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Spider-Man (1981 TV series)

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Spider-Man is a 1981 animated Television series based on the popular Marvel Comics character of the same name.

Takes place in Earth-604829.

Production background

The series was created to launch Marvel Productions, successor of DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, who had previously produced the 1978 New Fantastic Four and 1979 Spider-Woman animated series (where Spider-Man made appearances).

Plot

The series features Peter Parker having to balance his villain-fighting with his responsibilities as a university student, a part-time photographer for the Daily Bugle, and caring for Aunt May.

The series was not as popular with fans as Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, another animated series that aired on NBC around the same time, but Spider-Man still provided viewers with plenty of comic book villains, including Chameleon, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, the Kingpin, the Lizard, the Sandman, Silvermane, the Vulture, Mysterio, Magneto, Red Skull, Kraven the Hunter, the Wizard, and the Green Goblin.

Character designs

The character design for Peter Parker (as well as other supporting characters including Aunt May and John Jonah Jameson) was also quite faithful to the comic books of the period and hearkened back to the illustrations by John Romita Sr. of the young hero in Spider-Man’s newspaper strip adventures from the 1970s. Due to network constraints and demands from parents, characters such as Spider-Man were not allowed to make a fist to strike an opponent, but the show’s creators managed to conceal these issues with a focus on action and relatively fluid animation.

Much like the Spider-Man newspaper strip of the late 1970s, Peter Parker’s character design did away with the conservative suit and tie of the 1960s animated series in favor of a hip jacket and yellow turtleneck (although he infrequently wore a button down shirt in the series and put on a tie for the President’s arrival at the New York City airport in “Dr. Doom, Master of the World”). Stan Lee once remarked that John Romita Sr. often drew Parker with a turtleneck instead of a collared shirt since he felt it would better hide his Spider-Man costume, which was always worn under his street clothes.

Peter’s mask was connected to his costume at the back of the neck, almost like a hood, which he would pull over his head when he changed into Spider-Man.

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