<i>Ultimate Spider-Man</i> Bows April 1, Launching Marvel Universe Block

Disney XD announced today that the somewhat-delayed Ultimate Spider-Man animated series will premiere April 1, forming the centerpiece of a Marvel programming block that seems similar to Cartoon Network's upcoming DC Nation.

Called Marvel Universe, the block also will include new short-form animated series, live-action interstitials and the return of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America will be among the characters featured.

"Iconic Marvel heroes and villains and stories with core values of accomplishment, discovery and growth make Marvel Universe a perfect complement to Disney XD and a destination for parents and kids to experience together," said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide.

Announced in April 2010, Ultimate Spider-Man is inspired by the acclaimed Marvel comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, and boasts a creative team that includes Joe Quesada, Paul Dini, Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle and Bendis himself.

The voice cast includes Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Chi McBride (Boston Public, Pushing Daisies) as Nick Fury, JK Simmons (Spider-Man) as J. Jonah Jameson, Stan Lee as Stan the Janitor, Clark Gregg (Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers) as Agent Coulson and Steven Weber (Wings) as Norman Osborn.

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