Home Entertainment Cartoons Area man surprised to find SPIDER-MAN cartoon aimed at children

Area man surprised to find SPIDER-MAN cartoon aimed at children


When do you let go of that childhood dream? Jim Mroczkowski at iFanboy looks at the fannish habit of holding on to something you hate in hopes of something improving vis-a-vis the new Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon on Disney XD, of which he writes:

UltimateSo far, I have recorded every episode of DisneyXD’s latest iteration of the Parker mythos, and I have risked spinal damage bending over backwards to give it the benefit of the doubt each weekend. I’ve loved the comic for twelve years; I love Paul Dini; I love Brian Bendis. Their show makes me want to burn Disneyland to the ground and pee on the embers. But I keep sticking by it and sticking up for it, like it is going to get better.

But even as he saves up some urine, after a moment’s sober reflection Mroczkowski admits that perhaps his disenchantment is because…he is a grown man.

No, of course Ultimate Spider-Man doesn’t float your boat. You aren’t eleven years old.

In other words: no, I’m not enjoying this program about my favorite character by my favorite creative team, but what if this particular children’s show about a colorful superhero was a cartoon on the Disney Channel intended for little kids, as opposed to an epic meant for 37-year-old homeowners?

Der duh.

This is the real question, isn’t it? Isn’t it okay to let children have their superheroes once in a while?

We managed to catch an episode of USM the other day. Interestingly, it was on at like 9 pm which, to be fair, is not a time when tots are regularly watching toons. The guiding hands of Ben 10 pilots Man of Action would indicated some attempt at kid friendliness though.

The thing that struck us the most about the show was its incredible devotion to looking like a cheap ’90s cartoon. ’90s nostalgia!

  1. My 7 year old daughter loves it.

    My little girl and I can now sit down and enjoy Spider-Man together.

    That’s far better than any fanboy serving version I could have ever hoped for.

  2. It still boggles my mind that there is a large swath of the populace out there that doesn’t automatically associate people fighting crime in tights with children’s entertainment.

  3. Cheap 90s toon ? In what sense ? The animation on the show is way better than any of the previous Marvel shows with the exception of Spectacular Spider-man.

  4. So do kids NOT like Avengers: EMH? Because that’s a pretty good cartoon too, and it appeals to adults just fine.

    I think the question is not whether cartoons should be for kids, but whether there’s any reason to make them ONLY for kids.

  5. Yeah, iFanboy is a site that puts up headline news articles for every new episode of every new comics cartoon…

    …and yet they didn’t do an article on Chris Roberson.

    That’s where they’re at.

    And it is pretty ridiculous that a lot of comics fans have gotten themselves to the point where they’re watching children’s cartoons just because they feel they “have to”, since “Spider-Man is my favorite character”.

    In the midst of his endless hipster snark, it seems Mr. Mroczkowski has finally made a breakthrough realization: He is an adult and no longer needs to be addicted to all media that reminds him of his childhood.

  6. “…and yet they didn’t do an article on Chris Roberson.”

    And the Beat is supposed to cover all areas of comics and yet when it comes to hit-baiting all they can DO is talk about DC, Marvel and Before Watchmen.

    At least iFanboy doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.

  7. I found Ultimate Spider-Man quite charming. They managed to merge Marvel characters with traditional contemporary Disney tween entertainment. Not something I would watch regularly, but it wasn’t bad.

  8. I gave this show a shot. I just found it kinda grating. I also can’t stand the ‘it’s for kids’ argument. Spongebob is for kids but it’s well written and sharp. USM is kinda mountain dew fueled pandering idiocy.

  9. Add me to the list of those who wanted to like the USM cartoon, but don’t.

    I think there are plenty of cartoons that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. I like Phineas and Ferb, Adventure Time, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold just fine, but the USM cartoon is just not working for me.

  10. Adventure Time is on an entirely different level, though. To compare it to anything else is to spit in the face of God.

  11. avengers:EMH is the kind of show that works because it appeals to both kids and adults on different levels. one would think this would be the best of all possible outcomes for viewership for this show as it doubles the audience. the rumor going around the ‘net is that avengers:EMH is going to be canceled and then rebooted to be much closer in line with ultimate spider-man. while the animation of USM is great, the show as a whole is pretty bad. i really can’t see anyone over the age of twelve thinking this show is any good. as for a ‘toon based on marvel characters that’s kid friendly, there was always “super hero squad”. if older fans want to see “closer to the comic” versions of marvel characters or marvel stories (for example, “hulk vs.”)maybe we should petition marvel to produce more of that kind of stuff (tho’ with disney now in charge, who knows if it’ll ever happen , disney scored marvel to get the kid audience, not the adult audience).

  12. Adventure Time is the greatest TV show ever made. Period.

    I LOVE USM. It’s hilarious! I love all the meta comments and anime spit-takes.

  13. @Ashby

    “…and yet they didn’t do an article on Chris Roberson.”

    Not only they did, but the level of the discussion in the comments was certainly not worse than what I read on the Beat.

    And as far as I’m concerned I think it was actually better – as the ratio of starry eyed vs. jaded people is higher on iFanboy.

  14. Why does a cartoon about a kid who get’s spider-powers and decides to put on tights and a mask to fight crime need to be something that both kids and adults can enjoy?


  15. Nice one, Heidi! At Disney we used to say, “Hey, why can’t kids have one or two comics for themselves?”, usually in response to the persistent idea that all kids comics have to be “all-ages.” No one says that Eric Carle picture books or Dav Pilkey chapter books have to be for all-ages, or “enjoyed by adults and kids on different levels.”

    Same goes for superheroes. I think the knee-jerk antipathy to the idea of a kids-only version of a superhero is rooted in the Stan Lee-written comics back in the ’60s, which perfectly define what “all-ages” should be.

    I wonder what Jim think about Harper’s Spider-Man early readers.

  16. I don’t know, I thought ‘Spectacular’ was pretty good. I remain ashamed at how huge a fanboy I was for the ’90s cartoon in junior high though: Lord, that show was *terrible*.

    I’m not big on this show, but so what? It’s not like you don’t have your options for Spider-Man-based entertainment.

    Though I think we can all agree that stunt-casting Drake Bell as Spidey was pretty pointless considering no-one’s tuning into a Spider-Man cartoon for the teenage celebrities. What, is he not big enough for a Dreamworks pic yet?

  17. I think it would do wonders for comics regardless of the medium if they were truely all ages. The Paul Tobin Avengers from about five years ago was a perfect all ages book in my opinion.

  18. I like USM just fine — I’d say there’s been a slight degradation in quality with each episode since the first two (which were written by Dini, so of COURSE they were disproportionately good), but it’s still a perfectly decent series.

    It’s not as good as Spectacular Spider-Man — and I think that hits on another fanboy problem: a show they like gets cancelled and succeeded by something else, and they judge the new show on that rather than on its own merits.

    I’ve done it too; I didn’t care for Batman Beyond when it started. Shows what I know.

    I didn’t care for The Batman, either — in my defense, that took until about season 3 before it got good.

    Anyhow, obviously there’s nothing wrong with a children’s cartoon being enjoyable to adults — and in fact I think we’ve all been so spoiled by the high quality of the animated superhero genre in the past 20 years that we’ve just come to EXPECT it.

    But yeah, there’s a difference between a show not being your cup of tea and a show being BAD.

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