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Top 5 Spider-Man Cartoons

Updated on July 17, 2017
Spider-Man 2099, aka Miguel O'Hara
Spider-Man 2099, aka Miguel O'Hara

The Many Spider-Men

Boy, there sure is a lot of Spider-Man for us to experience. We've got multiple film series, each made of numerous movies, several video games, comic books, and of course, television shows.

And Spider-Man isn't even just Peter Parker anymore; we have Miguel O'Hara as the wall-crawler from 2099, and then there's Peter's own daughter, May, becoming Spider-Girl. Not to mention Parker's clone, Ben Reilly.

No matter how you were introduced to the friendly neighborhood arachnid, you've likely seen one of his television shows, which range in quality from good to.. well, you'll see. Without further ado, lets countdown and explore some of the more recent Spider-Man cartoons!

Spider-Man Unlimited
Spider-Man Unlimited

5. Spider-Man Unlimited

Coming out in 1999 gave this show a few problems. That's right when Pokémon and Digimon were monopolizing children's television, so very few other kid shows could compete. I mean, I love Spider-Man, but even I barely saw this.

he cartoon itself is okay. It's got an interesting intro, and unique ideas, but they aren't always executed well. Basically, in a world called Counter-Earth, humans are a secondary species; the majority of the planet are Beastials, humanoids with many animal characteristics. Spider-Man, using an awesome new suit with stealth technology, aids a group of rebels and seeks to eventually return to regular Earth.

The futuristic setting provides some cool locations and atmosphere. Unfortunately, a lot of what you might expect from Spider-Man is missing. No Mary Jane, little of Peter Parker's life (he's rarely outside his suit) and few other familiar faces. Still, the art style's interesting, and the action's not too bad. Due to a limited fanbase, the show only had one season, leaving a cliffhanger ending that was never resolved. And nice web-cape, Spidey. What's next, web-armpits?

Spider-Man and his teammates from Ultimate Spider-Man
Spider-Man and his teammates from Ultimate Spider-Man

4. Ultimate Spider-Man

Our concept here is to team up Spider-Man, played by Drake Bell, with other young heroes-in-training, and watch the webhead grow into a seasoned crime-fighter. This show drastically polarizes fans; some love it, some hate it.

Spider-Man's jokes can fall flat (he often "freezes" the screen to talk to the audience), his teammates don't particularly impress, and some characters (looking at you, Flash Thompson) have atrocious voice acting.

Still, I find there's a fair amount to like about the program. I applaud Peter's design, and I honestly find a fair portion of his jokes amusing. Maybe not bust-my-gut-laughing funny, but the lovable silliness still entertains me. The fight scenes are often fast and powerful, and the show utilizes more recent developments in the Marvel Universe. For example, the Symbiote that bonded with Eddie Brock to become Venom eventually joins with Flash, who seeks to partner with Spider-Man.

I understand this isn't Spider-Man series for everyone, but if you can get past the flaws of Ultimate, there's still a loads of fun to be had.

Spider-Man from The New Animated Series
Spider-Man from The New Animated Series

3. Spider-Man The New Animated Series

A show on MTV starring Neil Patrick Harris as Spider-Man? Yep, this actually happened. You'll probably first notice the interesting CGI style of the series. Some love it, some hate it. Personally, I don't mind the look; it's an interesting format that never bothered me.

Also, New York is rendered well, especially at nighttime. This world is darker, grittier, almost like someone injected a tad of Gotham into it. Peter and Spider-Man are played well, and we see how Peter's frequent disappearances frustrate best friends Mary Jane and Harry Osborn.

I definitely enjoy this iteration of Harry, he's a rich and cocky jerk, but he's still a loyal friend to Peter. The villains are unique, mixing classic foes with fresh faces.

Unfortunately, we have some problems. Some of the dialogue can feel forced, the Kingpin isn't as awesome as he should be, and the series ended with just 13 episodes. Did the show deserve more seasons? I'd say yes, but give it a watch and see what you think.

Spectacular Spider-Man
Spectacular Spider-Man

2. Spectacular Spider-Man

This show has a bunch of fans, and for good reason. It has nice character development, great action, and once again highlights both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. We get to watch love interests Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy's relationships with Peter grow.

I also find that Spectacular handles Eddie Brock, who becomes Venom, better than the other series, making him more sympathetic.

Honestly, I was at first turned off by the odd art style and annoyingly catchy intro. But if you can ignore the average artwork and the fact that the show only has 2 seasons, there's a lot of joy to be found here. This is definitely one of the greatest, though I'm still pondering Spidey's new web-armpits.

Spider-Man and Venom from the 1994 animated series
Spider-Man and Venom from the 1994 animated series

1. Spider-Man The Animated Series

A classic this show had it all. Tons of villains, dozens of cameos, and unending Peter Parker love drama. Spidey fights bad guys and teams up with allies like Captain America, Blade, Daredevil, Iron Man, War Machine, the X-Men, Black Cat, and even Venom.

We get to see a college-age Peter tackle a plethora of villains, each with their own unique powers and backstory. The Kingpin in particular has plenty of screentime, and the perfect voice actor.

Parker's tragic love life is vasty explored. He dates several girls, keeps losing them due to his crimefighting career, but eventually marries, only to (spoilers) have his wife perish. Pretty dark stuff for a kid's show.

Speaking of which, that's one of my few criticisms of the program; as an adult, you can really see the action is edited to be suitable for kids. Each gun fires weak laser blasts instead of bullets, and Spider-Man was even banned from throwing punches. Still, I love most of the art, music, and character designs (although what in the world is up with Harry Osborn's hair?).

All in all, the arching plots, the numerous characters, the music, and the hilarity of J. Jonah Jameson make this show a classic, even if it's pretty cheesy.

And did you know the theme song was made by Aerosmith's guitarist Joe Perry?

Your Favorite

Which series do you enjoy the most?

See results

Future of Spider-Man

There were some tough calls to be made today, and I honestly enjoy (to various extents) each show listed here.

With Spidey starring in some upcoming films, Marvel fans have plenty to look forward to for the future of our webhead!

Comments

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    • Nathan Kiehn profile image

      Nathan Kiehn 

      12 months ago

      I've always been a fan of the animated series, and I've been incredibly disappointed that I can only find a few volumes on Amazon. The opening song is a classic for me, the use of his rogues gallery was fantastic (the Green Goblin-centered episodes are a lot of fun), and they put so many supporting characters in there.

      I like Spectacular and Ultimate, but it's been a while since I've watched either. I agree Spectacular was a really fun show and used the characters really well. The lack of episodes was always a disappointment. I'd see three new ones on Saturdays and then go weeks of reruns before a new episode debuted. Other than that, few complaints.

      Wished you hadn't mentioned the intro, though. Now it's stuck in my head.

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