Thursday, June 7, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Spider-Man (1981)

Spider-Man is an animated television show that aired starting in 1981. There were 26 episodes created. Although there are some inconsistencies between them, this show is closely related to the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends show.
The title card for Spider-Man (1981)... see Spidey?
This show is absolutely classic Spider-Man. The show starts with Spider-Man already well established in a continuity. He already has his powers and we're to understand that he's been Spider-Man for awhile. For example, when he meets Doctor Octopus in the first episode we can infer that they've fought before and are familiar with one another. Peter Parker is a struggling college student in constant threat of failure. His supporting cast is mostly present and in their classic forms. Aunt May is a sweet, innocent old lady. J. Jonah Jameson is a demanding hothead. Others such as Betty Brant and Robbie Robertson also appear regularly.

One of the really great things about this show are the villains. Unlike previous shows, each of the episodes in this show featured a great Marvel villain. Some of them were not traditional Spider-Man villains such as Magneto and Dr. Doom but many villains were like Sandman, Dr. Octopus, and Kraven the Hunter. There were a number of superhero guest stars as well like Ka-Zar and Captain America.

The animation was very capable. Spider-Man moves in a very believable way. Most improved after the 1960's series was Spider-Man's web-swinging. Gone are the days of swinging off of clouds. Instead, this show has Spider-Man moving in a three-dimensional way, using perspective to make Spider-Man's dynamic webswinging seem much more realistic.

Of course, the action is pretty campy. The violence is mostly mild except for the occasional, unintentionally horrific scene like a train full of passengers crashing and then exploding. On the whole, the show is very kid friendly.

The sequences of webs used to transition between scenes is absolutely classic.

The voice actor for Peter Parker/Spider-Man doesn't have much range. His excited voice and nervous voice and happy voice all sound very similar. The actress that voiced Betty sounds like an annoying, nagging mother. The best voice acting was done for Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson, and the villains.

This effort certainly represents the best Spider-Man show to this point in history.

1LR Review - 16 out of 20! It's a Hit!

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