Marvel Animation Age caught up with The Spectacular Spider-Man Producer Victor Cook to discuss his work on the fan-favorite animated series, which is now airing as part of the weekly Vortexx programming block on The CW. Starting August 17th, 2013 at 9:00am (ET/PT), Vortexx will air all 26-episodes of the acclaimed The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. Continue below for more.

Marvel Animation Age: The Spectacular Spider-Man is back on the air after being removed from DisneyXD (to make room for Ultimate Spider-Man). How do you feel about the show's sustained life, even a few years after the series has wrapped up?

Victor Cook: I think it's cool The Spectacular Spider-Man is still around. The crew worked hard on the series, I'm glad the teams' work can still be enjoyed.

MAA: What do you think it says about the show?

VC: I leave that to you and the fans to answer.

MAA: Can you quickly run us through your duties on The Spectacular Spider-Man, and what your work as a producer held?

VC: I developed and ran the show with [Producer] Greg [Weisman]. He oversaw the writing, I oversaw the visuals. We both had input on each.

I creatively led the artistic crew, directors, designers, storyboard artists, colorists, as well as the animators overseas. I worked with our incredible directors and board artists to ensure the filmmaking, staging and action choreography were clever, fun and cinematic. I also had the pleasure of working with Sean Galloway who brought a special flare to each character design. When the pre-production was shipped overseas, I went to the studios in Korea to guide them in terms of the animation style I wanted. When the animation was done, Greg and I teamed up in post-production, editing the final picture, working with sound effects editor, the composers and creatively overseeing the final audio mix to delivery.

MAA: Why do you think, five years later, this show still has a reliable fanbase and is remembered quite fondly as "the" Spider-Man animated series?

VC: It's the education of teenage Peter Parker, the classic Ditko/Romita era contemporized. Characters you get to know beyond their surface and great story telling. Cool action sequences. Perfect casting.

MAA: Were you a Spider-Man fan going into the series? If not - or even 'if so' - how did this series change your perception of the character?

VC: I grew up a fan of the Ditko and Romita-era of the comic books, and as a kid loved watching the 1960's animated Spider-Man TV series - I loved that theme song!

The series didn't change my perception of Peter Parker/Spidey, for me what we did on the series was the classic era in a 2008 setting. Visually, we did go for a different approach to how Peter looked. He's still a nerd and not part of the cool clique, but without the stereotypical nerdy glasses look. I always thought it was great touch by our character designer, Sean Galloway, that Peter's shirt tag was always sticking up in back.

MAA: Were there any characters you found difficult to bring to life in the rules you established for the series, given the grounded reality The Spectacular Spider-Man established?

VC: Not really. If we had a rule, it was to contemporize the classic era. We altered ethnicities of many of the characters - Liz Allan, Kenny Kong, Ned Lee - to reflect the diversity of modern New York City. As far as the fantastical elements, since Marvel-style science and sci-fi allows us to believe a radioactive spider bite can create Spider-Man, it was not difficult to bring any of the super-villains to life.

MAA: The series brought Venom out in the first season. This version of the character seemed to take both from the comics and the 1990s Spider-Man animated series. Is that accurate? Did you consider this a safer approach to the character?

VC: I honestly haven't seen a complete episode of the 1990's animated Spider-Man series. But I do feel in The Spectacular Spider-Man, Greg wrote Eddie an arc that solidified his motivations by the time he became Venom. When the symbiote takes over Spider-Man's suit, we wanted to visually homage both the Raimi movie and the comics. In that three episode arc, when we first see the black Spidey suit same as it was in Raimi's third Spider-Man movie, the middle episode shows the webbing on the costume coming apart, and in the last episode of that arc the symbiote is the black Spidey suit from the comics.

MAA: Part of the reason why fans really took to The Spectacular Spider-Man was how you approached the source material and really stayed true to the core comics and characters. How important is it to acknowledge his four-color roots, and when is it safe to deviate?

VC: From a visual point of view, we thought as long as stayed true to the characters iconic essence, we could deviate for the medium of animation and to modernise. We stylized and simplified the designs for classic squash & stretch animation and over the top action sequences. We gave The Vulture head tech-gear and J Jonah a soul patch for example, while retaining the DNA of their original looks.

Although we deviated from the comics in terms of illustrative, realistic detail, we thought it would be cool to acknowledge the symbolic imagery from the classic comics into our visual story telling. There were iconic graphics in the comics from the Ditko era, such as the half-Spidey mask on Peter when he was thinking, the squiggles for spider-sense, and the spiderwebs in the sky over Manhatten at the end of many of the stories. It was a lot of fun incorporating those classic comic book visuals.

MAA: Looking back at the series, are there any particular The Spectacular Spider-Man moments you're proud of, both behind-the-scenes and on the series itself. With Vortexx airing all 26 episodes, fans should be able to catch every one!

VC: Many. Both behind the scenes and on the show! Here are just a few of them in no particular order:

-Screaming Pumpkin Bombs!
-Stan Lee guest voicing in our Mysterio episode, "Blue Prints."
-Peter and Mary Jane dancing under the Spidey spotlight at the end of "Catalysts."
-The opera fight sequence in "Gang Land" when the sound effects dropped out and all we hear is music.
-The rooftop fight with helicopter thugs in the teaser for "Nature vs Nurture."
-Sean Galloway's mole on Peter Parker's cheek.
-Green being the color of evil. Not just the super-villains, but also at school.
-Cuban ox tail pow wow script lunches with writers, directors and Greg W.
-Flash Thompson's Halloween costume "squeak" in "The Uncertainty Principle."
-Video taping Greg Weisman limping for the animators to use as reference for "The Uncertainty Principle."
-The Lizard's transformation and his subway station-tunnel rumble with Spidey in "Natural Selection."
-The Sinister Six vs Symbiote Spider-Man fight sequence in Central Park, featured in "Group Therapy."
-"First Steps" climatic shape shifting giant Sandman vs Spidey battle.
-The brutal, action packed Venom vs Spidey smackdown in "Identity Crisis."
-That road trip Greg Weisman, Kevin Hopps, Sean Galloway, Josh Keaton and I did from Wonder-Con in 2008. We lost Kevin, had to raise bail and ...uh, maybe I should leave that behind the scenes story out.

MAA: So, to wrap this up - whether a new viewer or a long-time fan checking back in with The Spectacular Spider-Man, can you tell us why they should tune in starting August 17th, 2013 at 9:00am (ET/PT) on Vortexx?

VC: Tune in for a modern take on classic Spidey! An epic story arc, incredible action, fun animation, Josh Keaton as Spider-Man, and a very catchy theme song!

MAA: And, lastly, where can we expect to you see your work next? Give us a rundown!

VC: Since The Spectacular Spider-Man, I produced and directed the Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated TV series and the Ben 10: Destroy Aliens CG TV movie (both now on DVD), and also directed the Young Justice episode "Cold Hearted." Also on Cartoon Network and DVD this month is another TV movie I directed, Scooby Doo! Stage Fright. On top of that, I'm producing and directing two more specials for Warner Brothers coming out in 2014.

Marvel Animation Age would like to thank Victor Cook for his participation in this interview.

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