Marvel animation is having quite a resurgence, thanks to Disney+. Not only did we get What If…? this past summer, but Marvel Studios also recently announced animated shows Spider-Man: Freshman Year and the highly anticipated X-Men ’97. But nearly a decade ago, a very different animated Marvel series could have existed. One which would have celebrated the publisher’s rich history, entitled Marvel Era.
Via Collider, we learned how Powerhouse Animation, the studio behind Castlevania, pitched a Marvel animated anthology series back in 2013. And you can get a glimpse into what might have been right here:
In 2012-2013, Powerhouse pitched a project called MARVEL ERA. The 75th anniversary of Marvel was approaching in 2014 and the idea was short stories for each decade of Marvel history- and to have each short inspired by the art/animation of that “era.” (1/10) pic.twitter.com/sJJrv4rlnB— Brad Graeber (@BradGraeber) November 14, 2021
Powerhouse CEO Brad Graeber shared the proof-of-concept video via Twitter. Marvel Era was first pitched as a series of shorts that would commemorate the 75th anniversary of Marvel Comics. The basic idea was to make several short stories for each decade of Marvel history. So the 1940s era would see Captain America punching Nazis. Meanwhile, the ’60s would see the likes of the X-Men in their original incarnations. It would have taken us all the way in the new millennium, with Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel.
Graeber explained, “there was a ’40s Captain America D-day story in the style of Fleischer Studios (who made the original Superman shorts in 1941), a Submariner U-boat story, a ’60s X-Men story that featured a mutant who led a cult with his powers.” He continued, saying “There was also a very cinema ’70s Luke Cage and Iron Fist. And an ’80s Punisher story that leaned into Scarface and Miami Vice, and a Deadpool story based on cheesy ’90s cartoons.” From the looks of things, Wolverine exemplified the ’50s. Mainly because Marvel wasn’t publishing superhero stories in that decade in real life.
Graeber also said on Twitter that the project “wasn’t meant to be, and was probably for the best” that they shelved it. But it still looks pretty cool to us. We hope this gets enough attention that Disney+ at least considers reviving it. We missed the ’80th-anniversary mark in 2019. But who needs a milestone birthday to justify this? This cartoon just looks cool. Cool enough to get a second chance down the road.