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Western Animation: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
"Spider-Friends, go for it!"note From left to right: Firestar, Spider-Man, and Iceman
"Tonight, I, Electro, master of electricity itself, will let loose upon the world my greatest creation: Video Man, the creature from the game."
— Electro, preparing to create the most memorable villain from the series, which ran during the '80s videogame craze
This animated series, which ran from 1981-1983, was the second Spider-ManSaturday Morning Cartoon, and in the post-70s, the Marvel creative team decided to add new characters and send Spidey up against more than his own, regular Rogues Gallery.It aired originally on NBC, and now shows occasionally on Disney XD. (It has also turned up on the Netflix Instant service, despite the lack of a region 1 DVD release.)Robert "Bobby" Drake (Iceman) and Angelica Jones (Firestar) were college students who lived with their friend Peter Parker (Spider-Man) in his Aunt May's home, which she was using as a boarding house. Thanks to a contribution from Tony Stark (Iron Man), their living space contained a Super Multi-Purpose Room complete with crime lab. They also had a pet dog named Ms. Lion. Thirty-one years later, the team made their comic book debut in The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #7.Humorouslyredubbed footage of the show has been used in the Marvel Mash-Up shorts that air on Disney XD's Marvel Universe block.In the Marvel Multiverse, it was originally listed as Earth-8107 before being retconned to Earth-1983, in reference to the year the show ended.
In "A Spider-Man is Born," the girls all drool over Flash Thompson, despite his reputation as a bully who sometimes runs afoul of the law.
All Love Is Unrequited - Bobby and Peter both have romantic interest in Angelica. Whether she returns it for either of them is not really explored.
Bobby and Peter did discuss this in one episode: Bobby said fire and ice don't mix while Peter was worried that if he made a pass at her and got rebuffed, it would mean the end of the Spider-Friends.
Near the end of the series, Peter and Angelica had gone on a few dates. She was also visibly heartbroken in an episode where Peter falls hard for, and elects to go home with, a woman from the future whom he'd basically just met.
All of the Other Reindeer / Kids Are Cruel: Played with in Firestar's backstory episode. At first the friends of the below-mentioned Alpha Bitch love to go along with her in making fun of Angelica, but as the flashbacks start skipping ahead a few years, her friends start seeing Angelica in a more positive light, and by the high school part of the flashback, Angelica's become somewhat popular, and Bonnie's friends are all really tired of Bonnie's childish name-calling and desires to make Angelica's life hell.
Alpha Bitch - Bonnie, the girl who gave Angelica her "Miss Angelica Jinx" nickname in "A Fire-Star is Born".
Animation Bump - The three-episode second season was animated by Toei, and the animation and character models became more detailed and fuller, with a greater use of underlighting special effects. Incidentally, all three episodes deal with Iceman's, Firestar's, and Spidey' origins
Arbitrary Skepticism - The Spider-Friends are okay with believing in mutants. Mind control. Evil potions. Bees from outer space. Shapeshifting. Dracula. But that Thor is actually the Norse god of thunder? No way...
Spider-Man: (to Thor) You're kidding me, Goldilocks. You don't really believe this Norse God stuff, do you? I mean you're just another superhero like us, right?
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Spider-Man Unmasked!", Peter has a nightmare over what the fallout of his identity being revealed would be. He sees Sandman gloating, Aunt May crying and finally Jonah.
Angelica (referring to Ms. Lion): Well, somebody's found a friend.
Peter: You can say that again!
Angelica: Her name is Ms. Lion. I'm Angelica.
Peter: You sure are... I'm Peter Piper... Uh, P-Parker... Uh, Parker Peter-
Dramatic Unmask - The episode featuring an explanation of how the Spider-Friends formed has Spidey taking off his mask to reveal his true identity to Angelica and Bobby since Peter figured out they were Firestar and Iceman, respectively.
Easy Amnesia - In "Video-Man", Flash Thompson figured out Angelica Jones is Firestar. A bump on the head made him forget it.
Evil Former Friend: Firestar's old friend Nathan Price became Cyberiad due to an accident caused by A.I.M. terrorists. He blames Firestar for what happened and wants revenge. But a part of him still cares for Firestar, while Cyberiad just wants to destroy her.
Fiery Redhead: Taken almost as literally as one possibly can with Firestar.
Gag Dub: The original (late 80's) Mexican dub inserted tons of jokes (inside ones such as substituting Stan Lee with his 'granddaddy' when that voice actor was unavailable), hamming villain with silly phrases (Magneto has never been funnier) and tons of adlibbed extra lines.
Just the translations of the names of some characters could crack you open, you have Dinamyc needle and Draco Dragoon instead of Wolverine and Daredevil... but somehow you still have Juggernaut untranslated.
Horrible Judge of Character: It's anyone's guess why Mr. Frump saw fit to immediately trust Doctor Doom, somebody whom it's impossible to take seriously as anything but the cartoon supervillain he is, and unquestioningly believe his lies about the city's three biggest superheroes.
Spider-Man also pulls it off with an unwitting Flash Thompson, in the episode where the Sandman tumbles upon Spidey's Secret Identity.
Similarly, Dr. Zoltan Amadeus uses science to replicate Spider-Man's powers, then dresses up as him to commit crimes that Spider-Man is then blamed for. Unfortunately for Zoltan, the formula he used to gain those powers is unstable and winds up mutating him into something more spider than man. Eventually he doesn't even care since he's become very powerful.
Implacable Man - The Juggernaut during his appearance in 'A Firestar is Born'.
Jekyll & Hyde - In the comics, the Green Goblin is just a costumed identity that Norman Osborn assumes; in the series opener, Osborn physically transforms into a green-skinned creature. (No, not that one.)
A Lady on Each Arm: During the Whole Episode Flashback "Along Came a Spidey," a teen-aged Flash Thompson is at the beach with two beautiful young women, showing off his muscular build. He sees Peter Parker, walks over to him with one girl on each arm, taunts him and calls him "Puny," and kicks sand in his face before walking off cackling evily, the girls giggling and thinking Flash is cute and funny.
Leitmotif - The music for this show was almost entirely thematic based on what was happening.
Bobby had a tune for when he turned into Iceman.
Ms. Lion had her own tune.
Aunt May had a tune.
There was a 'heroic' tune for anytime a guest star from the Marvel Universe at large showed up.
Angelica had one for when she turned into Fire-Star.
There was a tune for when the villain was starting to do menacing things.
There was a variation of the show's Theme Tune for when something sad happened.
There was another variation of the show's Theme Tune for when romance was onscreen.
There's a tune for when the heroes are struggling against the bad guy.
There's a tune for when something silly happens (often used for slapstick, or when Flash Thompson was being upstaged).
Never Say "Die" - Subverted. In The Eighties, it hadn't yet become unfashionable. Not only did the word "kill" get used, but a scene implied onscreen that Spider-Man had been killed in battle before pulling a "gotcha!" on the viewer.
No Swastikas - Averted with the episode of "Quest of the Red Skull", in which the heroes team up with Indiana Jones expy/American Indian shaman "Hiawatha" Smith to stop the Red Skull and a pair of German-accented minions from finding a horde of Nazi plunder and secret superweapons in the South American jungle. A shadow-casting stone swastika is even the key to finding the entrance to the stash. Smith gets pretty Anvilicious about the evils of the Third Reich. Of course, itisthe Nazis he's talking about. A bone is throw to the pre-Nazi history of the swastika when one of the Skull's minions mistakes a Native American tapestry design for a swastika. He gives it a "Heil Hitler" upon seeing it, though is corrected by the other minion immediately.
On the Money: The episode "Spidey Goes Hollywood" has Spidey agreeing to act in a movie for the exact amount Aunt May needs to pay the mortgage this month (as opposed to say, enough to pay off the whole mortgage).
Then again, unless Peter is willing to tell Aunt May he's Spidey, he'd probably have to come up with some excuse to justify suddenly having that much money.
Averted for the character of J. Jonah Jameson as William Woodson voices him in both Spider-Man cartoons.
Origins Episode: "The Origin of the Iceman," "Along Came Spidey", and "A Fire-Star Is Born" for each of our Power Trio. "The Origin of the Spider-Friends," meanwhile, unsurprisingly explains how they met and formed their team.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Magneto as "Proton The Great". He's still wearing his signature helmet underneath his cloak, clearly visible!
Secret Keeper: In "The X-Men Adventure", Professor X learns of Spider-Man's identity, but swears he won't reveal it. To Spider-Man's relief.
Sequel Series: Some consider this a sequel to the 1981 Spider-Man series. The only hint to confirm this is in "The Prison Plot", which has a flashback sequence that depicts a scene from the 1981 series episode "When Magneto Speaks...People Listen".
Sir Not-Appearing-on-This-Cover: The thumbnail on Netflix has a full-body shot of Spidey, but Firestar and Iceman got cropped out except for a few of their limbs.
Snow Means Cold - Spidey and Iceman first met during a Let's You and Him Fight situation. Iceman got Spider-Man's attention by causing a freak blizzard during the summer. Iceman wasn't seen actually throwing snow around to do it, but appeared to be just willing it to happen.
Stan Lee - narrated the series. "Excelsior!!" (Though many of his narrations were not on the masters used for the ABC Family showings and the masters were kept for the later Disney XD airings and Netflix release.)
Ten Little Murder Victims: "Seven Little Superheroes," wherein the Chameleon lures the Spider Friends, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Namor, and Shanna the She-Devil to Wolf Island, intending to kill them off. The Chameleon doesn't count on Miss Lion foiling his plans.
Viewers Are Morons - The comic book Iceman is brunet, but he was rendered blond for the show because it was believed viewers wouldn't be able to tell Bobby from Peter if both were brunet. They also gave Flash a different shade of blonde, since Bobby resembles Flash.
Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy: In the episode "Spidey Goes Hollywood", director Sam Blockbuster is turned over to the police by Spidey for aiding Mysterio. Blockbuster wasn't exactly on friendly terms with said supervillain; he was working for him under duress. It is hard to say no to a supervillain, especially one that threatens you with a robotic duplicate of the Incredible Hulk!
"The Origin of the Iceman": Explores how Bobby Drake became the icy superhero of the trio, and framed around the Spider Friends' return matchup with Videoman.
"Along Came Spidey": After Aunt May is seriously injured by the Shocker, a shaken Peter recalls his origins as the web-slinging superhero. Peter's memories of the night Uncle Ben was killed by a burglar are triggered.
"A Fire-Star Is Born": At an X-Men reunion, Angelica recalls her painful childhood of merciless bullying – mainly by her nemesis, Bonnie – and how she triumphed over this adversity by becoming Firestar.
"The Origin of the Spider-Friends": The explanation of how Peter, Angelica and Bobby met, revealed to each other their superhero alter-egos and formed their team.