- Night of the Lizard
- Sting of the Scorpion
- The Spider Slayer
- Return of the Spider Slayers
- Menace of Mysterio
- Doctor Octopus: Armed and Dangerous
- The Alien Costume Saga Part 1
- The Alien Costume Saga Part 2
- The Alien Costume Saga Part 3
- Kraven the Hunter
- Hobgoblin Part 1
- Hobgoblin Part 2
- Day of the Chameleon
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 1: Insidious Six
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 2: Battle of the Insidious Six
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 3: Hydro-Man
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 4: Mutant Agenda
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 5: Mutants Revenge
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 6: Morbius
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 7: Enter the Punisher
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 8: Duel of the Hunters
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 9: Blade the Vampire Hunter
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 10: Immortal Vampire
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 11: Tablet of Time
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 12: Ravages of Time
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 13: Shriek of the Vulture
- Neogenic Nightmare Part 14: Final Nightmare
- Sins of the Fathers Part 1: Doctor Strange
- Sins of the Fathers Part 2: Make a Wish
- Sins of the Fathers Part 3: Attack of the Octobot
- Sins of the Fathers Part 4: Enter the Green Goblin
- Sins of the Fathers Part 5: Rocket Racer
- Sins of the Fathers Part 6: Framed
- Sins of the Fathers Part 7: Man Without Fear
- Sins of the Fathers Part 8: Ultimate Slayer
- Sins of the Fathers Part 9: Tombstone
- Sins of the Fathers Part 10: Venom Returns
- Sins of the Fathers Part 11: Carnage
- Sins of the Fathers Part 12: Spot
- Sins of the Fathers Part 13: Goblin War
- Sins of the Fathers Part 14: Turning Point
- Partners in Danger Part 1: Guilty
- Partners in Danger Part 2: Cat
- Partners in Danger Part 3: Black Cat
- Partners in Danger Part 4: Return of Kraven
- Partners in Danger Part 5: Partners
- Partners in Danger Part 6: Awakening
- Partners in Danger Part 7: Vampire Queen
- Partners in Danger Part 8: Return of the Green Goblin
- Partners in Danger Part 9: Haunting of Mary Jane Watson
- Partners in Danger Part 10: Lizard King
- Partners in Danger Part 11: Prowler
- The Wedding
- Six Forgotten Warriors Part 1: Six Forgotten Warriors
- Six Forgotten Warriors Part 2: Unclaimed Legacy
- Six Forgotten Warriors Part 3: Secrets of the Six
- Six Forgotten Warriors Part 4: Six Fight Again
- Six Forgotten Warriors Part 5: Price of Heroism
- The Return of Hydro-Man Part 1
- The Return of Hydro-Man Part 2
- Secret Wars Part 1: Arrival
- Secret Wars Part 2: Gauntlet of the Red Skull
- Secret Wars Part 3: Doom
- Spider Wars Part 1: I Really Really Hate Clones
- Spider Wars Part 2: Farewell Spider-Man
Spider-Man was an American animated television series featuring Spider-Man, which ran for five seasons (65 episodes) starting November 19, 1994 and finishing January 31, 1998. The series was written by John Semper Jr and produced by the Marvel Films Animation. It is generally acclaimed to be the most accurate TV adaptation of the famous superhero in terms of art and general atmosphere. The plot, however, was heavily modified. This incarnation of Spider-Man stands out because the narrative was focused on drama instead of action like most cartoons for older children of the period.
The series tells the story of a nineteen year old Peter Parker at his first year at Empire State University, and his alter-ego the Amazing Spider-Man. As the story begins Peter has already gained his powers, is single and a part-time photographer for the Daily Bugle. The show features most of the classic villains from the Spider-Pantheon, including the Green Goblin, the Lizard, the Scorpion, Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Rhino, Venom, Carnage, the Kingpin, the Shocker, the Vulture, the Chameleon, and the Hobgoblin. Over the course of the series the single Peter Parker will have to contend with the romantic interests of Mary Jane Watson, Felicia Hardy and her alter ego, The Black Cat.
Marvel's earlier animated success, X-Men: The Animated Series, was produced by Saban, but Marvel had ambitions to produce their own shows through their newly-formed in-house company, Marvel Films Animation. Spider-Man was the only series to fly under this banner. This show is the second longest-running Marvel show ever created, after X-Men: The Animated Series, which lasted for six years, five seasons and 76 episodes.
Stan Lee, Avi Arad, and Bill Kerstetter were the executive producers of the show. Stan Lee as one of the creators of Spider-Man had quite an interest in seeing Spider-Man portrayed faithfully from the comic books. Lee claimed to check "every premise, every outline, every script, every model sheet, every storyboard, everything to do with putting the show together." To ensure the stories were told faithfully, Lee and producer John Semper recruited writers who had experience from the comic books to work on scripts, among them was Gerry Conway and Marv Wolfman.
Producer Bob Richardson desired to give the show a "contemporary live-action feel" by merging CGI and traditional animation. Richardson described the outcome to be more "NYPD Blue than The Smurfs."
One of the obligations of working with Fox was to make the show educational by introducing weighty issues that could be resolved that is appropriate for children. Semper argues that Spider-Man is more adept at this because the show takes place in real world New York making it able to tackle problems "closer to home."
To reproduce the New York's style background illustrators undertook a large amount of visual research, using photo archives from above New York, particularly rooftops. Maps were consulted for references and buildings were faithfully reproduced. It has been reported that when the animation cell depicting Manhattan's Pan Am Building were scrapped after being complete it was because the California-based art staff learned the Midtown landmark had gotten a new sign more than a year earlier.
The animation staff were directed to populate the city with cars and crowds on the street level. Semper believed that was one of the limitations of earlier Spider-Man animated projects.
Originally Marvel Films planned to make the backgrounds completely CGI while Spider-Man 'webslinged' around New York, yet due to budget constraints were forced to use traditional cel based animation while occasionally using CGI backgrounds.
By 1994 heavy censorship was being enforced by Fox because certain shows like Power Rangers were being banned for excessive violence in some countries. So in a bid to make Spider-Man: The Animated Series as politically correct as possible, the producers of the show were instructed to abide by their extensive list of requirements . Among the notable restrictions were:
- Not mentioning "Death", "Die", "Kill" or other words with a strong negative meaning. Death was to be avoided, leading Semper to skirt around the issue, killing characters off-panel or in unrealistic ways, and "destroy" and "destruction" were frequently employed as synonyms. For example:
- Mary Jane and the Green Goblin fall through an interdimensional portal instead of falling to their deaths.
- It is stated that the Punisher's family was "caught in a crossfire between rival gangs", and the same applied to the wife of the Destroyer and Peter Parker's Uncle Ben.
- At one point, when the Goblin returns after seemingly perishing, Spider-Man says, "You?! But I thought you were--" and the Goblin cuts him off with, "I'm not... but you'll soon be!"
- Instead of Carnage killing his victims he drained them of their life force.
- When Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson confront Hydro-Man in Episode 2.03 for the last time, Hydro-Man vaporizes when he touches hot ground, and never returns.
- Due to the unstable DNA structure of the clones of Mary Jane Watson and Hydro-Man, they vaporized and died.
- An alternate-reality Spider-Carnage commits suicide by jumping into a dimensional portal.
- Several other characters were implied to have died in explosions or off-screen.
- Realistic guns were not allowed, and no firearms could shoot bullets, so instead they fired lasers complimented by 'futuristic' sound effects. This often led to preposterous scenes in which ordinary policemen wielded bizarre, futuristic pistols. However, in Episode 3.09, Robbie Robertson's son Randy has a real-looking gun in his desk, though it is never fired on screen.
- Spider-Man was not allowed to hit anyone with his fist, with one exception in Episode 39 (The Spot) in which he used his spider-sense to guide a punch through a dimension portal and knock out the Spot. Spider-Man also punched Scorpion in the Season 2 Finale ("The Final Nightmare").
- No crashing glass. However, in Episode 43, when Spider-Man and Doc Ock were battling in Felicia and Anastasia Hardy's home, Ock accidentally smashed a glass window with one of his tentacles.
- No children in peril.
- No vampires were allowed on the show. This created complications with the use of the characters Morbius the living vampire and Blade the vampire hunter. Consequently, Morbius only drained victims through suckers on his hands, rather than by biting them in the traditional vampire style on the neck, and rather than blood, his sustenance was referred to only as "plasma".
There was one notable exception to this rule, however. In the episode "The Spot", after Spider-Man defeats the Spot during their third encounter, the former states, "Listen, I know you're no killer."
On a lighter note, Semper claims that they also included such specific personal notes from censors as "When Spider-Man lands on the rooftop, be sure that he doesn't harm any pigeons".
Spider-Man was one of the most popular shows on Fox Kids, ranking with and even above other hits such as Power Rangers, Digimon, and X-Men. Even after the series ended, it still had an impact on the entertainment industry, boosting sales of myriads of Spider-Man merchandise and popularity.
Despite the fact that this particular series was produced over a decade ago, the success of the Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 movies has sparked more interest in new fans, allowing it to continuously run in reruns thanks to its new owner: The Walt Disney Company. Notably the episodes air in their chronological order, not Fox's original air dates. Therefore, the reruns are all in the correct order.
Select episodes have previously been released on VCD by Magnavision Home Video.
VHS and DVD releases
In the UK, the entire series was released on DVD in 2009. Each of the five seasons was released separately on DVD. Each DVD release consists of a 2-disc set package with a "comic book cover" style packaging. The series was released by the studio Clear Vision Ltd. All the releases are in both English as well as German audio with additional languages covered in the subtitles (Dutch, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian.) Previous to the season releases in the UK, the series was released in half-seasons.
VHS's containing specific "arcs" of certain characters in the show were also sold in the UK. Each video contained a collection of episodes all centered around one villain that Spidey fought in the show. These VHS's were:
- Spider-Man: The Venom Saga (1996 UK VHS)
- Kraven the Hunter (UK VHS)
- The Spider Slayer (UK VHS)
- Trio Of Destruction
- The Hobgoblin (UK VHS)
Only a few select episodes have been released on DVD by The Walt Disney Company in North America. So far there are no plans for the official release of season box sets. The DVDs that have been released are:
- The Ultimate Villain Showdown released 30 April 2002 during the run of the Spider-Man movie.
- Return of the Green Goblin released 29 October 2002
- Daredevil vs. Spider-Man released 11 February 2003
- Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock released 29 June 2004
- The Venom Saga released 7 June 2005
Writer/Producer John Semper Jr. won an Annie Award in 1995 for "Best Individual Achievement for Writing in the Field of Animation" for the episode "Day of the Chameleon".
Spider-Man: The Animated Series was nominated for an Image Award in 1996 for "Outstanding Animated/Live-Action/Dramatic Youth or Children's Series/Special."
In the UK the premiere episodes averaged 2.5 million viewers.
In early 1996, the show was launched in Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and South Africa, and it became a hit in those countries as well.
Three comics were produced on the Spider-Man: The Animated Series;
A number of video games were also produced:
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.
- Spider-Man Cartoon Maker by Knowledge Adventure.
Electronic versions of classic Spider-Man comics were released by Marvel that included narration by Christopher Daniel Barnes and featured animation and theme music from this series.
Novelizations of select episodes were also released.
A extensive toy line that ran over 8 series and included a staggering amount of playsets and vehicles.
There was a wide variety of themed merchandise produced such as lunch boxes, cereals, clothing etc.
- Bob Richardson - Supervising Producer & Director
- John Semper - producer / story editor / lead writer
- Avi Arad - executive producer
- Stan Lee - executive producer
Original Music by
- Shuki Levy
- Joe Perry - theme
- Dennis Venizelos - Art Director
- Elliot Anders - supervising dialogue editor
- Jay Bolton - music editor
- Mark Ryan - music editor
- This marks the first time Hobgoblin, Venom and Carnage appear in a Spider-Man cartoon.
- The series is notably lacking an origin episode at the outset to explain how Spider-Man got his powers. This was done because the series was expected to premiere alongside the Spider-Man feature length film in 1994, written by James Cameron. The film script included an origin story and, to prevent redundancy, the Animated Series did not include it. In part to make up for this, the third season episode "Make a Wish" contains an extended sequence in which Spider-Man explains his origin.
- The Cameron movie was intended to feature the villains Electro and Sandman, and so as a result they were completely left out of plans for the series. When the movie eventually fell through Electro was added to one of the later episodes, but Sandman remains one of the most prominent members of Spider-Man's rogues gallery not to appear in the cartoon.
- In episode 1.08 "The Alien Costume Part 1," after acquiring a shape-shifting costume, Peter Parker suggests he looks like the "guy from Aerosmith." Joe Perry, the lead guitarist for the band Aerosmith, which composed the theme song for the show.
- The titles of the episodes "I Really, Really Hate Clones" and "The Secret War" are references to the infamous "Spider-Clone Saga" and "Secret Wars" storylines which ran through the comics.
- Fox aired episode 1.01, "Night of the Lizard," months before the other Season 1 episodes as a special sneak preview.
- In the comics, the Insidious Six are called the Sinister Six. This was due to censors deeming the word "sinister" too threatening for children to hear.
- Of the six members of the Insidious Six, only two of the original members of the Sinister Six make it into the team's roster: Doctor Octopus and Mysterio. The Shocker, The Chameleon, The Scorpion and The Rhino substitute for the Sinister Six's absent members - Sandman (who doesn't appear in the series at all), Electro (named Max Dillon in the comics, but shows up in Season Five as Reinholt Kragov, the step-brother of the Chameleon and the Red Skull's son for the series), The Vulture (who joins the Six to take Mysterio's place in Season Five) and Kraven the Hunter (the half-brother of the Chameleon in the comics).
- The cast of the X-Men Animated Series were flown to Los Angeles from Canada for their respective roles in episode 2.04 "The Mutant Agenda."
- The season 2 episode "Blade the Vampire Hunter," which originally aired on February 3, 1996, marks the very first appearance of Whistler, Blade's mentor.
- The character Lewald that appeared in episode 2.04 "The Mutant Agenda" is named after the story editor on the X-Men cartoon (Eric Lewald).
- In "Sting of the Scorpion," Spider-Man explains to Jameson that if Scorpion opens a nuclear reactor, he'll destroy the city. When Jameson asks how he knows this, Spider-Man states, "What do I look like? The Tick?!". He is obviously referring to the title character from the superhero parody show that was airing on Fox Kids during the same period as Spider-Man.
- The character Madame Web is voiced by Stan Lee's wife, Joan Lee.
- In episode 3.02 "Make a Wish," the little girl, named Taina, asks if Spider-Man is from a dying planet whose parents sent him as a baby on a little space ship, clearly referencing DC Comics character Superman. The episode was loosely based on "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man," from The Amazing Spider-Man #248 (1984).
- After the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, ABC Family heavily edited the episode "Day of the Chameleon" to remove the World Trade Center buildings, parts of the New York skyline, and a helicopter crashing into a building, exploding, and falling to the ground below, among other shots. This resulted in the first scene being virtually implausible to comprehend as it was originally intended. Dialogue was re-looped to match the new, shorter version. Some production credits from the episode are missing as well, due to their being on screen during the omitted footage. They also removed the last two episodes of the second season since one of them featured the two buildings.
- Syndicated versions of the pilot episode, "Night of the Lizard," omit a sequence in which the Lizard accidentally slams into his wife with his tail when turning.
- Fox originally aired many of the seasons out of order.
- The show's original plan never included the Green Goblin. Norman Osborn was originally going to become the Hobgoblin until the idea was scrapped by Stan Lee's intervention.
- Aunt May was originally going to have a cat named Warren.
- Voice actor Julie Bennett replaced Linda Gary as Aunt May after Linda's death.
- The series used a novel system of one large story arc per season, developed by John Semper. As a result, each of the individual 65 episodes (starting with season 2) were called "chapters."
- Martin Landau was the voice actor for The Scorpion, but after winning an Oscar he was no longer available for later episodes, and was replaced by Richard Moll, who some fans found better to take up the role as Scorpion.
- Stan Lee makes an appearance in the series finale, when Spider-Man is transported to an alternate Earth where he is a fictional character to thank Stan for creating him.
- The voice actors later reunited to reprise their respective roles for the Spider-Man ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida.
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series
- Marvel Animation Age Presents: Spider-Man: The Animated Series
- Spider-Man Crawl Space: All Spidey, All The Time
- SpiderFan.org - Unofficial Spider-Man Web Page
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview with John Semper about Spider-Man:The Animated Series
- Spider-Man at TVRage - Find Character Guides, series information, and more
- some detail about Marvel Film Animation, from the homepage of animator John Cawley
|Christopher Daniel Barnes||Spider-Man/Peter Parker|
|Sara Ballantine||Mary Jane Watson|
|Edward Asner||J. Jonah Jameson|
| Linda Gary 1 - 3 |
Julie Bennett 4 - 5
|Aunt May Parker|
|Rodney Saulsberry||Joseph "Robbie" Robertson|
|Jennifer Hale||Felicia Hardy/Black Cat|
|Roscoe Lee Browne||Kingpin/Wilson Fisk|
|Efrem Zimbalist Jr.||Doctor Octopus/Dr. Otto Octavius|
|Gary Imhoff||Harry Osborn/Green Goblin|
|Maxwell Caulfield||Alistair Smythe|
|Nick Jameson|| Morbius, the Living Vampire/Michael Morbius|
|Jim Cummings|| Shocker|
|Hank Azaria||Eddie Brock/Venom|
|Oliver Muirhead||Dr. Jonathan Ohn/The Spot|
|Nell Carter||Glory Grant|
| Martin Landau 1 - 2 |
Richard Moll 4 - 5
|Joseph Campanella||Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard|
|Gregg Berger|| Kraven The Hunter|
|Dawnn Lewis||Terri Lee|
|Scott Cleverdon||Cletus Kasady/Carnage|
|John Vernon||Doctor Strange|
|Robert Hays||Iron Man|
|Michael Horton||John Jameson|
|Brian Keith||Uncle Ben|
| Malcolm McDowell |
|Edward Laurence Albert Jr.||Daredevil|
|David Warner||Herbert Landon|
|Joan Lee||Madame Web|