Sunday, June 7, 2009

Making Marvel Super Heroes: What The--?! Episode 3

Have you checked out the latest and greatest episode of Marvel Super Heroes: What The--?! yet? If you haven't, well, you're seriously depriving yourselves, my friends. Not only does "The Problem With Pirates" feature M.O.D.O.K. and the Punisher dressed as pirates, it's also got USAgent, Ch'od, Howard the Duck, David Hasselhoff and the vocal talents of Brian Michael Bendis in the role he was born to play!

In all seriousness, Alex Kropinak, the wunderkind of Studios, has gone above and beyond with this one in creating animation I'll hold up against anybody who wants to lay claim to the title of "professional." If you've got four free minutes (and you do, because you're reading this blog), give it a watch and then come back.

Funny shit, no?

Now if you're done enjoying, as a little bonus, I thought I'd share some of the uber-professional and ultra-elaborate behind-the-scenes process that went into making this particular episode of MSH: What The--?! For reals, I'm gonna spoil stuff, so if you haven't clicked that dang link yet, do it!

-The genesis of this particular episode came about a month or so back when John Cerilli and I were sitting around the offices talking about the Somali pirates stuff and how we wanted to use that somehow in the show both because it would be at least semi-topical and pirates=funny. I came up with the twist that it should be pirates of the illegal Internet download variety and we started spitballing from there, coming up with the rough outline and many of the gags. If I recall, loath though I am to give her credit, it was Margarita Vaisman who came up with what the acronym for P.A.R.R.O.T. stood for (she actually almost always manages to toss at least one good idea into these little brainstorming sessions).

-That night/the next morning, I jotted down the outline that John and I had created and e-mailed it out to our ace writing staff, which in addition to us and Alex includes Ryan Penagos, Jason Harvey, Ramon Olivo, Sean T. Collins, Jon Gutierrez, Peter Olson and Jesse Falcon (yes, it takes at least 10 of us to come up with this gold). Almost immediately, Sean earned his paycheck by suggesting "we need to have the Punisher dressed as Jack Sparrow." He's that good, folks.

-I went over to Jesse's office, where he has every Marvel Legend in existence, to figure out what obscure heroes should join USAgent's team (although initially we just had Captain America until we realized USAgent fit better here). We already had Howard the Duck picked because it's Howard the Duck and Ch'od because Ryan and I are 12 and like to pronounce it "chode." We ended up deciding we didn't need anybody else (mostl because we alread had enough characters to make Alex's job a pain), but I did come up with a bit I want to use later in having two Xorn figures who finish each other's sentences ala Tomax and Xamot.

-John has a genius stroke of using David Hasselhoff's likeness from the "Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." made-for-TV movie he did in the 90's as a Life Model Decoy. A quick call to the Mighty Marvel legal team later and we're off to the races!

-Figure customization voice recording begins! Alex begins to ignore sleeping and eating while the rest of us sit back, smoke cigars and laugh and laugh and laugh.

-I remember that Arune Singh of our marketing department is the biggest (and only) USAgent fan I know and suggest he voices our hero. Irony that he is Canadian is not lost on anybody.

-In a nice bit of coincidence, Bendis is visiting the offices as the finishing touches are being put on the voiceovers and I bring him down to Alex and company's domain for a video interview. While we're there, after he makes Alex cry a bit inside by suggesting that painting Pyro figures to look like A.I.M. Agents is "a ridiculous thing to get paid for," he records a voice. High fives commence as Alex weeps.

-Alex tells me on a train ride into work that he watched "Unleashed" over the weekend to get ideas for stuff Howard the Duck can do during the big fight scene. I start to get nervous for Alex's sanity.

-I win the battle to make M.O.D.O.K. a fan of chick flicks.

-On another train ride, Alex shows me his storyboard for the aforementioned Howard scene; as always, I am blown away by how good this kid is.

-Alex disappears for like a week and somehow at the end we get an episode of Marvel Super Heroes: What The--?! The crowd goes wild!

And...scene. Keep watching for more!

No comments: