Not many younger comic book fans know this today, but back in the eighties and nineties, Spider-Man was basically Marvel’s equivalent of Mickey Mouse. He was their mascot who often showed up just about everywhere and had a wider appeal with younger fans than most of the Marvel gallery. He was in “The Electric Company,” had his own TV crime thriller, and even adorned the logo for Marvel Productions in the 1980’s. With all the issues of trademarks and rights that kept him in limbo for a long time, Spider-Man is as popular as ever once again. He’s even winning Oscars! While I’m not a hardcore fan, I respect the character a great deal.
In honor of Spider Man Day, I list five of my favorite alternate costumes for the character. And that was no small feat, as Spider-Man has donned almost a hundred different costumes.
To say that I’ve been a fan of “The Walking Dead” is something of an understatement. I’ve been following Skybound’s “The Walking Dead” since it originally started and have been going along with every single issue since its debut in 2003 and haven’t looked back since. I was also elated when everyone else got to see what I was such a big fan of in 2010 when AMC turned Robert Kirkman’s comic book in to a hit television series and cultural phenomenon. A lot of other fans like myself have been complaining that “The Walking Dead” ended so abruptly, but that’s pretty much in keeping with what the series has been about since 2003.
Before 1994 our only real animated Spider-Man fix was the 1981 series “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.” Intent on rethinking the Spider-Man mold for the nineties, FOX forked over a ton of money to New World Corporation (and then Saban) to create Spider-Man: The Animated Series. With a completely different animation style, and small uses of computer animation, “Spider-Man: The Animated Series” premiered in 1994 with the episode “Night of the Lizard” and managed to take off as a ratings boom for FOX in the wake of similar successes like “X-Men” and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”
After FOX Studios revived comic book property the X-Men and paved the comic book movie as bonafide moneymaker, the canvas of pop culture was carved from the gateway “Blade” forged. After the 2000 cinematic adaptation “X-Men” and its sequel “X2,” both films and the franchised built shocking influence, not just on other genre properties, but comics in general. With X-Men once again being celebrated, the iconic series and comic book team was primed for an animated reboot, after the end of “X-Men: The Animated Series.” Marvel and Film Roman approached the series from a different angle by establishing a new continuity of the “merry mutants” in contemporary times. They changed the focus of the series, as well as the ages of the entire group to appeal to a wider young audience.
“Previously on, X-Men…” was one of the trademark openings kids in the nineties heard every Saturday morning while watching the FOX Kids line up. It was during this time, in the midst of the networks third year (which also included “Batman: The Animated Series”), that FOX and Saban Entertainment teamed up to take on on yet another very popular and ambitious comic book property: Marvel Comics’ “X-Men.” The series came to be widely known by FOX and hardcore fans as “X-Men: The Animated Series.”
“Pryde of the X-Men” (also known as “X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men”) is an animated pilot I mostly remember thanks to its VHS release in 1989 that my brother and I must have borrowed from my cousin a thousand times over. Despite its obscurity, however, this relic of the early Marvel Entertainment days is one of the many abandoned projects from Marvel that’d inadvertently become a classic. Before 1992’s “X-Men: The Animated Series,” there was 1989’s “X-Men,” a series that begun development after constant guest spots from the team during “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.” Watching it years later, it’s surprising just how much of the early episodes of the 1992 series were based on the “Pryde of the X-Men” pilot.
With the end of Batman: the Animated Series, the DC Comics/Warner Bros. animation golden boy of the 90s, Bruce Timm, was called upon once again to create another hit Saturday morning series. This time it would a series geared to a much younger audience, full of futuristic technology and action packed, and it would be called Batman Beyond. The show wasn’t a pandering, youth-oriented take with no substance (I’m looking at you Spider-Man Unlimited) either; it was a dark, complex, and very unique spin on the Batman lore.
If you want to talk about weird team ups of 2017 in comic books, it’s tough to come across any weirder than Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the Justice League. It takes a lot of exposition, but the crossover with both teams is entertaining enough in that the writers find a good balance between both properties. The Power Rangers at Boom Studios are now dramatic enough in their own series to work alongside the Justice League, while the Justice League are considered somewhat bright enough to work alongside the Power Rangers. This could be a good platform to mock the Power Rangers and give the Justice League considerable credibility, but thankfully both teams manage to take the piss out of one another quite often.