Marvel’s Forgotten Spider-Woman Dance Music Video
Today we take a look at how Marvel made a music video for a song for the spider woman animated cartoon.
Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share a piece of comic history that interests me.
These days, with digital comics being just a standard way of life, it’s hard to remember a time when the comics industry didn’t quite know what to do with the world of digital comics. , but it wasn’t really until around 2007 that people really got the idea of ”Hey, we could sell people digital versions of new comics”, but at the same time companies also struggled to figure out how they could do things with digital comics differently than with print comics and in 2009 Marvel really tried to push the envelope with its spider woman animated comic, which was released as an animated comic (essentially an online animated episode) before being released about a month later. It was written and drawn by two of Marvel’s greatest creators of the day, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.
HOW BENDIS AND MALEEV WORKED ON THE MOTION COMIC
The series was a hit upon its release, reaching No. 1 on the iTunes TV anime charts. Brian Michael Bendis talked about the challenges of making a comic as essentially a cartoon, including having to choose actors to voice the characters. He told CBR’s Dave Richards:
What’s interesting about this whole animated comic situation is that there are no rules. It’s not animation, it’s not standard comic book fare, and it’s not an audiobook. This is hopefully the best all of these things have to offer for creating an emotional connection with the reader/viewer. Jessica was born in England, lived for a long time in Europe and then in San Francisco. So how thick is his accent and what does it sound like? We really think we’ve found something and as soon as people heard her voice in the trailer they were like, ‘She’s British? Just because she doesn’t talk like Dick Vandyke in ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘ello’ or ‘bloody hell’ doesn’t mean she doesn’t have an accent. It’s light. She lived a long time in America.”
In another interview at the time, Lance Sells, the creative director of Motherland Animation, the studio that animated the animated comic, told CBR’s Kiel Phegley how the company was working with Maleev:
The great thing about this project is that since we’ve been working with Alex, we can see whenever there’s a hole that needs to be filled while he’s working. Really, in the comics, things happen in the gutter between panels. We’ve noticed before how someone’s position changes drastically from panel to panel, and the way these are animated doesn’t allow us to bend the characters’ arms into a new position. In terms of assembly, it would become tricky. It doesn’t work within the structure of an animated comic. With Alex, very early on, he gave us the storyboards even before doing the layout. So we were doing everything like an animatic, where everyone on the team could see “We need a reverse shot or an older shoulder shot of Jessica Drew talking to a Skrull or else it looks weird and it doesn’t leak.” It was the best thing about it. Unlike previous motion comic efforts that were built on flat, digitized art pages, “Spider-Woman” was built bit by bit digitally. “[Alex] works digitally, and he’s digitally smart. He knows how to use 3D programs and does everything in layers. Most of the time you have to cut out the figure and redraw the missing background. The great thing with Alex was that he gave us the backgrounds and 3D models from when he was working, so we moved them around and could put Spider-Woman in a more three-dimensional world – although we really tried to keep things faithful to the work of Alex. We didn’t want Pixar-like backgrounds with Alex’s art on top.
With this whole set, then, there was only one thing they needed…a great dance music video featuring Spider-Woman!
HOW SPIDER-WOMAN TOLD US ALL TO ‘WATCH YOUR STEP’
With the comic now a hit, Marvel decided to do some kind of theme song for the project. The company enlisted songwriter/producer Dan Phillips, who later noted, “I wrote and produced the theme song for Marvel’s Spider-Woman animated comic, featuring Anna Abbey on vocals and Parry Gripp on guitars. .”
There was a music video for the song that Marvel made an agreement with Attack of the Show to debut on this series (back in this series’ original G4 series).
What’s amazing is that Marvel posted the video on YouTube in September 2009 and it’s still there to this day!
I love that there are these kind of forgotten (and yes, by the way, using the term “forgotten”, I know there are many of you who have never forgotten the awesomeness of “Watch Your Step”, but you obviously know what I mean, that it’s not something that’s actively discussed anymore) pieces of cool comic book items that are still on official Marvel accounts, so this isn’t isn’t like it’s anything like Marvel’s first digital-only comics that have long since been erased from history (there are some of those original digital comics that could literally be missing, which sounds CRAZY, but it’s true).
Anyway, it’s a really fun song that came with a really cool project that unfortunately never really translated into some sort of regular thing, which I’m sure people were hoping for at the era. But at least we have the originals and, of course, an awesome music video!
If anyone has any suggestions for interesting bits of comic book history, feel free to message me at [email protected]
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