| LOS ANGELES, July 19
LOS ANGELES, July 19 Disney offered Marvel comic
devotees an exclusive look at its new television series "Agents
of S.H.I.E.L.D" on Friday as its ABC network hopes to engage the
"super fans" at Comic-Con to bounce back from a ratings
Banking on the huge success of Marvel's films that include
2012's "Avengers," ABC and Disney's television series tries to
lure young fans of the films to a new platform for the universe
created by the comic books.
They had their first shot at San Diego's annual comic
convention, which has become a venue for television studios to
bring fans their favorite shows, building hype around upcoming
Unlike the films that focus on superheroes such as Iron Man,
Thor and Captain America, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" side-steps
costumed crime-fighters to center on Agent Phil Coulson, a
high-level government official who commands Marvel's Supreme
Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division.
The series' executive producer, Joss Whedon, creator of
sci-fi TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and director of
Disney's Marvel box office hit films "Thor" and "Avengers," said
on Friday that the show would take a more human focus.
"'The Avengers' is the epicenter of the Marvel universe and
this is the periphery, this is about the people who did not get
the big hammer or gamma radiation, and are dealing with things
on a human scale," Whedon told reporters.
For ABC, which has suffered a ratings decline that put it
last of the four largest TV networks among the young audience
coveted by advertisers, Comic-Con is a quick way to tap into
Marvel's devoted fan base.
Last year's "The Avengers" had the largest box office
opening at the North American box office, while this year's
"Iron Man 3" grossed more than $400 million at domestic
Not much is known about "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" but on
Friday, fans were given an exclusive look at the first episode
of the television series, set to air on Sept. 24.
Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, has had supporting roles in
the "Iron Man," "Thor" and "Avengers" films, where he quickly
became a hit with his humorous and often sarcastic one-liners.
"'The Avengers' made him a fan favorite, he was the audience
surrogate in the movies ... and the way Clark brings him to
life, people love that," said Jeff Bell, the show's co-writer
In "Avengers," Coulson was seemingly killed off, but in the
trailer for the new television show, the agent is very much
alive and the mystery behind his death is resolved.
'THE MOST DIALED IN'
Another network on high display on Friday was HBO, which
brings its raunchy vampire series "True Blood" and medieval
fantasy series "Game of Thrones" to San Diego each year, and
both attract a slew of fans.
"Game of Thrones" devotees dressed as their favorite
character from the show to attend the panel featuring cast and
crew, who discussed the past season. HBO is also hosting fan
interactive experiences, parties with the cast. It even debuted
a new beer in honor of the show.
"Comic-Con over the past few years has seen such a growth in
terms of size and scale of what's going on, there's a lot more
noise and clutter, and we're always looking for ways to stand
out in the market there," said Zach Enterlin, HBO's senior vice
president of program advertising.
"The fans that come to San Diego are almost super fans, and
the most dialed-in and most engaged and most passionate," he
Comic-Con, now in its 44th year, attracts more than 125,000
people and brought an estimated $75 million to the city of San
Diego last year, according to the San Diego Convention Center.