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Western Animation / Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

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"Spider-Friends, go for it!"note 

"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-Man Saturday 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 for a while, paired up with the 1980s Incredible Hulk cartoon).

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.


Humorously redubbed footage of the show has been used in the Marvel Mash-Up shorts that air on Disney XD's Marvel Universe block. Currently, all but onenote  of the episodes are available to stream on Disney+.

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. A subsequent re-retcon gave the universe its old designation and turned Earth-1983 into a spinoff.


This show provides examples of:

  • Abridged Series:
  • Adaptational Nationality: In Firestar's Origins Episode, Wolverine is depicted as Australian instead of Canadian.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Unlike the comics, Sunfire is portrayed as friendly, romantic, and a gentleman.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: In the original comics, Thunderbird just had super strength, super stamina and denser skin. Here, he can channel powers of animals related to Native Americans.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The comic books' 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.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Sunfire's uncle had his named changed from Tomo to Jin Ju.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Angelica developed a crush on Kraven the Hunter, much to Peter and Bobby's displeasure, though she quickly realized he's a creep and defeats him.
      Firestar: He just exudes macho!
      Iceman: That's not all he exudes. He smells like a zoo!
    • 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. They discussed it 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. Whether she returns it for either of them isn't really explored until near the end of the series, when 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: 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. Bonnie threatens to kick one of her friends from the cheerleading team when she brought this up.
  • 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 J. Jonah Jameson.
    J. Jonah Jameson: You're finished, Spider-Man! Finished! And, Parker, you're fired!
  • Back for the Dead: The team makes their comic book debut in The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #7... where they are killed off-panel by Morlun.
  • Backstory: The origin for each member of the Power Trio got an episode, and an episode of how they became a team.
  • Battle Cry: "Spider-Friends, go for it!"
  • Bee Bee Gun: Swarm from "Swarm" can shoot bees.
  • Blame Game: In "A Firestar is Born", when Firestar brought forth Bonnie and her boyfriend Jay for stealing the trophy and framing Angelica for it, Jay tries to pin it all on Bonnie.
  • Butt-Monkey: Most of the time he appeared, Flash wound up ticking off one of the Power Trio and subsequently became the victim of a super-powered prank.
  • The Cameo: Heroes who didn't really appear otherwise made a few quick appearances here and there- ie. Iron Man. In "The Origin of the Spider-Friends" (which featured Tony Stark in a major role) Iceman wonders where the heck Iron Man is- after all, he's supposed to be protecting Stark International (which is under attack by the Beetle). Cut to space, where IM is, per Stan Lee's narration, "on a secret government mission" (specifically blasting away asteroids from the Space Shuttle).
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Norman Osborn's niece Mona.
    • Iceman's half-sister Lightwave (Aurora Dante).
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Firestar was created for the series but migrated into the comics.
    • Ms. Lion, Aunt May's dog, was also created for the series and later became a member of the Pet Avengers.
  • Captain Ersatz: Firestar's everyday identity, Angelica Jones, bears an uncanny resemblance to Mary Jane Watson, Spidey's main love interest from the comics. This became more obvious near the end of the series, when Peter and Angelica had gone on a few dates. Ironically, while Angelica was a brunette while Mary-Jane was a redhead, Firestar was a redhead.
  • Clear My Name: "Attack of the Arachnoid" featured Spidey being framed for crimes by a scientist who duplicated his powers and ended up mutating into a monstrous human/spider hybrid.
  • Covered in Mud: In the Whole Episode Flashback detailing Firestar's origin, Firestar takes the Alpha Bitch and drops her in a mud puddle, whereupon she throws a splashy tantrum.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The series creators originally wanted to use the Human Torch (who is, after all, Spidey's main superhero friend in the comics) but rights issues led them to create Firestar as a Captain Ersatz.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • When Peter Parker first meets Angelica Jones (whilst walking Ms. Lion).
    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-
    • In "A Firestar is Born", when Angel introduces Firestar and Iceman to new member Storm, Iceman is struck by her beauty. From his point-of-view, we get a good look at her body from bottom to top.
    Iceman: Wow! Uh, I mean, hi.
    [Storm smiles]
  • 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.
  • Episode Title Card: Every episode had its own title card.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: In one episode, Spidey and Iceman use Ms. Lion to track down Kraven the Hunter to save Firestar. Ms. Lion loses the scent and ends up heading for a pet shop instead. Thankfully, there happens to be a magazine in the store that gives Spidey the clue they needed to find Kraven's hideout.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Ms. Lion always recognized when a hero was actually the Chameleon in disguise in the episode "Seven Little Superheroes". Lucky for them that Aunt May was unable to care for her during Peter and friends' vacation.
  • 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 her.
  • Fiery Redhead: Taken almost as literally as one possibly can with Firestar, though she has brown hair in her everyday identity. However, it's more reddish than Peter's dark brown hair, so her normal hair color could be auburn.
  • Fight Dracula: Dracula is fought by the Spider-Friends in "The Bride of Dracula!"
  • Flying Firepower: Firestar was basically a Distaff Counterpart to Johnny Storm, so of course she'd have both flight and power over fire.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Peter attends a superhero-themed costume party dressed as Spider-Man.
  • Formally Named Pet: Ms Lion.
  • Freeze Ray: Freeze rays were often used to incapacitate 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 "Dynamic Needle" and "Draco Dragoon" instead of Wolverine and Daredevil... but somehow you still have Juggernaut untranslated.
    • The whole point of the Marvel Mash-Up shorts.
  • Gotta Get Your Head Together: "The Fantastic Frump" and "The X-Men Adventure".
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Angelica tends to keep both guys at arm's length (and not without just cause sometimes), but she's noticeably displeased in "The Quest of the Red Skull" to learn that Peter took Mona to a party. She insists on taking Ms. Lion for a walk near the house.
  • Harmless Freezing: Iceman freezes crooks without killing them.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Monica ends up switching sides and turning against Dr. Zoltan Amadeus in "Attack of the Arachnoid".
  • Here We Go Again!: "The Bride of Dracula!" ends the way the adventure started: Angelica with a handsome mystery man at a dance. Still tired from the recent adventure and unwilling to chance a repeat, Peter and Bobby defy this trope by cutting in, picking Angelica up, and carrying her out of the auditorium.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Both Peter and Bobby admitted to being attracted to Angelica.
  • Honorary Aunt: Bobby and Angelica address May as such, and she often tends to them the same way she does Peter.
  • 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.
  • Identity Impersonator:
    • Chameleon—for "Seven Little Superheroes," no less.
    • 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.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Scene changes were heralded by multicolored webs traveling across the screen, and the Leitmotif to accompany them.
  • Implacable Man: The Juggernaut during his appearance in "A Firestar is Born."
  • Irony: In "The Origin of the Spider-Friends", all the more amusing since, at this time, Iron Man's identity is a secret.
    Spider-Man: Be glad you're not a hero, Mr. Stark. Sometimes it can really ruin your day.
    Tony Stark: Is that so?
  • 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.)
  • Jerk Jock: Flash Thompson, as usual, is a popular star athlete and a bully.
  • Jerkass: J. Jonah Jameson is completely obnoxious to everyone. No surprise, here.
  • Jumped at the Call: Angelica, Bobby, and Francis (aka Video Man) all jumped at the opportunity of being heroes.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Firestar flashbacks to her childhood where the above-mentioned Alpha Bitch and her friends loved to tease Angelica. By high school though Bonnie is the only one who still tries to make Angelica's life hell as her friends are all really tired of Bonnie's childish name-calling and antics.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: During the Whole Episode Flashback "Along Came 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).
    • There is a bit of music specifically for the Idiosyncratic Wipes for scene changes.
  • Living Lie Detector: Ms. Lion, in "Seven Little Superheroes". Her sense of smell allowed her to distinguish the Chameleon and his drones from the others when under disguise, completely blowing up his plans to kill off the superheroes.
  • Love Triangle: Between the three Super-Friends; both Peter and Bobby admitted to being attracted to Angelica, flavored with I Want My Beloved to Be Happy on Spidey's part. Whether she returned it for either of them wasn't really explored until near the end of the series, when Peter and Angelica had gone on at least a few dates.
  • Male Gaze: We occasionally get camera shots of Firestar that present her nicely toned body, especially her buttocks. Same for Monica in "Attack of the Arachnoid".
  • Master of Disguise: The Chameleon, of course. He uses hologram technology in this series to disguise himself.
  • Monster Mash: The episode "The Bride of Dracula!" has the Spider-Friends encounter Count Dracula, a robotic Frankenstein's Monster, and a butler transformed into a "Wolf Thing".
  • Ms. Fanservice: Firestar wears a very form-fitting jumpsuit that showcases her entire body shape and physique as being very curvy and voluptuous, and that she's well endowed.
    • To a lesser extent, Monica in "Attack of the Arachnoid".
  • Narrator: 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.)
  • Never Say "Die": Subverted. In The '80s, 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.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In-universe in "Spider-Man: Unmasked!". After the Sandman reveals to Peter that he knows he is also Spider-Man and threatens to go to the media with his findings, a shaken Peter has nightmares about what would happen if Sandman makes good on his threats. In addition to losing his job and family (mentioned elsewhere), Peter worries that he would be sent to prison as a menace to society.
  • 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, it is the Nazis he's talking about. A bone is thrown 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, though of course there's nothing preventing him from holding onto all the money, and taking over the monthly payments for her ("I got a new job, Aunt May!").
  • Original Generation: Firestar, an original character, was created to team up with Spider-Man and Iceman.
  • Origins Episode: The series had a total of four episodes devoted to explaining origins.
    • "The Origin of the Iceman" explained how Iceman started developing his powers and also shows his first encounters with Professor X and Spider-Man.
    • "A Fire-Star is Born" reveals the origins of Firestar and how she became part of the X-Men.
    • "Along Came Spidey" shows both the incident where he got his powers from a radioactive spider bite and how the death of his uncle Ben motivated him to fight crime, when the concurrently airing solo cartoon only divulged the details of the latter.
    • "The Origin of the Spider-Friends" serves as an origins episode explaining how the three became a team, and where they got their equipment.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Magneto as "Proton the Great". He's still wearing his signature helmet underneath his cloak, clearly visible!
  • Pokémon Speak: The namesake villain from "Swarm" can only bellow "Swarm!"
  • Power Glows: Having heat-based powers, Firestar is able to glow very brightly.
  • Power Trio: Spider-Man, Iceman, Firestar
  • Protagonist and Friends: The title even lets us know his friends are amazing.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Sunfire's uncle Jin Ju. He encourages his fire monster to the destroy the city like a child with his robotic toy. Then, after the heroes extinguished his creature into the sea, he starts crying like a baby.
  • Redeeming Replacement: Francis Byte is the first Video Man to be a hero instead of a villain.
  • Replaced with Replica: The Spider-Friends find themselves compelled to trust Doctor Doom with their pieces of a mystic amulet that can bestow godlike powers upon its bearer. These powers already reside in a social misfit named Mister Frump, and Frump is told that he must repeat an incantation to sustain his powers. While setting up a lightning attractor, Doom covertly molds a control knob into a rough replica of the amulet, which he gives to Frump. Though Frump doesn't detect the switcheroo, Spider Man does, and a battle for control of the real mystic amulet ensues.
  • Reset Button: Pretty much every episode, but one is almost literally pushed at the end of "The Fantastic Mr. Frump."
  • Secret Identity: All three of the Power Trio have a secret identity.
  • 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".
  • Shout-Out: In the first episode:
    Green Goblin: There's enough formula here for New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington...
    Spider-Man: Mona, I better stop him before he reaches Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: 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.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Hulk unintentionally ruins Mysterio's attempts at killing the Spider-Friends in "Spidey Goes Hollywood".
  • Spot the Imposter: In "Attack of the Arachnoids", Iceman and Firestar know for certain there's an imposter because Peter always refers to them by their real names even in costume when no one's around to hear.
  • Standard Snippet:
    • There's a variation on "Gaudeamus Igitur" whenever the college's Establishing Shot is shown.
    • The opening bars of "The Sidewalks of New York" are used for establishing shots of the city.
  • Starter Villain:
    • Green Goblin in the first episode, since he never shows up again due to Norman Osborn hoping to rid of his evil side for good.
    • The Beetle for the Spider-Friends in "The Origin of the Spider-Friends".
  • The Strength of Ten Men: Kraven the Hunter says he has the strength of ten gorillas.
  • Super Multi-Purpose Room: Aunt May's living room.
  • Team Pet: Ms. Lion
  • 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.
  • There Was a Door: ("Swarm")
  • ¡Three Amigos!: The Power Trio consists of The Hero (Spider-Man), a best friend of the same gender (Iceman), and a best friend of the opposite gender and potential Love Interest (Firestar).
  • Transformation Sequence: Almost always involving Stock Footage.
    • Bobby would cover himself in a block of ice, then break free of it.
    • Angelica would turn on her powers, envelop herself in a glow, then turn it off, having somehow done an Instant Costume Change in the process.
    • Spidey, naturally, once had to comment on the fact that he had to suit up manually.
  • True Companions: The Super-Friends are as close as family, and just as protective.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The ensemble consists of two males (Spider-Man and Iceman) and a female (Firestar).
  • Underlighting: The second season used underlighting for Iceman and Firestar's transformation sequences, and for Video Man's eyes.
  • Unexplained Recovery: If we do take this as a Sequel Series, then the Red Skull somehow recovered from his mind being separated from his body.
  • The Unreveal: The exact amount that May needs in "Spidey Goes Hollywood" isn't said outright, but Peter doesn't think it's too bad, though it is followed by 38 cents.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: In a show with plenty of Affably Evil villains, the titular Red Skull from "Quest of the Red Skull" is taken completely seriously and comes off as a murderous sociopath, much like his comic book iteration.
  • 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! Though he does still feel a little guilty about going through with it anyway, which is probably why he's okay with getting arrested.
  • Villain of the Week: A different supervillain every week. Usually enemies of other superheroes.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Spider-Man and Iceman playfully zing each other as often as possible.
  • Water Source Tampering: The Green Goblin has a plot to put goblin formula in New York City's water supply, goblinizing the whole population.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Firestar and Iceman are both weak to ice and fire, respectively. It's not uncommon to see the two incapacitated with gusts of freezing wind and major sources of heat.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The four origins episodes:
    • "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.
  • You Don't Look Like You: In "The X-Men Adventure", Kitty Pryde's design is very different here as she wears a one-piece leotard, gloves, boots and a black mask with an "X" on the forehead rather than the black and yellow "training" uniform.


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