Spider-Man Romances In Animation - A Retrospective

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

When Spider-Man: The Animated Series began the show promised to be more faithful to the comics and follow them closer than the previous adaptations of the books did. Given how much Peter Parker had grown up since the last time he was animated by the time the show hit the air, as well as being married to Mary Jane, one would expect MJ to feature prominently in the series. Which makes it all the more interesting that Debra Whitman was the first of Peter’s girlfriends from the comic to be introduced. Her introduction also sprouted one of the show’s best one liners “Oh no, not Debra Whitman. The little sister I never had. Or wanted.” Night Of The Lizard itself is awesome. A great script, spectacular animation and brilliant characterisation made the episode worth remembering, not the would be romance.

Things picked up in the second episode when Felicia Hardy is introduced. They actually aired Spider-Slayers before The Sting Of The Scorpion here in the UK which I thought was a pretty dumb idea as it jumbled up his relationship with Felicia. I always thought his relationship with Felicia was a lot more interesting that his romance with Mary Jane, or even with Felicia again when she became The Black Cat. Introducing her before she became The Black Cat was a stroke of pure genius on Semper’s part in my opinion.

Anyway, back to The Sting Of The Scorpion. Miss Hardy is introduced with yet another brilliant one liner from Peter

Felicia: This isn’t the direction I wanted us to head in Parker.

Peter: But I thought you lived this way?

Shortly afterwards, the classic Spider-Man comes out as he finds he has to ditch Felicia as someone is stalking them. The lady’s ego comes out here as soon as she realises she’s been rejected. “He walked away from me. Who does he think he is?” Oddly enough, this greatly impressed her. Perhaps they could go for lunch?

It’s not clear if she was actually dating Flash Thompson by the time The Spider Slayers aired but she was more interested in Peter on that evening, which resulted in a jealous Flash posing as Spider-Man to try and scare the crap out of Peter. One thing again leads to another, and Peter must leave to fight a giant Spider Slayer robot, and whoops! He abandons Felicia again. Now, he was no longer a mystery man. To her, Peter was simply a coward who ran away at the first sign of trouble. Meanwhile, Aunt May was trying to convince Peter to take her friend Anna Watson’s niece out. Peter, like all sane men realised that a blind date is a ridiculously stupid idea, but Aunt May’s nagging was legendary and he finally agreed to take her out… then completely forgot all about it. MJ made her introduction with the legendary “Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot line!” making our hero instantly smitten.

Visuals wise, Felicia again trumps MJ. She had the much better model, and even with the amazing animation from the first season, MJ always looked crap. Purple jeans, a yellow sweater and cowboy boots? Add that to a somewhat unusual face design and a voice that makes her sound like a ditzy twelve year old so she certainly wasn’t going to replace Firestar as Spidey’s best love interest so far. Felicia’s outfit actually matched her personality and voice acting veteran Jennifer Hale sounded like a massive snob, perfectly fitting the character to a T. Peter spent the rest of the season constantly trying to juggle both of them, but not really getting anywhere with either of them. Our lad was simply spinning his wheels instead of moving forward, when he wasn’t scaring Felicia in his alien costume of course. The season ends with Peter getting a big slap from MJ, courtesy of The Chameleon who kissed when he was disguised as Peter.

As he is Peter Parker, one could only expect things to get much worse in season two...