Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From Comics To Toons: The X-Men & the Spider-Friends team up! (1983)

During season 3 of Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, Stan Lee thought it might be a good idea to mark the X-Men's 20th anniversary by having the team appear on the show. One quibble. The Native American Thunderbird had been killed off in the comics well before this point, and so his inclusion, one must assume, would be in answer to the Super Friends' Native American hero, Apache Chief, as if to say, we did it first.

When Marvel decided to revive the X-Men in the comics in the mid-70's, they did make them more globally diverse, with Canada (Wolverine), Ireland (Banshee), & Africa (Storm) represented. The Japanese mutant, Sunfire, briefly joined the team, but, like Wolverine & Banshee, he wasn't new, having previously appeared in Sub-Mariner. So it can be said that DC & Hanna-Barbera responded with Apache Chief, Samurai, & Black Vulcan being added to the Super Friends, despite the haterizing that would follow years later. I digress.

Warp to 1983. While some members of the X-Men's original team had appeared on The Marvel Super Heroes Show some years earlier, this was the first appearance of the more popular incarnation introduced in 1975 on TV. The plot sees a former boyfriend of Angelica Jones, aka Firestar (Kathy Garver, ex-Family Affair), now a cyborg known as Cyberiad, attack the Spider-Friends and the X-Men in the latter team's own Danger Room. The idea is that Angelica was originally an X-Man, but that wasn't really the case.

After production on Amazing Friends had ended, Marvel decided to bring Firestar into the Marvel Universe proper in a 4-issue miniseries produced in 1984. She would eventually join the Avengers instead of the X-Men, but hasn't been seen in years.

In 1989, the X-Men would return to TV in an ill-fated, but well-received pilot. Unfortunately, it would be 3 more years before they'd get their own show, which we've previously discussed. We will serve up Pryde of the X-Men real soon, so you can judge for yourselves.

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

I do remember this ep and it was my introduction to the X-Men.

Shadowcat also appeared here - but apparently she was called "Sprite" back then. That confused me.

I also appreciate how the story was a mature one for the time - centering on falling out of love and dealing with past romantic relationships; never would have seen that on SF!

I also found it funny that the X-Men here were behaving a bit snobby towards Spidey when he asked to come aong - in a way he was a mutant too!

Even though Angelica/Firestorm only existed because of the embargo of The Human Torch, I think we got the better end of the deal. I've always enjoyed Firestar whenever she appeared here.

hobbyfan said...

Embargo on the Torch? Say what? If this is more of the same urban legend that plagued the '78 FF series.......!

Kitty Pryde, aka Sprite and later, Shadowcat, joined the X-Men in the comics soon after the Dark Phoenix arc in 1980. The pilot I spoke of, then, is set prior to the X-Men's appearance on Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends. Go figure.

magicdog said...

True about Human Torch. He was supposed to be in both the FF revamp and Spiderman & His Amazing Friends. The urban legend originally was that The Torch was taken out because it was thought he'd inspire children to immolate themselves. Obviously, that wasn't true. It had to do with a tie up of litigation issues with the character. That's why HERBIE was introduced on FF and Firestorm was introduced as the fiery half of Spidey's team.

Originally the Angelica design was meant to be Mary Jane Watson.

hobbyfan said...

I was aware of the Angelica/MJ deal. Litigation involving the Torch? Weren't they trying to shop an FF movie or something around that time?

Of course, as we know, Firestorm, a DC character, would make his TV debut a year later (1984). I don't fathom how you could get him confused with Firestar.........