Epic Spider-Man Rewatch: Spider-Man (1967) S1 E3


Let’s get one thing out of the way first: I’m surprised they got the name of this show right.  It’s the only time apparently that the hyphen was ever used.  I know the budget was tight, but surely one could afford an extra character here and there.  In a prominent shot in the opening titles Spider-Man takes a picture and the lense displays the words “Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.”  A newspaper headline in this episode would also subtract the hyphen.  *cries*

Of the twenty first season episodes, all but two were divided into two stories.  “Horn of the Rhino” and this adaptation of the first appearance of Mysterio from Amazing Spider-Man #13.

Let’s us compare this episode with the source material::

  • Both start with someone dressed as Spider-Man committing a robbery and escaping.  He encounters the police on a rooftop but in the comic he webs them up, unlike the cartoon where he knocks them out with his bags of money…and then escapes by jumping on an invisible building.
  • In the comic, Peter learns about the robbery through the Bugle while in school as opposed to Betty calling him at home.  In both he wonders if he is developing a split personality like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.
  • In the comic, Mysterio appears in JJJ’s office offering to end Spider-Man.  He tells Jameson to print a notice in the paper for Spider-Man to meet him on the Brooklyn Bridge.  All very similar to the cartoon, but there is no plot by Mysterio to do this all for money.  And boy does Mysterio work cheap, offering to kill Spider-Man for $1000.
  • The Brooklyn Bridge battle is very similar in the comic and the cartoon version, including Spidey escaping at the end by swimming away.
  • Unlike the show where Jameson is skeptical of Spider-Man’s defeat and rips his $1000 bill in half until Mysterio provides proof, in the comic Jameson parades Mysterio around like a hero.  It is at this point in both versions that Peter manages to slip a spider-tracer on Mysterio.
  • He then uses his spider-tracer tracker to find Mysterio at the movie studio.
  • In both versions Spider-Man gets a taped confession that it was Mysterio dressed as Spider-Man that committed the robberies and then they battle across and through a movie set.  In the show, it is of a western film, but in the comic it is an alien flick.
  • Both versions end with a dejected JJJ needing an aspirin and telling Betty to cancel all his appointments.  He is devastated that Mysterio is a fraud and Spider-Man is the hero.  And in both Spider-Man drops in for a visit and leaves JJJ webbed and hanging from the ceiling.

Mysterio unmasked here looks an awful lot like Leonard Nimoy, or more specifically, Spock.  I also don’t think the name Quentin Beck is used (Mysterio’s alter ego in the comics) and I’m pretty sure someone at the movie studio simply calls him “Joe”.

Spider-Man’s utility belt sure can hold a lot of stuff.  His camera, his pocket tape recorder…a gas mask.  He could give Batman a run for his money here.

And speaking of that gas mask, Mysterio’s chemical spray can melt Spider-Man’s gas mask, but not his Spider-Man mask?  What is that thing made of?  And why isn’t the gas mask made out of it?

For all the writing I’ve done so far on these three episodes I haven’t gotten much into if I liked them or not.  And I have liked them all.  It’s sometimes silly, and you often need to remember these were made in the later sixties, but they capture Spider-Man and his rogues gallery perfectly (except the Pluto aliens one, what was up with that?)  The majority of this season one will be along the same lines.  And then…there’s seasons 2 and 3…

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