Monday, June 21, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 18-B: The Spider-Man Cartoon Trilogy Pt. 2

Mina: Welcome Back,Everyone. We are Live on top of one of NYC's Finest Buildings.

We're now gonna talk about the 2 Spider-Man Cartoons from the 80's. Mina,will you be a dear and start us off?

Mina: Sure. Spider-Man the 80's Cartoon Series is a syndicated TV series created to launch Marvel Productions, successor of DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, who had previously produced the 1978 New Fantastic Four and 1979 Spider-Woman cartoons. Spidey made guest appearances in both cartoons.

The series featured Peter Parker having to balance his alter ego crimefighting with his responsibilities as a university student, a part-time photographer for the Daily Bugle and caring for his elderly Aunt May.

The series was not as popular with fans as Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends,the Other 80's Spider-Man cartoon,Sadly. However,in this show,Spider-Man provided viewers with plenty of action,as well as a nice amount of comic book villains.

Mina: These Badguys include: The Chameleon, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, The Kingpin, The Lizard,The Sandman,Silvermane,The Scorpion,Vulture,Mysterio, Magneto, Red Skull, Kraven the Hunter, Wizard, Black Cat, and the Green Goblin.

The character design for Peter Parker and the supporting characters were faithful to the comic books of that era and hearkened back to the illustrations by John Romita Sr. of the hero in the 1970's Spider-Man newspaper comic strip.

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 managed to conceal these issues with a focus on action and relatively fluid animation.

Much like the Spider-Man newspaper strip of the late 1970s, Peter Parker’s character design did away with the conservative suit and tie of the 1960s animated series in favor of a hip jacket and yellow turtleneck.

Mina: I think he looks cooler wearing that.

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 he always wore under his street clothes.

Mina: Peter’s mask was connected to his costume at the back of the neck,like a hood, which he would pull over his head when he changed into Spider-Man. Hey,let's talk about the "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" Controversy.

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was originally believed to be a sequel to this solo Spider-Man animated series.This has since been disputed since both series 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.”

Mina: Yeah,Although,not as cool or popular as Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends,the 80's Spidey cartoon itself is regarded by many Spidey fans as being vastly superior, since it remains faithful to the character's origin.

Mina: The animation to both incarnations and its soundtrack are completely identical, although the voicing actors are different.

It's interesting to know that The Green Goblin appeared in Both 80's cartoons.He seems to be similar to a man that transforms into the Goblin,rather than a demented man wearing a costume.

The third season of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends had an episode called “Attack of the Arachnoid”. This episode borrows the majority of its plot from “The Web of Nephilia” from this series.

In the episode "The Prison Plot" of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, there is a flashback sequence that depicts a scene from Spider-Man[80's] episode "When Magneto Speaks...People Listen", confirming the sequel theory.

Mina: Yay,2 series down,4 more to go. It's now time to talk more about Spider-Man and His Amzing Friends.

Yes. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was produced by Marvel Productions starring Spider-Man and Iceman and an all new Marvel Heroine,Firestar. This trio was called the Spider-Friends and they fought against various villains.

Originally broadcast on NBC as a Saturday morning cartoon, the series originally ran for three seasons, from 1981 to 1983, then aired repeats for an additional two years (from 1984 to 1986).

Alongside the 1981 Spider-Man animated series, Amazing Friends was later re-aired in the late 1980s as part of the 90 minute Marvel Action Universe. This was a syndicated series that was used as a platform for old and new Marvel-produced cartoons.

Mina: In the second season, the show was aired along with a Hulk cartoon as "The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man". The two shows shared one intro which showcased the new title. Stan Lee,the man behind the Spider,began narrating the episodes in the second well as the Third season.

Mina: For the third season, there was another title change. This time the characters' names would be reversed and the show was called, "The Amazing Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk".

Mina:It remained that way for most of the remaining years. NBC did air the show individually in mid-season after it was not announced for their fall schedule.

Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Bobby Drake (Iceman), and Angelica Jones (Firestar) are all college students at Empire State University. After working together to defeat the Beetle and recovering the "Power Booster" he stole from Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man),the trio decide to form a chrime-fighting team,known as the "Spider-Friends".

The Trio live together in Aunt May's home with her and a pet dog, Ms. Lion,a Lhasa Apso. Some stories featured team-ups with other characters from the Marvel Universe, including Captain America, Iron Man, Sunfire, and the mid-1970s X-Men.

Mina: The series Also housed many original characters like Videoman and Light Wave. It's also worth noting that Firestar made her Marvel debut in this series. Firestar was created specifically for this series when the Human Torch was unavailable (due to licensing issues).

Mina:The original plan was for Spider-Man to have fire and ice based teammates, so Angelica Jones aka Firestar was created. Her pre-production names included Heatwave, Starblaze, and Firefly.

In fact, it is theorized that in Episode 1: "Triumph of the Green Goblin", the original attendees for the Halloween Party were supposed to be Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, Flash Thompson, and Gwen Stacy.

But Due to time constraints, the animations were still used, but the voices were redubbed. This is supposedly the reason why Mary Jane and Firestar look so alike.

After her initial appearance, the Marvel Comics version of Firestar debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #193 as part of Emma Frost's Hellions team. Firestar was given an origin story in a self-titled mini-series (March – June 1986). The character went on to be a founding member of the New Warriors, and later a member of the Avengers.

Mina: I wonder who would win in a fire fight,Eirestar or The Human Torch? Hmmm...

No clue..but in a Fire fight,Azula would thrash both their asses.

Mina: Ok,how about we add Sailor Mars,Hot-Streak[from static shock]and Zuko into the fray and have ourselves a Blazing Battle Royal? I'd like to see that.

Anyway,getting back on topic,In January of 2009, IGN named Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as the 59th best in there Top 100 Animated Best Animated TV Shows.

The makers of the show had originally intended the stars to be Spider-Man, Iceman, and the Human Torch,like Mina said. However, legal issues about the rights to the Human Torch character (which had also plagued Marvel once before for the 1978 Fantastic Four cartoon) led to the Human Torch being replaced by Firestar,who had similar powers, but was a mutant like Iceman.

Due to Firestar's popularity,she has become a part of the mainstream Marvel Universe. In pre-production, Firestar's codename changed frequently. The unused names were:Firefly, Starblaze, and Heatwave.

Mina: Didn't I already explain that?

Ms. Lion,the teams dog,actually belongs to Firestar. Angelica introduced Peter to the dog before she and Bobby knew Peter's secret identity and vice versa. However,as former teammates in the X-Men,Iceman and Firestar knew each other's secret identities before meeting Peter/Spider-Man.

Aunt May ended up taking care of dog most the time, with Angelica leading the busy life of a superhero and college student. Strangely enough, Ms. Lion actually saved the day in the episode "Seven Little Superheroes", in which The Chameleon was the main enemy.

Mina: For those who don't know you're Rogues Gallery of Spidey villains like we do,The Chameleon is the dude who can transform himself into many different people,Including Spidey himself.

Thank you Mina. Anyway,with her keen sense of smell, Ms. Lion was able to distinguish the shape-changing villain from the heroes he was impersonating.

This episode was also notable for including Marvel heroes Doctor Strange, Namor, Shanna the She-Devil,and Captain America.

Mina: Who,F.Y.I,was once the leader of the Avengers.

Anyway,Some of the sound effects used in the series originated from Universal Television's Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Mina: Buck Rodgers? Who the hell was he?

Don't ask me.

Mina: Here's a little bit of a fact for ya; Did you know that in her civilian identity, Angelica Jones resembles Peter's girlfriend from the comics, Mary Jane Watson.

Well thats gonna do it for this part,but don't go away because Next we are gonna be talking about the 90's Cartoon.

Mina: A.k.a,Spider-Man The Animated Series. I've so been waiting for this. And I bet our veiwers have been too.

Yup. Stay tuned for part 3.


KingsSideCastle said...

Wow...great entry. ^_^ I think I saw an episode or two of this Spiderman cartoon in reruns. (Vaguely remember Iceman and Firestar teaming up with him). Yay for the Mars mention. ^_^

Stefan said...

I'm glad you think so. Part 3 is up now.