It’s hard to believe that March 8th marked the 10 year anniversary of Spectacular Spider-man. Although it took a cue from the Sam Raimi Spider-man trilogy, it was jammed packed with material and Easter eggs that spanned all of Spider-man’s history. One episode might focus on a relative newer enemy, like Venom, but another would focus on super obscure ones like Captain Jupiter… or strangely enough, both episodes had those characters.
The entire show played like a who’s who of Spider-man lore. From mainstays like Aunt May or J Jonah Jameson, classic villains like Doctor Octopus or Green Goblin; to Mac Gargin, Cleatus Kasady, and Morris Bench, or Scorpion, Carnage, and Hydroman, who sadly never got the chance to be turned into their evil alter egos before the show came to a halt.
But what was it about this Spider-man that deserved accolades over the many other Spider-man shows that have been; even, I dare say, Spider-man the animated series of the 1990s? Well it wasn’t just one thing that worked for Specular Spider-man but it was EVERYTHING that worked.
As I have already mentioned, the show was a love song to Spider-man fans and boy did these guys do their research! It didn’t seem like there was a character in the show who wasn’t an established character in the Spider-man mythos. Plus, there seemed to be very few liberties taken. Some changes were made, for example Montana of the Enforcers became the Shocker but does anyone really care that it wasn’t Herman Schultz? Side note, the first person to play the Shocker in Spider-man Homecoming was their version of Montana, I think a subtle nod to Spectacular.
It was sad that the show was cut short because they had plans; long plans I would have loved to see payed off. There were a lot of dangling threads which makes sense because this was the same force behind Gargoyles. Anyone familiar with that show knows that every item will be important and every person will have an impact. Even if they didn’t lay clues or have plans laid out for the future, the show still would be top notch. How do you take a character like the Green Goblin and make his identity a mystery 50 years after it was revealed? When the show started I knew that Norman Osborn would be the Green Goblin. By the end of the second I was no longer sure.
Then there is Spider-man himself. The heroic, with great powers comes great responsibility, is of course present. Along with the science loving geek, alter ego in Peter Parker. But this may be the first Spider-man in any medium that is genially funny. Unlike past Spider-men, who may make an eye rolling stupid comment, or the Sam Raimi Spider-man who didn’t even seem to try; Spectacular Spider-man was funny. Much to the glee of the viewer and the annoyance of his enemies.
Finally there’s the animation. Take a look at the characters in Spectacular Spider-man and you will notice they seem incredible simple; maybe even more so than Batman the Animated Series. Simply put; watch the show, watch Spider-man swing around the city, or follow the Lizard down a subway train. It moves so fast and sleek with a fluidity that would be on par with any major motion picture, and really the only way to do Spider-man justice. There is no way I can overstate this. The entire Sinister Six fight would make a believer out of anyone who may still be skeptical.
Above all of this, Spectacular Spider-man gave us arguably the greatest cartoon theme song in history.