Last week, Marvel Studios premiered “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” to much acclaim and box office success. Shang Chi has been one of Marvel’s biggest and most prominent brawlers, a man who has mastered martial arts and proven to be a living weapon time and time again. In honor of Marvel veteran’s debut, I listed my five favorite Comic Book Brawlers, a group of hand to hand fighters that have been some of my all time favorites since I was a kid.
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.
Spider-Man entrance in to the MCU has been a god send as Marvel had managed to touch on areas of the character that we haven’t seen before, while also fleshing out much if his universe and world. After the epics of “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Jon Watts’ “Far from Home” is a nice detour in to the MCU where the studio is able to book end their biggest event thus far. Closing out phase three of the MCU, “Far From Home” is a vastly superior film to “Homecoming” that benefits from the lack of Iron Man, believe it or not.
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.”
“Captain Marvel” is one of the most popular contemporary Marvel superheroes and Marvel has taken advantage of the popularity of Carol Danvers, using her to pivot us in to the new generation of Marvel Cinematic Offerings. Captain Marvel is being tailored as the new leader that one that helps Marvel’s superheroes charge in to battle. Much in the vein of “Captain America: The First Avenger,” Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s origin film will prove to appreciate in cinematic value, especially with Brie Larson at the helm as a powerful, and engaging cosmic heroine.
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.
And it worked.
“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.