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The 90s Spider-Man Cartoon was All About Love

Just in time for Valentine's day.

 The "i" in Spider-Man might as well have been dotted with a heart.

Last week, a lot of you Comic Vine maniacs heartily agreed with my sentiment that the 90s X-MEN cartoon created a whole a generation of comics fans. However, some of you countered and said that your entry point was actually the 90s SPIDER-MAN ‘toon. I was thinking of doing a write-up of that series but, honestly, I’m not as fond of it as I am of the X-MEN toon and one of my reasons actually ties a little into today’s amorous holiday (it even relates to Inferiorego's plea for supervillains needing love, too!) In lieu of an extensive write-up, I just wanted to touch on the show's odd nature; namely how more villains were defeated with kisses than with punches!

 There was a lot of this going on in the show.
Or, at least, that's how I remember it. It's been a long time since I’ve watched this show. Nevertheless, my predominant memory of it isn't of Spidey beating the Green Goblin or Venom into the ground - -  it's of him serving as a relationship counselor to reconcile Kraven, MorbiusBlade and the Lizard with their respective estranged wives or girlfriends! Any of you maniacs feel the same way? Most of the villains in this show weren't evil, they were just misunderstood little men. == TEASER ==
 I don't recall Venom having any girl to calm him but, c'mon ladies, with a tongue like that, why wouldn't you to kiss this guy?

I mentioned in my retrospective that I see X-MEN as one of the last gasps of kids programming’s wild days. Content guidelines got a lot a stricter as the 90s and, thus, since SPIDER-MAN debuted  a few years later, there's a marked difference in how intense it could get. Among many things, the word death could never be uttered, laser pistols had to be used in place of real guns, vampires could never be shown (thus, Morbius thirsted for plasma instead of blood and he drained it out of suckers on his forearms) and, most notably, Spidey couldn't punch anybody.

 I don't know if any super-villains even crashed this wedding!

When you’re forced to put a superhero into adventures where he can’t actually hit the bad guys, you’ve got to find some creative solutions to make things exciting. The solution, in this case, was love and the show embraced the soap operatic elements of Spidey more fully than the comics ever had. Not only did storylines often consist of many serialized parts, I remember a lot more emphasis on Peter's girl problems with MJ and Felicia. Of course, when you're an 8-year-old and kooties are still a legitimate threat, the last thing you want to see is all this mushy stuff.  

Anyway, those are the memories of the 90s SPIDER-MAN cartoon that've been conjured up for me by Valentine's Day. How do you Comic Vine maniacs feel about this show? Did you look upon more fondly? Do you think the schmaltzy stuff wasn't as over-powering as I remember? Would you actually prefer Spidey opt out of fighting his rogues so as to sit them down and sort out their relationship problems? Is the power of love a curious thing that can make one man weep and another man sing?  
 
Let this intro jog your memory...   

  

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

83 Comments
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Posted by MattDemers

Can we have a count of how many times Peter yells "MARY JAAAAAAAAAANE" on the show?

Posted by Primmaster64

I love this show...Brings out my Chilhood. Can You do a Superman and Batman TAS next?

Posted by GothicKnight

This show was amazing. I was they would of had a better ending though where Peter actually finds the real MJ.

Posted by akatspada
@mattdemers: Over 9000 at the last count.
Posted by Primmaster64
@GothicKnight said:
" This show was amazing. I was they would of had a better ending though where Peter actually finds the real MJ. "
I know..it would have been a better ending
Posted by I'maDC/ImageGuy!
@Primmaster64: With Spider-man not punching and reusing the first episode background to fight Jack the Ripper?
Posted by haydenclaireheroes
@mattdemers said:
" Can we have a count of how many times Peter yells "MARY JAAAAAAAAAANE" on the show? "
Posted by EnSabahNurX

Venom fell in love with his therapist in prison and this made him fight to be a hero by joining with the symbiote again and helping spiderman

Posted by Primmaster64
@I'maDC/ImageGuy!: lol...I'll admitt it...I always hated that.
Posted by .o0Johnny0o.

I really didn't know that about the content guidelines thing.  However none can deny the CGI in the intro was more or less the Avatar of its time.
 
Another great article about older shows. Loving these!
 
Seconded for a retrospect on Batman The Animated Series
 http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batman/btas/backstage/cards.php
(a gallery of individual episode cards)

Posted by sladewilson30

this show sucked compared to the spectacular spider man, and yet it got more airtime. what i didn't get about the show is that spiderman was maybee at 25% strength on that show, ( i mean come on, he got almost got beat by the chameleon once)so basically fox network turned him into a puss, yet on spectacular spiderman, he was closer to his full strength, and there were better battles and storyline. and yet it failed. well i hope that doesn't happen with the avengers.
Posted by guardiandevil801

i loved that show it was fun cool and had other heroes on it.it also had a great voice actor too

Posted by I'maDC/ImageGuy!
@sladewilson30:  What's funny is that even the voice actors and the people who worked on the show said all 64 out of 65 episode run of the series sucked. Unfortunately I liked this show and contribute to the viewership that kept this crap on the air as a kid. 
Posted by Dracade102
@Primmaster64 said:
" I love this show...Brings out my Chilhood. Can You do a Superman and Batman TAS next? "
Both those shows deserve some major recondition.
Posted by Gambit1024

How did this show end again?

Posted by mickoreo_LZ

The show served as a great entrance point for children into the Marvel and comic universe and so what if the show doesn't hold to our standards 15 years later? It was a great show for its time and deserves to be recognized

Posted by I'maDC/ImageGuy!
@Gambit1024: Spider-man meets his creator and goes back to his dimension.
Posted by perry_411
@mattdemers: I think he inspired Vader to say no
Posted by Decept-O

   
The 90's Spidey cartoon had potential.  Unfortunately it suffered from a lot of cutaways and excessive over the top sequences, and they used Alistaire Smythe way way too much.   
 
Despite these criticisms, and I agree with your points about Pete being more of a counselor at times than a super hero, Tom, but at the same time I think he did display a lot of "Spidey" personality.  It could have been better but at the time, and for its time, it was great and I always enjoyed watching it. 

Posted by Yumulu

Is not everything about loooooove?

Posted by Jotham

I actually don't remember much schmaltzy stuff, although my mind probably switched off whenever something romantic happened.

Posted by Gambit1024
@I'maDC/ImageGuy!: Wait, you mean Spider-Wars? Spider-Wars was the last episode?
Posted by HexThis

You almost make it seem as though Fox was like "In correlation with the limited violence, we're going to provide tantamount of kisses to balance it out"- the two aren't mutually exclusive. What happened during the 90's was television shows like the Power Rangers were under a lot of scrutiny for showing "realistic" images of violence as well as a ton of early first-hand shooter games. 
 
I mean, the relationship stuff was all sappy but supposing Spiderman could punch or vampires could suck blood....do you suppose that would've made the action any less cheesy? It's equally as cheesy as the romance stuff.
 
Ultimately, it was an OK show but I don't know why they hardly ever put Gwen Stacy in as a love interest.

Posted by TheAmazingCondraic

This was my entry point, I will always love this show
90s Spidey is my Valentine

Posted by JonesDeini

Now that you mention it, this show had a lot of dudes with a bad case of "Bitch Dependency" it's a deadly killer. 

Edited by I'maDC/ImageGuy!
@Gambit1024:  Yup. There was supposed to be another season where Spidey time travels to the past to find MJ while fighting Jack the Ripper. Fortunately was canceled due to Marvel's bankruptcy.
Posted by Gambit1024
@I'maDC/ImageGuy!: Damn, I had no idea... That was a  pretty dumb place to end now that I think about it. At least X-Men had a decent ending (I wanted to cry, don't judge)
Posted by StarKiller809

I remember watching this show... oh, the memories
Posted by mk111

I used to dislike the show, but I recently re-watched it, and I now like it very much. Much better than Spider-Man: Unlimited, IMO.
Posted by They Killed Cap!

When are they going to do box sets for this show....
Edited by grufaine

Wow, he never punched anybody? I never noticed that as a kid and now that you've pointed it out it's sort of mind-explosion.    
 
I got introduced into comics in a much easier way though, because my dad had been a collector since 1979-abouts. So I had I had closetsful of Bronze-modern age (and reprints of silver age) comics at my disposal early on. But I definitely watched all of the 90s animated series as well. And my first big cartoon-love as a toddler was Superfriends.   
 
The Batman and X-men ones were definitely the best, but I loved the Spider-Man ones a lot too. I didn't really mind the lovey-dovey stuff very much when I was younger, there was still enough things that were cool about it to entertain me. And soap-y relationships are a pretty significant part of Spider-Man in general, I think. And I still can't believe I never noticed him not punching people. But I do remember being confused about the laser guns.  It was definitely one of the better cartoons of the time though, loads better than the stuff they were trying to do with Hulk and Iron Man. (of which my memories are only really vague

Posted by MooseyMcMan

I watched that show all the time, and I don't remember anything about love. Actually, I don't really remember much of it at all, aside from enjoying it (though not as much as Batman). 

Edited by emptytomb

xmen series were too emotional. That was one weakness of the xmen series.

Posted by Darkmount1

If X-Men was my Star Trek, this was my Seinfeld.  I love this show, I still love this show, I prefer this continuity over the comics (though in fanfics I do throw some elements of the comics in), and I WANT THIS ON SEASON SET DVD'S FOR THE LOVE OF PETE (no pun intended)!

Posted by InnerVenom123

TSSM was better. :P

Posted by Bestostero

Felecia > MJ > Gwen

Posted by GraphicCasualFreak

At the time they were on I absolutely loved that show.  But now, they are not exactly shining examples of what super hero cartoons can or should be.  I think probably the new Spectacular Spider Man is a better written.

Posted by tigerex78

For its time it was a good series.  The CGI scenes they used of New York were actually modeled after the real New York skylines and streets.  The show was rated "Y" so yeah they had to change things but they got a lot of kids interested in comics because of this.  You can say what you want about it but it helped get kids interested in comics. 

Posted by goldenkey

this show just SUCKED!!!!!!!!
Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge

I still love that show....best re-run cartoon series ever! Favorite Story arc: THE SIX FORGOTTEN WARRIORS. I still wonder after the SPIDER-CLONE SAGA if MARY-JANE was ever found.....darn you cliffhangers.

Posted by conformist21
@InnerVenom123 said:
" TSSM was better. :P "
Posted by zombietag

nope NO tssm is not better. 
 
this show RULLEEED

Posted by guuthulhu

I don't really remember the intro, but the song has jogged my memory. I never really watched this show, as I recall. I had never been a Spider-man fan. After reading this,  I'm glad I never watched it. That just sounds lame, especially for a super.

Posted by Joe Venom

I love any episode that has the "Time Dilation Accelerator" in it!!
 


 
Posted by InnerVenom123
@Joe Venom said:
" I love any episode that has the "Time Dilation Accelerator" in it!!
 
  "
It's a magical device that, quite literally, tears holes in the fabric of the plot!
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

It was about censorship :P

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@Tom Pinchuk: actually they worked up a romance of sorts between Venom and Ashley Kafka
Posted by sora_thekey

WAIT! I just had a Fox Kids flashback!

Moderator
Posted by HolyWars

To be @Gambit1024:  The show ended after Spider-Carnage's suicide, where Spider-Man travels to the dimension of the actor who is merely playing Spider-Man on a television show (OH MY GOD NICHOLAS HAMMOND) where he meets Stan Lee. He then sets off with Madame Web to find the real Mary Jane Watson. Now, this is left as a cliffhanger for one reason. At this time, they were still planning a sixth season for the show, which would have started with Spider-Man and Madame Web stumbling upon England in the 1800's. They were to find Mary Jane, but he would get into another epic battle with Carnage who in this case would be filling a role of Jack The Ripper. I wished I could see this.

Posted by Joe Venom
@InnerVenom123 said:
" @Joe Venom said:
" I love any episode that has the "Time Dilation Accelerator" in it!!
 
  "
It's a magical device that, quite literally, tears holes in the fabric of the plot! "
that's the one
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