Marvel Entertainment is heading to the small screen. Today they announced the creation of Marvel Television, a division that will take its popular characters and bring them to the ever-growing world of tubes and fiber optic cable. The division will be headed by Jeph Loeb, who is probably best known for his work as co-executive producer on NBC’s Heroes.

Loeb will oversee the translation of Marvel’s stories to the small screen in both live-action and animated formats. This is nothing new to Marvel, as they’ve produced plenty of animated series in the past — including the Iron Man animated series in 1994, which was awful. It is the first time that Marvel has put an entire division of labor into making its TV dreams come true. And with its new leadership and partnership with Disney, there is only room optimism as they take the next step toward the small screen.

And there’s this to consider: television continues to grow as a medium for great storytelling. Think about some of the smaller Marvel characters that may not have enough juice for a stand-alone movie but have a rich environment and story depth — Black Panther comes to mind. Another character that could be ripe for a live-action primetime show: Anita Blake, the vampire hunter. That’s a series I can see working. Or maybe Ms. Marvel. I’m just saying.

As for Jeph Loeb, lets forget for a moment that he worked on the deservedly gone Heroes. His roots are in working with signature comic hereoes. He won Eisners for “Batman: The Long Halloween” and “Batman/The Spirit” and his “Superman for All Seasons” was nominated for two. He’s also written for Lost and Smallville. The guy knows what he’s doing. As is the case with just about everything Marvel does these days, the Television division is in good hands.

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