By Christian Blauvelt
Updated October 16, 2011 at 10:36 PM EDT
Credit: Marion Curtis/

Avengers assemble!

And so they did. Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg and Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige took the stage at New York Comic Con’s IGN Theater Saturday night to screen new footage from 2012’s The Avengers and geek out on all things super and heroic.

While the wildly enthusiastic crowd oohed and aahed over a clip of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow recruiting a down-and-out Bruce Banner in an Indian slum (one guy yelled, “I want your baby, Scarlett!”), they were every bit as reactive when it came to the panel itself. Some highlights after the break:

Mark Ruffalo pays tribute to previous Hulks, including Edward Norton

When the moderator said the Kids Are All Right star’s Hulk is like a “big, walking erection,” it seemed like a subtle dig at the previous, more brooding and tormented incarnations of the big green dude. But Ruffalo thanked his verdant forebears, mentioning Bill Bixby, Eric Bana, and Edward Norton, whom Marvel did not ask to return as Bruce Banner after production disputes during the making of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Ruffalo paused to mention how the Fight Club star had given him his blessing, even recalling that Norton told him, “I feel like Bruce Banner is our generation’s Hamlet. Eventually, everyone’s going to play him.”

Chris Evans chooses between the Human Torch and Captain America

When one fangirl asked Evans which of the superheroes he’s played is his favorite, he didn’t hesitate to make a choice. “I’m gonna go with Cap,” he said. I suppose he could have actually been referring to his headgear, as he seemed unwilling to remove his baseball cap even after enduring some Price Is Right-style heckling from the crowd to take it off.

Tom Hiddleston lists his fave comic book portrayals of Loki, talks about getting “Ruffalized,” sings “Pure Imagination,” steals show

Fangirls have a new heartthrob. In the celestial realm he’s Loki, the British-accented Norse god of mischief; on terra firma, he’s Tom Hiddleston. But both clearly have plans for world domination, and based on the reception Hiddleston received last night, he’s well on his way to doing just that.

First, he talked about how Loki, the villain of the upcoming Avengers epic, has to adapt his fighting style to match each of the titular superheroes. “The way he fights Captain America is more rough and tumble,” Hiddleston said. “I’ll be interested for you to see the way Loki gets Ruffalized. And he has a brotherly brawl with the God of Thunder.” Expect “Ruffalized” to be a new addition to the Urban Dictionary.

Second, Hiddleston flaunted his comic-book knowledge. When asked about the various Marvel portrayals of Loki over the years and which of them he’s found most relevant to his portrayal, Hiddleston said, “I’ve stolen and borrowed from them all, I think. The early Stan Lee/Jack Kirby stuff. There’s an early one that I hope Kevin will one day think is worthy of putting into a movie…which is where Loki turns a whole street of cars in New York into ice cream. I also love the J. Michael Straczynski comic. It’s funny to think that’s the one with Lady Loki, as well.” Guys, if you want to win a fangirl’s heart, just say the name “J. Michael Straczynski” in a British accent.

Third, he gave a particularly vivid account of something we all knew was inevitable: an on-set bicep vs. tricep contest between Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth.

And finally, to top it all off, he belted a few bars of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with a particularly Gene Wilder-esque patois. Ladies of Geekdom, are you swooning yet?

Each of the Avengers picks their favorite male and female superheroes

For the most part, “Who are your favorite male and female superheroes?” proved to be the equivalent of a “Which of your friends’ wives do you find attractive?” question, where nobody’s willing to give an honest answer. If they didn’t pick their own onscreen alter-ego as their favorite, it probably was going to be somebody else from The Avengers. Here’s the rundown of their picks in their own words:

Kevin Feige—“Bruce Banner”

Mark Ruffalo—“Bruce Banner and the Black Widow.”

Clark Gregg—“It’s a toss-up between Agent Phil Coulson [Gregg’s Avengers character], the superhero who goes uncounted, and Warlock. The toss-up between Agent Hill [Cobie Smulders] and Natasha Romanoff [Scarlett Johansson] is a dead heat, a happy happy heat.

Cobie Smulders—“Iron Man…and Agent Maria Hill. Sure, why not?”

Tom Hiddleston—“Well Loki’s a supervillain, though he sees himself as a hero. I feel like my brother’s been left out of this a bit, so my favorite male superhero is Thor. And my favorite female superhero is the body that Loki chooses to come back in.”

Chris Evans—“Iron Man, because I like that he doesn’t have any actual superpowers.”

Does all of this make you even more excited for The Avengers next summer?

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