Comics.  And what was going on when I was a kid?  Elektra was getting skewered by Bullseye, Wolverine had all of his flesh and muscle blasted off by a Sentinal (in an alternate timeline) and the Punisher was doing what the Punisher does.  All bought off the spinner rack at my local 7-11. 

As adults, we tend to think that kids need to be coddled and protected from all the scary things that exist in the real world.  Obviously to some extent this is true, but kids can handle a lot more than we give them credit for.  Planet Hulk is pretty darn violent (I actually double-checked the rating on the back of the box a couple times during viewing) but I didn't think it was so over-the-top that it couldn't be viewed by a child.  Of course it always depends on the age and disposition of the kid and I probably wouldn't show this to too young of a child. 

This does bring up an interesting question though.  If these animated features are meant to introduce younger viewers to the Marvel Universe, why didn't they just cut those few overly graphic scenes?  They certainly aren't necessary to the plot and could've been done off-screen.  I doubt there will be too much controversy over this, but eliminating the gore would have ensured it.

Roqueja 2/9/2010 8:27:01 AM

A great compromise would be to have a cut/edited family version and the pg-13 version on the disc.  I am a huge hulk fan with three small kids and such an option would help with intoducing my brood to marvel story arcs.

No brood in the show was a downer, as I kinda missed the character, knowing from the first panel that she was in that she was a stone cold killer that would do anything possible to survive.  I imagine the X-men rights may have played a part in her exclusion.

ElBaz13 2/9/2010 8:32:23 AM

I don't think these movies are meant to introduce young kids to the Marvel U as this article states. These are popular fanboy stories for the longtime fans.

Marvel has already gotten to the young kid audience with Superhero Squad. It might seem all too kiddie for us longtime fans but I actually enjoy this show. On top of that, my kids (two girls 7 and 5) watch it! Which to me is huge. They never showed interest in comicbook cartoons or movies (I'm guessing it was the target audience they were meant for) but Superhero Squad is a great starting point. Now they know who Hulk and Dr Doom are and want to dress up as Ms Marvel and Wasp next Halloween. This show is also funny and has used some obscure references for the fanboys like us as well. I totally recommend this if you are trying to introduce a young one to Marvel characters without the violence of Hulk vs, Ultimate Avengers and Planet Hulk.

Also, it's not Marvel animated movies that will lure kids into becoming fans of their characters. That will be Disney's job.

ChadDerdowski 2/9/2010 9:21:46 AM

I'm a big fan of Superhero Squad as well, ElBaz!  Your description of the show is dead-on and I think you're right about the targeted age group.  Batman: The Brave & the Bold is another perfect introduction to the larger world of superhero continuity and features the same type of obscure references and insider jokes while appealing to new fans as well.

I suspect you're probably right about these films not necessarily being designed to bring in new fans, though I think they definitely could serve that purpose.

Rheul_home 2/9/2010 10:21:02 AM

I think the brood was cut because she wasnt needed. I seriously doubt it had anything to do with X-Men being over at Fox. Having rights to the X-Men will not give you the rights to every character thats ever been in the X-Men comic. These deals are very specific and the studio needs to pay for the rights of each character used. Im sure Fox payed through the nose for Deadpool. But he was still in Hulk Vs.  I dont think we will see any more new X-Men or X-Men villains from the comics in a Fox (or any other studio) film now that the Mouse is at the wheel. Unless a vast sum of money is payed for them... Then again The Brood did appear in the X-Men cartoon... Maybe those rights are still retained... Who Knows...?

tiredjay 2/9/2010 10:30:06 AM

Wait a sec.... Did I just read a "think of the children" rant on Mania?

axia777 2/9/2010 10:43:55 AM

World War Hulk should be next.  Then Marvel should make a full featured Deadpool animated movie.  That would kick ass.  Make it as violent as Hulk VS Wolverine.  Deadpool was PERFECT in that movie!  "Who wants snacks?  You do!"  BOOM!  That was epic.  I want more adult oreiented Marvel animation.  Screw this kiddy crap.  Make it violent as the characters really are in the comics.

aegrant 2/9/2010 5:32:10 PM

I just watched planet Hulk and was completely dissapointed (I actually dozed off for a sec). The comic was 200 times better. i know that have to cut stuff for times sake but they could have stayed a little more in tune with the original comic series.

if the do make world war Hulk I hope they make it more in the vain (sp) of Hulk VS - more adult oriented



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