By JJWeatherman 40 Comments
For anyone reading this that's not informed: I'm writing a series of blogs about cartoons. My loose plan is to feature one cartoon per blog and tell you--dear reader--why I love each featured cartoon. We can then proceed to recall the 'good ole days' of our respective youths.
- Part 1 -- "Hey Arnold!"
- Part 2 -- "The Magic School Bus"
- Part 3 -- "Rugrats"
- Part 4 -- "Spider-Man" (You're reading it!)
I’ve been going back and forth on how exactly I should approach this blog. Initially I wanted to tell you everything I could about the featured cartoon, but then I realized that that’s not really what this blog series is supposed to be about. Not to mention how totally boring the first 600 words I initially wrote ended up. I can be a little slow sometimes, but I eventually remembered what I initially wanted these blogs to be, and what I wanted them to accomplish when I first started this mini-series several months ago. I started this series to look back at a cartoon of my youth and have some fun remembering what exactly I spent so much time watching while growing up. My secondary objective was--and is--to hopefully entertain you all as well, while simultaneously sparking some interesting discussion about whatever cartoon I happen to be taking a look back at. Let’s all jump into my little text-based time machine and take a look at a one of the many cartoons that filled my childhood with joy. I hope you all can relate!
It’s been quite a while since I’ve gotten one of these blogs out there. I’d always planned on continuing this series, but found my memory of certain cartoons to be lacking. Well, that’s not the case any longer with the 1994 Spider-Man animated series. A little while back I found myself frustrated with my routine internet-focused lifestyle. To combat this frustration, I decided to take a break from all normal internet activities. Of course I figured I had to entertain myself somehow, and that’s when I turned to Netflix and watched all 65 episodes of the 1994 Spider-Man, totalling approximately 21.6 hours of showtime. What better time than now to write about it, huh?
I guess we’ll get right down to it: The 1994 Spider-Man animated series is still an absolute delight to watch. Being able to say that even now probably explains why I loved watching it as a kid. Despite a few minor shortcomings like “framey” animations and the occasional cheesy one-liner dialog, this is a very well produced and interesting cartoon. For the record, I’m not the biggest comic book guy, but from what I hear this cartoon stays rather faithful to the comics in terms of plot points and whatnot. There’s a metric ton of interesting, recognizable characters that make appearances, and not exclusively from Spider-Man either, but from other Marvel properties as well. A gallery of important character photos can be found at the bottom of this post for your viewing--and hopefully nostalgic--pleasure. It really is an excellent cartoon, even to this day. Very entertaining and worth watching. With all of that said, let’s look at just a couple of individual episodes that I found to be particularly interesting.
I’d have to say my favorite Spider-Man villain ever is pretty easily Venom. I always loved how crazy and scary he was as a kid. I remember having a Venom action figure or two as well. When you get right down to it, the whole symbiote plot is especially interesting. For these reasons, let’s talk about Season 1, Episode 7 - The Alien Costume: Part 1. In this episode you’re introduced to the symbiote that will eventually become Venom. The episode starts with a couple of astronauts mining some kind of asteroid. They get more than they bargained for when they accidentally bring a living black ooze onto their ship and back to earth. This ooze turns out to be an eeevil symbiote that must find a host to bond to in order to survive. Initially, it chooses Peter Parker. This is where the infamous black suit spidey comes from. This was something that was actually covered in the recent live action feature films as well. Anyway, this is a really fun episode and one of my favorites due to how Peter and Spider-Man alike change while under the influence of the symbiote. Black suit Spider-Man is much more powerful and able to do a lot more than OG Spider. Beyond that though, watching Peter act like a total dick is also a good time. It’s obviously a complete departure from his natural personality, and that makes it especially entertaining. Peter calling Flash Thompson a bonehead while they fight over Felicia Hardy is especially humorous. Peter just has a “take what I want” attitude that provides a nice little change of pace from his regular routine. I kind of wish there was a bit more of that. This episode ends before the symbiote has a chance to bond with Eddie Brock to form Venom, but it’s the start of all of that, and a great episode.
Really, there aren’t many episodes NOT worth watching, but I’m going to go ahead and skip to one of the final episodes: Season 5, Episode 9 - Secret Was Chapter 1: Arrival: Part 1. They sure do know how to name titles; lots of colons, lots of dashes. Anyway, this is one of the last episodes in the series. The end of the series really goes out with a bang though, so I’d hate to not talk about these closers a bit. So there are three “Secret Wars” episodes. These involve Spider-Man being transported to another universe (or something) to be tested in an epic battle of good vs. evil. Spider-Man is taken by a man known only as The Beyonder and told he’s going to have to defend a planet from evil. Spider-Man doesn’t know that this is all just a test for his final challenge, taking place in the final two episodes of the series. But anyway, the reason I love this set of episodes so much is because of who all is involved. Over the course of the cartoon, several Marvel characters are introduced and fight alongside Spider-Man. Characters such as: Daredevil, Blade, The Punisher, Ironman, and the X-Men all make appearances. This episode brings great groups together on both sides of the fight. The Beyonder selects such villains as Doc Oc, The Lizard, Dr. Doom, and even the Red Skull. Spider-Man then gets a chance to select his own super team to help him take on these foes. Spider-Man brings in such characters as Storm, Ironman, the entire Fantastic 4, and of course Captain America. This is just a really fun episode full of super hero and super villain collaborations. Those are never not fun, and that holds true here. Just lots of good action as Spidey learns to be a leader in order to fight off all dat evil. One of the more interesting episodes for sure, and it leads into the final few episodes of the entire series, which are all great as well.
I’ve talked about a very early episode as well as a very late one. There’s mountains of amazing episodes between these two I chose to talk about, though. Really, I started watching this expecting to get through maybe six or seven episodes. Boy was I surprised to make it all of the way to the end. Despite my obvious nostalgia for this cartoon, I think my making it all of the way through is still a strong testament to how watchable and genuinely great this cartoon is, even still. I’d recommend going back and watching this if you were a fan, or better yet, if you missed out.
I guess that about wraps things up. Before I go though, I’ll of course remind you that I’d loooove to hear your thoughts on the 1994 Spider-Man series. Were you a fan like me? Did you hate the show for some odd reason? Let your voices be heard! And as is tradition, feel free to bring up ANY cartoon you’d like to reminisce about. Perhaps this blog reminded you of another similar cartoon that you loved. Let us know about it! All cartoon talk is welcome; encouraged, even. And don’t forget to look through the character gallery I quickly threw together, below!