Yesterday we looked at the first cartoon and the two live-action TV shows. Like I said it’s all cartoons from here on out. The first two come from Marvel’s team-up with Sunbow, Marvel Productions. The third is from joining forces with Saban, and is a callback to the first show. Two of these shows are clip montages while two of these shows have some connectivity…and they are not the same two shows. Let’s see how the 1981 Spider-Man and Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends, and the 90s Fox Kids Spider-Man convinces the kids to watch their take on the wall-crawler.
I wasn’t even aware of this syndicated series until it was rerun on UPN as part of their Sunday morning shows (because I guess they wanted to stand out from the Saturday morning shows…so they chose a day when a lot of their audience is at church or Sunday school–good thinking, guys!). It should look familiar because they used the same character models for the characters they shared. But their intros are somewhat different.
Somewhat. You will see some similarities, like the logos and how Spidey stands on them. There is, however, a different theme song, and it’s not a bad one but it’s not a great one either. The interesting thing compared to the ones we looked at yesterday is that the previous shows focused more on demonstrating Spider-Man’s abilities. All the ones we’re looking at today share a theme of focusing on the threats Spider-Man faces. We do get to see “hey, that guy is Spider-Man” and a look of some of his powers but the enemies have more presence here than they did previously. The 60s cartoon did use Spider-Man’s rogues gallery at the time and the Japanese series had one continuous threat while the US live-action used one-time villains. Neither live series used the comic’s foes however.
While this was airing in syndication NBC was giving their own series. It lasted for three seasons, but the intro only changed when they teamed with another Marvel character. I’ll come back to that, but let’s look at the other Spider-Man cartoon intro we 80s kids know.
Both Marvel Productions and Sunbow have come up with better theme songs than this, but it is an improvement over the syndicated version, slightly. I also like that they use original animation instead of episode clips. I’m just spoiled on animated series using original animation I guess. There’s also more of a balance between displaying who the heroes are, their individual powers, and some of the threats they deal with than the other intros. The advantage here is personal nostalgia.
In the final season the show was teamed up with another series, The Incredible Hulk. I may or may not look at Hulk intros in the future, but he’s had fewer shows. So let’s see what that intro change was like.
A shorter version of the Incredible Hulk intro, plus…more clips. Dang it, Amazing Friends, you were doing something right and you blew it!
Sunbow closed and Marvel Productions became Marvel Films Animation, who went to Saban Entertainment to help create their next Spider-Man cartoon, this time for Fox Kids. They actually changed their intros every season, so I’m just going to grab one from the early seasons, when it was longer. (They shortened it for the last season or so. Now it’s just webbing a logo and pulling it off-screen., right Ultimate Spider-Man?)
Seriously, why do I have to fight so hard to find the proper aspect ratio?
And yes, more clips, but at least they’re used well. Like the first Amazing Friends intro there’s a balance between supporting cast, powers, “Peter’s Spider-Man” and the threats he deals with. However, they go by real fast, which I grant is in keeping with the more action-oriented style of the show, but it throws everything so fast you can’t really focus on anything. (Sadly we’ll have more of the same tomorrow.) This is the first time Mary Jane shows up outside of the comics and she’s glossed over like everybody else. Then you have the remix of the first theme, which is hit or miss. I kind of like it but I can see why others might not.
Three more intros to go, which we’ll get into in tomorrow’s finale of my rundown of the TV Spider-Intros.