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A large number of storylines and events from the comics are loosely adapted in the series, such as:
The first episode, "Night of the Lizard", is loosely based on the comic story "Face-to-Face with... the Lizard!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #6 (November 1963).
The episode "The Spider Slayer" is loosely based on the comic story "Captured By J.Jonah Jameson!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #25 (June 1965), with the subplot of Flash Thompson dressing up as Spider-Man to scare Peter Parker being taken from "Marked for Destruction by Dr. Doom!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #5 (October 1963).
The episode "Return of the Spider Slayer" borrows elements from the comic books including the way Spencer Smythe treated Spider-Man and Jameson is a very similar way to how Alistair Smythe treated them in the comic story "24 Hours till Doomsday!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #192 (May 1979) and Mary Jane uses her famous line from her first comic appearance: "Face it, Tiger. You just hit the jackpot", from the comic story "The Birth of a Super-Hero!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #42 (November 1966).
The episode "Doctor Octopus: Armed and Dangerous" is loosely based on the comic story "Spider-Man Versus Doctor Octopus" from The Amazing Spider-Man #3 (July 1963).
The episode "The Menace of Mysterio" is loosely based on the comic story "The Menace of... Mysterio!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #13 (June 1964).
The episode "The Sting of the Scorpion" is based on the comic story "Spidey Strikes Back!"/"The Coming of the Scorpion! OR: Spidey Battles Scorpey!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #19-20 (December 1964-January 1965).
The episode "Kraven the Hunter" is loosely adapted from the comic story of the same name from The Amazing Spider-Man #15.
The dream sequence from the episode "The Alien Costume, Part One" where the symbiote and the Spider-Man costume fight over Peter Parker is adapted from the comic story "The Sinister Secret of Spider-Man's New Costume!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #258 (November 1984).
The end of the episode "The Alien Costume, Part Two" where Spider-Man uses the bell to get free from the symbiote is adapted from the comic story "'Til Death Do Us Part!" in Web of Spider-Man #1 (April 1985).
The beginning of the episode "The Alien Costume, Part Three" where Eddie Brock has a wall covered with newspaper clippings of Spider-Man and turns into Venom swearing vengeance on Spider-Man is adapted from the comic story "Chance Encounter" in The Amazing Spider-Man #298 (March 1988).
"The Hobgoblin" two-parter is loosely adapted from the comic stories "Secrets!"/"Confessions!"/"Endings!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #249-251 (February-April 1984).
The episode "Day of the Chameleon" is loosely adapted from the comic story "Spider-Man Vs. the Chameleon!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963).
The episode "The Insidious Six" "and "Battle of the Insidious Six" are both based on the comic story "The Sinister Six!" from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (October 1964).
In "Battle of the Insidious Six" the scene where Peter is unmasked by the Insidious Six, after Aunt May is kidnapped by them (but he manages to convince them that he is a fraud) is from the comic story "Unmasked By Doctor Octopus!" from Amazing Spider-Man #12 (May 1964) but instead of Aunt May, it's Betty Brant who is kidnapped by Doctor Octopus by himself.
The episode "Hydro-Man" is based on the comic story "The Coming of Hydroman!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #212 (January 1981).
The episodes "The Mutant Agenda" and "Mutants' Revenge" are based on Spider-Man: The Mutant Agenda #1-3 (March-May 1994).
The episodes "Morbius" and "Enter the Punisher" are both based on the comic stories "The Spider or the Man?"/"A Monster Called Morbius!"/"Vampire at Large!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #100-102 (September-November 1971). The Man-Spider plot is loosely adapted from "Fast Descent into Hell!"/"To Sacrifice My Soul..." in Marvel Fanfare #1-2 (March 1982 and May 1982).
"Enter the Punisher" is also based on the comic story "The Punisher Strikes Twice!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (February 1974).
The episode "Tablet of Time" is based on the comic story "The Web Closes!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #73 (June 1969).
The episode "Ravages of Time" is based on the comic stories "If This Be Bedlam!"/"Death Without Warning!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #74-75 (July- August 1969) and "Lifetheft Part One: The Wings of Age"/"Lifetheft Part Two: The Thief of Years"/"Lifetheft Part Three: The Sadness of Truth" from The Amazing Spider-Man #386-388 (February-April 1994).
The episode "Shriek of the Vulture" is based on the comic stories "Duel to the Death with the Vulture!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (May 1963) and "The Wings of Age!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #386 (February 1994).
The episode "The Final Nightmare" is loosely based on "The Thief of Years" from The Amazing Spider-Man #387 (March 1994).
The episode "Make a Wish" is based on the comic stories "Doc Ock Wins!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #55 (December 1967) and "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #248 (January 1984). A flashback to Spider-Man's origin is shown and is adapted from the comic story "Spider-Man!" from Amazing Fantasy #15.
The episode "Attack of the Octobot" is based on the comic stories "Disaster!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #56 (January 1968) and "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #248 (January 1984).
The episode "Rocket Racer" is based on the comic stories "The Fiend from the Fire!" from Amazing Spider-Man #172 (September 1977) and "The Rocket Racer's Back in Town!"/"...And Where the Big Wheel Stops, Nobody Knows!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #182-183 (July-August 1978).
The episode "Tombstone" is loosely based on the comic stories "Grave Memory" from The Spectacular Spider-Man #139 and "Will!" from The Spectacular Spider-Man #142.
The episode "Venom Returns" is blended from several different comics including "Hearts and Powers"/"Gun From the Heart" from The Amazing Spider-Man #344-345 (February-March 1991) and "Toy Death!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #359 (February 1992).
The episode "Carnage" is loosely based on the comic stories "Savage Genesis"/"Savage Alliance"/"Savage Grace!" from "The Amazing Spider-Man" #361-363 (April-June 1992).
The episode "The Spot" is based on the comic story "True Confessions!"/"Spider on the Spot!" from Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #98-99 (January-February 1985).
The episode "Goblin War!" is based on the comic story "The Goblin War" from The Amazing Spider-Man #312 (February 1989).
The episode "Turning Point" is based on the comic stories "How Green Was My Goblin!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #39 (August 1966) and "The Night Gwen Stacy Died"/"The Goblin's Last Stand!" from The Amazing Spider-Man #121-122 (June-July 1973).
The episode "Guilty" is based on "Guilty!"/"Lock-Up" in The Spectacular Spider-Man #150-151 (May - June 1989) and "Crash Out!" in The Spectacular Spider-Man #155 (October 1989).
The episode "The Black Cat" is based on "Never Let the Black Cat Cross Your Path!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #194 (July 1979).
The episode "The Return of the Green Goblin" is based on "The Green Goblin Lives Again!"/"The Green Goblin Strikes!" in The Amazing Spider-Man #136-137 (September-October 1974).
The episode "The Wedding" is loosely based on "The Wedding" in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (September 1987).
The "Six Forgotten Warriors" saga is loosely based on "The Parents of Peter Parker!" in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5 (November 1968) and "The Assassin-Nation Plot" storyline from The Amazing Spider-Man #320-325 (September 1989 to November 1989).
The "Secret Wars" trilogy adapts the 1984 limited series Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars (May 1984 to April 1985).
While Marvel's X-Men animated series was being produced by Saban, Spider-Man was produced by the newly formed Marvel Films Animation; it was the only series that in-house studio produced, but was animated by TMS-Kyokuchi Corporation, and Koko Enterprises Ltd.. Anima Sam Won and Seoul Movie did additional animation for this series (though they were uncredited). For many years, the series was the second longest-running Marvel show created, after X-Men, as well as the longest-running series based on Spider-Man (until Ultimate Spider-Man surpassed its record in 2015). In some episodes, realistic guns were depicted, but only in flashbacks, such as the showing of guns being fired during a flashback about the Punisher's origins where his wife was killed in the crossfire during a crime. In November 2014 podcasts, Semper clarified that the show was not censored more than any other show at the time and that every time this has been brought up to him, he feels it has been blown out of proportion; Semper said that Marvel had no creative control on the TV series because Marvel at the time was in a tough time and close to bankruptcy. In addition, Semper stated that Stan Lee had influence on the show in the first thirteen episodes. The series is currently owned and distributed by The Walt Disney Company (Marvel's parent company), which acquired all Fox Kids-related properties from News Corporation and Saban International in 2001.
Producer John Semper was the primary credited writer on the show, receiving some sort of writing credit (usually a story, co-story or co-writing credit) on 60 of the 65 produced episodes. He wrote 8 episodes solo; many of his story credits were actually adaptations of previously published comic book stories.
Mark Hoffmeier was a frequent contributor, receiving credits on 16 episodes, while Stan Berkowitz was credited on 9.
To reproduce New York City's appearance, background illustrators undertook a large amount of visual research by using photo archives from above New York, particularly rooftops. Maps were consulted for references and buildings were faithfully reproduced.
It has been reported that the animation cels depicting Manhattan's Pan Am Building (recently renamed the MetLife Building) were scrapped after being complete because the California-based art staff learned the Midtown landmark had been given a new sign more than a year earlier.
The animation staff were directed to populate the city with cars and crowds on the street level. Semper believed that was one of the limitations of earlier Spider-Man animated projects.
Originally, Marvel Films planned to make the backgrounds completely CGI while Spider-Man 'webslinged' around New York, yet due to budget constraints were forced to use traditional cel based animation while occasionally using CGI backgrounds by Kronos Digital Entertainment. As well, reuse of animation became more common as the series progressed, which also included reuse of animation involving a character speaking (these scenes were sometimes slowed down in order to better match the actor's voice to the animation).
Marvel outsourced the show's music to distributors Saban Entertainment, who were also responsible for the music in the concurrent X-Men cartoon airing on Fox Kids. The theme for the series was performed by Joe Perry of the hard rock band Aerosmith, although the song was written by Shuki Levy. Levy, Kussa Mahchi and Udi Harpaz are credited as composers of the orchestral background score.
The series was both acclaimed and commercially successful, receiving wide critical praise for its portrayal of many different storylines from the comics. It also garnered exceptionally high ratings for a Saturday morning cartoon and shortly after its premiere was the highest rated and most popular children's television show in America.
Its cancellation after 65 episodes was due to disagreements between executive producer Avi Arad and network head Margaret Loesch that forced the show to be cancelled.
Writer / Producer John Semper Jr. won an Annie Award in 1995 for Best Individual Achievement for Writing in the Field of Animation for the episode "Day of the Chameleon". Spider-Man was also nominated for one 1996 Image Award for Outstanding Animated/Live-Action/Dramatic Youth or Children's Series/Special.
Three comic book series based on the TV series were produced:
Spider-Man Adventures (December 1994 to February 1996): the first 13 issues each adapted one episode from the first season, and the last two issues were original stories. Spider-Man Adventures #1-4 was later reprinted in Kellogg's Froot Loops Mini-Comics #1-4.
Adventures of Spider-Man (April 1996 to March 1997): featuring new stories based on the series.Adventures of Spider-Man was later reprinted in Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) #11-21 from August 1996 to May 1997.
Marvel Adventures (April 1997 to September 1998): anthology featuring various animated versions of Marvel characters--Spider-Man only appeared sporadically.
A number of video games based on the series were also produced:
Electronic versions of classic Spider-Man comics were released by Marvel that included narration by Christopher Daniel Barnes and featured animation and theme music from this series. Spider-Man novels inspired by selected episodes were also released. A wide variety of themed merchandise (lunch boxes, cereals, clothing, etc.) was produced. McDonald's produced a themed line of Happy Meal toys for the show. However, this paled in comparison to the extensive official toy line that ran over eight series, and included a staggering amount of play sets and vehicles and actually lasted longer than the television series itself.
Despite the fact that the show ended in 1998, the success of the live-action Spider-Man films have sparked more interest in new fans, allowing the series to air in reruns due to its new owners: The Walt Disney Company.
The show became available for streaming in its entirety on the Disney Plus network on November 12th of 2019.
In the late 1990s, another selection of VHS compilations were released by Marvel Films/New World Entertainment (these tapes were distributed in Canada by Telegenic Entertainment). These releases featured episodes edited into 70-80, 90-100 minute movies based on the particular story arc.
Contains The Following Previews At The Beginning: Franklin (1997)
Based on the all-new 1996 Spider-Man animated television series
And Contains Various Commercials At The End Of The Movie: Spider-Man: Spider Force Web Car Vehicles and Action Figures Advertisement (1997) Spider-Man: Web Blaster Refills and Web Fluids Advertisement (1997) Spider-Man: Web Flyers: Sneak Attack Action Figures Advertisement (1998)
The Sins of the Fathers
"Framed" "The Man Without Fear" "The Ultimate Slayer" "The Spot"
Contains Various Commercials At The End Of The Movie: Spider-Man: Web Copter Vehicle and Web Fluids Advertisement (1998) Spider-Man: Flip 'n' Trap Playset and Action Figures Advertisement (1998) Spider-Man: Spider Force Web Car Vehicles and Action Figures Advertisement (1997) Spider-Man: Web Blaster Refills and Web Fluids Advertisement (1997)
"Secret Wars, Chapter I: Arrival" "Secret Wars, Chapter II: The Gauntlet of the Red Skull" "Secret Wars, Chapter III: Doom" "Spider Wars, Chapter IV: I Really, Really Hate Clones" "Spider Wars, Chapter V: Farewell, Spider-Man"
A Canadian DVD containing three episodes from the "Mutant Agenda" episodes. This is a reissue of the 1997 Marvel-New World/Telegenic VHS release (and it was mastered from one of those VHS releases); as a "Bonus" two episodes from the 1990s Iron Man TV series are included, just like on the VHS release. (Please note there are no audio/subtitle selections.)
Canadians also received another DVD release of the first season two-parter "The Hobgoblin". This was a re-release of a 2002 VHS release by Disney; the video quality of the episodes on the DVD is that of a VHS transfer. There are no bonus features or audio/subtitle selections on this DVD either.
The entire first season is available on Xbox Live and iTunes through Disney XD. All five seasons are also currently available for digital purchase on Vudu.
The entire series is currently available on Hulu Plus and Amazon Video.
There were also unlicensed DVDs that had The Adventure Continues on them that contained two episodes from most of the movies that were released by Marvel Films/New World Entertainment. For example, one was Spider-Man - Blade the Vampire Hunter which contained two episodes which were "Blade, the Vampire Hunter" and "The Immortal Vampire", a two-part story episode from the second season, making it like a movie based on the toy line, Spider-Man: Vampire Wars.
Bootleg DVDs of the show have become popular among fans due to a lack of official DVD releases. The bootlegs feature all of the episodes but some of them have low video quality and watermarks. This is likely to change as the entire series becomes available in the UK. The series is currently the 9th most wanted unreleased DVD at TVShowsOnDVD.com.
On November 1, 2014 at the Comikaze Expo, where the show's 20th anniversary was celebrated, John Semper Jr. revealed that much of the cast and crew of Spider-Man, himself included, had agreed to reunite for a new crowdfunded series entitled "War of the Rocket Men". In addition, in late 2014, Semper Jr started a website (cartoonspiderman.com) that features behind-the-scenes content, podcasts about the show, a link to the Facebook page that Semper regularly posts on and more. On April 16, 2016, Semper's YouTube account posted a video in which he revealed that he had written a short story following up on the series, detailing Peter finding Mary Jane, referring to the story as "an autobiographical fan-fiction" in which he reminisced on what it was like writing the last episodes of the series, as well as detailing how Peter and Mary Jane would have been reunited, adding one could think of it as "the lost episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series". Semper explained that he would be releasing this as a perk on a crowd-funding campaign for War of the Rocket Men. The video also featured the returning voices of Christopher Daniel Barnes and Sara Ballantine as Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson respectively in an audio promo prologue entitled "Peter Finds Mary Jane".