The cartoon history of Spidey
Spider-man first made his big swing from comics to cartoons in 1967, with a cheaply made animated series that aired for three seasons on aBC. Premiering five years after his comic book debut, the series not only introduced the character to a wider audience, but gave us his enduring “Spider-man! Spiderman!” theme tune. Having flirted dubiously with a live-action series during the ’70s, Spidey returned to animation in earnest in 1981 with two shows that aired simultaneously: a lesser-remembered solo series simply called Spider-Man, and the much more popular Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends, which saw him in an unlikely flatshare with fellow heroes Iceman and Firestar.
Perhaps Spider-man’s most popular animated show however came in the ’90s, with the eponymous 1994 Fox Kids series proving the longestrunning Spider-man Tv show to date (65 episodes). It was also one of the most faithful series to the comics, loosely adapting storylines like Secret Wars and the Clone Saga for the small screen. 1999’s Spider-Man Unlimited, set in an alternate universe, was not as successful. The ’00s saw another great entry: 2008’s The Spectacular Spider-Man, a two-season run whose cartoonish animation belied scripts that were funny and moving. 2012’s Ultimate Spider-Man is less revered however – with the web-slinger being portrayed as a puerile goofball who can break the fourth wall.
and finally, the most recent example of a Spidey cartoon is another eponymous series which premiered on Disney XD in 2017. Fittingly, it sees Spider-man team up with both SpiderGwen and… miles morales. Stephen Kelly