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Although the animation was terrible by today's standards, this series had
style that was very much in keeping with the 60's Spider-man comic books.
There were a standard set of shots with Spidey swinging along buildings,
coming right at the screen, which they used over and over and over
Some of the episodes were taken right from the comic books(such as the one where Jameson sends a robot with his face on it after Spider-man--it even used lines directly from the comic). Others were rip offs of shows from Rocket Robin Hood(in particular the "Dimentia Fiiive!!!" one). These were the worst ones because they tended to meander and frequently had these psychedelic background skies that were really depressing to stare at.
It was a good show for laughs--intentional and otherwise. Whenever I read a Spider-man comic--I think of J. Jonah Jameson, Peter Parker, and Spider-man with the voices they have in this series.
Note: the music was actually pretty good--very fast moving--and of course the title song with its memorable lyrics: "Spider-man, Spider-man, does whatever a spider can, can he swing from a web? Take a look overhead, hey there, there goes the Spider-man!"
Once you hear that song--you'll never get it out of your head.
The problem with comic books today, is that they are waaayy too
sophisticated for most kids to comprehend... I read Spiderman when I was 6
and 7 years old (I read it when I was older as well, but I will get to that)
and I could follow the stories to some exent, but mostly I read it because
the cartoon was soooo cool (much cooler than any later Spiderman
incarnations)... the animation was quirky, the voices were very Shatnerian
(I think I just invented a word, and I will now use it frequently), but it
was fun and it made sense to a young mind.
Now, don't get me wrong about comic books, I really appreciated the more sophisticated stories when I was a teenager, but I have no idea how the medium will gain new fans when you cannot hope to get involved with them until you are at least a teenager (when such things are uncool)... and a lot of the material is too intense for young eyes anyway... maybe a line of comics for younger fans would be good. I dunno, but I feel bad that my kid will likely not have comic book heroes in his life to any meaningful degree... I just wish that cool shows like Bakshi's Spiderman were still on the air to fill in the gaps.
I love superhero films and TV shows and this was a great
The animation may not be as great as the mid-1990's cartoon series but the stories were fun. My favourite episodes were "Return of the Flying Dutchman" and "Neptunes Nose Cone."
All of Spidey's main foes were in this-including my favourite Mysterio (the guy with the fishbowl for a helmet). And Peter Parker was so likeable in this show.
One more thing-I just loved the theme tune for this show and it is the best theme tune out of all the Spider-Man cartoon shows.
Will somebody please release EVERY episode onto video sometime?
I grew up watching this series in the early 1970s, and I'm happy that
someone finally placed them onto DVDs. The set of 6 discs is rather
deep, with all the episodes filling the DVDs. It's rather thin on
extras. But there are what, 3 hours per disc? And the episodes are in
chronological order, from the first to the final episode.
Some of the episodes weren't digitally remastered, as most seem to have been, but heck, when I compare them to the VHS tapes I used to purchase at comic book shows where the tapes were recorded from UHF stations yielding poor reception, I won't complain. I'm just glad they're here. For the price, it's plenty of bang for the buck.
As for the episodes, Ralph Bakshi took over as producer midway through the run of the original episodes (his cartoons can be found about midway through the third DVD). Reading through postings on the net, people have said that Bakshi took over and operations moved from Canada to the US when it was cheaper then to produce the animation in the states... and some staff cutting was done while the episodes were still cranked out at a good pace. Hence, people claim, a good bit of regurgitation of characters and plot lines increased. FYI, the Canadian episodes had Spidey webbing in clear skies, while the Bakshi episodes introduced eerie, watercolored skies.
I'm a visual guy, and love the vibrant tones. Plus, it seems as though the music picked up a lot with the change. I just "dig" the way the music sounded. You can even hear a musician yelp every now and then in some jam sessions. So, I can't go Bakshi bashing. Usually, it's the networks that trim budgets, and Bakshi, I feel, had to make due. He did the best he could, I think, and I bet that if the budget had been fat, Bakshi would have had the animators take time and add depth and detail.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*Could be some spoilers*
Hanna-Barbera ruled CBS, on Saturday mornings, during the 1960's. But, Marvel ruled ABC. There was H-B's version of the Fantastic Four. *I still think of Paul Frees' voice whenever I read Ben Grimm's battlecry: "It's clobberin' time!"* And, there was "Spider-man," produced by Krantz Animation. Out of all the cartoon-versions I've watched, I still consider this one the undeniable best.
I mean, Spidey was one of the few superheroes I saw, back then, who DIDN'T wear a cape! He had the coolest powers; the best wisecracks; the most atmospheric background music; and (last-but-not-least) the world's catchiest theme song. *"SPIDER-MAN! SPIDER-MAN! DOES WHATEVER A SPIDER CAN!" ETC., ETC.*
And, imagine my further delight, when I watched Rankin/Bass' "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" for the first time, and recognized half its characters' voices as being Spidey-voices!!
What I loved most of all, however, was the animation, itself. Far superior (even during the rather downbeat second season) to the type used for the syndicated sister-show, "Marvel Superheroes." The latter reminded me more of "Clutch Cargo" than "Spider-man!"
Now, if only Paul Soles or Paul Kligman could have done some kind of cameo for the first live-action Spider-sequel, starring Tobey Maguire, my life would nearly be complete. Because, to me, LIFE IS A GREAT BIG BANG-UP. WHEREVER THERE'S A HANG-UP, YOU'LL FIND THIS SPIDER-FAN!
When I was a very small boy in the 1970s I used to love this show. That
is because I had no taste. I recently purchased the box set because of
nostalgia and it is really off-putting how bad the material is. In each
20 minutes or so of the program there are perhaps forty-five seconds of
original animation. The vast majority of the show is stock animation
repeated over and over, and, in the later episodes, stills that are
manipulated (spun around, zoomed in on, etc.) In the earlier episodes
the backgrounds are at least colorful, but in later episodes they get
dark and inexplicably expressionistic. And why do the episodes
introduce only three characters: Peter Parker, J. Jonah Jameson, and
Betty Brant? What about Flash Thompson? Aunt May? -- There are dozens
of potential characters that should have been introduced.
Okay, now I have that out of my system...
The music score is pretty cool, and while the show has its flaws, it captures something of the swinging attitude that "Smilin' Stan Lee" and "Jazzy Johnny Romita" brought to the early Spider-Man comics. --> NOT MUCH, but something.
The "Spider Man and His Amazing Friends" show from the 80s is far superior, as are the cartoon shows from the 90s. It's too bad Marvel animation couldn't have come up with something of the quality and intelligence of the Batman Animated Series and its several spin- offs.
Hell I wasnt even really thought of when this show first came out. I use to watch it on Fox 5 in NYC with my dad when I was 3....that was about 20 years ago. This was definetly the best of the 60s Marvel cartoons. I preferred the first ones, I liked the Bakshi ones, but I liked the shorts because they mostly used the comic villains. The Bakshi ones didnt start using real comic villains towards the end. Fox Family occasionally shows it, but rarely. If you can find videos of this series at comic stores pick them up. This was a great show.
What a treat! Watching all the episodes from the sixties (the series ran from 1967-69) was right out of this world! The series had three seasons, two of which were directed by Ralph Bakshi. These particular seasons had some really bizarre storylines, including time travel, inter-dimensional travel, wizards and black magic, giant cats, and man-eating vines! However it's the swinging, rocking music that really makes this series cook! I only wish this music was available now!
I watched this series when I was a kid, not in the late 60's, but in
the last year it aired on regular television. Luckily, that year my
bought our first VCR and I managed to get some of the episodes on tape.
still have some of these tapes today (mixed with Gilligan's Island and
There were three series. The first was good. But the best were the 2nd and 3rd series with a different animation team including the great Ralph Bakshi who went on to make animated movies like Lord of the Rings (1979), Fire & Ice, and American Pop.
When one sees these Spiderman cartoons today, they might comment on the crudity of the animation. For example, Spiderman's costume is unfinished, he is refilmed swinging through the air over and over again in the same pose, sometimes he stands on the edge of a building with one foot in the air and is always swinging across town far above the tops of buildings.
But these and other things don't take away from how good I think the animation is. First of all, even though all of Spidey's movements are the same shots reused a hundred times, at least they're smooth. In action cartoons today the characters are very jerky and awkward and have no real feeling of action. Though the colors are old and dull, the backgrounds are the most interesting and unique that you'll ever see in any cartoon (including full length feature films; espiecially Disney). Also, animation in super-hero cartoons today is too elastic-like. The heros manage to stretch and twist there way in and out of everything. The old Spiderman cartoons looked and felt more like the comic (maybe not like Todd McFarlane's).
But the artwork isn't the only thing that makes this series cool. The music is better than any other cartoon before or since. Besides the unforgettable theme song, each scene of each episode is accompanied by a jazzy rock n, roll tune or an orchestral piece (some of it existing classical). I watch them for the music as much as the cartoon itself. You will never here a score like it or anything else as memorable in a cartoon again.
These old Spidermans are also written in the traditional style of story telling that's hard to find these days. The drama builds to the action sequences making it more exciting, where as action cartoons today just punch their way through every scene making it very boring.
Perhaps it's sheer nostalgia. But I wish there were more cartoons like this one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This may contain spoilers. I'd give it a five. The first season is cheesy, but I really recommend it to Spider-Man fans like me. Season 2-3 they got a new writer. This was the guy who wrote Rocket Robin-hood. In my opinion, he should stuck to that, because season 2 started out great! Even better than season 1. I think season 2 is prequel to season 1 because the first episode starts out with a spectacular origin of Spider-Man! Episode 2 we are ACTUALLY introduced to Kingpin. Episode 3 we get a made up villain who's a little goofy, but all in all it's a fun episode that's great for Spidey fans. Episode 4 is where it gets bad. Spidey fights a mole man underground. And it basically goes downhill from there as he even goes to space. Season 3 isn't any better, one villain is defeated by being turned into ice cream! No joke. Still, worth a watch.
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