Animated versions of our favorite superheroes are trying to get onto television right around the same time that we expect to see their live-action counterparts on the silver screen. An article at USA Today talks about several upcoming animated projects for Nickelodeon, namely Iron Man: The Animated Series, Wolverine and the X-Men and Speed Racer: The Next Generation.

The cartoon series are aimed at Nick's core audience, boys aged 6 to 14, according to Nicktoons general manager Keith Dawkins. "Our audience loves superheroes and ... animation," he says.

For Nicktoons, the interpretation of the Marvel heroes translates into a teen Iron Man, a superhero closer in age to the network's young viewers. Meanwhile, Wolverine and the X-Men sees Wolverine forced to assume a leadership role as the X-men attempt to prevent a horrid vision of the future from coming to pass.

The two Nicktoons-Marvel shows, will each consist of 26 half-hour episodes. It is expected that the film versions of these heroes, including this summer's Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. and the three X-Men films, will help these shows with gaining a higher profile. "We're trying to create synergy with the brand by having a continual awareness of different interpretations of the characters in the marketplace," says Eric Rollman of Marvel Studios.

Outside of the Marvel universe, Nicktoons' animated Speed Racer: The Next Generation premieres May 2, a week before the live-action, big-screen Speed Racer.