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Which Extremely Obscure Marvel Superhero Nearly Had His Own Cartoon Series?

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, discover which extremely obscure Marvel superhero almost received his own cartoon series in the late 1970s!

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, discover which extremely obscure Marvel superhero almost received his own cartoon series in the late 1970s!

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and forty-third installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. Click here for the first legend in this installment. Click here for the second legend in this installment.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!

3-D Man almost had a Japanese cartoon series in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

True

This is the final legend in which I discuss the fascinating case of what, exactly, went on with Marvel and Toei in Japan in the late 1970 as part of the famous (infamous?) Marvel/Toei deal that I wrote about years ago in terms of how a Marvel/Toei animation deal only resulted in a single animated TV movie adaptation of Tomb of Dracula and how they had slightly more success with a live action deal for a Spider-Man TV series that, inadvertently, led to a much more famous Japanese property).

I discussed how Moon Knight almost had his own animated series in Japan in the late 1970s, and I also discussed how Silver Surfer, Ms. Marvel (Caron Danvers) and the Thing were almost in a cartoon together. This was a fascinating period in time, and here’s the last example of what kind of weird stuff almost happened during this time!

You see, when Toei was looking through Marvel’s characters to determine which ones to adapt, it is important to note it wasn’t really necessarily looking to adapt the characters’ BACKSTORY, but more just the visuals. Like when I discussed the proposed Silver Surfer series, I explained, “Just like with the Moon Knight series and the live action Spider-Man series, the plans for the Silver Surfer series were basically somewhere along the lines of ‘Okay, take this Marvel character design and then come up with an entirely new plot for that character’ (outside of Silver Surfer and Galactus staying relatively true to their comic book origins).”

In other words, it was really the LOOK of the character that matter more than anything else. If a character looked cool, Toei was interested, even if it then had to come up with a brand-new backstory for the character (which is weird, by the way, that the only cartoon the company ended up actually doing was a super-accurate Tomb of Dracula adaptation).

So this is why, long story short, Toei almost adapted…3-D Man?!?

RELATED: Why Did the Beast Join the Avengers?

3-D Man was an idea by Roy Thomas to pay tribute, in a way, to a Jack Kirby and Joe Simon character, Captain 3D, who debuted in the 1950s during a boom in

actual 3-D comics…

Working with artist Jim Craig, Thomas planned to launch a new comic book one-shot starring Spider-Man that would be done in 3-D, with the new hero, 3-D Man, being a back-up feature in that comic. However, after Craig started working on the comic, Thomas had to let him know that the budget for the 3-D printing was too high and so the project fell apart (Thomas wrote about this in a text page in Marvel Premiere #36). Without the 3-D hook, then, there was no reason for it to be released as a one-shot, so instead, the story was just worked into an arc in Marvel Premiere, starting with #35…

RELATED: The ‘Secret’ Crossover Between Batman and Daredevil

Obviously, that awesome design drew Toei’s attention and legendary Toei designer, Ryu Noguchi, did a mock-up of 3-D Man for a show…

Like all of these other examples that I’ve written about, it fell through, but wow, it’s still fun to imagine what could have been!

Thanks to my buddy Jerrry Whitworth reporting on this stuff back in 2018!

In the latest TV Legends Revealed – Discover the surprising original setup for A Different World, and what future movie star was originally going to be the lead of the series.

OK, that’s it for this installment!

Thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don’t even actually anymore, but I used it for years and you still see it when you see my old columns, so it’s fair enough to still thank him, I think.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well! Also, if you have a correction or a comment, feel free to also e-mail me. CBR sometimes e-mails me with e-mails they get about CBLR and that’s fair enough, but the quickest way to get a correction through is to just e-mail me directly, honest. I don’t mind corrections. Always best to get things accurate!

Here’s my most recent book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books.

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Here’s my second book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends. — half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…

If you’d like to order it, you can use this code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter, and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed suggestions on our Facebook page!). Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get some original content from me, as well!

See you next time!!

CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over fifteen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed).

He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo.

He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed and other pop culture features at Pop Culture References.

Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you’d like to see featured at brianc@cbr.com!

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