Dr. Octopus In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five - Part Six

Back in 1963, Spider-Man was brought back from his initial appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 he was of course given his book, The Amazing Spider-Man. When he received the upgrade from one shot to monthly the thing he would need most is a rouges gallery to get in the way of his dates with Betty Brant. Having previously fought The Chameleon, The Vulture and The Tinkerer, Stan Lee told artist Steve Dikto that he wanted a villain with eight arms for Spidey to fight and with Diktoís unmatched originality Dr. Octopus was born and debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #3.

Doc Ock quickly became one of the favourites in regards to supervillains and if memory serves, was the fist of Spideyís rouges to make a second appearance in Amazing Spider-Man. In the fall of 1967, Spider-Man made his debut on ABC with an all-new animated series and who else should appear in the very first episode other than Doc Ock.

The premiere, The Power Of Dr. Octopus to me, stands as one of the series best. For those who havenít seen the show, itís quite possibly the cheesiest thing youíll ever see that doesnít star Adam West but at times, it was great fun and a good laugh. Spider-Man himself is at his best in the premiere, with a never-ending string of one-liners at the expense the villain of the piece. This show worked far better as a comedy than an action show but the sheer amount of cheese will no doubt put many off. The hooky designs, the voice acting, sound effects and constantly repeated animation are all part of itís charm to me. The show was clearly done on the cheap but I think it helps emphasise the tone the show was trying to go for. This episode is probably the most quoteable of the bunch;

Ocatvius: My plan is simple.
Spider-Man: Just like you!

Jameson: Now tell me exactly what happened!
Betty: Well, Spider-ManÖ
Jameson: Enough! Enough! I donít wanna hear another word!


Octavius himself isnít the showís best villain (that esteemed honour is surely deserved by Mysterio!) but heís not too bad aside from his purple tracksuit (sadly lacking a gay hood ornament). As with most villains in the show, thereís no attempt to develop him or explain his origin, heís simply a villain with four mechanical arms and wants money. As with all ransom demands on the show, he approaches J. Jonah Jameson, the fearless publisher of The Daily Bugle for payment. Spider-Man, none too impressed with Ockís plans of blowing up his crib, eventually defeated Ock by tying him up with his web. Itís not too bad an episode if you know what to expect going into it but if youíve never seen the show beforeÖ prepare yourself if you ever do get the chance to sit down and watch it.

Doc Ock would make one more appearance in the show, with the intention of stealing a rocket. Itís never quite explained what he wanted the rocket for, but alas, Dr Octopus has stolen a rocket and Spider-Man must stop him! The Terrible Triumph Of Dr. Octopus isnít as memorable as the opening episode but itís still pretty good. I remember being quite impressed with the fight that took place outside the building where the rocket was being presented. Ockís design remained unchanged and his voice actor was pretty good in the role but there are better episodes to be found in the show (and yes, most of them star Mysterio.)

Given how bad the second and third seasons were, Iím glad Dr. Octopus never appeared again.