Spider-Man (1994 TV series)


Spider-Man (1994 TV series)

Infobox Television
bgcolour =
show_name = Spider-Man


caption = Title sequence.
format = Animated Series
Action
runtime = 30 minutes
creator = Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
developer =
executive_producer = Stan Lee
Avi Arad
voices = Christopher Daniel Barnes Jennifer Hale Edward Asner
country = USA
network = FOX (Fox Kids)
first_aired = November 19, 1994
last_aired = January 31, 1998
num_episodes = 65
list_episodes = List of Spider-Man (1994 animated series) episodes
preceded_by = "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends"
followed_by = "Spider-Man Unlimited"
website = http://members.aol.com/drg4/index.html?f=fs
imdb_id = 0112175
tv_com_id = 2439

"Spider-Man" (also known as "Spider-Man: The Animated Series") is an American animated television series featuring the Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man, which ran for five seasons (65 episodes) starting November 19, 1994 and finishing January 31, 1998. The producer/story editor was John Semper, Jr. and production company was the Marvel Productions. Reruns can currently be seen on Toon Disney.

ynopsis

The series tells the story of a nineteen year old Peter Parker in his first year at Empire State University, and his alter-ego 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 Spider-Man's classic villains, including The Kingpin, The Green Goblin, The Lizard, The Scorpion, Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, The Rhino, The Shocker, The Vulture, and The Chameleon, as well as more recent villains such as Venom, Carnage, and The Hobgoblin. Over the course of the series the single Peter Parker contends with the romantic interests of Mary Jane Watson, Felicia Hardy and her alter ego, The Black Cat.

Production overview

While Marvel's "X-Men" series was being produced by Saban, "Spider-Man" was produced by 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. This show is the second longest-running Marvel show created—after "X-Men" which lasted for six years—lasting five seasons and 65 episodes. It is currently owned and distributed by The Walt Disney Company, which acquired all Fox Kids-related properties from News Corporation and Saban International in 2001.

Creation

Stan Lee, and Avi Arad were the executive producers of the show. Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man claimed to check "every premise, every outline, every script, every model sheet, every storyboard, everything to do with putting the show together".Fact|date=February 2007

He and producer/story editor 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"."Fact|date=February 2007

One of the obligations of working with Fox was to make the show educational by introducing resolvable, child-appropriate social issues. Semper said he believed "Spider-Man" to be particularly good for this because the show takes place in real world New York making it able to tackle problems "closer to home."Fact|date=February 2007

Animation

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 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 believedFact|date=February 2007 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.

Censorship

By 1994, heavy censorship was being enforced by Fox because certain shows were being banned for excessive violence in some countries. So in a bid to make the "Spider-Man" animated series as politically correct as possible, the producers of the show were instructed to abide by their extensive list of requirements.cite web|url=http://hometown.aol.com/drg4/semper.html|title=Interview With John Semper|accessdate=2007-05-23] 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. "Destroy" and "destruction" were frequently employed as synonyms.cite web |url=http://marvel.toonzone.net/spideytas/interviews/sempervenom/ |title=John Semper interview about symbiotes and season long story arcs |accessdate=2008-02-27 |publisher=marvel.toonzone.net] For example:
**Rather than explicitly stating that Uncle Ben was killed it is only said that he "was shot" and that Peter "let him down."
**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.
**At one point, when the Green Goblin returns after seemingly perishing, Spider-Man says, "You?! But I thought you were-" and the Green Goblin cuts him off with, "I'm not.. but you'll soon be!" before throwing a Pumpkin Bomb at Spider-Man.
**When Hydro-Man was defeated and evaporated, Mary Jane asked "Is he-?" Spider-Man cuts her off by saying "Not necessarily." He goes on to explain that water that evaporates always eventually returns to the earth in the form of rain.
**There were exceptions, such as when Felicia's mother was attacked by Kraven, and stated "That madman nearly killed you." or when Mary Jane suggested that Harry was trying to "avenge the death of his father."
* Many 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 scenes in which ordinary policemen wielded futuristic pistols. However, in Episode 3.09, Robbie Robertson's son Randy finds a real-looking gun in his father's desk, though it is never fired on screen, and in Episode 56, when Keane Marlow is telling the story of how he lost his wife, the bank robbers are firing a pistol and a semi-automatic. In "Day of the Chameleon", the Chameleon is about to pull out a realistic looking pistol from behind his back before Spider-Man stops him. In "Sting of the Scorpion" a flashback shows Jameson's wife's killer supposedly using a realistic gun in a drive by shooting. It is worth noting that the team behind the roughly contemporary "" portrayed realistic, if anachronistic, firearms onscreen throughout that show's run without ever having an episode banned or censored as a result.
* Spider-Man was not allowed to hit anyone with his fist, however there were a few exceptions. 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. He also punched the Scorpion twice in "The Final Nightmare."
* No crashing glass was allowed. 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, although there was a scene where a teenager was stuck to the bottom of an elevator, about to be crushed until Spider-Man saved him.
* 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." However, the word "blood" is used regularly in non-vampire episodes. True vampires later appeared anyway, primarily in the form of Blade's vampire mother, but they are not shown actually biting anyone.
* Spider-Man was not allowed to harm any pigeons when he landed on rooftops.
* Cletus Kasady a.k.a. Carnage was not a serial killer in the series, he was just a madman. Carnage never actually used his symbiotic blades to harm anyone, he was either stopped or dodged. He also absorbed people's energy rather than killing them outright. However, he has made a few references to attempts to murder. For instance, when Baron Mordo stated to him that he needed a few more life forces, Carnage said "Only a few? Too bad!". He also referred to his process of draining life force as "feeding".

There are, however, notable exceptions to these rules. Examples include:
*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.
*Several other characters, including Mysterio, Jameson's wife and the Kingpin's father were implied to have died off-screen.
*It should be noted that the restricted words were sometimes mentioned regardless of Fox's censorship. For example, in "The Insidious Six", Scorpion states that he'd "kill to work for the Kingpin" (a common exaggeration used by many). Another variation appears in "Hydro Man", where Liz Allan says the word in pig latin to Mary Jane. When trying to reason with The Spot, Spider-Man said "You're no killer." Scorpion even said the word "kill" in his first appearance and the death words were used regularly in the "Six Forgotten Warriors" five-part episode saga.

After the September 11, 2001 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 impossible 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 both of them featured a building burning down. Another noticeable edit can be viewed in season three's "Enter the Green Goblin" episode. In the original, the Goblin Glider slams into a building with Spider-Man riding on top. In the newly edited version, the scene is cut, and Spider-Man emerges from a hole in the side of the building. Another edit occurs near the end of episode 21, when it is revealed that Kraven and Punisher's last battle with the "Man-Spider" was in fact inside the parking garage of the World Trade Center, and that Kraven had deduced the location by smelling some webbing left at a previous battle and detecting remnant soot in it from the terrorist bombing of the early 1990s. The whole sequence of Punisher finding out where they are and Kraven's explanation of how he knew where to look for them was cut, though the battle scenes within the garage are left intact, since obviously they could belong to any parking garage until the final revelation.

Missing features

The proposed James Cameron live-action Spider-Man 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. Fact|date=August 2008 When the movie eventually fell through Electro was added to one of the later episodes, but the Sandman remains one of the most prominent members of Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery not to appear in the cartoon. Betty Brant was also missing in the series. Instead, J. Jonah Jameson started out right away with an African American secretary named Glory Grant, who was Jonah's secretary after Betty left in the comics.

Merchandising

Three comics were produced on the "Spider-Man" animated series:
* "Spider-man Adventures" (December 1994 to February 1996) [cite web|url=http://www.comics-db.com/Marvel_Comics/S/Spider-Man/Spider-Man_Adventures/index.html|title=Spider-Man Adventures |publisher=The Big Comic Book Database|accessdate=2008-01-30] "Spider-Man Adventures #1-4" was later reprinted in "Kellogg's Froot Loops Mini-Comics" #1-4. [cite web|url= http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/title/froot_loops.html| title=Kellogg’s Fruit Loops (Spide-Man Adventures Reprints)|publisher=spiderfan.org|accessdate=2008-02-05]

* "Adventures of Spider-Man": (April 1996 to March 1997) This featured new stories based on the series. [cite web|url=http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/title/spiderman_adventures_v2.html|title=The Adventures of Spider-Man |publisher=spiderfan.org|accessdate=2008-02-05] "Adventures of Spider-Man" was later reprinted in "Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #11-21" from August 1996 to May 1997. [cite web|url=http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/title/spiderman_spectacular_uk.html#11|title=Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) : #1-#25
publisher=spiderfan.org|accessdate=2008-02-05
]

* "Marvel Adventures" [cite web|url= http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/title/marvel_adventures.html| title=Marvel Adventures (Spidey’s Appearances) |publisher=spiderfan.org|accessdate=2008-02-05]

A number of video games were also produced:
* "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" for Sega Genesis
* "Spider-Man" for the 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.

Novelisations of select episodes were also released.

A extensive toy line that ran over 8 series and included a staggering amount of play sets and vehicles.

There was a wide variety of themed merchandise produced such as lunch boxes, cereals, clothing etc.

Also, McDonald's produced a themed line of Happy Meal toys.

Release availability

"Spider-Man" was one of the most popular shows on Fox Kids, ranking with and occasionally above other hits such as "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", "Spider-Man 2" and "Spider-Man 3" movies have sparked more interest in new fans, allowing it to air for a time in reruns thanks to its new owners: Disney. Notably, the episodes aired in their chronological order, not Fox's original air dates - albeit (as with similar shows) with some scenes cut out.

Some episodes have been released on VCD by Magnavision Home Video.

As of now, as with the majority of the other Disney-acquired Marvel Comics animated series, there are no plans to release the show in complete season sets on DVD. Instead, select episodes have been released on DVD by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment:

A new DVD was released only in Canada containing four episodes from the Mutant Agenda.

A boxed set of all the DVDs was released in Poland, simply entitled "Spider-Man: 5 DVD Set". The front of the box features the same graphics as "The Ultimate Villain Showdown", but is relief.

Prior to Disney's releases, Marvel Films did release many two-episode DVDs in 2002.

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 despite having low video quality.

On the "Spider-Man: The Return of the Green Goblin" DVD, the bonus episode of the same name ("The Return of the Green Goblin") is missing its background music.

"Spider-Man: The Animated Series" is currently the 46th most wanted unreleased DVD at [http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/showinfo.cfm?showID=3930&CFID=19303607&CFTOKEN=63477329 TVShowsOnDVD.com]

Awards

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 nominated for 1 1996 Image Award for Outstanding Animated/Live-Action/Dramatic Youth or Children's Series/Special. [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112175/awards|title=IMDb: "Spider-Man" Awards|accessdate=2007-05-23]

International syndication

"Spider-Man: The Animated Series" was the top-rated animated show in Germany, Portugal and Spain.Fact|date=February 2007

In the UK, the premiere episodes averaged 2.5 million viewers.Fact|date=February 2007

In early 1996, the show was launched in Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and South Africa.

In Bulgaria the show was also aired on bTV, Nova Television and Evrokom.

In South Korea, the show was also aired on KBS

The series is still regularly rerun on Jetix Europe, the successor of Fox Kids, in 19 languages.

In Japan, it aired on the Japanese Cartoon Network. In this dub, his secret identidy is Yu Komori, like it is in .

Characters depicted

Credits


=Cast [cite web|url=http://imdb.com/title/tt0112175/fullcredits|title=Spider-Man Cast|accessdate=2007-05-23] =

Produced by
* Bob Richardson - Supervising Producer & Director
* John Semper - producer / story editor / lead writer
* Michael Knowles - producer / writer
* Avi Arad - executive producer
* Stan Lee - executive producer

Original Music by
* Shuki Levy
* Joe Perry - theme

Art Department
* Michael Swanigan - storyboard

Sound Department
* Elliot Anders - supervising dialogue editor
* Jay Bolton - music editor
* Mark Ryan - music editor

Episode guide

Footnotes

References

* [http://members.aol.com/drg4/index.html DRG4's Spider-Man: The Animated Series Page]
* [http://hometown.aol.com/drg4/semper.html Interview with John Semper about Spider-Man:The Animated Series]
* [http://www.cataroo.com/020104.html Animator John Cawley official site]
* [http://marvel.toonzone.net/spideytas/ Marvel Animation Age Presents: Spider-Man: The Animated Series]
* [http://www.spiderfan.org/shows/tv_90s/index.html SpiderFan.org] (fan site)

External links

*
*
* [http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/showinfo.cfm?showID=3930 Spider-Man (1994)] at [http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/index.cfm TVShowsOnDVD.com]


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