The Lego gaming franchise has long had the monopoly on late on cute versions of geek-friendly characters -- even Jar Jar is somewhat charming when Lego-ized -- but now the Marvel Universe is getting in on the action with THQ's "Marvel Superhero Squad," a video game version of the popular Marvel heroes toyline from Hasbro.

The cartoony toys have been a hit with fans both young and old, and recently scored an animated series set to debut on Cartoon Network in the fall. (Stan Lee is rumored to be playing the Mayor of Marvel City, which is enough to make us watch.)

The video game comes out on Wii, DS, PSP, and PS2 in October, and looks to be a breezy analogue to the darker "Marvel Ultimate Alliance" franchise for anyone who prefers their Marvel Universe brightly colored and splashy. Who's ready for "Lil' Hulk Smash!"?The game lets you play as more than 20 Marvel heroes and villains from Juggernaut to Falcon in a storyline that pits the Superhero Squad against Dr. Doom's Lethal Legion in a battle for the all-powerful Infinity Sword. Yeah, it's not exactly canon, but the kids like it. Of course, you can always just ditch the story mode and whale on your friends as Cap or Thor in Battle Mode for hero-vs-hero action.

Tiny versions of Marvel heroes seem to be all the rage these days, what with the popular "Mini Marvels" strip and the upcoming return of the X-Babies. At a time when comics are becoming increasingly darker ("Batman Reborn" isn't all that kid-friendly) it's nice to see some versions of the Marvel heroes that can be enjoyed by both the wee, and those who appreciate "cute-ified" versions of their favorite characters.

. In the meantime, tell us about your favorite tiny versions of Marvel or DC heroes in the comments.