How Spider-Man Made Cameos In ’90s Marvel Animation

The third year of X-Men: The Animated Series began in September 1994 with a five-part adaptation of “The Phoenix Saga”. In the latest episode, various superheroes were shown helping a panicked global population. in place and a distinctive red glove entered the frame, pulling straps. Spider-Man: The Animated Series gearing up to debut this fall, it seemed like a smart cross-promotion by its sister series. But if the executives at Marvel Films and Fox Kids had gotten it right, it would never have aired.

Even in an era defined by the X-Men, Spider-Man has remained the jewel in Marvel Comics’ crown, and with more than a decade since the wall-crawler’s last TV series, no expense has been spared to give him his due. As well as working around the plot points and characters reserved for James Cameron’s ill-fated feature and dealing with the issues that resulted by Spider Man original showrunner being replaced during pre-production, there were high expectations for the series. As by Spider Man the creative team became increasingly protective of her lead, a character template for a possible appearance on x-men was rejected without explanation. It was a setback that director Larry Houston had already devised a solution for.

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A fan of Marvel Comics cross-pollination, Houston sought to bring that experience to the small screen with x-men. Having discovered that labeling model sheets generically during the design process was a way to avoid scrutiny, when he presented himself with a second chance at a Spider-Man appearance, he knew exactly what to do and how. do it. After the previous full model with the character’s name attached was rejected, a black-and-white design of Spider-Man’s gloves titled “Mutant Hands” bypassed the rulers and was released.

In 1994, offers the opportunity to work on The Fantastic Four by incoming supervising producer Tom Tataranowicz, Houston at left x-men ahead of its final season supporting Marvel’s First Family. Amid efforts to draw inspiration more closely from the original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comics, it has attempted to flesh out the Marvel Action Universe – as it has become known in some TV markets over the of its sophomore year as a nod to the short-lived 1988-1991 Programming Block – with cameos, just like what had been done on x-men.

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The The Fantastic Four the episode “Nightmare In Green” saw Houston return to her earlier work by including a fleeting appearance of plainclothes X-Men. It also featured a blinking cameo and you’ll miss it from Spider-Man – sort of. in trying to re-introduce the Web-Slinger, Houston and company went for the next best thing and included its clone, the Scarlet Spider. Not that the distinction is clear to viewers, with the character deliberately kept in shadow and only faint details of his costume visible to suggest it might not be Spider-Man.

Even with the increase in quality during The Fantastic FourThe second year it struggled to find an audience and was canceled in 1996. The following year x-men ended its run with three maintenance episodes; Spider Man aired its final episodes in January 1998. Houston would work on later Marvel animated projects, including Avengers: United They Stand and the underrated X-Men: Evolution — but the end of Spider Man closed a unique chapter in Marvel animation that can only now reopen. And thanks to his ingenuity, viewers got to see Spider-Man appear in Marvel’s animated world, even if it wasn’t explicitly him.

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