1 9 6 7 – 1 9 7 0 (USA)
55 x 30 minute episodes
The popular Marvel comics character that redefined the superhero came swinging into TV with this 1967 debut.
Created by Stan Lee, Peter Parker was a young college student who made extra money as a photographer for the Daily Bugle.
While working on a school science experiment, Peter was accidentally bitten by an irradiated spider and soon began developing superhuman talents that resembled those of a spider’s.
Not only could he climb walls and ceilings, but he had also developed a “spider-sense,” which warned him of danger well in advance of his more human contemporaries.
Peter initially used his abilities to make a profit, deliberately staying away from any crime-fighting.
But when a burglar, whom he had failed to stop while en route to a TV appearance, murdered his gentle Uncle Ben, Peter finally grasped what his uncle meant when he told him “with great power comes great responsibility.”
After this epiphany, Peter decided to use his powers almost solely to make the city safe for its citizens. He developed a “web fluid”, capable of immobilising any target, which also provided him with a brilliant mode of transportation.
Shooting the fluid from devices on his wrist, he was able to swing around the city uninterrupted and toll-free.
Unlike many superheroes before him, Spider-Man was not loved by all. Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson frequently criticised him for his anonymous vigilantism, often printing scathing editorials demanding that the hero reveal his secret identity.
Peter, whose parents were dead, lived with his doting Aunt May, who never seemed to notice the strange hours he kept, and never questioned him about the weird items in his room.
This particular incarnation of Spider-Man was supervised by animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi. These episodes were very stylised and featured swingin’ music, as well as dark, shadowy settings.
Comic carryovers like Electro, Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, and The Rhino all put in appearances as the supervillain of the week.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the show was its groovy theme song, which has been remade by such bands as The Ramones and can be sung by nine out of every ten people in America.
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size,
Catches thieves just like flies.
Look out, here comes the Spider-Man
Bernard Cowan (1)
Paul Sols (2)