This fall, the CW network (kidsWB) will premiere the Spectacular Spider-Man, the most recent animated series featuring everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. There’s a bootleg of the preview footage from San Diego posted at Enewsi.com and it looks good.

It’s looks kid friendly, which is ok by me. There’s also an energy to the footage that I don’t think that’s been in any of the previous cartoons (unless you count the MTV version from a few years ago). Looks like I’ll be TiVo-ing another ‘toon this Fall.

A promotional image gives us our first glance at what Spider-Man will look like in the Fall 2007 CW Network Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. A silhouette of the Vulture and Doc Ock’s arms can be seen in the image as well. Similar in style to “The Batman” and “Legion of Super Heroes,” this Spidey show should appeal to young and old fans alike.

Very cool looking. Can’t wait to see this one in the fall.

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Shaper of Worlds

So, what does that weird looking guy (the Shaper Of Worlds) up above have to do with Spider-Man? Read on and find out…

For several years, the higher-ups at Marvel Comics have made it known, they don’t like having a married Spider-Man. They state that it’s hard for younger fans to related to a married super-hero. Never mind the fact that the titles that feature a married Spider-Man are not ones I would let my kid read until he was a little older. Ways to solve this “problem” have been talked about for years. They don’t want to upset long-time readers by killing Mary Jane and they don’t want to do a reboot and just have the next issue start over.

I’ve given up on the core Spider-Man titles. They’ve not had a distinctive voice since the 90’s and no one seems to really know how to handle the character or supporting cast. I was never bothered by the fact he married MJ in the comics, but perhaps that causes many writers problems. Anyway…

The rumors of a “reboot” are heating up again. In August, writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Joe Quesada (Marvel comics Editor-In-Chief) will tell a story entitled “One More Day” starting in issue #544 of Amazing Spider-Man. Many believe this is the story that will reboot the Spider-Man franchise. If today’s rumor is true, it would leave things very similar to the current movie continuity, which isn’t a bad thing.

…they would have put Peter Parker through the worst of it, until he considers ending it all. At that point, he’d find himself on the bridge where Gwen Stacy died, offering his soul if the clock could have been turned back to simpler times. At which point the Shaper Of Worlds does just that, remaking Spider-Man’s world to when he was back in High School, but with the current book’s supporting cast, taking place in the modern day. Eventually confronting the Shaper, he discovers nothing can be changed, and his memories of the old world slowly fade away. The team decided though that this kind of event would be too “cosmic” for Spider-Man, who has a “street level” tone.

It feels like a cheap way out to me and it may not even be true, we’ll see in August. For good Spider-Man comics, just read Ultimate Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley (soon Stuart Immomen).

Spider-Man 3 is almost here and we know that Sandman and Venom will be the villains of the film. The first two films in the franchise featured the Green Goblin and Doc Ock. With four classis Spidey villains out of the way, just who does that leave for Spider-Man 4 and beyond? Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Possible Spider-Man 4 Villains:

  1. Lizard

    The Lizard seems to be the logical choice for the next film. We’ve seen Kurt Connors (the Lizard’s alter ego) in the other films and from the previews for Spider-Man 3, he has at least a few lines. Having said that, he would be a very problematic character to bring to the screen. The original incarnation of the character as a semi-smart, man-lizard isn’t as threatening as the late 90’s portrayal, where he was more dinosaur like. Regardless, the visual appeal of the character and his continued presence in the films means he’s a likely choice.
  2. Electro

    Don’t let the cheesy costume fool you. Electro is a powerfl villain and would that would be a cool addition to the Spider-Man film universe. I know you can’t have the lightning bolts coming out of your head in a movie, so look for the blue-electrical version of Electro from the Ultimate line of Spider-Man comics to make his way to theaters.
  3. Mysterio

    It was rumored that Bruce Campbell would make a cameo in Spider-Man 3 as Mysterio alter-ego Quentin Beck, but I’ve not heard anything else to confirm this. Play him right and Mysterio could be a cool villain. Use his failed movie effects background and really play up the “virtual” creations that he can create. Not sure if he’s ready for prime time or not. He would be a great team player.
  4. Rhino

    Even more of a thung than Sandman, the Rhino is Spider-Man’s equivalent to the Juggernaut. The character would have to be huge and completely dwarf Spider-Man to work. Anything less, would be silly. Look to Ultimate Spider-Man and the recent Rhino toy from the Spider-Man 3 line for a visual that might work better in the film universe.
  5. Scorpion

    This character has a lot of potential. Mac Gargan was bonded to the Scorpion suit and sent to kill Spider-Man when J. Jonah Jameson paid him to test the process, after Gargan had unsuccessfully tried to investigate how Peter Parker managed to take so many excellent photos of Spider-Man. Go ahead and add Spencer Smythe and the Spider-Slayer robots (also funded by Jameson) and you’ve got a set of villains for the entire film, all stemming from Jameson’s hatred of Spider-Man.
  6. Vulture

    Another second-rate villain that deserves a starring role. I doubt the geriatric version would be used, but instead the rejuvinated and younger Adriam Toombs would make it to the silver-screen. Having said that, I think the older version would be more interesting, character wise. I’m not sure how much mileage you could get from a character that lists flying as his only power.
  7. Black Cat

    Felicia Hardy would be a great addition to the Spider-Man film series. This cat-burglar reforms her villainous ways after falling in love with Spider-Man. With the addition of Gwen Stacy to Spider-Man 3, it seems like the film series is adding some romantic tension. If both Mary Jane and Gwen make it out of Spider-Man 3 alive, then the Black Cat would be unnecessary. Even though she’s technically not a villain, there’s no denying the potential this character has.
  8. Hobgoblin

    Why is one of my all time favorite Spider-Man villains this low on the list? It’s simple, the character’s already been done. With the horrible Mighty Morphin’ Green Goblin from the first film and the Harry Osbourne “New Goblin” in Spider-Man 3, it would be a retread concept and visaully, wouldn’t look anywhere as cool as the comic book counter-part does.
  9. Chameleon

    This disguise wearing, espionage master would be an interesting villain in a Captain America movie or as part of a group of villains. He’s just not visually appealing or powerful enough to warrant a star turn in a film. While his “powers” would be a great story device, they don’t pack enough punch to out-do Doc Ock, Sandman, or Venom. Interestingly enough, early rumors had Topher Grace playing the Chameleon and integrating himself into Mary Jane’s life as Peter Parker.
  10. Jackal

    I know, most of you will be thinking “who is this mook” and you’d be right. Professor Miles Warren isn’t a popular Spider-Man villain. After the horribly bad Clone Saga storyline from the comics in the late 90’s, most fans would rather not hear his name again. However, if you were to take this character and blend it with the Clone Saga storyline that writer Brian Michael Bendis recently wrapped up in the Ultimate Spider-Man title, you’d have a great, great story. There were several great characters intoduced and lasting changes to the Spider-Man mythos were introduced.

Everyone may have a favorite that I left out. I almost put Kraven the Hunter on the list, but passed. He’s just too one-dimensional for me, although “Kraven’s Last Hunt” from the 80’s is one of the best Spidey stories you’ll ever read.

I would personally love to see the Sinister Six in the next film. This group of Spider-Man villains has (on occasion) been comprised of many of the villains listed above. Several of my picks aren’t really a huge challenge for Spider-Man on their own, but as a group, it’s a different story. Get a good writer to connect a few of these characters and have him face them one at a time in the Spider-Man 4.

Heck, start the film off with him battling Electro. This far into the franchise, the audience could believe that other villains have menaced Spidey, not every one needs a per
sonal theme or connection to him. Heck, if Venom or Sandman make it out of Spider-Man 3 alive, have them gather up the group and go looking for revenge.