Another Saturday, another cartoon. This week we went back in time to 1994, when Spider-Man, the animated series, first aired. This was the definitive Spider-Man when I was growing up. I remember watching this religiously. It had all the best characters and was my first look at one of the most popular superheroes. Of course, I soon discovered the comics but continued to watch the show.
Episode 1 was titled “The Night of the Lizard,” which is odd when you consider the first X-Men episode was “Night of the Sentinels.” Like most of the 90’s Marvel shows, the theme song is amazing (of course, the Fantastic Four is my favorite).
In this you can see the cartoon style that was prevalent for the time. It was good, even by today’s standards. There were a few odd things, like how big some peoples’ eyes were, and the computer animation for the city when he webslings through it isn’t that great, but overall it’s a winner. I also love how his spider-sense looks like he is having hallucinations.
I like how this show doesn’t spend 20 minutes explaining Spider-Man’s origin or even mention it much at all. Peter Parker just is Spider-Man. If you don’t know why, then you’re in the wrong place. We meet a lot of people, including Deb Whitman, a girl at the university with Peter who is “like the little sister [he] never wanted.” I don’t know much about her in the comic universe, but apparently she is there, doing stuff. We also see Triple J (J. Jonah Jameson, not a relative of Triple H). This show gave him his voice. It is exactly what it should sound like. The only time I’ve seen/heard better was in the Tobey Maguire movies. J.K. Simmons is the perfect Jameson. If that character comes up in the newer movies, there is no reason to recast (although they did make his mustache a bit less Hitler-esque).
Aunt May is there too, a little worrywart in a smart blazer. And then there is Eddie Brock. If you don’t know what happens with Brock, then I don’t want to spoil the late 80’s for you. We see him as a rival for Parker and he ends up getting humiliated by both Peter and Spider-Man (I know they’re the same guy, but it’s twice, in and out of costume). My only complaint about Brock is that he doesn’t have the sweet sweet mullet that he rocked in the comics.
Really not sure why he’s naked up there. Anyways, as far as the actual storyline for this episode goes, it’s pretty okay. We see Curt Connors, and learn about his research and the fact that he turned himself into a lizard -man who is dubbed “The Lizard” by the general public, who just hate creative names apparently. It is just another member of the animal-themed villains that Spider-Man faces (such as Rhino, Vulture, Doctor Octopus, and I’m sure there’s more).
It’s a typical Lizard story. He wants everyone else to be lizard people like him and also wants to be with his family, the thought of which brings him back to his senses long enough for Spider-Man to stop him. (Scorpion! That’s another one) He does this by blasting him with the neo-genetic recombobulator (?) that turned him into the Lizard to begin with. I’m not sure if he reversed the polarity or something, but whatever, it’s essentially a dues ex machina which is used at least one more time.
Also, this premier episode featured another staple of Spider-Man stories; the jokes that often are not funny at all. Such as when he confront the Lizard and says, “I thought you were just a myth. I guess I was myth-taken.” Stop it. Just stop it. No one would ever actually say that.
Overall, I loved it. It brought back all the good memories of childhood and was easily accessible for my daughter. The only downside I see now is that there aren’t a lot of episodes posted on youtube. Most seem to have been taken down or blocked. I may have to try and buy some dvds. If you read this far, here’s another sweet meme of Jameson laughing at Parker.