Doctor Strange And The Mystery Kids - 1981
In late 1981, Marvel Productions hired Martin Pasko to write the Preliminary Development document for a proposed Doctor Strange cartoon to be sold to NBC for the 1982 season. Spinning off the Doctor's guest appearance in Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends.
According to Pasko when he sold the document in 2013, NBC rejected the pitch as they felt the mystical elements and the villains could be interpreted as "Satanic" and Marvel refused to water down the concepts any further.
The Mysterians - 1983
An early entry into the 1980s transforming robot craze. New Jersey-based toy company Knickerbocker, after an unsatisfactory effort by DC Comics, approached Marvel Comics to develop a monthly comic, pack-in comics for the toys and an animated special. Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter developed the backstory and treatment for the first story, much to Knickerbocker's delight.
In December 1982, Shooter, publisher Mike Hodgson and other Marvel staff attended a meeting with Knickerbocker executives to discuss the planned launch of the franchise. The meeting started three hours late, with the executives described by Shooter as "ashen-faced and nervous" and "going through the motions". The meeting included a conference call with Dennis Marks, Marvel Productions' Head Of Development. It transpired that Marks had ignored Shooter's treatment and come up with another one involving "cute, wacky, goofy kids and a dog". Knickerbocker were aghast, stating they wanted what Shooter had developed. Which in turn, left Marks stunned*.
Shooter and company headed home wondering about the meeting, speculating about a possible company shakeup at Knickerbocker. The next day, they found out that the shakeup was that Knickerbocker had been bought out by Hasbro. At that point, all plans for the Mysterians were dropped. Though the toy designs would not go to waste, as they found their way first to Takara's Micro-Change line, then to Transformers as the Autobot mini-vehicles Huffer, Brawn, Gears and Windcharger.
* - The "kids and a dog" premise popularised by Scooby-Doo had been relentlessly copied during the 1970s. Marvel Productions spent its first three years applying this tired formula to pitch after pitch. Successfully selling it to networks on Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends and Meatballs & Spaghetti. It was attempted on Dungeons & Dragons until D&D creator Gary Gygax intervened and insisted the dog be made a unicorn. Even after Dennis Marks was fired from Marvel in 1983 - the executives of both NBC and CBS refused to deal with him - this formula would be attempted at least one more time on transforming robots....
For more details on the Mysterians' development, head to Jim Shooter's blog
The Incredible Hulk & The She-Hulk - 1983
Written by Misty Stewart (Later Misty Taggart) in early 1983 as a means of retooling the previous year's Incredible Hulk cartoon, presumably as a last-ditch effort to persuade NBC to renew the series.
Changes included rewriting the Hulk to be less like the comics incarnation and more like the live-action TV series which had ended the year before. Also to bring back She-Hulk as a regular supporting character. (photos taken from ebay auction). https://www.ebay.com/itm/THE-INCREDIBLE-HULK-THE-SHE-HULK-1983-Unproduced-TV-Script-Presentation-Idea/124063444962?hash=item1ce2c1efe2:g:vi0AAOSwADReMAAW
"Car And Cable" 1983/84
Originally appearing in an article about Marvel Productions, in the pages of Marvel Age magazine in 1985. A pitch titled Car And Cable showed a transforming Volkswagen in a comedic setting with three kids and a dog. Long assumed to be Marvel's attempt at producing a knockoff to their own success story in The Transformers...
That was until March 2020 when Instagram user consumercollectibles contacted this archive and others to show the original pitch artwork, revealing a previously unseen piece that shows this was in fact an early pitch for Transformers
It is unknown at time of writing exactly where this pitch falls in the development of The Transformers. Whether it was conceived in summer 1983, when Hasbro first acquired the toy license and according to Buzz Dixon, were shopping the concept to every production studio in LA. Or whether this came after the Jim Shooter treatment seen in the main Transformers section. Marvel Productions head David DePatie was reported to be openly hostile to Marvel Comics. As mentioned above, allowing his development team to outright ignore the treatments being sent over to them.
Air Raiders - 1987
Intended to be the next major Sunbow and Marvel co-production in 1987, promoting the new toyline. Ron Friedman and Doug Booth worked on development of a potential cartoon through the summer of 1986, with Friedman writing a three-part pilot by January 1987. Unfortunately, the dual slump in syndicated cartoon ratings and toy sales - due to oversaturation of both - led Hasbro to cancel the project and end all new funding for toy-promoting cartoons once the existing contracts for Jem and Visionaries were completed.
Ron Friedman material (Heritage Auction previews only).
Captain America and The Avengers - 1990
As he recently uncovered from his storage, Flint Dille worked with Stan Lee on developing an Avengers series to sell to ABC. The network felt there wasn't a market for it and passed on the pitch.
Flint would work with Marvel Productions again in 1991, as story editor for season 2 of Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes.
Siegfried & Roy
Pitch material created in 1992, intended for 65 episodes in 1993 season. The plans fell through and Marvel Productions was reorganised into New World Animation that year, taking Biker Mice From Mars forward under the new banner.
(14 pages) Will Meugniot
Wacky Wacky West - year unknown