There have been many Spider-Man cartoons from different decades, but nothing compares to the 90s one, which was aired on the Fox Network. The timing was perfect, debuting in 1994 during the storm of comic hype in America. It over-lapped the Batman animated series that was already a hit. Lasting five seasons, it was the introduction to Spider-Man for many audiences.
The Spider-Man 90s cartoon was special for several reasons. We got a closer look at characters we didn’t know about before. For example, Liz, Felicia Hardy, Smythe, Morbius, and many others. In fact, the show covered pretty much all the major characters and story arcs, including Secret Wars and Venom. Compare this to Batman The Animated Series, which barely included his sidekick Robin in the first season, and never saw any other characters like Superman or Green Arrow.
While watching the Spider-Man 90s cartoon, we discovered how memorable these characters were. For example, Peter’s Aunt May looked and sounded exactly how you would have imagined her to be in real life. The translation from comic to animation was perfect. Another example is the iconic Mary Jane. She has her signature cleft chin and dimples, something comic fans were surely pleased to see. It was hard not to fall in love with her sweetness in this show.
Unfortunately, the show was not without its weaknesses. Some of the problems were due to censorship, such as villains saying “destroy” instead of “kill”. Morbius, who was basically a vampire, would suck “plasma” through his hands. The majority of weaknesses for the Spider-Man 90s cartoon had to do with animation. It was a show that aired daily, which I imagine must have been hard to do with a tight deadline. Many scenes were reused, slowed down, freeze-framed, or just generally looked like crap.
As the show went on, it became less about action and more about drama. In particular, there was too much romance. Harry Osborn was constantly pining over Liz Allan, to the point of it being annoying. There was also some weird stuff with Mary Jane being a clone made for Hydro-Man. It was easy to lose interest in the show as it continued to be more intricate and harder to follow.
So there you have it. The Spider-Man 90s cartoon was fun at first, featuring many villains and stories we had grown to love from the comics, and served as a good introduction to everyone else. Many people grew up watching the show and became lifelong Spider-Man fans. Which I assume was the point of the show, because how else would toy companies push posable plastic pieces on store shelves? The best way to get these type of shows is on eBay, due to the plethora of used DVDs and VHS tapes that would otherwise wind up in a landfill, if it weren’t for the allure of “this might be worth something”.