Marvel Heads To Japan For New Anime Film Franchises

Marvel MangaMarvel seems to have done it all -- they have the top-selling comics, Spider-Man and Iron Man's likenesses grace everything from video games to shower curtains, and seemingly every movie they release winds up being box office gold. So where does the House of Ideas have left to go?

How about east -- as in the Far East?

According to a piece in the New York Times, Marvel will pair up with highly-respected Japanese animation studio, Madhouse, in the hopes of developing new versions of their stable of characters that would evolve into four new anime feature films by the year 2010. Each of these films will be reimaginings of established characters, as well as redesigned versions that will reflect Japanese culture and lifestyle. Or, as Simon Philips, Marvel International President, puts it, "It will create an entire parallel universe for Marvel."

While no films were mentioned or announced in the article, it did make mention that Madhouse President and Chief Executive, Jungo Maruta, did have preliminary, manga-influenced sketches of a Iron Man on hand during the interview. There was also talk of possible downloads for cell phones, which seems to be the way the industry is (not surprisingly) headed these days.

Do anime versions of Mighty Marvel characters sound cool? Sound off in the comments.