ABC, the network that airs "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and the upcoming "Agent Carter," was set to air a documentary Tuesday about the history of its sister company Marvel. Predictably, as ABC sought to air its glossy celebration of the proliferation of comic books on election night in the U.S., many markets, including Phoenix, decided not to air the documentary in place of local coverage of the midterms.
Fans who were excited to learn more about the company and the people who brought them their favorite superhero stories, like "Spider-Man," "X-Men" and "The Avengers," were instead treated to news that Candidate A maintained a sizable lead against Candidate B with X percent of precincts reporting.
Have no fear, as The State Press watched "Marvel: 75 Years, From Pulp to Pop" and is prepared to share every fun nugget of information from the hour-long special hosted by "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" star Emily VanCamp.
Stan Lee did not work alone Comic book fans are surely familiar with the work of artist Jack Kirby, who was the foundation of early Marvel creations like Captain America. The average Marvel movie fan, however, is much more familiar with the iconic Stan Lee, who was no slouch in his own right. Together, Lee and Kirby created "Hulk," "Fantastic Four," "Iron Man" and many more. Lee is given the lion's share of the credit, and while he most certainly deserves all the recognition he can get for being an irreplaceable creator of iconic pop culture artifacts, it was a collaborative effort.
Not too long ago, Marvel was in a lot of trouble The 1990s were not a good time for Marvel, as comic book sales were cratering and the company had no real prospects for diversification. It had no choice but to license many of its characters to movie and television studios, which yielded mostly modest returns. The success of Sony's "Spider-Man" and Fox's "X-Men" helped Marvel's brand visibility, but helped those companies squeeze marrow from those properties more than it helped Marvel's comic book home stay afloat.
This is why Marvel's foray into producing its own films was such an ambitious undertaking — it was a Hail Mary. Luckily for both the company and audiences around the world, it paid off tremendously. "Iron Man," a largely unknown character played in a movie by an at-the-time fading star Robert Downey, Jr., spawned a renaissance for all parties involved. Now partnered with Disney, Marvel Studios is a film-making juggernaut. Not to be confused with the "X-Men" character Juggernaut, of course. Fox still owns the rights to that.
"Agent Carter" looks pretty cool Disney is the master of corporate synergy, so it is only natural that the special was used to promote the upcoming "Agent Carter," a show based on the eponymous female lead of "Captain America: The First Avenger" and her exploits after the events of that film. While "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is, to put it delicately, less accessible than its cinematic counterparts, "Agent Carter" looks like an absolute blast for anyone who is still itching for comic book fare with a more historic touch.
Oh yeah, there's seriously an "Ant-Man" movie coming out References were also made to Marvel's upcoming film slate, particularly next year's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Ant-Man." Trailers and footage of the former have been dancing around the internet and ABC's Tuesday night lineup for weeks now, but the very brief peek at "Ant-Man" is something new. There was not any noteworthy footage of the film other than a brief glimpse at Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, but it serves as a reminder that Marvel is actually going there. This will likely be a tough sell, but so was "Guardians of the Galaxy," which is so far the highest-grossing movie of 2014.
If you missed it, you might still be able to watch it
In this increasingly segmented media landscape, television networks understand that the heavily sought after 18-49 demographic might not be home at night to watch TV live. As a courtesy to them, and anyone who wanted to tune into the documentary only to find people in suits talking about other people in suits, "Marvel: 75 Years, From Pulp to Pop" can be viewed here, depending on your cable provider.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @zachheltzel.