Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends is an American animated television series produced by Marvel Productions, considered to be a crossover series connected to 1981 Spider-Man series. The show stars already-established Marvel Comics characters Spider-Man and Iceman, plus an original character, Firestar.[2] As a trio called the Spider-Friends, they fought against various villains of the Marvel Universe.

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (intertitle)
GenreSuperhero fiction
Action/adventure
Based onSpider-Man
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Developed byStan Lee
Directed byDon Jurwich
Voices of
Narrated by
Composer(s)Johnny Douglas
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes24 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Dennis Marks
Running time25 minutes
Production company(s)Marvel Productions
Release
Original networkNBC[1]
Original releaseSeptember 12, 1981 –
November 5, 1983
Chronology
Preceded bySpider-Man (1981 TV series)
Followed bySpider-Man (1994 TV series)

Broadcast schedule

Originally broadcast on NBC as a Saturday morning cartoon, the series ran first-run original episodes for three seasons, from 1981 to 1983, then aired repeats for an additional two years (from 1984 to 1986). Alongside the 1981 Spider-Man animated series, Amazing Friends was later re-aired in the late 1980s as part of the 90 minute Marvel Action Universe (not to be confused with 1977's The Marvel Action Universe), a syndicated series that was used as a platform for old and new Marvel-produced animated fare (the newer programming featured RoboCop: The Animated Series, Dino-Riders and on occasion "X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men", which was intended to serve as a pilot for a potential X-Men animated series).

Season changes and popularity

In the second season, the show was aired along with a newly produced Hulk animated series as The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man. The two shows shared one intro which showcased the new title. Stan Lee began narrating the episodes in the second season. Narrations by Stan Lee were added to the first-season episodes at this time so that the series seemed cohesive. These narrations (for the first and second season) are not on the current masters. They have not aired since the NBC airings. (As seen on the Stan Lee narration list at Spider-Friends.com[3])

For the third season, there was another title change. This time the characters' names would be reversed and the show was called, The Amazing Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk. It remained that way for most of the remaining years. NBC did air the show individually in mid-season (post 1986) after it was not initially announced for their fall schedule. Only some of the Stan Lee narrations for the third season are on the current masters. The missing narrations have not aired since the NBC airings.

Storyline

Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Bobby Drake (Iceman), and Angelica Jones (Firestar) are all college students at Empire State University. After working together to defeat the Beetle and recovering the "Power Booster" he stole from Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) the trio decide to team-up permanently as the "Spider-Friends". They live together in Peter's aunt's home with her and a pet dog, Ms. Lion (adopted from Firestar), a Lhasa Apso. Together, the superheroes battle various supervillains.

Some stories featured team-ups with other characters from the Marvel Universe, including Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Sunfire, and the mid-1970s X-Men.

Original characters

A number of characters in the series were original characters that did not appear in the comics prior to the premiere of the series:

Firestar

One of the series' main characters, Firestar was created specifically for this series when the Human Torch was unavailable (due to licensing issues). The original plan was for Spider-Man to have fire and ice based teammates, so Angelica Jones/Firestar was created. Her pre-production names included Heatwave, Starblaze, and Firefly.

Firestar did not appear in Marvel's mainstream comic book universe until Uncanny X-Men #193 (May 1985). She appears as a member of the Hellions, a group of teenage mutants who functioned as rivals to the New Mutants (a similar group under the tutelage of Charles Xavier). After leaving the Hellions, Firestar becomes a founding member of the New Warriors and later serves as a distinguished member of the Avengers along with her fellow New Warrior, Justice. She is currently a member of the X-Men.

Hiawatha Smith

Hiawatha Smith is a college professor at the Spider-Friends' university. He is the son of a heroic Native American chief who fought against the Axis during World War II.

Hiawatha Smith's home is adorned with decorations from various cultures including Hindu and native African tribes. Producer and story editor Dennis Marks created the character and admits to basing him on Indiana Jones.[4]

Smith's father passed down to his son the mystic knowledge of their people and a map leading to a vast Nazi treasure of wealth and advanced technology sought by the Red Skull. Smith often employs a boomerang in battle. He possesses a supernatural ability to communicate with animals.

Lightwave

Iceman lightwave
Iceman and Lightwave, half-siblings

Lightwave's real name is Aurora Dante. Like her half-brother Bobby Drake (a.k.a. the superhero Iceman), Lightwave is a mutant. She can manipulate and control light. Her other light-based powers include laser blasts, photonic force fields and solid light pressor beams. She can also transform herself into light; in such a form, she is able to exist in the vacuum of outer space.

Lightwave's only appearance was in "Save the GuardStar", the final episode of the 1980s cartoon. She is voiced by Annie Lockhart. Bobby Drake explains his heretofore unknown sister as merely a half-sister; they share the same mother.

An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Lightwave is considered a traitor, due to mind control by rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Buzz Mason. Mason induces Lightwave to steal assorted devices to create a "quantum enhancer" which would increase her powers 1,000 times. With such power, Lightwave would be able to control the GuardStar satellite which orbits the Earth and controls all defense systems and communications systems for the United States. Mason expects world conquest since he controls Lightwave.

Iceman, Firestar, and Spider-Man attempt to stop Lightwave. However, she is powerful enough to defeat them. Aboard a space vessel, Buzz Mason forces Iceman into outer space, dooming Iceman if he remains there for long. Spider-Man convinces Lightwave to realize that the half-brother she loves is in mortal danger. Her reaction breaks Mason's control over her, and she saves Iceman and disables Mason long enough for Spider-Man to subdue him.

Presumably, with Mason's role realized, S.H.I.E.L.D. restores Lightwave's good standing. As this is Lightwave's only appearance, her fate is unknown.

Videoman

Videoman is an intangible being that is mostly composed of electronic data gleaned from a video arcade. Videoman makes three appearances in the series, the first two times as a supervillain and the third time as a superhero.

As a villain

In Season 1, Videoman first appeared as a creature created by Electro. Its abilities include moving through and manipulating electronic circuits and projecting pulses of energy. Videoman is used by Electro to suck in and entrap Spider-Man, Flash Thompson, Firestar and Iceman into a video game display where Electro attempts to destroy the four. However, Flash is able to save himself and the others by escaping through the monitor and into Electro's electronic components to save the others. This first villainous version of Videoman makes one other appearance in Season 2's "Origin of Ice-Man", with the additional abilities of bringing video game characters to life and draining the unique bio-energy of mutants, temporarily suppressing Iceman's powers and weakening Firestar, as well as being able to emulate their powers for its own use. This time, Videoman is defeated when the Spider-friends trick it and its video game minions into attacking one another.

As a superhero

In the Season 3 episode "The Education Of A Superhero", Francis Byte is an avid videogame player who is especially engrossed into gaining the high score on a videogame, Zellman Command, at the local arcade. The villain Gamesman sends a hypnotic signal that entrances over 300,000 people in the city. However, it does not affect Francis' girlfriend Louise, Spider-Man and Firestar, nor does the signal does affect Francis' mind, which is distracted from entrancement by Louise and the game. Louise walks away from Francis after having her pleas disregarded by Francis. He (unbeknownst to any others) plays the arcade machine so rigorously that it and other arcade machines (most of which are emitting the hypnotic waves) explode. The explosion somehow transforms Francis into Videoman.

Francis discovers that he can become his new alter-ego Videoman at will. However, he is completely inexperienced with his handling of such powerful abilities. He tries to help the trio (which has awakened Iceman from his trance) against a hypnotized mob, but they repel his offers due to his inexperience. He then tries to save Louise from the Gamesman, but he is easily bribed into manipulating a military communications satellite system in return for Louise's freedom, an offer that is then reneged upon by the Gamesman. Enraged at the trickery, Videoman helps Spider-Man and the others free Louise and also reverses his stoppage of the military computer. After the Gamesman is defeated, Francis accepts an invitation to join the X-Men, while Louise accepts him and his abilities.

Cast

Credited cast

Notable guest stars

Crew

Marvel Mash-Up

Scenes from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and The Incredible Hulk were re-cut, edited, and re-dubbed into comical shorts as part of Disney XD's Marvel Mash-Up shorts for their "Marvel Universe on Disney XD" block of programming that includes Ultimate Spider-Man and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.[5]

Home release

The Complete Seasons 1-3 box set has been released in the UK.[6] This release did not include any of the Stan Lee narrations from the first or second season. Only some of the Stan Lee narrations were in the third season. The first lot of releases by Liberation Entertainment have gone out of print, due to Liberation Films going into bankruptcy. However Clear Vision released all 3 seasons on DVD in 2010. This new edition have improved image quality[7] and include German dubbing, while removing the 5.1 audio track and english subtitles. This release has also gone out of print, since Clear Vision ceased operations in 2016. The discs are in Region 2, PAL format.

No Region 1 or other NTSC release is planned at this time.

Instant streaming

The series was available for instant streaming via Netflix from the Summer of 2011 to August 31, 2015.[8] But is still available on Amazon Video and iTunes.

Reception

In January 2009, IGN named Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as the 59th best in the Top 100 Animated Series.[1]

Comics

Adaptation

The first comic book that directly referenced the Amazing Friends show was Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends #1 (December 1981), a one-shot that adapted the pilot episode, "The Triumph of the Green Goblin". Though the comic version altered the story to bring it in line with established Marvel Universe continuity (such as making the Green Goblin identity a costume as in the comics, rather than a physical transformation as in the episode), it was not considered part of said continuity. It is notable as the first appearance of Firestar in a Marvel Comics story, though the version of Firestar that exists within Marvel continuity would not appear until Uncanny X-Men #193 (May 1985).

The story was reprinted in England in late 1983 in the weekly Marvel UK title Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. It was reprinted in the U.S. as Marvel Action Universe #1 (January 1989), released to coincide with the airing of Amazing Friends reruns on the television series of the same name.

In the Marvel mainstream continuity, Spider-Man, Firestar and Iceman have made sporadic team-ups in Amazing X-Men #7 (July 2014) and Iceman #3 (November 2018).

Firestar

After her aforementioned initial appearance, the Marvel Comics version of Firestar debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #193 as part of Emma Frost's Hellions team. Firestar was given an origin story in a self-titled mini-series (March – June 1986). The character went on to be a founding member of the New Warriors, and later a member of the Avengers.

One change to Firestar from the TV show to the comic books was her powers. In the cartoon, they were fire based. However, Marvel had a number of characters who could control/create fire, so they changed her mutant ability to the power to emit and control microwave energy.

Amazing Friends 2006

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the show, Marvel released Spider-Man Family: Amazing Friends #1 on August 9, 2006. The comic starts with an all-new story, "Opposites Attack", which is officially set before Web of Spider-Man #75. After that is a Mini Marvel tale, "Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends Co-Workers" (note that the strikethrough of "Friends" was a deliberate inclusion in the title). Both stories were written by Sean McKeever.

The remainder of the one-shot is composed of reprints of Untold Tales of Spider-Man #2 and Spider-Man 2099 #2.

Ultimate Spider-Man

An arc in Ultimate Spider-Man is titled "Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends" and issue #118's cover, showing Spider-Man, Iceman and Firestar, is a homage to the series title screen. Johnny Storm and Kitty Pryde are also said to be members of the team. However, instead of Angelica Jones, Firestar is Liz Allan.[9] Since then, in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Spidey, Iceman, and the Human Torch have begun living together at Aunt May's house and have been working as a team as another homage to the series (because Liz, as Firestar, was a member of the X-Men in this continuity; this team roster also reflects the original intent of Amazing Friends to use the Human Torch before licensing issues forced the creation of Firestar).

Amazing Friends in-continuity?

In 2007's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe—Spider-Man: Back in Black one-shot, the villain Videoman is given a brief biography from his "retcon" appearance in the Spider-Man Family one-shot. There is also an annotation describing an "Earth 8107", where an alternate reality Videoman was created by Electro to battle that world's Spider-Man. Later, in the same reality, Francis Byte is mutated by an exploding arcade console to become a new Videoman, and later "possibly" join the X-Men. Essentially, this places the events of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends — or at the very least, the episodes "Videoman" and "The Education of a Superhero" — in an alternate-Earth continuity of the Marvel Comics Multiverse.

Spider-Verse

The Spider-Friends of Earth-1983 (described as a "kinder, gentler than most" world), except for Ms. Lion, are apparently killed by a dimension-hopping Morlun, set on draining the life out of every variation of Spider-Man across the multiverse.[10]

Series notes

  • The series was an attempt by NBC to replicate some of the success ABC enjoyed with the Super Friends franchise.[11]
  • The makers of the show had originally intended the stars to be Spider-Man, Iceman, and the Human Torch.[11] However, legal issues about the rights to the Human Torch character (which had also plagued Marvel once before for the 1978 Fantastic Four cartoon) led to the Human Torch being replaced by a new character, Firestar, who had similar powers, but was a mutant like Iceman. Due to Firestar's popularity with fans, she has since become a part of the mainstream Marvel Universe (see Comics above). In pre-production, Firestar's codename changed frequently; the unused names include Firefly, Starblaze, and Heatwave.
  • Ms. Lion was actually Firestar's puppy, as Angelica introduced Peter to the dog before she and Bobby knew Peter's secret identity or vice versa (as former teammates in the X-Men, Iceman and Firestar knew each other's secret identities before meeting Peter/Spider-Man). However, Aunt May ended up taking care of her most the time, with Angelica leading the busy life of a superhero and college student. Strangely enough, Ms. Lion actually saved the day in the episode "Seven Little Superheroes", in which The Chameleon was the main enemy; with her canine sense of smell, Ms. Lion was able to distinguish the shape-changing villain from the heroes he was impersonating. This episode was also notable for including Marvel heroes Doctor Strange, Namor, Shanna the She-Devil and Captain America.
  • Some of the sound effects used in the series originated from Universal Television's Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Adding Ms. Lion, a pet, as a character was another attempt to emulate the Super Friends[11] (Wonder Dog, Gleek).
  • In her civilian identity, Angelica Jones resembles Peter's girlfriend from the comic books, Mary Jane Watson. This was played up in issues of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane in which Firestar appeared.
  • In the 1984 film Missing in Action starring Chuck Norris, an episode of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends can be seen on a television. The title of that episode is called "Along Came Spidey".

References

  1. ^ a b "Top 100 animated series". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  2. ^ "Spider-Man on TV". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  3. ^ Stan Lee Narration List
  4. ^ An Interview with Dennis Marks at spider-friends.com
  5. ^ Doing the Marvel Mash-Up
  6. ^ DVDSuperheroes.co.uk: "Classic Marvel Superheroes on DVD Now" Archived 2008-09-17 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ [1]{Screenshot comparison}
  8. ^ "Marvel Shows Now Available on Netflix!". Marvel.com. 28 April 2011.
  9. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #118 cover
  10. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #7
  11. ^ a b c Mallory, Michael (October 4, 2012). "Rick Hoberg's Seriously 'Amazing Friends'". AnimationMagazine.net. Retrieved March 11, 2016.

External links

Cyclops in other media

Cyclops is one of the only X-Men to be featured in every adaptation of the series. This is a list of all media appearances of the Marvel Comics character Cyclops.

Dan Gilvezan

Daniel John Gilvezan (born October 26, 1950) is an American actor, known for playing Peter Parker / Spider-Man in the 1981 animated series, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and Autobot Bumblebee, among others, in the original 1984-1987 Transformers series.

Dennis Marks (screenwriter)

Dennis Marks (August 2, 1932 – January 10, 2006) was an American screenwriter, producer and voice actor, mainly for children's animations. Marks wrote for several big production companies during the 1960s through to the 1990s, including Hanna-Barbera, DC and Marvel. He wrote screenplays and stories for many popular animation shows including Batfink, The Beatles, Dungeons & Dragons and Spider-Man, providing the voice for the Green Goblin in the latter. He also worked as a producer for Children's TV show Wonderama, chat show A.M. New York and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.

Firestar

Firestar may refer to:

Firestar (Marvel Comics), a comic book superhero originating in the 1980s animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

Firestar (novel), a novel by Michael Flynn

Fire Star (novel), a novel by Chris D'Lacey

Firestar (Transformers), a character in the many continuities in the Transformers franchise.

Firestar (limited series), a comic book limited series

Star Firestar M43, a firearm manufactured by Star Bonifacio Echeverria, S.A. in Eibar, Spain

Kolb Firestar, an ultralight aircraft

Firestar (Marvel Comics)

Firestar (Angelica "Angel" Jones) is a fictional mutant superheroine appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Debuting in 1981 on the NBC animated television series, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (as Fire-Star), she has the ability to generate and manipulate microwave radiation, allowing her to fly and create intense heat and flames. In the comics, she has acted as a solo hero and as a member of the Hellions, the New Warriors, the Avengers, and the X-Men.

Firestar (limited series)

Firestar was a four-issue comic book limited series, published in 1986 by Marvel Comics, that established the origin story of the Firestar character within Marvel Comics continuity.

Firestar was originally a character created solely for the animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as a "fire" counterpart for previously established character Iceman, and had no appearances in Marvel comics prior to the animated series. The first Marvel comic that Firestar appeared in was 1981's Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends #1. The first published, in-continuity appearance of Firestar was Uncanny X-Men #193 (May 1985).

The limited series presents Firestar's comic book origin for the first time in print, which differs significantly from the animated character's origin. The limited series covers events that happened both before and after the Uncanny X-Men appearance. In 2006, the series was collected into one digest sized paperback, titled X-Men: Firestar (ISBN 0-7851-2200-1).

Johnny Douglas (conductor)

Johnny Douglas (19 June 1920 – 20 April 2003) was an English composer, musical director and string arranger, perhaps best known for his work in the easy listening genre. He recorded over 500 tracks for DECCA and over 80 albums for RCA, and wrote the soundtrack to the 1971 film The Railway Children, plus 37 other feature films.

In the 1980s, he also composed and conducted music for many television series, including the children's TV animation series Spider-Man, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Dungeons & Dragons, The Incredible Hulk, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and The Transformers.

Kathy Garver

Kathleen Marie Garver (born December 13, 1945) is an American stage, film, television, and voice-over actress most remembered for having portrayed the teenage niece, Catherine "Cissy" Davis, to series character Uncle Bill Davis, played by Brian Keith, on the popular 1960s CBS sitcom, Family Affair. Before that, she was cast by Cecil B DeMille in the film The Ten Commandments (1956). She is also known as the voice of Firestar in the animated television series Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. Garver authored The Family Affair Cookbook (2009), Surviving Cissy: My Family Affair of Life in Hollywood (2015), and X Child Stars: Where are They Now? (2016).

List of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends characters

This is a list of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends characters.

List of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episodes

This is an episode list for Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, which was an American cartoon series featuring the Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man.

The first season consisted of 13 episodes, the second 3, and the third 8.

List of Spider-Man enemies in other media

Spider-Man has had much media attention due to his popularity as a superhero, as have his villains. Here is a list of his primary villains that have undergone media attention such as in films, televisions, and video games.

Marvel Action Universe

Marvel Action Universe was a weekly syndicated television block from Marvel Productions featuring animated adaptions of Dino-Riders and RoboCop. Marvel Action Universe debuted in 1988.

Marvel Productions

Marvel Productions Ltd., later known as New World Animation Ltd., was the television and film studio subsidiary of the Marvel Entertainment Group, based in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. It later became a subsidiary of New World Entertainment and eventually of News Corporation (Fox Entertainment Group).

Marvel Productions produced animated television series, motion pictures, and television specials such as Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, The Incredible Hulk, My Little Pony: The Movie, The Transformers: The Movie, and G.I. Joe: The Movie as well as The Transformers and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero television series. Most of Marvel Productions' non-Hasbro related back catalog (with the exception of Dungeons & Dragons) is currently owned by The Walt Disney Company.

Psyklop

Psyklop is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created in combination by Harlan Ellison, Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema and Jim Mooney, the character first appears Avengers vol. 1 #88.

Spider-Man (1981 TV series)

Spider-Man is an American animated TV series based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.The Japanese Toei Animation, which produced the 1981 anime series Tiger Mask II, has animated two episodes, and then the two series have several points in common.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly

Spider-Man Comics Weekly was a Marvel UK publication which primarily published black-and-white reprints of American Marvel four-color Spider-Man stories. Marvel UK's second-ever title, Spider-Man Comics Weekly debuted in 1973, initially publishing "classic" 1960s Spider-Man stories (as well as Thor backup stories).

The title proved to be a great success. Along with Marvel UK's flagship title, The Mighty World of Marvel, Spider-Man Comics Weekly helped Marvel gain a foothold in the (at the time) vast UK weekly comic market, allowing the company to cross-market and later introduce non-superhero UK-reprint titles such as Planet of the Apes and Star Wars.

Although it changed its title name several times over the years (mostly due to other less successful Marvel UK comics merging with it), the Spider-Man weekly comic eventually became the longest-running Marvel UK publication, publishing 666 issues from 1973-1985.

Spider-Man in television

The character of Spider-Man has appeared in multiple forms of media besides comics, including on television numerous times, in both live action and animated television programs.

The Incredible Hulk (1982 TV series)

The Incredible Hulk is an animated television series based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The series ran for 13 episodes on NBC in 1982, part of a combined hour with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (as The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man). Compared to the live-action The Incredible Hulk television series from Universal, this series followed the Hulk comic books much more closely, particularly with regard to the Hulk's origin, the supporting cast (though Rio and his daughter Rita do not appear in the comics), and the heavy use of fantastical elements. This was the second Hulk animated series: in 1966, the Hulk appeared in 13 seven-minute segments as part of TV's The Marvel Super Heroes.

X-Men in television

The fictional X-Men created by Marvel Comics has appeared in multiple forms of media besides comics, including on television numerous times, in both live action and animated television programs.

Television
Film
Live performances
Video games
Literature
Music
Theme park attractions
Related articles
Animated television series based on Marvel Comics properties
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
2010s
Upcoming
Series groups
Related topics
First-run
animated series
First-run
live-action series
Rebroadcasts
Related topics
First-run series
Rebroadcasts
Production companies
Related topics
Original animated series
Live-action series
Japanese anime series
Marvel animated series
Other animated series
Related topics

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.