Friday, November 19, 2010

From Comics to Toons: Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends (1981)

In 1981, Marvel Comics, having acquired DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (DFE), relaunched the studio as Marvel Productions, with their initial offering featuring their #1 star, in Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends. Marvel figured, DC has the Super Friends (airing on ABC at the time), so why not come up with something similar, but on a smaller scale?

Amazing Friends didn't have the overall staying power of Super Friends, however, as it lasted 3 seasons before departing NBC's lineup in 1984. For now, here's the series premiere, "Triumph of the Green Goblin":

If Iceman's voice sounds familiar, it should. Prolific voice actor Frank Welker, whose numerous credits include, of course, Scooby-Doo, and, yes, Super Friends (he was Marvin in the first series in 1973), was cast as the frosty X-Man. The rest of the X-Men would make a guest appearance later in the series' run. Mr. Marvel himself, Stan Lee, joined in on the fun in season 2 as narrator---as if they really needed one. Dick Tufeld served as the announcer, having done the same for DFE's last series, Spider-Woman, 2 years earlier. If Marvel was hoping for this show to break out as a monster hit, they were sorely disappointed. By the way, "Triumph of the Green Goblin" was adapted as a 1-shot comic book to coincide with the series' launch.

Rating: B-.

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