Cobwebs #25: Cartoon Roundup


animated-spidermanWhen I was a kid, if you wanted to watch some cartoons (Spider-Man or other), you got up on Saturday morning, fixed yourself a bowl of cereal, and hunkered down for a few hours of three channel television bliss.  Nowadays, you young whipper-snappers just watch them whenever you want.

This week were are going to get a tidbit from every Spider-Man cartoon series from the 1960s to today.  So without further adieu, away we go!

 

Spider-Man (1967)

While the ‘60s Spider-Man cartoon is probably best known for all those crazy memes,

meme

It also had some pretty incredible music, including the theme song that everybody stings to this day.  A poster on YouTube (11db11) took the time to lift every bit of music from the series – the theme plus all the background.  He also took the time to wash out the background noises from the show.   It’s the closest thing you are going to get to a ‘60s soundtrack.

 

This link has some of the pieces in a cleaner format, but you do not get every piece as above.  Plus this link has them all as separate files: http://www.oshannonland.com/spider-man-music/

The guy who created the music for the show was Ray Ellis.  He worked for Billie Holiday and he did a lot of animation work for Filmation under the names Yvette Blais and George Blais.

Spider-Woman (1979)

webwomanFilmation made a hero called Web Woman (no, seriously – there she is to your right).  Marvel then got worried about losing the rights to a Spider-Woman character, so they made Spider-Woman (we’re talking the original Jessica Drew, people).  She was a bit different than the comic book version.  The cartoon was a lot more light-hearted and she would have new powers from time to time, such as:

  • The ability to spin in circles to create her costume (like TV Wonder Woman)
  • Spider-Telepathy (but only with spiders)
  • Spider-Shriek
  • Spider-Bubble (to breathe underwater)

Spider-Man made a couple of appearances, voiced by Paula Soles, who voiced the 1967 version.  Here he is in her first episode, “Pyramids of Terror”:

Spider-Man (1981)

230px-Spider-Man_(1981_TV_series)Came out the same time as the Amazing Friends and sometimes overlapped.  It was O.K., but most people pretty much pan it.  If you don’t like mutants, but you love the ‘80s, well, this is the Spider-Man for you.  Here’s your tidbit – this cartoon came out at the same time as Amazing Friends, but this one only lasted 1 season while Amazing Friends lasted 3 season; however, the solo series has more episodes (26) than the Amazing Friends (24).

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

Not sure who thought to pair Spider-Man with Ice Man and Firestar, but it worked for me.  If you’ve never watched the series, here is the best episode of the whole lot: “Seven Little Superheroes”

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends – Season 1… by cartoons2

 

Spider-Man (1994)

Without this show, we wouldn’t have the Mousie impersonations on the podcast.  The guy who was responsible for it is John Semper Jr.  He has stated in an interview that while the series did not get the additional season he was hoping for, he still feels that the show had an ending.  The multiverse episodes end with Peter happy with who he is, thus completing the self journey he started in episode one.  Now if you are interested in knowing what happens Mary Jane, you may be in luck.  Just check out this image:

war

Semper is not only trying to create a new animated series, he’s doing it with the same voice cast as the Spider-Man series.  Plus, since he is putting it together, he is not getting backing from the companies, so he has started a donation campaign.  If you donate $25, you get the script for “Peter Finds Mary Jane”, the answer to the last season’s cliff hanger and a streaming video of a recording session during the Spider-Man show (plus some other non-Spider-Man related stuff).  If you donate more, you can get the above and other Spider-Man animated series goodies.  Just go to his site to find out more: http://www.waroftherocketmen.com/.

*Note* I discovered that the project is no longer taking donations, so I contacted John Semper, Jr. to find out if he is abandoning the project.  Here’s his response:

Hi Mark,

No, the project is very much alive, but the campaign is closed for now. Sorry.

The amount we raised was enough to move forward with producing the animatic for the pilot episode, so that’s what we’re doing right now.

We might open the campaign up again at some later date, but our attention now is on producing the project and fulfilling the “perks” that people are expecting.

If you’d like to follow the project, you can go to:

www.facebook.com/waroftherocketmen or www.waroftherocketmen.com 

Thanks for your interest!

-John Semper Jr.

So I don’t know if he’ll re-institute the perks at a later date or not, so if you are interested, I suggest following his Facebook page.

Spider-Man Unlimited (1999)

This series is so awful, the best thing about it is when Dan Slott had Morlun kill them all.

unlimited

He does this in Amazing Spider-Man #7 vol. 3  This issue also has Ms. Marvel in it and if you’ve only read Ms. Marvel here and not in her own book, then you’re missing out.  Fire up that Marvel Unlimited and read the series from the beginning.  The Slott version is virtually unrecognizable to the real deal.

Spider-Man the New Animated Series (2003)

This is the Neil Patrick Harris voiced Spider-Man from MTV.  Originally, this was going to be an adaptation of The Ultimate Spider-Man, but that was changed when the Raimi movie was so popular, so now it takes place in the movie universe.  Mary Jane has short hair in this series because the computer animation kept messing up.

Spectacular Spider-Man (2008)

This series was, in my opinion, one of the best.  The art was different and that was a barrier for some people, but the stories were good and any variation from the comic books were, again in my opinion, excusable for the adaptation into this medium.  This series, however, has an odd history.  It switched networks after season 1 and after season 2, Marvel gets TV rights and then Disney buys Marvel and before anyone knows it, there is no season 3 and instead we are hit with Ultimate Spider-Man.  But why?  There have been a lot of speculation, but here is the low on season 3 (or the lack thereof) from Greg Weisman, the story editor of the show (we can consider this a composite interview of sorts – the words are all Weisman, but the questions were laid out in well over a 500 posts, so I put together his answers):

Why wasn’t there a season 3?

“What limited us to two seasons was the fact that Marvel got the animation rights to Spider-Man back from Sony, but Sony still held the rights to “The Spectacular Spider-Man” work product. Sony couldn’t make more seasons of Spectacular, because they no longer had the animation rights. Marvel couldn’t make more seasons of Spectacular because they didn’t have the rights to that version of the character.

It had nothing to do with the network switch between seasons one and two. And it had nothing to do with Disney buying Marvel either.”

Were there spin-off ideas scheduled for season 3?

“Well, it was less about spin-offs and more about occasional guest stars. Then if someone (in authority) had said, ‘HEY, DO THAT!’ we would have.

I think I’ve mentioned we wanted to use Johnny Storm, so that could have led to a theoretical Fantastic Four spin-off.

We wanted to use Beast, Cyclops and Professor X, which could have lead to a theoretical X-Men spin-off.

We wanted to use both Hulk and Captain America, which could have lead to theoretical spin-offs for either and/or for the Avengers.

Oh, and I did have one other spin-off idea that really was a spin-off coming out of Season Three or Four, that would have largely featured characters that had already appeared in the series by that point, including (but not limited to) Flint, Hobie and Felicia.”

Do you still hold out hope after all these years that you will be able to complete the series?

“Yes. But as I’ve said over and over, Sony can’t do Spectacular Spider-Man, since they no longer have the animation rights. And Marvel/Disney can’t do Spectacular Spider-Man without paying Sony for the rights to do THAT version of the property. And that’s NOT going to happen, because they can do their own version without paying anyone. And you can imagine how enthusiastic they’d be to pay Sony to do Spidey.

Marvel Entertainment has its own Spidey show now, which is doing VERY well. They don’t need Spectacular. Plus they couldn’t do Spectacular without paying Sony for the rights to it.”

How far did you get into making season 3?  Will you ever reveal your ideas or just leave it to our imaginations?

We never began. But we had plans. The following was our pie-in-the sky hope:

We wanted to do a direct-to-DVD Spring Break movie between Season Two and Season Three, set in Florida. If that was not approved, it would have been incorporated into Season Three.

We also wanted to do another direct-to-DVD movie to cover Pete’s summer vacation between Junior and Senior year (and also between Season Three and Season Four).

We then felt we could cover Pete’s senior year over Seasons Four and Five, with at least one more movie between those two seasons.

And then we’d follow up the series with a series of movies covering his college years, etc.

If the movies hadn’t been approved, then the series would have gone on for more seasons (in this hypothetical scenario) so that we could cover the same ground on television.

What are your thoughts on the replacement cartoon, Ultimate Spider-Man?

I haven’t seen it. On purpose. If it’s great, I’d just be very jealous. If not, it would just make me crazy. So, you see, there’s no upside for me in watching.

I do know that there are a LOT of great creators working on it. So I’m guessing that if I did watch it, I’d be jealous not crazy.

Ultimate Spider-Man (2012)

I just cannot bring myself to keep watching this show.  I gave it a fair shot.  Even my kids (age 11 and 15 at the time) couldn’t stomach it, and that was without my input on it.

However, I did promise a tidbit for each of these, so if you’d like to play some Ultimate Spider-Man inspired computer games, go to the official site:

game

http://disneyxd.disney.com/ultimate-spider-man

To be fair, the show has done well enough to get four seasons.  As of the writing of this article, no word has been released on a fifth season, but with a new movie coming out, I have a hard time believing that they wouldn’t want a thirty-minute commercial each week.

 

There you have it folks, a little bit for each show from the beginning to the present.  Which cartoon series is your favorite?  Any tidbits you think I should have added?

credible hulk

Sources:

“Ask Greg Archives: Spectacular Spider-Man.” Gargoyles. Station Eight, 2016. Web. 4 July 2016. <http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/archives.php?lid=260>.

Gvozden, Dan. “Amazing Friends w/ Spider-Man: The Animated Series (John Semper Jr. & Christopher Daniel Barnes) – Podcast.” Superior Spider-Talk. n.p., 19 May 2016. Web. 3 July 2016. <https://superiorspidertalk.com/amazing-friends-w-spider-man-the-animated-series-john-semper-jr-christopher-daniel-barnes-podcast/>.

Mitchell, Tim. “Marvel Flashback: Syndicated Spider-Man Cartoon, 1981-1982.” Titans Terrors and Toys. Blogger, 1 Aug. 2011. Web. 5 July 2016. <http://titansterrorstoys.blogspot.com/2011/08/marvel-flashback-syndicated-spider-man.html>.

The Retrosit. “Kick Back and Enjoy Over an Hour of Music from the ’67 Spider-Man Animated Series.” Geek. Ziff-Davis, 29 June 2016. Web. 3 July 2016. <http://www.geek.com/geek-cetera/kick-back-and-enjoy-over-an-hour-of-music-from-the-67-spider-man-animated-series-1659749/>.

Spider-Man (2003-) Trivia.” IMDb. Amazon, 2016. Web. 4 July 2016. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0290983/trivia?ref_=ttgf_sa_1>.

Spider-Woman (TV Series).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 20 June 2016. Web. 3 July 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Woman_(TV_series)>.

Images:

All scans are from Marvel Unlimited

Web Woman

Spider-Man 1981

War of the Rocketmen

Credible Hulk

(8) Comments

  1. hornacek

    @xonathan - I forgot that it was Madam Web at the end of that episode who was going to help Spidey find MJ. But it's still very open-ended without a resolution. Madam Web says she'll help him find MJ, and they theoretically leave wherever they are, but to not show them finding MJ indicates that it wasn't as simple as "Oh, she's over there." She's *somewhere* in the multiverse, and even with a psychic (one who's blind) I don't think it was as easy as MW saying "She's 2 minutes in that direction." And the show was cancelled, not ended by Semper's decision, so based on his comments after the show he likely did intend on another season with the Carnage as Jack the Ripper.

  2. AmFan15

    That's a pretty comprehensive list...well done! I enjoyed the first season of the 60's Spider-man cartoon, when it actually had villains like Doc Ock, Electro, Lizard, and Rhino...after that it got too psychedelic for me. As for the music, I agree, it was great...although I'm probably one of the only Spidey fans who does NOT like the theme song. It was good, but hearing people identifying Spidey by only that theme is like only associating Batman with BIF, BAM, and ZOWIE sound effects...he's so much more of a complex character than that. I remember the Spider-Woman cartoon, but just barely. Mostly I remember the episode with Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man...they didn't want to have the monsters bite people, so each of them shot lasers that infected people, turning them into vampires, werewolves, and (believe it or not) Frankensteins! The 80's cartoon blended so much into Amazing Friends that I dont really remember it...but I loved Amazing Friends. It was my favorite Spidey cartoon until Spectacular came around...but more on that later. And I agree...Seven Little Superheroes is the best episode of the series. I did not like the 90's series. I liked the concept...adapting the stories from the comics...but the editing and repeating animation absolutely killed it for me. When there were top-tier superhero cartoons like X-Men and Batman:The Animated Series on the air, this was a slap in the face to me. Watched two episodes of Spider-Man Unlimited, and was done... Ugh, what a disaster. The MTV series was alright, but not very memorable at all. Spectacular Spider-man is my favorite animated version of the web-head. The stories were fun, the jokes were often hilarious, and there were a lot of great in-jokes for long-time fans...the Italian restaurant named "Jazzy Gianni's" was my personal favorite. Such a great cartoon, and I really wish it had gotten renewed. Ultimate Spider-man is crap. It's hyperactivity and ADD way of telling stories is an insult, not only to Spidey fans, but to the intelligence of the kids watching it.

  3. xonathan

    Oh, and they were going through the time space portal at the end. so they were "walking the yellow brick road" so to speak

  4. xonathan

    @ hornaceck Madame web tells spidey that as a reward for saving the multiverse they'll go and find Mary Jane because he deserves/earned it. And then spidey say "amen to that" and the camera closes in to the spider in his chest. In that episode is implied Madame web knows where she is. She also implied it in the turning point episode where mj disappeared but didn't disclose the info bc Peter had said earlier he wanted her (web) out of his life. To me it was pretty obvious they were going to fetch her. And again I'm not interested in seeing how bc it would be a total deviation from the comic book. A completely new story. So it ended well and in a high note I like the spec cartoon, but it will always feel like an incomplete masterpiece. Like it or not, the 90's was the complete story semper wanted to show. A season in Victorian England chasing Jack the Ripper who turned out to be carnage ( that was semper's plan) sounds like fan fiction.

  5. hornacek

    @xonathan - I haven't seen the final season of the 90s show since it first aired, but from what I remember, when it ends, Spidey goes off to find MJ, but he still doesn't have any idea where she is. In that final episode he hasn't gained any information to tell him where to look for her. So it appears that he picks a random direction and goes looking for her, but the idea that he finds her off-screen makes no sense. It would be like if The Wizard of Oz ended after the Good Witch and the Munchkins told Dorothy that she had to see the Wizard to get home, before they tell her that she has to follow the yellow-brick road. And if we complained about it the filmmakers would tell us "Well, Dorothy was told that she had to find the Wizard, so that's what she did. She found the Wizard who sent her home. End of story." even though in this new version Dorothy has no idea where the Wizard is or how to find him. (of course all of this is moot if the final episode *does* contain a scene where Spidey is told specifically where MJ is and how to find her; I don't remember that happening - the whole point was that she was lost and Spidey didn't know where she was - but it has been ~20 years since I've seen it)

  6. xonathan

    Regarding the 90's show, I thought it was complete. By that time even as a kid I understood that they were adapting the comic books in a child and censor friendly way. They wanted to adapt the death of Gwen Stacy without actually killing anyone. They wanted to adapt the original clone saga without traumatizing any kids (making the Mary Jane clone a water clone) and so on. Compromises had to be made that deviated the adaptation from the canon. By the end, it was good that it ended like that, because Peter cannot find MJ without it being an original story not found in the comic book. They clearly said he was going to find her, so what's the big deal? As far as Semper giving a "script" i'll call BS on that. When asked about the editing error in "Six Forgotten Warriors, Chapter V: The Price of Heroism" (where the fight with the red Skull and Chameleon is out of order) back in the 90's when there used to be fansites (geocities anyone?) he said that by that time he was not involved in the show. Apparently he did not get along with Avi Arad. and when Season 5 started to broadcast he was already out. So how come he has a written script? I'm thinking he wrote it recently to raise funds of his new show. Same with the audio recording of the beginning of that supposedly lost episode. So it's nice, but not cannon I like Spec, but prefer the 90's show. The "Turning Point" episode is one of the best 22 minutes of Spider-man you'll ever see.

  7. hornacek

    Somehow I have never heard of this Spider-Woman animated show. Only 2 sentences about Amazing Friends? Brad is so gonna fire you. Regarding the 90s show, I remember hearing about someone asking Stan Lee what happened to Mary Jane after the last episode and his answer was "Well, he (Spider-Man) went and got her." So no unresolved plot points there. I think I heard Semper say that if got to do a 5th season he would have had Spidey go back in time (to Jack the Ripper era England). He said that after the Secret Wars/multiverse season, he didn't see Spidey going back to fighting street crime and regular super-villains in New York anymore. So maybe we were lucky that the show ended when it did - if it had went on it might look more like the current ASM volume (shudder). I was going to say that The War of the Rocket Men looked liked a ripoff of The Rocketeer, but thanks to Google I now know that the Rocket Man was an actual movie serial character from the 30s and was an inspiration for the Rocketeer. The more you know! One of the many sad things about Spec Spidey not continuing is that we never got the Kingsley Hobgoblin (my personal favorite Goblin). I was excited when Kingsley showed up in one episode in season two, and as Weisman said when Zach asked him if he planned on doing the clone saga when he introduced Miles Warren in the show, "Spider-Man has such a enormous cast of supporting characters, I didn't put anyone in the show by accident." Shame about the Marvel/Sony bickering. For Ultimate Spider-Man, I said during Superior that as bad as it was, it and the newspaper strip were the only places I could go for a Spider-Man that was Peter Parker. But this show is so very awful, it's the precursor for the current ASM volume. It's all about SHIELD, the Spider-buddies, gadgets, and nothing to do with Peter's normal life and supporting cast. I can't remember the last episode where Peter had normal interactions with Aunt May, MJ or Harry. Does he even go to school anymore? Also, jet pack! (http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0169/4270/products/Spiderman_11_grande.jpg?v=1462961132)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *