Friday, November 21, 2008

Spectacular Spider-Man

As a fan of Sean "Cheeks" Galloway's artwork, I really looked forward to more Hellboy animated movies. However, it looks like there won't be any more for the forseeable future, so I'll have to settle for The Spectacular Spider-Man!

I watched the first few episodes of this series with the help of my able two-year old assistant, but she took a little more of my attention than this show required. Saturday mornings quickly became more about making breakfast than watching cartoons. But recently, I needed some folders for school to organize my papers and I saw these cool Spectacular Spider-Man ones so my interest was rekindled. Sera helped too, since she has been wanting to watch "Spidey-Man" every night before bed for the past few weeks, but I was getting tired of chapter-skipping to where he's in costume, so I checked online to see if the Spectacular Spider-Man had been released on DVD yet. It took some searching, but I finally found a copy of "Attack of the Lizard," comprised of the first three episodes, which have been edited into a "full-length" movie.

I really like the design of Spider-Man. In this cartoon, Peter Parker is still a 16-year old high school junior, and he's not all musclebound as superheroes tend to be. What I really like, though, is the way they shaped his mask's eyes, so that the black outline has actual substance and adds to the shape of his head left). I don't think I've ever seen it done quite like that before. Usually, artists make the eyelets look like lenses that bend outward when viewed from the side. The heavy black outline of the eyes of the mask allow the character to be very expressive as only a cartoon character can, when wearing a full face mask. The producers of the live-action movies could never duplicate that, which is why Spider-Man so often suffers from "superhero unmasking syndrome."

Storywise, the producers take a few elements from the movies, but have really stuck to the early comics so far as introducing villains. I've only watched those first three episodes, but in those three episodes they gave us the Vulture, the Enforcers, Electro, and the Lizard, pretty faithfully taken from the comics, which I have started to re-read from my Marvel Masterworks books. I really like that they made it so that not every villain is green, as was the case in the early comics. Here are the Vulture, Electro, and the Lizard. Electro's old suit really made him look dated, so this one's actually an improvement. And the Vulture certainly looks scarier in black and red!
Another big selling point for me is that the show runner is Greg Weisman, creator and former supervising producer of Disney's "Gargoyles," a show that I really loved. This is a guy who knows how to produce an engaging show for kids with complex plotlines that adults can enjoy following too. And as any fan of Spider-Man knows, Spider-Man's story is one long soap opera. Looks like my VCR and DVR are going to be busy for the next few Saturdays. I have ten episodes of the first season that I haven't seen!

No comments: