Spider-Man (1994 TV series)
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
|Written by||John Semper|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||65 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||21 minutes|
|Original network||Fox Kids|
|Original release||November 19, 1994– January 31, 1998|
|Preceded by||Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends|
|Followed by||Spider-Man Unlimited|
Spider-Man, also known as Spider-Man: The Animated Series, is an American animated television series which is based on the Marvel Comics superhero, Spider-Man. The show ran on Fox Kids from November 19, 1994, to January 31, 1998, and ran reruns on the Jetix block on Toon Disney and on Disney XD. The producer/story editor was John Semper, Jr. and the production company was Marvel Films Animation.
- 1 Production overview
- 2 Synopsis
- 3 Characters
- 4 Reception
- 5 Merchandising
- 6 Awards
- 7 Spiritual successor
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Sources
- 11 External links
While Marvel's X-Men animated series was being produced by Saban, Spider-Man was produced by the newly formed Marvel Films Animation; it was the only series that in-house studio produced, but was animated by Tokyo Movie Shinsha with Korean studios. For many years, the series was the second longest-running Marvel show created, after X-Men, as well as the longest-running series based on Spider-Man (until Ultimate Spider-Man surpassed its record in 2015). In some episodes, realistic guns were depicted, but only in flashbacks, such as the showing of guns being fired during a flashback about The Destroyer's origins where his wife was killed in the crossfire during a crime. In November 2014 podcasts, Semper clarified that the show was not censored as much as any other show at the time and that every time this has been brought up to him, he feels it has been blown out of proportion; Semper said that Marvel had no creative control on the TV series because Marvel at the time was in a tough time and close to bankruptcy. In addition, Semper stated that Stan Lee had influence on the show in the first thirteen episodes. The series is currently owned and distributed by The Walt Disney Company (Marvel's parent company), which acquired all Fox Kids-related properties from News Corporation and Saban International in 2001.
To reproduce New York City's style, background illustrators undertook a large amount of visual research by using photo archives from above New York, particularly rooftops. Maps were consulted for references and buildings were faithfully reproduced.
It has been reported that the animation cels depicting Manhattan's Pan Am Building were scrapped after being complete because the California-based art staff learned the Midtown landmark had been given 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. As well, reuse of animation became more common as the series progressed, which also included reuse of animation involving a character speaking (these scenes were sometimes slowed down in order to better match the actor's voice to the animation).
Marvel outsourced the show's music to distributors Saban Entertainment, who were also responsible for the music in the concurrent X-Men cartoon airing on Fox Kids. The theme for the series was performed by Joe Perry of the hard rock band Aerosmith, although the song was written by Shuki Levy. Levy, Kussa Mahchi and Udi Harpaz are credited as composers of the orchestral background score.
The series focuses on Spider-Man and his alter ego Peter Parker during his college years at Empire State University. As the story begins, Peter has already gained his superpowers and is a part-time freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle. The show features most of Spider-Man's classic villains, including the Kingpin, the Green Goblin, the Lizard, the Shocker, Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, the Scorpion, Rhino, the Vulture, the Chameleon, and Venom. Over the course of the series the single Peter contends with the romantic love interests of Mary Jane Watson, Felicia Hardy and her alter ego, the Black Cat. The show also features appearances from various other Marvel superheroes; including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, Blade, Doctor Strange, the Punisher and Captain America.
A large number of storylines and events from the comics are loosely adapted in the series, such as:
- The first episode "Night of The Lizard" is loosely based on Amazing Spider-Man #6 "Face-to-Face with... the Lizard!" from November 1963.
- The episode "Return of the Spider Slayer" borrows elements from the comic books including the way Spencer Smythe treated Spider-Man and Jameson is a very similar way to how Alistair Smythe treated them in Amazing Spider-Man #192 "24 Hours till Doomsday!"(1979) and Mary Jane uses her famous line from her first comic appearance: "Face it, Tiger. You just hit the jackpot.", from Amazing Spider-Man #42 "The Birth of a Super-Hero!" (1966).
- The episode "The Menace of Mysterio" loosely based on Amazing Spider-Man #13 "The Menace of... Mysterio!" (1964).
- The episode "The Sting of the Scorpion" is based on Amazing Spider-Man #19-20 "Spidey Strikes Back!"/"The Coming of the Scorpion! OR: Spidey Battles Scorpey!" (1964-65).
- The episode "Hydro-Man" is based on Amazing Spider-Man #212 "The Coming of Hydroman!" (1981).
- The episodes "Morbius" and "Enter the Punisher" are both based on Amazing Spider-Man #101-102 "The Spider or the Man?"/"A Monster Called Morbius!" (1971).
- The episode "Tablet of Time" is based on Amazing Spider-Man #73 "The Web Closes!" (1969).
- The episode "Ravages of Time" is based on Amazing Spider-Man #74-75 "If This Be Bedlam!"/"Death Without Warning!" (1969).
- The episode "Make a Wish" is based on Amazing Spider-Man #55 "Doc Ock Wins!" (1967) and Amazing Spider-Man #248 "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man!" (1984).
- The episode "Attack of the Octobot" is based on Amazing Spider-Man #56 "Disaster!" (1968) and Amazing Spider-Man #248 "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man!" (1984).
- The episode "Rocket Racer" is based on Amazing Spider-Man #172 "The Fiend from the Fire!" (1977) and 182-183 "The Rocket Racer's Back in Town!"/ "...And Where the Big Wheel Stops, Nobody Knows!" (1978).
- The episode "The Spot" is based on Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #98-99 "True Confessions!"/"Spider on the Spot!" (1985).
Main voice cast
- Christopher Daniel Barnes – Peter Parker / Spider-Man
- Edward Asner – J. Jonah Jameson
- Sara Ballantine – Mary Jane Watson
- Roscoe Lee Browne – Wilson Fisk/Kingpin
- Linda Gary / Julie Bennett – Aunt May Parker
- Jennifer Hale – Felicia Hardy / Black Cat
- Gary Imhoff – Harry Osborn / Green Goblin II
- Rodney Saulsberry – Joseph "Robbie" Robertson
Recurring voice cast
- Eddie Albert – Adrian Toomes / Vulture (old)
- Hank Azaria – Eddie Brock / Venom
- Leigh-Allyn Baker – Alisha Silvermane
- Majel Barrett – Anna Watson
- Susan Beaubian – Dr. Mariah Crawford
- Gregg Berger – Quentin Beck / Mysterio, Sergei Kravenhoff / Kraven the Hunter
- Nicky Blair – Hammerhead
- Joseph Campanella – Dr. Curt Connors / Lizard
- Nell Carter – Gloria "Glory" Grant
- Maxwell Caulfield – Alistair Smythe
- Scott Cleverdon – Cletus Kasady / Carnage
- Jeff Corey – Silvermane
- Jim Cummings – Shocker, Chameleon (grunts), Man-Spider
- Liz Georges – Debra Whitman
- Ed Gilbert – Dormammu
- Mark Hamill – Jason Macendale / Hobgoblin
- Dorian Harewood – Lonnie Lincoln / Tombstone
- Nick Jameson – Michael Morbius / Morbius the Living Vampire, Dr. Groitzig, Richard Fisk
- Tony Jay – Baron Mordo
- Alan Johnson – Vulture / Adrian Toomes (young)
- Martin Landau – Mac Gargan / Scorpion (Season 1-2)
- Patrick Labyorteaux – Flash Thompson
- Joan Lee – Madame Web
- Giselle Loren – Margaret Connors
- Richard Moll – The Scorpion (Season 4-5)
- Dawnn Lewis - Terri Lee
- Rob Paulsen – Morrie Bench / Hydro-Man
- Neil Ross – Norman Osborn / Green Goblin
- Marla Rubinoff – Liz Allan
- Don Stark – Rhino
- Lauren Tom – Dr. Burdine Chong-Yu
- David Warner – Dr. Herbert Landon
- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. – Dr. Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus
Guest voice cast
- Philip Abbott – Nick Fury (Season 1), Wardell Strom
- Edward Albert – Daredevil
- Jack Angel – Nick Fury (Season 4-5)
- Dimitra Arliss – Anastacia Hardy (Season 3-4)
- Billy Atmore – Rocket Racer
- James Avery – War Machine
- Robert Axelrod – Microchip
- Michael Des Barres – Jackson Weele
- John Beard – News Anchor
- John Beck – Punisher
- Bob Bergen – Ned Leeds
- Mary Kay Bergman – Gwen Stacy
- Earl Boen – Red Skull, Beyonder
- George Buza – Beast
- Cam Clarke – Mister Fantastic
- Townsend Coleman – Young Silvermane
- Alyson Court – Jubilee
- Rachel Davies – Agent X
- Catherine Disher – Jean Grey
- Cathal J. Dodd – Wolverine
- Roy Dotrice – Destroyer
- Walker Edmiston – Whizzer
- Quinton Flynn – Human Torch
- Mira Furlan – Silver Sable
- Toby Scott Ganger – Billy Connors
- Beverly Garland – Miranda Wilson
- Kathy Garver – Miss America, Gila
- Caroline Goodall – Vanessa Fisk
- Barbara Goodson – Dr. Ashley Kafka
- J. D. Hall – Blade
- Jonathan Harris – Miles Warren
- Robert Hays – Iron Man
- David Hayter – Captain America
- Amy Hill – Agent Susan Choi
- Michael Horton – John Jameson
- Wanda De Jesus – Dr. Silvia Lopez
- Tom Kane – Doctor Doom
- Brian Keith – Uncle Ben
- John Phillip Law – John Hardesky
- Matthew Laborteaux – Flash Thompson
- Stan Lee – Himself
- Lawrence Mandley – Iceberg
- Gail Matthius – Invisible Woman
- Rue McClanahan – Anastacia Hardy (Season 1)
- Malcolm McDowell – Abraham Whistler (Season 2)
- Iona Morris – Martha Robertson, Storm (Season 5)
- Oliver Muirhead – Spot, Whistler (Season 4)
- Edward Mulhare – Spencer Smythe
- Lois Nettleton – Nora
- Nichelle Nichols – Miriam the Vampire Queen
- Laurie O'Brien – Genevieve
- Patrick Pinney – Thing
- Chris Potter – Gambit
- Philip Proctor – Electro
- Don Reed – Clay Marks
- Alfonso Ribeiro – Randy Robertson
- Peter Mark Richman – Old Peter Parker
- Hansford Rowe – Thunderer
- Tim Russ – Prowler
- Michael Rye – Farley Stillwell
- Alison Sealy-Smith – Storm (Season 2)
- Cedric Smith – Professor X
- Norm Spencer – Cyclops
- George Takei – Wong
- John Vernon – Doctor Strange
- B.J. Ward –
- Paul Winfield – Black Marvel
- Lenore Zann – Rogue
Spider-Man is considered among both Spider-Man fans and comic book industry experts as one of the greatest animated television series of all time, as well as the most faithful Spider-Man animated series to date.
It garnered exceptionally high ratings for a Saturday morning cartoon and shortly after its premiere was the highest rated and most popular children's television show in the country. It also received wide critical praise for its portrayal of many different storylines from the comics.
Even after the series ended, it still affected the entertainment industry, boosting sales of myriad Spider-Man merchandise and popularity. The show was named the 84th best animated series by IGN.
Three comic book series based on the TV series were produced:
- Spider-Man Adventures (December 1994 to February 1996): the first 13 issues each adapted one episode from the first season, and the last two issues were original stories. Spider-Man Adventures #1-4 was later reprinted in Kellogg's Froot Loops Mini-Comics #1-4.
- Adventures of Spider-Man (April 1996 to March 1997): featuring new stories based on the series. Adventures of Spider-Man was later reprinted in Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #11–21 from August 1996 to May 1997.
- Marvel Adventures (April 1997 to September 1998): anthology featuring various animated versions of Marvel characters—Spider-Man only appeared sporadically.
A number of video games based on the series were also produced:
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. Spider-Man novels inspired by selected episodes were also released. A wide variety of themed merchandise (lunch boxes, cereals, clothing, etc.) was produced. McDonald's produced a themed line of Happy Meal toys for the show. However, this paled in comparison to the extensive official toy line that ran over eight series, and included a staggering amount of play sets and vehicles and actually lasted longer than the television series itself.
Despite the fact that the show ended in 1998, the success of the live-action Spider-Man films have sparked more interest in new fans, allowing the series to air in reruns due to its new owners: The Walt Disney Company.
In February 2012, Marvel.com uploaded every episode for streaming purposes, although they have now been removed.
VHS and DVD releases
|VHS Name||Episode Titles||Release Date||Stock Number||Notes|
|The Hobgoblin||"The Hobgoblin" Parts 1 & 2||July 2, 1997||4176|
In the late 1990s, another selection of VHS compilations were released by Marvel Films/New World Entertainment (these tapes were distributed in Canada by Telegenic Entertainment). These releases featured episodes edited into 70-80, 90-100 minute movies based on the particular story arc.
|VHS Name||Episode Titles||Release Date||Stock Number||Notes|
|The Venom Saga||"The Alien Costume" Parts 1 & 2 & 3||November 12, 1996||00103||Based on the all-new 1996 Spider-Man animated television series|
|Revenge of the Goblins||"The Hobgoblin" Parts 1 & 2
"Enter the Green Goblin"
|January 28, 1997||00123|
|Spider Slayer||"The Spider Slayer"
"Return of the Spider Slayer"
"Kraven the Hunter"
"The Return of Kraven"
|March 18, 1997||00143||Special Bonus: Kraven the Hunter Meets Spidey|
|Insidious Six||"The Insidious Six"
"Battle of the Insidious Six"
|June 17, 1997||00163||Special Bonus: Includes two episodes of Iron Man: "The Beast Within"
"Cell of Iron"
|Mutant Agenda||"The Mutant Agenda"
|September 9, 1997||00183||Special Bonus: Includes two episodes of Iron Man: "Iron Man to the Second Power" Parts 1 & 2|
|Tablet of Time||"Enter the Punisher"
"Duel of the Hunters"
"Tablet of Time"
"Ravages of Time"
|November 4, 1997||00203||Special Bonus: Includes the final episode of Spider-Man: Mutant Agenda|
|Neogenic Nightmare||"Blade, the Vampire Hunter"
"The Immortal Vampire"
"Shrieks of the Vulture"
"The Final Nightmare"
|May 19, 1998||00213|
|Forgotten Warriors||"Six Forgotten Warriors, Chapter I"
"Six Forgotten Warriors, Chapter II: Unclaimed Legacy"
"Six Forgotten Warriors, Chapter III: Secrets of the Six"
"Six Forgotten Warriors, Chapter IV: The Six Fight Again"
"Six Forgotten Warriors, Chapter V: The Price of Heroism"
|October 27, 1998||00223||Based on the all-new 1996 Spider-Man animated television series|
|The Sins of the Fathers||"Framed"
"The Man Without Fear"
"The Ultimate Slayer"
|May 18, 1999||00233|
|Secret Wars||"Secret Wars, Chapter I: Arrival"
"Secret Wars, Chapter II: The Gauntlet of the Red Skull"
"Secret Wars, Chapter III: Doom"
"Spider Wars, Chapter IV: I Really, Really Hate Clones"
"Spider Wars, Chapter V: Farewell, Spider-Man"
|October 26, 1999||00243|
To date, the only VHS and DVD releases of the series in the U.S. have been several volume sets from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment that feature 4-5 episodes each.
|Title||Release Date||Stock Number|
|Spider-Man: The Ultimate Villain Showdown||30 April 2002||25911
|Spider-Man: The Return of the Green Goblin||29 October 2002||28126
|Daredevil vs. Spider-Man||11 February 2003||28520
|The Ultimate Spider-Man Collection||2 November 2003|
|Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock||29 June 2004||34571
|Spider-Man: The Venom Saga||7 June 2005||34892
In the UK, Sweden, and Germany, Clear Vision Ltd. has released all five seasons on DVD as of October 19, 2009.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|Complete Season 1||13||June 22, 2009|
|Complete Season 2||14||August 3, 2009|
|Complete Season 3||14||August 17, 2009|
|Complete Season 4||11||September 15, 2009|
|Complete Season 5||13||October 19, 2009|
|The Complete Collection||65||November 7, 2011|
- A Canadian DVD containing three episodes from the "Mutant Agenda" episodes. This is a reissue of the 1997 Marvel-New World/Telegenic VHS release (and it was mastered from one of those VHS releases); as a "Bonus" two episodes from the 1990s Iron Man TV series are included, just like on the VHS release. (Please note there are no audio/subtitle selections.)
- Canadians also received another DVD release of the first season two-parter "The Hobgoblin". This was a re-release of a 2002 VHS release by Disney; the video quality of the episodes on the DVD is that of a VHS transfer. There are no bonus features or audio/subtitle selections on this DVD either.
- A VCD release by Magnavision Home Video.
- A boxed set of all the DVDs released in Poland, simply entitled "Spider-Man: 5 DVD Set". The front of the box features the same graphics as "The Ultimate Villain Showdown".
- Several two-episode DVDs released by Marvel in 2002 prior to the acquisition by Disney.
- 3 DVDs with 2 episodes each were released regionally for Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian dubs on them in 2005.
- The entire first season is available on Xbox Live and iTunes through Disney XD. All five seasons are also currently available for digital purchase on Vudu.
- The entire series is currently available on Hulu Plus and Amazon Video.
- There were also unlicensed DVDs that had The Adventure Continues on them that contained two episodes from most of the movies that were released by Marvel Films/New World Entertainment. For example, one was Spider-Man - Blade the Vampire Hunter which contained two episodes which were "Blade, the Vampire Hunter" and "The Immortal Vampire", a two-part story episode from the second season, making it like a movie based on the toy line, Spider-Man: Vampire Wars.
Bootleg DVDs of the show have become popular among fans due to a lack of official DVD releases. The bootlegs feature all of the episodes but some of them have low video quality and watermarks. This is likely to change as the entire series becomes available in the UK. The series is currently the 9th most wanted unreleased DVD at TVShowsOnDVD.com.
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 was also nominated for one 1996 Image Award for Outstanding Animated/Live-Action/Dramatic Youth or Children's Series/Special.
On November 1, 2014 at the Comikaze Expo, where the show's 20th anniversary was celebrated, John Semper Jr. revealed that much of the cast and crew of Spider-Man, himself included, had agreed to reunite for a new crowdfunded series entitled "War of the Rocket Men". In addition, in late 2014, Semper Jr started a website (cartoonspiderman.com) that features behind-the-scenes content, podcasts about the show, a link to the Facebook page that Semper regularly posts on and more. On April 16, 2016, Semper's YouTube account posted a video in which he revealed that he had written a short story following up on the series, detailing Peter finding Mary Jane, referring to the story as "an autobiographical fan-fiction" in which he reminisced on what it was like writing the last episodes of the series, as well as detailing how Peter and Mary Jane would have been reunited, adding one could think of it as "the lost episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series". Semper explained that he would be releasing this as a perk on a crowd-funding campaign for War of the Rocket Men. The video also featured the returning voices of Christopher Daniel Barnes and Sara Ballantine as Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson respectively in an audio promo prologue entitled "Peter Finds Mary Jane".
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