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Spider-Man is an American animated TV series based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.

Overview

Production background

The series was created to launch Marvel Productions, successor DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, who had previously produced the 1978 New Fantastic Four and 1979 Spider-Woman animated series (where Spider-Man made two appearances).

Synopsis

The series featured Peter Parker having to balance his alter ego crime fighting with his responsibility as a university student, a part-time photographer for the Daily Bugle and caring for his elderly Aunt May Parker. The series was not as popular with fans as Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, another animated series that aired on NBC around the same time, but Spider-Man still provided viewers with plenty of comic book villains, including Chameleon, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Kingpin, Lizard, Sandman, Silvermane, Vulture, Mysterio, Magneto, Red Skull, Kraven the Hunter, Wizard, Sub-Mariner, Black Cat, Medusa, and the Green Goblin. One other major difference was an overall arc, where Doctor Doom attempts to conquer Earth, while a group of rebels try to free Latveria from his rule with the help of Spider-Man.

Character designs

The character design for Peter Parker (as well as other supporting characters including Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson) was also quite faithful to the comic books of the period and hearkened back to the illustrations by John Romita Sr. of the young hero in Spider-Man's newspaper strip adventures from the 1970's. Due to network constraints and demands from parents, characters such as Spider-Man were not allowed to make a fist to strike an opponent, but the show's creators manages to conceal these issues with a focus on action and relatively fluid animation. The same thing would later happen to Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Much like the Spider-Man newspaper strip of the late 1970's, Peter Parker's character design did away with the 1960's crew cut for a more modern hairstyle during this time, which the character continued to be portrayed with throughout the 1980's and early 1990's.

Likewise; Parker abandoned the conservative suit and tie of the 1960's comics and previous animated series in favor of dark blue straight-legged linen pants; Paired with a hip turquoise/light blue jacket over a yellow turtleneck (although he infrequently wore a button down shirt in the series and put on a tie for the President's arrival at the New York City airport in "Dr. Doom, Master of the World"). Stan Lee once remarked that John Romita Sr. often drew Parker with a turtleneck instead of a collared shirt since he felt it would better hide his Spider-Man costume, which was always worn under his street clothes.

Peter's mask was connected to his costume at the back of the neck, almost like a hood, which he would pull over his head when he changed into Spider-Man.

In relation to Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends

Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends was originally believed to be something of a sequel to this solo Spider-Man animated series, although this has since been disputed since both series were originally first aired at the same time on September 12, 1981. The two series are connected in the latter's third-season episode "Origin of the Spider-Friends." Although not as well known as Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, it does remain faithful to the character's origin. The animation style of both incarnations and incidental music soundtrack are completely identical, although the voice actors are different.

One seeming inconsistency is Norman Osborn (The Green Goblin). In this series, he is portrayed similarly in the comics: wearing a costume and having a split personality. In Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends he seems to be portrayed as having a serious medical condition as a result of the lab accident, and physically transforming into the Green Goblin. However, at the end of Triumph of the Green Goblin, he is shown falling, with his disguise in shreds (after colliding with electrical wires), and tells Spider-Man he'll go back to the clinic he left to be cured, which can be interpreted as either having a treatment for his Goblin transformation or therapy for his split personality.

In the episode "The Prison Plot" of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, there is a flashback sequence that depicts a scene from this series' "When Magneto Speaks. . . People Listen", which hints the two shows are, in fact, connected.

Episodes

  • Bubble, Bubble, Oil and Trouble
  • Dr. Doom, Master of the World
  • Lizards, Lizards, Everywhere
  • Curiosity Killed the Spider-Man
  • The Sandman is Coming
  • When Magneto Speaks. . . People Listen
  • The Pied Piper of New York Town
  • The Doctor Prescribes Doom
  • Carnival of Crime
  • Revenge of the Green Goblin
  • Triangle of Evil
  • The A-B-C's of D-O-O-M
  • The Sidewinder Strikes
  • The Hunter and the Hunted
  • The Incredible Shrinking Spider-Man
  • The Unfathomable Dr. Gizmo
  • Cannon of Doom
  • The Capture of Captain America
  • The Doom Report
  • The Web of Nephilla
  • Countdown to Destruction
  • Arsenic of Aunt May
  • The Vulture has Landed
  • Wrath of the Sub-Mariner
  • The Return of the Kingpin
  • Under the Wizard's Spell

Cast

Actor Role
Ted Schwartz Spider-Man / Peter Parker
William Woodson J. Jonah Jameson
Mona Marshall Betty Brant
Linda Gary May Parker
Ralph James Doctor Doom
Lewis Baily Joseph Robertson
Jack Angel Donald Blake
Man Mountain Marko
Moe
William Boyett Hammerhead
Wally Burr Dr. Lee
Corey Burton Lizard
Philip C. Clarke Sidewinder
Willie Wilson
Regis Cordic Ringmaster
Henry Corden Akim
Brad Crandall Professor Gizmo
Peter Cullen Red Skull
Brian Cummings ESU Principal
General
Jeff David Nephilla
Lynn Johnson Colleen
Morgan Lofting Black Cat
Mona Marshall Betty Brant
Jack DeLeon Kraven the Hunter
George DiCenzo Captain America
Wizard
Walker Edmiston Magneto
Ron Feinberg Cat Burglar
Brian Fuld Johann
(Young) Reed Richards
(Young) Victor Von Doom
Buster Jones Acting teacher
Stan Jones Doctor Octopus
Kingpin
Les Lampson Shlocker
Larry
John H. Mayer Chameleon
Police sergeant
Don Messick Vulture
Hank Edwards
Arlin Miller Ka-Zar
Vic Perrin Sub-Mariner
Caesar Cicero
Tony Pope Boris
Richard Ramos Gadgeteer
Gene Ross Goron
Neil Ross Norman Osborn
Michael
Dennis Marks Green Goblin
Michael Rye Mysterio
Magneto
Marilyn Schreffler Sally Ann Beaumont
Gary Seger Beyond Belief Host
Michael Sheehan Mortimer
John Stephenson Dr. Norton
Andre Stojka Sandman
Professor Higgins
B.J. Ward Namorita
Medusa
Paul Winchell Silvermane
Uncle Ben

Trivia

  • In preparation for creating Spider-Man: The Animated Series, John Semper Jr. watched every Spider-Man series that preceded his.
  • The episodes featuring Doctor Doom had an ongoing storyline about rebels in Latveria trying to topple Doom. Throughout these episodes Doom is able to trick people, especially Jameson, into thinking that he is a kind ruler and international humanitarian.

Opening

Spider-Man 1981 TV Show Intro01:02

Spider-Man 1981 TV Show Intro

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