May 31, 2017
You can read the full story here.
Insana was an actor, writer and producer. He starred as Dr. Reginald Bushroot in Darkwing Duck, Uncle Ted in Bobby’s World, Uncle JoJo and Earl in Pepper Ann and Pig in Back at the Barnyard. He guest-starred as Colonel Carter in an episode of Goof Troop; Baracuda in an episode of The Little Mermaid; Prince Uncouthma in Aladdin; Fat Cat in an episode of Jungle Cubs; and Samsa in an episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. He also provided a voice for an episode of Teacher’s Pet.
May 29, 2017
Comicbook month ended up a bit of a bust, and I apologize for that. Unfortunately, an odd work schedule coupled with several hospital-related things (nothing major, no worries) kinda derailed the plan. I'm hoping to get caught up and kick the next month off without a hitch, so be sure to check back and thanks for your patience.
May 27, 2017
PARENTAL ADVISORY: Some of the content in the provided links are not suitable for children. Viewer discretion is advised.
(Teletoon, September 6-November 29, 1999 CAN
FOX, August 19-October 21, 2000 US)
Network of Animation Productions, TMS Entertainment
Cathy Weseluck – Cybersix/Adrian Seidelman
Michael Dobson – Lucas Amato
Terry Klassen – Von Reichter
Andrew Francis – Julian
Alex Doduk – Jose
Janyse Jaud – Lori Anderson
L. Harvey Gold – Terra
Cybersix was a series of Argentine comics created by Carlos Meglia and Carlos Trillo. The comic first appeared in 1992 as part of the Italian version of the magazine Skorpio after the publisher came to them to produce a new strip for the book. It was published as a weekly series of 12-page stories beginning with Anno XVI #22, later collected into special editions. In 1994, it was spun off into its own 96-page comic that ran for 45 issues until it was cancelled in 1999. The whole series was published by Eura Editoriale. The series was subsequently translated into Spanish and released in Argentina by El Globo Editor and Spain by Planeta DeAgostini, and collections were translated into French by Editions Vents d’Ouest.
|Cybersix vs. Von Reichter's creations.|
The series centered on the title character, Cybersix (or Cyber-6, Cathy Weseluck), who was a genetically engineered human created by former Nazi scientist, Dr. Von Reichter (Terry Klassen, also one of the show’s writers). The Cyber series looked like ordinary humans, but possessed superhuman strength and agility. However, when the Cyber series proved too resistant to his commands, he ordered the entire line of 5000 to be destroyed. Only Six was spared, saved by one of the African slaves Von Reichter kept. They lived as father and daughter until Von Reichter had them hunted down and the slave was killed. Six made her way to Meridana where she took the place of a young boy, Adrian Seidleman, that recently died in a car wreck with the rest of his family. An earlier version of the concept had Six disguising herself as a man to become a police officer after her father had been killed.
|Von Reichter and his Fixed Ideas.|
Von Reichter, however, had not been idle. From his lab in the Amazon he worked on his other creations: the Fixed Ideas, which resembled large Frankenstein’s monster-like beings and performed his grunt work; the Data series, which resembled animals; the Techno series, the more human-like and more loyal upgrade to the Cyber series; and the Type series, which were a further advancement over the Technos. At night, Cybersix would hunt down these creations in the city not only to disrupt Von Reicther’s dreams of world conquest, but to vampirically drain them of the life-giving fluid called “Sustenance” she needed to survive. By day, she would continue to live as Adrian, now a high school literature teacher and friend to science teacher Lucas Amato (Michael Dobson), with whom a mutual infatuation developed.
|Cybersix confronts Von Reicther amongst his creations.|
Two things influenced the creation of Cybersix. One was the case of Mario and Elsa Rios; a wealthy couple who had some of Elsa’s embryo’s frozen (which was a new innovation at the time) before both died in a plane crash in 1983. The heirs to their estate wanted those embryos destroyed so as to eliminate any chance that they could claim part of it, which inspired Trillo to wonder what would have happened if the embryos instead fell into the hands of a scientist who sought to create life.
|Cybersix facing her Adrian persona.|
The other inspiration came from Portugese writer Fernando Pessoa, who had created seventy-five distinct names that he wrote under. That led to the theme of duality that ran throughout the Cybersix series as many of the characters had a completely different side to them. In Six’s case, it was her time as male literature teacher Adrian. For Lucas, not only was he a science teacher, but also a journalist.
The comic became popular enough to attract the attention of television producers. In Argentina, the comic was adapted into a live-action television series in 1995. Produced by Patagonik TV Group and Television Federal, the show starred model Carolina Pelleritti in the title role. Unfortunately, the series was poorly received and was quickly cancelled after only eight episodes. Shortly after the cancellation, a friend of Meglia’s, Alejandro Dolina, told him of a Canadian producer looking for a cartoon project. The pair sent off several scripts and a sample pilot Dolina crafted on his computer. A deal was struck and the show was taken on by Network of Animation (NOA) Productions.
|Jose, a Hitler in the making.|
A new pilot was created by TMS Entertainment in order to shop the series to networks. The show was picked up by Teletoon in Canada and the full series was put into production. TMS stayed on as the primary animation facility for the show and reincorporated parts of their pilot into the show’s intro and scenes within the episodes. Teiichi Takiguchi served as the character designer and kept the look of the show close to Meglia’s art style; from Six’s white-less eyes to the rectangular patches representing hair. However, he did simplify their appearances a bit to make them easier to animate.
|A vial of Sustenance.|
While the show largely followed the main plotline of the comics, some changes had to be made to the source material for consumption by western audiences. The level of violence had to be considerably toned down. Meglia worked with the producers for several days to come up with an alternative for Six’s feeding on Sustenance by biting on necks, and came up with the idea that Von Reichter’s creations carried around vials of the stuff on their person and dissipated after Cybersix defeated them. Von Reichter’s Nazi affiliation was kept ambiguous, although it manifested itself in the clothing and movements of his son and right-hand man, Jose (Alex Dodusk). Jose’s origin was changed from being an age-retarded clone of Von Reichter, and the sexual libido Von Reicther gave him to keep him too distracted from revolting against him was removed. Lori (Janyse Jaud), the student in Adrian’s class that was infatuated with him, was changed from a highly promiscuous thug to be a smarter, computer-literate thug. Lucaswas no longer a journalist, and his obsession with learning about Cybersix was curbed to make him appear as less of a crackpot conspiracy theorist. The show also left more open for the audience to interpret, whereas the comic explained everything; right down to Cybersix’s outfit coming from one of Von Reichter’s creations posing as a prostitute.
|Cybersix and Data-7.|
Cybersix debuted on Teletoon on September 6, 1999. While casting the show, the producers were uncertain whether to cast a male actor for the Adrian role or not. After Cathy Weseluck auditioned for Six, Julian and Jose, they decided she could pull off both and cast her in the lead role. Producer Koji Takeuchi served as one of the series’ writers, along with Judy Valyi, Barry Whittaker, Andrew D. Hammell, Jono Howard, Catherine Girczyc and Michael Van Lane. The series’ beginning and ending themes were composed by series composer Robbi Finkel with lyrics by Robert Olivier and vocals provided by jazz singer Coral Egan, who sang it in the fist person. Finkel was hired by the producers after hearing his composition for a showing of Cirque du Soleil.
A second season of 13 episodes was planned, but production ended after the first season when there were internal disagreements between the production companies. The show was translated into several languages and broadcast around the world, eventually finding its way to the United States on FOX Kids. Debuting on August 19, 2000, the show was even further toned down by the network; particularly the intro, which was cut in half in order to remove most of the instances of violence depicted. Even so, it drew controversy over its content and characters due to its being shown so early in the morning between two far more kid-friendly programs, Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue and Digimon: Digital Monsters. This mature tonality was the particular reason producer Herve Bedard wanted to make the show; because he believed that young adults would be the new niche audience to target with animation. Unfortunately, said target audience wasn’t as likely to be up as early and the show was pulled from FOX’s schedule after only 10 episodes aired.
|Lucas reassures Cybersix he's never seen Dark Angel.|
Although Cybersix the series ended on a cliffhanger, Cybersix the comic managed to bring its story to a conclusion before its cancellation. Cybersix had a second controversy during 2000, as Meglia and Trillo sued James Cameron and FOX over their show Dark Angel. They claimed that the show stole most of the plot and recognizable elements from the comic. Unfortunately, the lawsuit was never resolved as they couldn’t afford to pursue it. The lawsuit likely led to the heavy and unpopular changes made in Dark Angel’s second season, which ultimately led to its cancellation.
|The DVD cover.|
Despite its short run, Cybersix won a Pulcinella Award and two Leo Awards in 2001. Cybersix was released to VHS in Canada by ImaVision Distribution in both English and French. In 2014, Discotek Media released the complete series to DVD in North America, and by DVDY Films and Declic Images in Europe. All versions of the DVD set contain bonus features.
“Mysterious Shadow / La créature mystérieuse” (9/6/99 CAN, 8/19/00 US) – Cybersix befriends Lucas Amato and prevents Jose and Von Reichter’s counterfeiting scheme.
“Data-7 & Julian / Data 7 et Julien” (9/12/99 CAN, 8/26/00 US) – Reichter sends Data-7 after Cybersix while she tries to save Julian from Jose’s clutches.
“Terra / Terra” (9/18/99 CAN, 9/2/00 US) – Reichter creates Terra to go after Cybersix, but his development of free will forces Jose to trap both of them in a burning tower.
“Yashimoto, Private Eye / Yashimoto, détective privé” (9/19/99 CAN, 9/9/00 US) – Jose kidnaps the younger brother of detective Yashimoto in order to blackmail him into hunting down Cybersix.
“Lori is Missing / Lori a disparu” (9/25/99 CAN, 9/16/00 US) – One of Adrian’s students reveals seeing Cybersix in his apartment and ends up kidnapped by Jose’s gang.
“Blue Birds of Horror / Les pigeons bleus”(9/26/99 CAN, 9/23/00 US) – Jose controls a swarm of hostile birds and has them invade the city.
“Brainwashed / Police contrôle” (10/2/99 CAN, 9/30/00 US) – Jose brainwashes six cops to seek out Cybersix and captures Julian in order to lure her into a trap.
“Gone with the Wings / Gare aux gargouilles” (10/3/99 CAN, 10/7/00 US) – Nightly battles with goblins has Data-7 and Julian seek out their eggs in order to destroy them all at once.
“The Eye / Coup d'oeil sur la ville” (10/10/99 CAN, 10/14/00 US) – Jose attempts to capture an eyeball creature that grows in size when it drains a victim’s consciousness.
“Full Moon Fascination / Fascination lunaire” (10/9/99 CAN, 10/21/00 US) – A scratch Lucas receives from his new girlfriend results in his becoming a werewolf.
“The Greatest Show in Meridiana / Jose fait son cirque” (10/16/99 CAN) – Jose and his robotic animals capture Data-7 and Cybersix and force them to perform in the circus.
“Daylight Devil / Le démon de l'aube” (10/17/99 CAN) – Reptilian woman Griselda discovers Cybersix’s identity and battles her on a class field trip.
“The Final Confrontation” (10/23/99 CAN) – Reichter sends a giant living bomb to destroy the city, but Jose wants the city for himself and diverts the bomb back to Reichter.
May 20, 2017
(CBS, September 17-December 10, 1988)
Lynne Marie Stewart – Jessica Morganberry
William Woodson – Opening narration
For the history of Superman, check out the post here.
As the DC Comics Universe was nearing its 50th anniversary, there were some growing pains to contend with; namely that in that time, the established history of the characters just didn’t mesh up to the sliding timescale of comics (by which a comic’s timeline is kept in the present in perpetuity by gradually updating past events as needed). How could Superman be the last son of Krypton if there was an assortment of other Kryptonians running around? How is it that Batman served in World War II and yet still looks to be in his 30s? And just what were they going to do with all those many parallel Earths they had created as an explanation for some of the more out-there stories from the Golden and Silver Age of comics?
|A visual representation of the Crisis event.|
Marv Wolfman and Len Wein proposed a plan to help clean-up DC’s convoluted continuity with an event called Crisis on Infinite Earths (named for the annual Justice League/Justice Society crossovers that began with “Crisis on Earth-One”). The story followed a cosmic being known as the Anti-Monitor as he began destroying the parallel worlds of the DC Universe, and various heroes and villains from the five remaining ones banded together to put a stop to him. Ultimately, the five realities end up merged as one. Crisis on Infinite Earths ran as a 12-issue maxi-series between 1985 and 1986.
|The Man of Steel #1, depicting baby Kal-El's escape from Krypton.|
A few months after Crisis concluded, writer/artist John Byrne—fresh off a split from rival Marvel Comics—was tapped to pen the official new origin for Superman. His six-issue mini-series, The Man of Steel, gave a rundown in the key moments of Superman’s life. The post-Crisis Superman had a specific set of largely reduced (no more towing entire planets with giant chains) powers; Martha and Jonathan Kent were still alive (their status changed quite often, with one or both of them being alive or dead at different points in Superman’s life, as well as being depicted at different ages); Lex Luthor went from being a mad scientist to a corrupt billionaire industrialist; Superman no longer had costumed adventures as Superboy in Smallville and only first donned the costume when he went to Metropolis; all other Kryptonians disappeared, with Supergirl becoming an artificial being created by Lex, amongst other changes.
In 1988, the year of Superman’s 50th anniversary, Ruby-Spears Productions acquired the rights to produce the third solo Superman series, and his second on Saturday mornings. The series was the first representation of the post-Crisis Superman outside of comics and closely followed the mythology established in The Man of Steel (unlike the live-action Superboy series that debuted the same year). However, it was also heavily influenced by the Superman film franchise starring Christopher Reeve as evidenced by its portrayal of a bumbling Clark Kent to distinguish his identity from Superman (Beau Weaver), and the use of a re-orchestrated version of John Williams’ “Superman March”. It also paid homage to previous incarnations through the introductory narration from The Adventures of Superman, which was spoken by William Woodson from the just-concluded Super Friends franchise, and Superman’s constant utterance of “Up, up and away!” whenever he took flight.
|Superman flying with roboticized Lois and Jimmy.|
Wolfman served as the series’ story editor, as well as writing several of the scripts himself. Artist Gil Kane provided the character designs. Other creators who worked on the show were Buzz Dixon, Martin Pasko and Steve Gerber, as well as regular television writers Karen Wilson, Chris Weber, Michael Reaves and Larry DiTillio. Ron Jones was the show’s composer, and the show was animated overseas by Toei Animation and Dae Won Animation.
|Lex Luthor and Jessica Morganberry.|
Superman, also known as Ruby-Spears’ Superman, debuted on CBS on September 17, 1988. Each episode was broken up into two segments. The primary segment focused on the adventures of Superman and his battles against evil. The show utilized a variety of new villains created specifically for the show, but did feature Lex Luthor (Michael Bell) as a recurring foe, complete with Superman-repelling Kryptonite ring. Lex was a cross between the ruthless businessman established by Byrne and the eccentric portrayal of Gene Hackman in the films.
|Superman facing the Shadow Thief.|
Other villains from the comics included the lethal joking Prankster (Howard Morris); a version of Shadow Thief whose suit allowed him to blend into the shadows; Kryptonian war criminal General Zod (Rene Auberjonois) who was assisted by his wife/lover (depending on the story) Faora, and Ursa (both Ginny McSwain, also the show’s voice director), who made her first appearance in Superman: The Movie. Futuristic cyborg Cybron (Frank Welker) was a stand-in for villain Brainiac, whose post-Crisis status was still undetermined at the time of the show. A newly created character was Lex’s ditzy girlfriend Jessica Morganberry (Lynne Marie Stewart), who was inspired by the character of Miss Tessmacher (Valerie Perrine) from the films.
|Baby Clark hovers above the Kents.|
The second segment was “The Superman Family Album”. Primarily written by Cherie Wilkerson, these four-minute segments served as a prequel to the overall series by focusing on Clark’s childhood. They began with his being discovered by Jonathan (Alan Oppenheimer) and Martha Kent (Tress MacNeille) up until he moved to Metropolis where he began working at The Daily Planet with Lois Lane (McSwain), Jimmy Olsen (Mark Taylor) and Perry White (Stanley Ralph Ross)—not to mention also becoming Superman. While the segments adhered to the post-Crisis continuity of Clark not having any adventures as Superboy, it deviated a bit by having all of Clark’s powers present while he was a newborn. Those powers often served as the source of comic relief and conflict in the stories. Wolfman and Meg McLaughlin wrote two of the segments, respectively.
|Superman teaming-up with Wonder Woman.|
Despite the high quality of the production, the show was plagued by several problems including budgetary constraints, high licensing fees and poor scheduling that pitted it against Disney powerhouses Gummi Bears and The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. As a result, the show never went beyond its single season. It was notable, however, for being the first television appearance of the post-Crisis Wonder Woman (Marry McDonald-Lewis) from George Perez’s acclaimed reimaging of the character, and her last Saturday appearance until 2016’s Justice League Action (although the character would turn up in 2001’s Justice League). It was also the first appearance of S.T.A.R. Labs outside of comics; which would come to factor into a variety of future DC Comics-based programs.
|The DVD collection.|
In 2009, Warner Home Video released the complete series to DVD. It was also made available for streaming on Amazon.
“Destroy the Defendroids / The Adoption” (9/17/88) – After Lex Luthor’s crime-fighting robots drive Superman away, he uses them to rob a Fort Knox train. / The Kents take baby Kal-El to the orphanage and end up adopting him when his powers drive others away.
“Fugitive From Space / The Supermarket” (9/24/88) – STAR Labs discovers an alien spaceship and Superman has to figure out which of its occupants is a policeman and which is a criminal. / Martha tries to conceal Clark’s powers during his first trip to the market.
“By the Skin of the Dragon’s Teeth / At the Babysitter’s” (10/1/88) – After Luthor buys the Great Wall of China, he accidentally brings a Dragon King statue to life. / Young Clark uses his powers to get away from his babysitter and avoid bedtime.
“Cybron Strikes / The First Day of School” (10/8/88) – Lois’ birthday is interrupted by a hostile cyborg from the future who can turn people into robots. / Clark’s first to day of school introduces him to Lana Lang and trouble when he’s blamed for letting the class guinea pig escape.
“The Big Scoop / Overnight with the Scouts” (10/15/88) – Lex steals a device that allows him to see the future and discovers Superman’s identity. / Clark goes camping with the scouts and they share ghost stories around the fire.
“Triple Play / The Circus” (10/22/88) – Prankster forces Superman to pitch for his baseball team for the lives of the various people he’s captured. / Clark ends up joining the circus.
“The Hunter / Little Runaway” (10/29/88) – General Zod, Ursa and Faora arrive and create a creature called The Hunter who takes on the properties of Kryptonite. / Tired of his home, Clark tries to run away only to discover his life wasn’t so bad after all.
“Superman and Wonder Woman vs. the Sorceress of Time / The Birthday Party” (11/5/88) – Superman stops a meteor and accidentally frees a prisoner on Themyscira as a result. / Clark gets a surprise at his birthday party.
“Bonechill / The Driver’s License” (11/12/88) – A bookstore owner uses a talisman to gain powers over various monsters. / Clark takes his driving test.
“The Beast Beneath These Streets / First Date” (11/19/88) – Researchers discover a sunken part of old Metropolis where mad scientist Dr. Morpheus plans to steal Superman’s powers. / Clark goes on his first date with Lana.
“Wildsharkk / To Play or Not to Play” (11/26/88) – Superman tries to stop Wildsharkk’s ship hijacking in the Bermuda Triangle. / Clark wants to play football, but his powers give him an unfair advantage.
“Night of the Living Shadows / Graduation” (12/3/88) – Lex invents a suit that makes its wearer become a living shadow and instigates a crime spree. / It’s graduation day, and Clark’s robe ends up dirty right before the ceremony.
“The Last Time I Saw Earth / It’s Superman” (12/10/88) – An alien abducts the shuttle Lois and Jimmy are on in order to steal proteins from their bodies to become immortal. / Clark moves to Metropolis and begins his life as Superman.
(FOX, October 2, 1999-March 31, 2001)
Marvel Studios, Saban Entertainment, Koko Enterprise Co., Ltd.
Akiko Morison – Dr. Naoko Yamada-Jones
Rhys Huber – Shane Yamada-Jones
Kimberly Hawthorne – Karen O’Malley
Garry Chalk – Mr. Meugniot
For the history of Spider-Man, check out the post here.
FOX Kids loved Spider-Man—they just didn’t want to pay for him.
Although Spider-Man: The Animated Series had come to an end, FOX was under a contractual obligation to produce another season in order to continue airing reruns of Spider-Man for an unspecified amount of time. Because of animosity between FOX Kids head Margaret Loesch and producer Avi Arad, and because continuing the show would have put a damper on their rerun plans, FOX opted to create a new show instead. FOX wanted to make the show as cheaply as possible and considered having Saban Entertainment re-present the very first 26 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man comic series with limited animation; similar to 1966’s The Marvel Super Heroes or today’s motion comics.
|They still got their adaptation briefly in the show's intro. The burglar escape scene shown here.|
Unfortunately, those plans were complicated when Marvel Entertainment entered into a deal with Sony Pictures that would eventually lead to the highly-successful Sam Raimi Spider-Man film trilogy, as well as MTV’s Spider-Man: The New Animated Series in 2003. Because of this, FOX and Saban suddenly had lost all access to Spidey’s classic library, his costume, and most of his supporting cast.
Producers Will Meugniot and Michael Reaves toyed with the idea of producing a series around the futuristic Spider-Man 2099 comic; however, they came to feel that Batman Beyond—which had debuted that January—already covered any territory they would have visited. They looked over the “shopping list” of characters Marvel wanted to see utilized that had been supplied to the production and decided that Counter-Earth would allow them optimal storytelling opportunities while explaining away the absence of recognizable Spidey characters. Counter-Earth was an extra planet in the Marvel solar system that was an exact duplicate to Earth. By this time in the comics, three versions had been featured each with a different creator (2006 would yield a fourth). Meugniot and Reaves decided to use the first version created by the mad geneticist The High Evolutionary as a means to conduct his experiments in an almost god-like fashion.
|Spidey's new duds.|
The original plan was to feature an Uncle Ben who didn’t die, resulting in that Peter Parker never learning the valuable lesson of power and responsibility and denying him the will to resist bonding with the alien Venom symbiote. The Spidey we all knew would somehow wind up on Counter-Earth and come into conflict with this alternate Peter while trying to find a way back home. Production began on the show until Marvel nixed the whole double Peter idea. The company was still feeling the effects of a particularly disastrous time in Spidey comics known as “The Clone Saga”; a decades-later sequel to Amazing Spider-Man #149 wherein the clone Spidey once battled returned and eventually replaced Peter in the webs while also establishing that he was the actual clone the whole time. Naturally, they were eager to avoid any association to that and forbade having two Peter Parkers present. Interestingly enough, the previous show ended with a truncated version of the saga using alternate reality duplicates.
|Carnage and Venom sporting a very different look.|
With the core of their show gone, producers scrambled to salvage the work they had already done while adhering to Marvel’s restrictions. The result became Spider-Man Unlimited, which shared its name (and nothing else) with the double-sized quarterly anthology series that ran from 1993-98. In the show, John Jameson (John Payne III), son of Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson (Richard Newman), embarked on a mission to Counter-Earth, but Venom (Brian Drummond) and Carnage (Michael Donovan) are compelled by their symbiotes to hitch a ride on his ship in order to connect with a hive-mind known as the Synoptic. The Synoptic sought to spread symbiotes across Counter-Earth and eliminate all the human life there. Failing to stop them and vilified by the elder Jameson because of it, Spider-Man (Rino Romano) faked his death and briefly contemplated retirement. However, a message from John prompted him to “borrow” nanotechnology from Mr. Fantastic to create a new suit (borrowing elements of Spidey 2099’s costume in FOX’s attempt to emulate the success of Batman Beyond) and pursue the symbiotes on another mission launch.
|Spider-Man squares off against the Knights of Wundagore.|
Spider-Man found Counter-Earth was ruled by the High Evolutionary (Newman) and his Beastials; hybrids of animals and humans that he created that ruled the planet. Apart from the average citizens were Evolutionary’s personal attack squad: The Knights of Wundagore (named for the mountain that served as their base in the comics). Jameson had fallen in league with human freedom fighters that were against the Evolutionary and his forces and refused to leave until they were free. Unwilling to return home without Jameson, Peter set himself up as a photographer for The Daily Byte under publisher Mr. Meugniot (originally named “Mineo” but changed to resemble the show’s producer, voiced by Garry Chalk), rented a room from single mother Dr. Naoko Yamada-Jones (Akiko Morison) and her son, Shane (Rhys Huber), and aided the freedom fighters as Spider-Man. Along the way, he encountered Counter-Earth versions of familiar Marvel characters, including heroic versions of the Green Goblin (Romano) and Vulture (Scott McNeil), an electric eel Beastial named Electro (Dale Wilson), a Kraven the Hunter-like mercenary called The Hunter (Paul Dobson), and X-51 (Wilson), one of the Evolutionary’s android law-enforcers that gained sentience and joined the rebels.
|Spidey with Karen O'Malley.|
Spider-Man Unlimited debuted on October 2, 1999. While not intended as a direct continuation of the prior show, Unlimited did attempt some connection to it; particularly by the inclusion of a snippet of Joe Perry’s theme when Spidey first appeared in the first episode. It also shared at least one cast member in Jennifer Hale who voiced Mary Jane in her only appearance as well as Lady Vermin, another animal-themed character who developed an infatuation with Spidey. It’s notable that this was the first animated series to feature the underarm webbing on Spidey’s regular costume often seen in the comics.
The series was written by Meugniot and Reaves along with Steve Perry, Brynne Chandler Reaves, Diane Duane, Peter Morwood, Robert Gregory Browne and Mark Hoffmeier, as well as comicbook writer Roger Slifer and creative consultant Larry Brody. The show was animated by Koko Enterprises Co., Ltd. An attempt was made to give the show a more comic-like appearance with the use of dark shadows and picture-in-picture to simulate comic panels, not to mention comicbook-like captions. Spidey’s spider-sense was toned down from the previous series to be a sound with some accompanying flashes on the screen. The theme’s composers were Jeremy Sweet and Ian Nickus, who also composed the rest of the show with Shuki Levy, Haim Saban (under the alias Kussa Mahchi) and Ron Kenan.
|Spidey and Shane attempt to fix up X-51.|
After the first three episodes aired, Unlimited was removed from the schedule and replaced with Avengers: United They Stand. At this time, the FOX Kids schedule was in a state of chaotic flux as new VP of programming Roland Poindexter attempted to revitalize the network’s standing from fourth place behind Kids’ WB, Nickelodeon and ABC, as well as compete against the growing Pokemon craze. The second season for the show was already six scripts into production by the time FOX finally cancelled the show in November of 1999, having met their contractual obligations to Marvel. Unlimited ultimately returned to the network in December of 2000 after re-airing the first three episodes and finished its run that March. As a result, the show ended on a cliffhanger that would never be resolved. Future episodes would have had the rebels win against Evolutionary and showcased more solo adventures of Spidey as he continued to search for a way home.
|The comic series.|
To promote the series, Marvel Comics began publication of a new short-lived volume of Spider-Man Unlimited based on the show in December of 1999. The first two issues, including the special #1/2 issue released through Wizard Magazine, recounted the first three episodes of the series, with the final three issues featuring original stories before the book was cancelled. All of the issues were written by Eric Stephenson with Andy Kuhn as the regular artist; however, Min Sung Ku drew #1/2 with Ty Templeton providing the cover, an homage to Spidey’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15. Marvel also attempted to integrate Unlimited into their regular comics by featuring the suit in issues 13 and 14 of the anthology series Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man.
Liberaton Entertainment UK acquired the rights to release the show on DVD in 2009, but went bankrupt before they could proceed with their plans. Clear Vision Ltd. gained the rights and released the complete series in 2010. No American home releases have been announced or planned, however the show was made available for streaming on Amazon.
|The mainstream appearance of the Unlimited suit.|
Arad had planned for Unlimited to launch a series of Spidey mini-series, planning the first one to be called Spider-Man 2001. The failure of the show squashed those plans, but Romano was kept on as the official voice of Spidey in the years following. He would voice the character in the video games Spider-Man (2001), Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro and X-Men: Mutant Academy 2. Hale would also reprise her role of Mary Jane in the Spider-Man game alongside her previous role of Black Cat from the prior series.
“Worlds Apart, Part One” (10/2/99) – Spider-Man fakes his death in order to develop a new costume and find a way to rescue John Jameson from Counter-Earth.
“Worlds Apart, Part Two” (10/9/99) – Spider-Man discovers Jameson has joined the rebellion against the High Evolutionary and sets up a new life for himself.
“Where Evil Nests” (10/16/99) – The heroic Green Goblin believes Spider-Man to be a villain before the two team-up to rescue Dr. Yamada-Jones from Venom and Carnage.
“Deadly Choices” (12/23/00) – The rebellion and Beastials are forced to team-up to stop a freedom fighter from destroying New York.
“Steel Cold Heart” (1/13/01) – X-51, a machine man and one of Evolutionary’s operatives, refuses to hurt innocent people and defects to the rebellion.
“Enter the Hunter!” (2/3/01) – Sir Ram hires an assassin named The Hunter to kill Spider-Man.
“Cry Vulture” (2/10/01) – Another heroic version of his foes, the Vulture, joins Spider-Man in stopping Firedrake.
“Ill-Met by Moonlight” (2/17/01) – Spider-Man breaks into Evolutionary’s plant to find a cure for Jameson, who has been turned into a Man-Wolf.
“Sustenance” (3/3/01) – Green Goblin figures out Spider-Man is Peter Parker before they’re both kidnapped by the failed Beastials known as Rejects.
“Matters of the Heart” (3/10/01) – Spider-Man agrees to help a freedom fighter locate his lost brother.
“One is the Loneliest Number” (3/17/01) – Eddie Brock becomes separated from his symbiote and Spider-Man must retrieve it before he dies.
“Sins of the Fathers” (3/24/01) – Spider-Man and X-51 attempt to rescue Karen O’Malley from Evolutionary’s machine men.
“Destiny Unleashed” (3/31/01) – The rebellion stop Evolutionary, but the Synoptic unleashes its plan to populate the world with symbiotes and eliminate all human life.