|This article is written from the Real World perspective|
|Spider-Man: The New Animated Series|
|Beginning date||July 11, 2003|
|End date||September 12, 2003|
|Number of Episodes||13|
|Writers|| Morgan Gendel|
Brian Michael Bendis
|Producers|| Craig Kyle|
Brian Michael Bendis
|Previous Series||X-Men: Evolution|
|Next Series||Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes|
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, also known as Spider-Man and MTV Spider-Man, is the fifth animated series to feature the character of Spider-Man. It followed Spider-Man (1967), Spider-Man (1981), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Spider-Man, and Spider-Man Unlimited. The series aired on MTV and YTV.
The show was inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man comic line. Though, after the success of the first Spider-Man film, the show was reworked to follow that continuity. Subsequent series The Spectacular Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man would become progressively more influenced by the Ultimate line.
The word "New" was added to the title to differentiate itself from Spider-Man, which is commonly called Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
The story follows the death of Norman Osborn. Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, and Harry Osborn attend Empire State University. Peter and Mary Jane try to establish a relationship together though without success. At first it is because of Peter's superhero duties, but later it is because Peter begins dating Indira Daimonji. Meanwhile Harry craves revenge on Spider-Man, whom he blames for the death of his father. Peter faces the usual assortment of villains such as Lizard, Kraven the Hunter, and Electro while trying to maintain a job and his studies. However, he faces two psychic twins that ruin everything in the wallcrawler's life, causing Peter to give up being Spider-Man and try to live a normal life.
The series ended on a cliffhanger with Peter giving up his superhero life. The theoretical next season would obviously had seen him return to duty, but the series was cancelled.
This series featured a far more mature version of the character than typically seen on television for any animated comic book adaptation. Throughout the series, characters are clearly killed, rather than the usual ambiguous disappearance, and several characters are strongly implied to have had sex.
The series Executive Producer was Brian Michael Bendis who wrote on Ultimate Spider-Man and later worked on Ultimate Spider-Man. It was produced for Sony Pictures Televison who had purchased the film and television rights to the character. Sony held the rights throughout The Spectacular Spider-Man but returned them to Marvel Entertainment when The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel and they wanted to retain the film rights.
Initially it was inspired by and an attempt to adapted the Ultimate Spider-Man series. The success of the movie caused the series to change to more closely follow the film.
Peter was designed to be less of a geek and more hip in order to fit with the network. Likewise, the character of Aunt May was not included, except in photographs, as there were fears an older character would put off the younger target audience.
The producers found that the more relaxed standards of MTV allowed them more creative freedom than usually allowed for a Saturday morning cartoon show.
MTV decided that the ratings for the series were insufficient to warrant a second season, leaving the series to end on a cliffhanger.
The series only lasted thirteen episodes, the same length as Silver Surfer, Spider-Man Unlimited, and The Avengers: United They Stand. The series began airing on July 11th, 2003 and ended on September 12th, 2003.
Spider-Man aired out of production, and chronological, order. "The Party" was the first to air, though it takes place eighth in chronology. The order was corrected for the DVD release.
Many of the villains that Spider-Man faced were original to the series, though closely related to existing comic book characters. Talon is based on Black Cat, Turbo Jet on Rocket Racer and/or Blue Streak, Shikata on Elektra, and Pterodax on Vulture.
Only five comic book villains appear in the series: Electro, Lizard, Kingpin, Kraven the Hunter, and Silver Sable. The X-Men are mentioned once by Peter, the only other comic book character reference. One more possible reference is someone with the username "GS122", which would most likely be a reference to Gwen Stacy who died in Amazing Spider-Man issues 121-122.
Edward Asner and Rino Romano were cast as Officer Barr and Muang, respectively, due to their roles in previous Spider-Man series. Asner played J. Jonah Jameson on Spider-Man while Romano played Spider-Man on Spider-Man Unlimited. Romano's casting was an in-joke since Christina mistakens Muang to be Spider-Man.
The look was designed to appear like traditional cel animation to look more appealing.
The design was to appear closer to the Ultimate Spider-Man comic incarnation.
Neon signs were often used in night scenes to invoke a Film Noir feeling.
This series was the first Marvel animated series to be completely animated by computers. Previous series used either all cel animation or a combination of the two. Though the design was made to look like cel animation. Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes and Iron Man: Armored Adventures would follow suit, though other series would use a combination of traditional and computer animation.
This presented some problems as they were unable to render a large number of characters on screen at once, or many different character models. Spider-Man would often have the same cuts and damage in different episodes. The producers said that the cuts were always under the top character layer.
Mary Jane Watson's hair is shorter than the comics or previous series as it was difficult to have long, flowing air. This is also why Kraven does not have his signature lion's mane vest but instead a leather jacket. Peter was originally was supposed to wear baggier clothing to hide his muscles and costume but this presented problems, similar to Mary Jane's hair, so they were made tighter and form-fitting.
The series was designed to follow the events of the first Spider-Man movie. Events of the film are referenced, such as Harry Osborn accusing Spider-Man of killing his father, the climax of the movie. It does not follow the movie series continuity, however, since Dr. Connors is apparently killed in the series but is alive in the second and third films.
Also, the series title used the same font as the film.
Spider-Man received mixed though generally good reviews. Critics generally appreciated the show's tone, praising a more mature comic book show. The animation was widely lauded as one of the best looking animated series.
Critics were divided on the villains and other original characters. Many expressed their desire to see the character's vast rogue gallery and supporting cast shown rather than series-exclusive versions. Others felt that all the characters worked despite their originality. Though it was pointed out that few returned, with a villain-of-the-week feel, and many were disappointed that fan-favorites like Lizard and Electro were killed. Several critics were confused as to why Indy was introduced rather than Betty Brant or Gwen Stacy.
In 2004, the series was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Television Production while "Keeping Secrets" got a nomination in Outstanding Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production.
The series has a 8.5 on TV.com, 7.0 on IMDb, and four stars on Amazon.
In 2010, Neil Patrick Harris joined alongside fellow Spider-Man voice actors Dan Gilvezan, Christopher Daniel Barnes, and Josh Keaton to voice the main Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Harris was nominated for Best Performance by a Human Male in the Spike's Video Game Awards.
- Spider-Man: The Mutant Menace
- Spider-Man: High Voltage Villains
- Spider-Man: The Ultimate Face-Off
- Spider-Man: Extreme Threat
- Spider-Man: The New Animated Series: The Complete Series
- MTV Official Site
- Episodes at Hulu
- Marvel Animation Age
- Jeff Matsuda Original Pitch at Marvel Animation Age
- Brandon Vietti Interview at Marvel Animation Age
- Greg Johnson Interview at Marvel Animation Age
- Production Images at Marvel Animation Age
|Pre-MAU||Spider-Man (1967) • Spider-Woman • Spider-Man (1981) • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends|
|MAU||Spider-Man • Spider-Man Unlimited|
|Post-MAU||Spider-Man: The New Animated Series • The Spectacular Spider-Man • Ultimate Spider-Man|