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Ultimate Spider-Man (TV Series)

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This article is written from the Real World perspective Stan Lee
Ultimate Spider-Man
Ultimate Spider-Man Logo
Beginning date April 1, 2012
Number of Episodes 52 (Currently Ordered)
Season One
Season Two
Season Three
Writers Brian Michael Bendis
Paul Dini
Producers Brian Michael Bendis
Paul Dini
Steven T. Seagle
Joe Kelly
Joe Casey
Duncan Rouleau
Original Channel Disney XD
Previous Series Marvel Anime: Blade
Next Series Avengers Assemble
Note: This article describes an ongoing release.

Ultimate Spider-Man is an ongoing series. It is based off the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, and is the third project directly inspired after the Ultimate universe after Ultimate Avengers and Ultimate Avengers II, though Spider-Man: The New Animated Series and The Spectacular Spider-Man were inspired and featured many elements from the Ultimate Marvel comic line.

It is the eighth series to focus on the character of Spider-Man after Spider-Man (1967), Spider-Man (1981), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Spider-Man, Spider-Man Unlimited, Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, and The Spectacular Spider-Man.

Story

Peter Parker has been saving lives and fighting supervillains as Spider-Man for about a year and is still learning the ropes on being a superhero. Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. finds Peter and offers the young hero a chance to be trained becoming the "Ultimate Spider-Man" while learning to work with other teenage superheroes. [1]

In a break from other series, Spider-Man will break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience. It will also include fantasy sequences from Peter's mind. [2]

Animation

In terms of design, the producers made sure that the animation team knew about the style and history of Spider-Man art. They wanted to make sure that the animation team took all of those ideas and put them into the animation of the series. An animation test shown at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo in 2011 did match the comics quite closely. [3]

Jeph Loeb recruited artists Ed McGuinness, Stuart Immonen, Humberto Ramos, and Paolo Rivera to work on the art. The goal was to get the series to have the "tonal flavor" of the comics by using Marvel Comics artists. [4]

The look of the series is inspired by the artwork of Stuart Immonen (who previously worked on the Ultimate Spider-Man comic), Humberto Ramos, Ed McGuinness and Joe Quesada.

The animation work is done by Marvel Animation and Film Roman.

Cast

Actor[5] Role
Drake Bell Spider-Man/Peter Parker
Caitlyn Taylor Love White Tiger/Ava Ayala
Greg Cipes Iron Fist/Danny Rand
Ogie Banks Power Man/Luke Cage
Chi McBride Nick Fury
Clark Gregg Agent Coulson
J.K. Simmons J. Jonah Jameson
Steven Weber Green Goblin/Norman Osborn
Logan Miller Nova/Sam Alexander
Tom Kenny Doctor Octopus
Wizard
Curt Connors
Matt Lanter Harry Osborn
Flash Thompson
Tara Charendoff-Strong Mary Jane Watson
Misty Lee May Parker
Stan Lee Stan
Maurice LaMarche Doctor Doom
Adrian Pasdar Iron Man/Tony Stark
Phil LaMarr Jarvis
Keith Szarabajka Living Laser
Rob Paulsen Batroc
Fred Tatasciore Hulk
Clancy Brown Taskmaster
Travis Willingham Thor
Skurge
Troy Baker Loki
Roger Craig Smith Captain America
Mark Hamill Nightmare
Shao Lao
Jack Coleman Doctor Strange
Peter Lurie Sabretooth
Steven Blum Wolverine
Dwight Schultz Mesmero
Phil Morris Scorpio
John DiMaggio Wrecker
Cam Clarke Captain Ultra
Michael Clarke Duncan Groot
Colleen O'Shaughnessey Wasp
Dee Bradley Baker Sandman
Curt Connors
Kevin Michael Richardson Joseph Robertson
Bulldozer
Juggernaut
Howard the Duck
Awesome Android
Mac Porter
Christopher Daniel Barnes Electro
Mads Mikkelsen Rhino
Diedrich Bader Kraven the Hunter
Nika Futterman Gamora
Chris Cox Star Lord

J.K. Simmons previously played the role in the first three live action Spider-Man films and expressed interest in reprising the role for the reboot. [6]

Adrian Pasdar reprising the role of Iron Man from Marvel Anime: Iron Man. [7] It is unknown, but unlikely, if this means the two series are set in the same continuity.

More voice actors were announced at the 2011 Comic-Con. Drake Bell, Steven Weber, Chi McBride, Stan Lee, and Clark Gregg were announced at the 2011 Comic-Con. Gregg is reprising his role from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. [8]

Bell went on to voice Spider-Man on the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Along Came a Spider..." replacing Josh Keaton from The Spectacular Spider-Man. This caused some controversy with Spectacular fans who were hoping to hear Keaton reprise the role.

Electro actor Christopher Daniel Barnes is famous for voicing the title character on Spider-Man, the second longest running Marvel animated series.

Crew

Crew Position
Brian Michael Bendis Writer
Producer
Joe Casey Writer
Supervising Producer
Paul Dini Writer
Producer
Joe Kelly Writer
Supervising Producer
Duncan Rouleau Writer
Supervising Producer
Steven T. Seagle Writer
Supervising Producer
Collette Sunderman Casting and Voice Director
Jeph Loeb Executive Producer
Kevin Manthei Composer

The producers of the series (Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle, Joe Kelly, and Joe Casey) who were also known as the Men of Action Studios, previously worked together on Ben 10 and Generator Rex. [9][10][11][12]

Trailer

The test footage at C2E2 Showed J. Jonah Jameson prattling on about masked vigilantes being a menace while Nick Fury scolded Spider-Man as he nabs a crook. [13]

Preview

Ultimate Spider-Man Trailer 102:45

Ultimate Spider-Man Trailer 1

Behind the Scenes

Ultimate Spider-Man Behind-the-Scenes Video 105:30

Ultimate Spider-Man Behind-the-Scenes Video 1

Episodes

There are currently fifty-two ordered episodes announced with a third season coming.

The series airs as the "keystone" of the Marvel Universe Animation Block on Disney XD along with The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. [14]

There will also be short-form series included in the animation block including[15]:

  • Fury Files: Top-secret access to S.H.I.E.L.D. video dossiers on key Marvel heroes, including Iron Fist, Power Man, Nova, and White Tiger, and the villains they face, are animated with mix of traditional animation and motion comic art.
  • Marvel Mash-Up: The Marvel Universe is turned upside down with these hilarious and unexpected takes on iconic Marvel heroes and villains, featuring classic animation edited with a comedic twist.
  • Animated Reality: Stunt and special effects experts showcase the epic moves of favorite Marvel super heroes including Captain America and Spider-Man.
  • What Would It Take?: Get a glimpse into the science and modern technology required to create the heroes' gadgets, abilities and tech in real life, ranging from Iron Man's jet propulsion boots to Iron Fist's power-packed punch.
  • Master Class: Marvel's Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada, explains the artistic vision behind Marvel's greatest super heroes and shows how artists bring them to life.

The first episode was aired at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas on March 11th, 2012. [16]

Marvel Entertainment had a premiere party held in New York City and Los Angeles for the series held on March 31st, 2012. The Los Angeles premiere was attended by Jeph Loeb, Paul Dini, Steven T. Seagle, Duncan Rouleau, Misty Lee, and Clark Gregg. The New York premiere was attended by Joe Quesada, Joe Kelly, and Chris Eliopoulos. [17]

Web Warriors Promo USM

The third season will be titled Web Warriors.[18]

Background

Following The Walt Disney Company's purchase of Marvel Entertainment Sony Pictures Television relinquished all television rights to Spider-Man, including animation, in exchange for "some concession vis-a-vis the live action Spider-Man features" thus raising questions about what would happen to The Spectacular Spider-Man. [19]

On April 13, 2010 after several months of near silence, Marvel Comics' Tom Brevoort was asked about Spectacular on formspring, and simply said, "That was a wonderful cartoon, but finished now." Though asked for clarification, he added, "I'm not officially connected to the show, so I can't tell you anything officially; the people connected with it will have to do that." This came along with the announcement of a new Spider-Man series based on the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. [20]

Ultimate Spider-Man Promo

This was the first series Jeph Loeb oversaw in his job as Executive Vice President, Head of Television. At the 2010 Comic-Con in San Diego he hired Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steve Seagle, best known as the creators of the Ben 10 and Generator Rex series, are set to become the supervising producers of the series. [21]

This will be the first Spider-Man project produced by Marvel Animation. Loeb said, "We have an incredible writing staff including Brian Michael Bendis who has written every single issue of Ultimate Spider Man, more than 150 issues in 10 years, Paul Dini, and Man of Action." Loeb stated that the focus on Peter trying to balancing his normal life as a teenager while trying to become a major league hero like Captain American, Iron Man, and the Avengers. [22]

Brian Michael Bendis, who created the Ultimate Spider-Man series, will write for the series.

Paul Dini, who is best known for his work for his work with DC Comics, will be writing with Bendis.

Concept art revealed at the 2011 Comic-Con showed Spider-Ham, though it is unknown if the character will appear in the series or if this was a joke.

The writers held a number of summits to discuss the show attended by Joe Kelly, Steven T. Seagle, Duncan Rouleau, Paul Dini, Brian Michael Bendis, Jeph Loeb, Joe Quesda, Stephen Wacker, Cort Lane, and Harrison Wilcox. The series deviated from most animated shows as it does not have a single story editor. Usually, the story editor works with the show's producers to break each story then assign the script to a freelance writer. However, Ultimate Spider-Man decided to emulate a traditional live-action series by having the writers get together to discuss the direction rather than do them separately. Wilcox said, "Because this is our Spider-Man show, and the first show that Marvel is producing itself, Jeph wanted to do things a little differently and have a writers' room meet together to break the story." In the first summit, the creators mapped out the entire first season. They planned out arcs for the heroes and villains as well as listing the general idea of each episode. Everyone in the summit had an equal voice, though not all were writers, so that everyone can add their own ideas. Through the summits, the group decided who would be best to write which episode. [23]

Drake Bell was a big fan of Spider-Man growing up. In preparation for the role, he went back and re-read the comics he grew up on. [24]

Comic

Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Promo

The series has a comic book tie-in. Months after they cancelled their all-ages comics, Marvel announced they were launching Ultimate Spider-Man Adventures, later retitled to Marvel Universe: Ultimate Spider-Man, along with Marvel Universe: The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Marvel's Editor in Chief Axel Alonso said, "I couldn't be more excited for Marvel Universe. There is something special about The Avengers and Spider-Man that speaks to fans of all ages, and with the launch of Marvel Universe on Disney XD this April, what better way to connect the two experiences than these new ongoing series?"

The series would be written by Dan Slott and Ty Templeton with the art by Nuno Plati. Their goal was to have something for younger readers while exciting older comic book fans.

Issue number one will hit stores in March[25] (though originally slated for April[26]), the second will come in May[27], and the third in June. [28]

Given the two comics' titles, it is possible that this series and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes are in the same continuity. Though this has yet to be specified.

Reception

Early reviews for the series have been mixed but generally positive. The show has been compared positively to similar series Batman: The Brave and the Bold and the comic book series Scott Pilgrim. Though, critics have been divided on whether the comedy fits with the character or not.

In an advanced review of the pilot, Eric Goldman of IGN gave the episode a 6 Okay out of 10. He noted that Spider-Man, like DC Comics' Batman, was the flagship character of Marvel Comics and has been continually in the public eye since his creation. He felt that the series was not just a rehash of the other series that came before it, and that Spider-man was in a different situation interacting with different characters than what has been seen before. Eric noted that Spider-Man encountered villains and heroes from other comic series while at the same time acknowledging his own rogues gallery. He appreciated J.K. Simmons coming back to the role from the films. However, he felt the tone and style of the series set it apart from other adaptations for better or worse. He felt that Spider-Man breaking the fourth wall was more suited for someone like Deadpool. He thought they made him more cartoony as they relied on old cliches. Eric noted that while Spider-Man has a great sense of humor, this style of comedy was not like him at all. He did not think if felt like Spider-Man as if forced. Though he did feel that some of the jokes were well done. While he appreciated most of the cast, he thought Drake Bell came off as overly whiney and grating. He did like seeing Clark Gregg in a crossover that could never happen in the films. He was disappointed that a series involving Paul Dini was not quite up to his usual standards. He felt that the series had a good crew behind it, but was not making a good use of the talent involved or character they used. He stated that the series lacked substance by trying to have serious moments in-between "wacky shenanigans," robbing the dramatic moments of their potential weight. He thought the animation was decent and the fight scenes were not impressive as The Spectacular Spider-Man was. He noted that there is room for more lighthearted versions of classic heroes, such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold, but felt that the series felt weightless as Spider-Man wasn't being taken seriously. "Look, kids will almost certainly love it. They love Spider-Man (and well they should) and the show is bright and silly with broad humor right up their alley. And that's fine. But considering this is Marvel's most recognizable, iconic character, in the first completely self-produced Spider-Man series Marvel has made, it feels like a missed opportunity for something that truly hit home with Spider-Man fans of all ages." [29]

However, the reviewers of Marvel Animation Age were more forgiving. Jeffrey Harris felt that it was unlike The Spectacular Spider-Man or Spider-Man but appropriate for Spider-Man. He thought the animation was better than Spectacular. He enjoyed the combination of goofy comedy and serious tone. James Harvey thought the show's approach to the character prevented it from becoming stale. He felt the jokes worked for the most part, but some did not. He did notice a kind of committee feel to the series. He felt that the comedy did not hurt the action and while cartoony did work in the context of the series. Though he did point out a lack of drama and depth to the series, as serious moments were ended quickly. James pointed out that while the series deviated from the source often it still alluded to its vast history. He did not feel there were any weak links in the crew and thought the cast was spot-on. He thought the animation was great and the character designs were nice. He pointed out Kevin Manthei's work on the score. He stated that there was potential to improve as long as it did not sacrifice character, though overly jokey tone would not please some long-time fans. "The animation is great – arguably the best Spidey has ever looked in animation – the characters are all well-defined if not a little flat, the set-up predictable but not boring, and the overall results are positive. Ultimate Spider-Man is a solid starting off point for younger viewers to be indoctrinated into the Spidey mythos, and hopefully for an enjoyable destination for long-time fans. As I said, it is worth giving a chance on." [30][31]

References

  1. Description For Upcoming New "Ultimate Spider-Man" Disney XD Series at Marvel Animation Age
  2. NYCC: Spidey, the Hulk and Agent Coulson Walk into a Comic-Con at IGN.com
  3. C2E2 2011: Liveblog Central at Marvel.com
  4. THE BIRTH OF MILES MORALES at Comic Book Resources
  5. Disney XD Provides Cast And Crew Details For Upcoming "Ultimate Spider-Man" Episodes at Marvel Animation Age
  6. J.K. Simmons Confirms He’ll Voice JJJ In Ultimate Spider-Man at Comic Book Rescources
  7. ‘Iron Man’: ‘Heroes’ flying man Adrian Pasdar takes on anime at Los Angeles Times
  8. Comic-Con: Ultimate Spider-Man Toon and Avengers Season 2 at IGN
  9. Meet the Men of Action: Duncan Rouleau at Marvel.com
  10. Meet the Men of Action: Steven T. Seagle at Marvel.com
  11. Meet the Men of Action: Joe Casey at Marvel.com
  12. Meet the Men of Action: Joe Kelly at Marvel.com
  13. C2E2: Ultimate Spider-Man First Glimpse at IGN.com
  14. Disney XD to Launch Marvel Universe at Marvel.com
  15. Full Marvel Universe Lineup Announced at Marvel Animation Age
  16. "Ultimate Spider-Man" World Premiere Set For SXSW Interactive’s ScreenBurn Arcade at Marvel Animation Age
  17. Ultimate Spider-Man Kickoff Parties in NY & LA at Marvel.com
  18. Get the First Details on Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors at Marvel
  19. Sony No Longer Producing Spectacular Spider-Man; Studio Loses Spidey TV Rights at IGN.com
  20. Ultimate Spider-Man Comes to TV at IGN.com
  21. San Diego Comic-Con 2010: Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes Animated Panel Liveblog at Marvel.com
  22. Jeph Loeb Talks Ultimate Spider-Man at IGN.com
  23. Spider-Man's Ultimate Summit at Marvel.com
  24. Drake Bell: Meet the Ultimate Spider-Man at Marvel.com
  25. Marvel Announces Free Preview Comic For Upcoming Animated "Ultimate Spider-Man" at Marvel Animation Age
  26. [New "Ultimate Spider-Man," "The Avengers: Earth Mightiest Heroes" Comics Unveiled at Marvel Animation Age]
  27. "Ultimate Spider-Man," "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" Comics For May 2012 at Marvel Animation Age
  28. "Ultimate Spider-Man," "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" June 2012 Comic Details at Marvel Animation Age
  29. Ultimate Spider-Man: "Great Power" Review at IGN.com
  30. REVIEWS - "GREAT POWER" at Marvel Animation Age
  31. REVIEWS - "GREAT RESPONSIBILITY" at Marvel Animation Age

External Links


Spider-Man series
Pre-MAU Spider-Man (1967)Spider-WomanSpider-Man (1981)Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
MAU Spider-ManSpider-Man Unlimited
Post-MAU Spider-Man: The New Animated SeriesThe Spectacular Spider-ManUltimate Spider-Man

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