The Obscure Marvel Superhero, 3-D Man, Almost Had His Own Cartoon Series


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

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

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3-D Man almost had a series of Japanese cartoons in the late 1970s and early 1980s.



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

I explained how Moon Knight almost had its own anime series in Japan in the late 1970s, and I also explained how Silver Surfer, Ms. Marvel (Caron Danvers), and The Thing were almost together in one cartoon. It was a fascinating period in time, and here is the latest example of the kind of weird things that almost happened during that time!

You see, when Toei was going through Marvel characters to figure out which ones to adapt, it’s important to note that he wasn’t really looking to adapt the characters’ BACKSTORY, but rather the visuals. Like when I discussed the proposed Silver Surfer series, I explained, “Just like with the Moon Knight series and the Spider-Man live-action series, the plans for the Silver Surfer series were basically somewhere in the meaning of “Okay, take that Marvel character design and then come up with a whole new storyline for that character (aside from Silver Surfer and Galactus staying relatively true to their comic book origins).”

In other words, it was really the LOOK of the character that mattered more than anything else. If a character looked cool, Toei was interested, even if he then had to come up with a whole new backstory for the character (which is odd, by the way, that the only cartoon the company has finished by doing was a super-accurate adaptation of Dracula’s Tomb).

Which is why, in short, Toei almost adapted… 3-D Man?!?

RELATED: Why did the Beast join the Avengers?

3-D Man is an idea of ​​Roy Thomas to pay homage, in a way, to a character of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, Captain 3D, who made his debut in the 1950s during a boom in

real 3D comics…

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

RELATED: The ‘Secret’ Batman & Daredevil Crossover

Obviously, this awesome design caught Toei’s eye, and legendary Toei designer Ryu Noguchi made a 3-D Man model for a show…

Like all those other examples I’ve written about, it fell by the wayside, but wow, it’s always fun to imagine what could have been!

Thanks to my buddy Jerry Whitworth who reported this stuff back in 2018!


In the latest TV Legends Revealed – Find out the surprising original setup for A Different World, and which future movie star was originally going to be the show’s lead.


OK, that’s it for this episode!

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

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