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When Spider-Man: The Animated Series Went... Dark

The Wrap-Up

Spider-Man-1994-Animated

Design-y

The overall look of Spider-Man is something of an oddity. Batman: The Animated Series had already introduced a more design-focused art style by this point. Marvel's preference leaned more towards recreating comic book style art in animation. Spider-Man is somewhere in-between. The character's faces are quite cartoony, and work well whenever the animators aren't slacking. The physiques, however, are far more traditional comic book. It doesn't quite work, and leads to a bulky Spider-Man design. The web-pattern and shape of his eyes have always struck me as rather dull, also.

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Hey, I Know that Voice

Following the success of Batman, it only made sense for Spider-Man to bring in some highly credible voice actors. Christopher Daniel Barnes, Greg from the Brady Bunch films, voices Peter/Spider-Man. Ed Asner is essentially perfect as J. Jonah Jameson. Simpsons mainstay and voiceover legend Hank Azaria is Eddie Brock. (Just a hint of his Moe Szyslak shows up here.)

Battle of the Fashion Statements

The animated series deserves credit for streamlining the comics' narrative, along with adding some new elements that enhance the concept. The idea of the "dark" costume bringing out the "dark" side of the hero is darn solid.  It's become a widely accepted part of the canon, which is no small feat. Many fans cite these as the strongest Spider-Man episodes, understandably. Even then, the extremely inconsistent animation and overall cheap production of the series do hinder the storytelling.

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As for the comics...well, they're a lot of fun. No one involved realized they were creating the most significant contribution to the canon possibly since the Stan Lee days. (Thrown in with the alien saga is the very human, and touching, origin of Mary Jane Watson.) DeFalco and company were clearly enjoying themselves, but it's unlikely they could've known just how momentous these stories were. For anyone with fond memories of these episodes, you owe it to yourself to find the source material.

That’s all for now. Next week, we're looking back on Venom's debut in comics and screen. If you have any suggestions for the future, just leave a comment or contact me on Twitter.

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