When 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!
While the ‘60s Spider-Man cartoon is probably best known for all those crazy memes,
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.
Filmation 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-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”:
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”
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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?
“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)>.
All scans are from Marvel Unlimited