Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Late to the Party: Marvel Super Heroes: What The--?!

I'm taking a slight deviation from the standard format for this Late to the Party entry, but bear with me. I promise it will be worth it.

The past few weeks, I've been sharing some of my favorite binge-worthy shows currently available on Netflix streaming to bridge the gap to fall television. 

This week, we step away from Netflix and turn our eyes to YouTube, where once again, I've managed to miss something amazing that has been happening for years.

Marvel Super Heroes: What The --?! is an ongoing web series that further proves Marvel has mastered the art of reaching their audience.

Produced by Marvel Entertainment in the stop-motion style of Robot Chicken, the web series features Marvel superheroes and villains (both mainstream and obscure) in a collection of hilarious episodes mostly designed as a way for Marvel to make fun of itself for the delight of their fans. 

So far, I've seen:

  • A prank war between the X-Men and the Avengers
  • Thor slinging Slurpees at 7-Eleven
  • Hulk pitching ideas for the Thanksgiving day parade
  • Zombie Gambit doing the Thriller dance
  • Nightcrawler asking MODOK if he's "the fat kid from Superbad"

You get the idea.

The brilliance of the series is that Marvel doesn't pull any punches, even when the blows are directed at themselves. They're comfortable enough with their content and fan base to point out even the most ridiculous aspects of their universe, weaving in inside jokes that even casual fans will appreciate. 

The series is also unafraid of venturing into somewhat risky territory. Marvel respects their web audience by presenting these characters in perhaps "less than family friendly" scenarios, but never crosses the line into being offensive for the sake of offensive. Instead, suggestive innuendos and bleeped-out curse words are utilized effectively rather than obnoxiously.

Watch a handful of the videos and you'll see what I mean. There are a few "Wow, I'm surprised they did that" moments as you get used to the flow of the series. Just the same, you'll appreciate Marvel's willingness to dig at themselves for our benefit. 

Of course, this clever employment of self-deprecation ultimately raises the status of their brand in the eyes of the audience, which was likely the intention all along.

Each webisode is about 3-5 minutes long, perfect for filling small gaps of free time. While they're not all hysterical, I've laughed out loud at least once during each video. One audible laugh for every five minutes of content is a better average than most sitcoms could hope to achieve.

Final verdict: Totally worth your time, even if you're not a huge Marvel comics fan. If you are, consider this required viewing.

While there's nothing here overly objectionable, parents may want to use discretion when viewing around young children.

Thanks for reading the blog. As a token of my gratitude, here's another great episode:

I haven't watched even half of these yet, so check out a few and let me know your favorites in the comments below. 

God bless.


  1. I think the genius in this is that it they still have a level of control. If you don't enter this market, other people can do the same thing but take it even further. It's great brand management.

    1. That's a great point. In terms of doing satire of the characters, Marvel got there first and is doing a better job than anybody else probably could.