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8 Gut Wrenching Moments from The Spider-Friends

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8 Gut Wrenching Moments from The Spider-Friends

Cue the music...

By Robert T. Trate     July 04, 2012
Source: Mania.com

 With each of the Spider-Man movies provided to us by Sam Raimi, I always thought Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends would get some kind of royal DVD or Blu-ray treatment. With each and every movie there seems to be some sort of tie-in or re-release and this one always got left out. No matter as the complete series with narration by Stan Lee has found its way to Netflix Streaming. This was my Spider-Man growing up as a kid. His adventures on Saturday morning were my first and best introduction to the Marvel Universe. Sure, I watched the ’67 series but this was cool, hip and didn’t feature the same animated swinging sequence over and over again. Since having the chance to watch them all, finally for the first time, I have to say I throughly enjoyed the series again. Dan Gilvezan is and forever will be the voice of Peter Parker/ Spider-Man to me. Much like Josh Keaton will be for one generation and Christopher Daniel will be for another. However, I found some of the moments (I narrowed it down to 8) drove me absolutely crazy to the point where I would call them gut wrenching. So without further eloquence, here is Mania’s 8 Gut Wrenching Moments from The Spider-Friends

8. Crap Tastic Villains

Today I know why certain characters are in some shows and not in others. It all has to do with licensing, which is why we couldn’t have the Daily Bugle in Ben Affleck’s Daredevil and so fourth. In 1981 there was really no excuse. Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends featured an incredible assortment of characters from the entire Marvel Universe. We saw Avengers (separately), X-Men, and the likes of Doctor Doom. So why did Spidey and the gang have to battle the likes of Videoman, The Gamesmen, and Cyberiad? Arcade, Zzzx, and Deathlock all would have been better. 

 

7. The Fantastic Mr. Frump

He may go with number 8 but he wasn’t really a villain so we’ll cut him that much slack. In what may be the third worst episode of any series ever we find the Spider-Friends battling a doofus who picked up a Doctor Doom trinket by mistake. Sure, there is a lesson to be learned here but, as this episode goes on, one has to wonder why Doom didn’t annihilate this idiot. It’s 23 minutes you’ll never get back again and makes episodes like “Swarm” seem brilliant. 

 

6. The Transylvanian Connection aka “The Bride of Dracula”

What kid’s show doesn’t feature Dracula and the Classic Movie Monsters sooner or later? There is no copyright on these characters and sooner or later you just need a straight up great villain. The writers behind “The Transylvanian Connection” missed a great opportunity to involve Marvel’s Dracula (from Tomb of Dracula) and his nemesis Blade. Instead we get some huge leaps in logic, a two rotor plane catching up to a jet in minutes, and the Frankenstein creature actually being a robot. What is really gut wrenching is that after Spidey and Iceman save the day Dracula reverts back to his human form and forgets everything. What? Chalk this one up to writing around the sensors, I guess. 

 

5. The Red Skull vs Professor Hiawatha?

The Red Skull and Captain America are the salt and pepper of the Marvel Universe. So why when the Red Skull makes an appearance on the Spider-Friends does he battle Professor Hiawatha? Was Cap busy that week? Captain America makes an appearance on the show but never in this episode. Damn, we even have a Nazi symbol in the episode! Yet, no Cap!?

 

4. Wolverine Gets Stuck 

The X-Men make two full appearances on Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, outside of a few cameos too. Only one of these features Wolverine. “A Firestar is Born” features two of the greatest gut wrenching moments in the series. The first is when Wolverine speaks with an Australian accent (great foreshadowing in hindsight). Why is that again since he is Canadian? The second happens when Wolverine gets his claws stuck into a wall while battling the Juggernaut. As my introduction to the character, I thought he was pretty lame. 

 

3. The X-Men Blunders

 

As I mentioned, the series did feature a couple of appearances of the X-Men. There are three instances that are in question that I consider “blunders”. In “Sunfire” we meet the mutant, Sunfire and learn that he and Iceman have tussled a few times. Why? Weren’t they both trained at the same school? Wasn’t Sunfire always a good guy? Let’s move on, shall we. In “The X-Men Adventure” we meet the entire X-Men team from Giant Sized X-Men #1. Sunfire is not present but the deceased Thunderbird is and can transform into great animal spirits. What? Cool that Thunderbird made an appearance, but why the manifestation of his powers in this manner? In the third and final X-Men blunders Francis Byte (aka Videoman) gets enrolled into the X-School despite receiving his powers from a video game surge and not being born with them. Yes, you read that right, he's not a mutant.

 

2. The Green Goblin Transformation

What might be the biggest faux pas in the entire 3 year run is their treatment of the Green Goblin. In this universe Norman Osborn goes through a physical transformation, like the Hulk, and becomes the Green Goblin. One could argue that you never see the transformation completely but at the end of “The Triumph of the Green Goblin” we see Osborn in the goblin get up with white skin and corn rows. Oh yeah, he also wanted to turn everyone in NY into goblins, as well. 

 

1. Miss Lion Saves the Day

I understood why she was on the show. She was cute, cuddly, and if there would have been a toy line she would have been in it. She was also the comic relief. Before I bash her, I gotta give her props for standing up to a T-Rex in “The Crime of all Centuries”. However, her very appearance in “7 Little Superheroes” is probably the most gut wrenching moment in the history of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends


Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 19
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bjordson 7/4/2012 3:22:35 AM

As to the lame appearance of Wolverine, Does anyone remember Spiderman Vs the X-Men in the original Secret Wars? He backhanded Logan across the room and went through the rest of the X-man like bowling pins. Parts of that series were as cringe-worthy as the above mentioned toon.

Lex0807 7/4/2012 4:29:41 AM

 Now that I found out about the existence of this series, the Adam West Batman and the Challenge of the Superfriends are a little easier to swallow.

ElBaz13 7/4/2012 4:49:52 AM

Thanks for the article Rob. Love it!

I do agree this is the cartoon that introduced me to the Marvel U. Sure, I did watch the old 60s Spidey in reruns in the late 70s but this series was the one that showed the Marvel U and got me hooked on comics. Immediately after I saw the X-men episode, I went to pick up a comic at the local store.

I still remember the episode Seven Little Superheroes which had Dr Strange, Cap, Shanna and Namor. It was great to see other Marvel U characters.

Betenoire 7/4/2012 8:07:08 AM

Miss Lion did get a figre eventually as she came along with the Spidey T-Shirt wearing Mary Jane  in the Marvel Universe line which makes for an all but Aunt May complete set when combined with the TRU Exclusive Spidey, Firestar and Iceman 3 pack. 

RaithManan 7/4/2012 12:44:29 PM

While I get a hoot of watching the old episodes on DIsney XD, it just reminds me how old I am (41) when I watched them back in the day.  But I'm sorry, the number 1 cringeworthy moment on this list, its no doubt The Fantastic Mr. Frump.  Talk about the worst possible scenario to utilize Dr. Doom in which I'm sure he was dying to collect the check as quick as possible. 

Wyldstaar 7/4/2012 2:08:44 PM

I've always had a soft spot for Videoman.  He was the quintesential Spider-Friends villain.

InnerSanctum 7/4/2012 4:40:42 PM

 I always had mixed feelings about the show.  And, I recall the Aussie Wolverine.   

My question always was, if they had full use of all the Marvel charcters, why did they create Firestar?  There were plenty of female Marvel characters they could have used.  

ElBaz13 7/4/2012 7:28:14 PM

@InnerSanctum.

I believe Firestar was created because it was initially supposed to be Human Torch and Iceman. Essentially they wanted the elements of fire and ice. Since Torch's cartoon rights were somewhere else, they created Firestar because there was no other fire related character they thought of using.

It's all in wiki. :)

vitieddie 7/4/2012 8:44:03 PM

Ah ... I watched this when I was very young and it was awesome ... we didn't have it on TV then and so had to rent these VHS tapes from the store to watch the very few episodes we could find ... nostalgia - its all good!

FerretJohn 7/4/2012 10:04:08 PM

Bjordson, I do rememberr that issue, it wasn't that cringe-worthy actually.  People keep forgetting that he's one of the most experienced and capable heroes in the business.  Not even Nightcrawler can match him in the speed and agility department, and his strength is always underestimated.  He hit them by surprise, moved fast, kept the X-Men off-balance, and didn't stick around long enough for the team to regroup.  It was a good fight.

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