Growing up in the 1990s, my first introduction to superheroes and the comic book world was through the numerous cartoons DC and Marvel released during the decade. We were blessed with classics like Batman The Animated Series, X-Men The Animated Series and Superman The Animated Series and whilst these were deservedly praised, I’ve always felt that one show which deserved much more praise than it seemingly got was Spider-Man The Animated Series.
Running from November 19th 1994 until January 31st 1998, the show accumulated sixty five episodes throughout five seasons and was my first experience of the wall crawler. Following Peter Parker’s college years the show revolved around Peter’s love triangle with Mary-Jane Watson and Felicia Hardy and also featured Peter’s early days as an intern at the Daily Bugle. With the first season episodes all based off of Spider-Man’s earliest comics, from the second season onwards the show did an excellent job covering many of Spider-Man’s best story arcs including The Wedding, The Assasin-Nation, Secret Wars and The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man and always remained faithful to its source material.
While it did a good job showcasing many of Spider-Man’s classic villains such as King Pin, Green Goblin, Mysterio, Venom and Doctor Octopus, the show was also know for its excellent adaptations of under utilized Spider-Man villains such as Morbius and Kraven the Hunter, modifying their origin stories and giving their characters more depth. The show was never afraid of delving deep into the Marvel universe occasionally also bringing in fellow Marvel heroes like Doctor Strange, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Captain America and The Punisher, the show introduced me to a lot of characters I’d eventually grow to love and follow in their own mediums.
The show acted as a gateway early on for me and, along with the earlier mentioned animated shows, it introduced me to a marvelous world of superheroes long before the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Fox X-Men series rejuvenated the superhero genre in live action form. Add to that the excellent voice performances of the likes of Christopher Daniel Barnes and Roscoe Lee Browne who played Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Wilson Fisk/Kingpin respectfully and you have a recipe for a truly great animated series and I for one think it’s criminal the show doesn’t get anywhere near as much praise as I feel it deserves!
Well, that’s just a little piece on how I think the Spider-Man animated series is vastly underrated. I hope you all agree with me and if you still need some convincing, the entire series is on YouTube with the first episode linked below just waiting for you to love it! Thanks!