By now we all know the story of Peter Parker, the nerdy high school photography student who gets bitten by a genetically altered spider and becomes Spider-Man. Really the only spider quality he has is the ability to shoot web out from his wrists. That’s like any fat guy making a costume then calling himself Hippopotamus-Man. I never understood why Peter Parker felt the need to stop crime in New York City. Doesn’t crime need to happen? All these superheroes doing what they call “due diligence” is just putting the police out of a job.
(Spider-Man looks pretty jacked here yet Peter Parker was always a thin nerd. Seriously, look at that butt. How is Peter Parker not more popular than he is?)
Spider-Man: The Animated Series was a favorite of mine. And yes, he has a hyphen in his name because his dad’s last name was Spider, his mom’s last name was Man, and they got a divorce. Spider-Man didn’t want to be disrespectful and take one name and not the other. I’m lying. Spider-Man’s parents are long dead before his story even begins.
Based on the comic series of the same name, Spider-Man chronicles Peter Parker’s days as a superhero in New York. Like with all cartoon series based on comic books this show was fantastic because of the villain plethora. The Kingpin was about the only bad guy not named after an animal. He was a big fat bald guy who loved Farrelly Brothers movies. There was also the Scorpion, the Lizard, the Rhino, the Vulture, and Shocker. I don’t remember shocker much but since this was a kid’s show we can safely assume his catchphrase was not “two in the pink, one in the stink.”
I loved this show so much that one year for Christmas my mom got me every single action figure from the series. Every single one! I was a very accurate kid and still am an accurate person. I never liked sports video games because the statistics never matched up to real life. Nobody ever patiently waits for a walk in a baseball video game, you swing at everything. I needed to have every action figure or “guy” as I would call them. I still remember pulling the blanket off the couch to see it filled with them all still packaged and in mint condition. The only Christmas moment to top that was when my parents pretended Santa didn’t bring my younger sister anything because she was such a bad kid. She must have known she was bad because for those sobbing 5 minutes they let the prank go she believed it.
(I thought I had them all but upon further review I never had Rhino. My parents told me to use Rocksteady from my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection to save a few bucks. They totally didn’t get that they come from different universes)
A great aspect of this show was how serialized it was. Serialized for those of you who don’t know the television term basically means a continuous story from one episode to another. Think about it in the way how a serial killer will always kill redheads. If you’re not as grim a person as I am, think of any show on HBO or Showtime. Dexter for instance is a serialized program. There I go, talking about serial killers again on a kid’s show blog.
One great element in this incarnation of Spider-Man was there were frequent appearances by other heroes. Blade, the kickboxing vampire slayer, had a huge storyline involving Peter Parker’s classmate who turned into a vampire. Blade was pretty cool, but the vampire student stunk. All he did was whine about needing plasma. What an overly proper speaking vampire. I bet he uses the word fornicate too.
(The fornicator is on the left. He’s the one with the wavy hair not the perfectly round salt and pepper flat-top haircut)
At times the show got really dark, especially during the whole Venom storyline. Not even the That 70’s Show ginger could ruin my admiration for how evil Venom could be. This was a show I would recommend to anyone who said they liked the Spider-Man live action films because frankly those weren’t very special. I’ll take a kid’s cartoon version of a comic book over a live action movie any day. At least a kid’s show doesn’t have James Franco droopy eyeing me the entire time.