To celebrate the Blu-ray release of The Spectacular Spider-Man: The Complete Series, hitting shelves April 22nd, 2014, Marvel Animation Age has once again caught up with writer Matt Wayne to talk about his experiences on the acclaimed animated series. Take it away, Matt!

MAA: Before we start with Spectacular Spider-Man, please tell us a little about yourself. How did you get your start in the animation business?

Wayne: Dunno. I only recently noticed that animation has become my life's work. When I was a toddler, my mom taught me to make flip books of a spider crawling up a pad of paper. My buddy in childhood was Richard Pursel, who went on to write for Ren and Stimpy and Spongebob Squarepants. We used to make clay and cutout cartoons together as kids, and Rich recommended me for my first animation gig. My friend Ray Kosarin, who went on to direct Beavis and Butthead, used to ask me along to the Detroit Institute of Arts to see the Tournee, or watch Leonard Maltin talk about Looney Tunes shorts. Dwayne McDuffie, of course, was my best friend and mentor for more than 20 years. He taught me how to write and edit, and how to be one of a group of creative people on a project, and got me in on Justice League Unlimited. Jim Krieg and I shared a retail-clerk experience in New York. He got me work on Scooby-Doo and other stuff. So... was it any of the these sparks that started me going? Or all of them? Or have I been choosing my acquaintances for their future cartoon cred?

MAA: "Natural Selection" is the first episode you wrote, in which Curt Connors transforms (rather brutally!) into The Lizard. The creature has no dialogue following his transformation, was there any difficulty in writing for a villain who didn't speak?

Wayne: Not at all. Character is what a person does, not what they say. The dialogue is the frosting; so leaving it off doesn't take any extra effort. That said, I'm glad we got the exposition out of the way by the time Curt Connors changed

MAA:Broadcast Standards and a Practices seemed very relaxed on the show. Was there anything you didn't get passed them that you would've liked to?

Wayne: They would have been talking to Mike Vogel and Greg Weisman, not me. When something didn't get through, I wasn't aware of it. Although there must have been stuff in the first season, since it was on broadcast TV.

MAA: There's a lot of romance in the show compared to most action cartoons. Did you enjoy writing that and were there any characters/couples you especially liked?

Wayne: I once thought (with very little reason) that I would end up writing romantic comedies for a living, so I love doing boy-girl scenes. I don't recall writing much of the MJ/Pete stuff, but would have liked to. The MJ/Pete dynamic and the loss of Gwen Stacy are the parts of Spider-Man that really stand out. Without girlfriends and Aunt May to worry about, Spidey becomes a little more of a generic nerd.

MAA: "Persona" feature the debut of Quinten Beck, who would later go on to become Mysterio. The show tended to introduce a lot of its villains (Sandman, Rhino, Molten Man) as supporting characters before they became supervillains. Any thoughts on these introductions?

Wayne: That's a good way to do it. One of the advantages of Greg's style of tight plotting.

MAA: "Persona" was also the first episode of the 'symbiote' arc. The show premiered shortly after the release of Spider-Man 3, which also dealt with the black suit. Did the movie offer any inspiration for your story?

Wayne: I remember us talking about the movie in the writer's room. It was pretty universally panned. But whether that was before or after "Persona," I couldn't say. Best guess, "Persona" was written by then. I may be the only person who was shocked by Tricia Helfer's raunchiness as Black Cat in that episode. I thought I was writing double-entendres; but she made it more like single entendres!

MAA: The shows version of Kraven The Hunter was heavily inspired by the Ultimate version of the character, who genetically modified himself to gain a tactical advantage over Spider-Man (rather than the traditional skilled hunter who yearned to defeat Spider-Man). What was your take on Kraven?

Wayne: He still started out as Kravinoff, the greatest hunter on Earth... the power-up was a great act break, so that element fit what we were doing and got used. I liked that episode very much. The set-piece in the planetarium was either my idea or so clever I want to remember it as mine.

MAA: Are there any villains/characters you never got to work with that you would've liked to?

Wayne: The Vulture? I would love to have done more of any of it! I'm really lucky that I got to write the Lizard, the Rhino and Kraven. I love the Lee-Ditko run. And Gil Kane--Morbius would be awesome.

MAA: Had the show received a third season, what direction would you have liked to see it go?

Wayne: I'd want it to go cosmic. Maybe introduce Gravity or Nova as a supporting character. But that's after like a minute's thought, which is really all that hypotheticals deserve!

MAA: You recently returned to Spider-Man with the Lego mini-series Maximum Overdrive. Can we expect anymore Lego shorts or Marvel work from you?

Wayne: Yes. I've written three animated versions of Spider-Man, which may be some kind of record.

MAA: What projects are you working on now?

Wayne: Ben 10: Omniverse has a couple more years to go at least. I'm also starting on an action series for a big toy company that I can't discuss; doing a comedy development thing that I can't discuss; writing for a favorite old 1960s property that I can't discuss. I'm busy enough that I have to remember to take breaks and play with my kid, which is probably giving him issues that I can't discuss.

MAA: What's your overall opinion of The Spectacular Spider-Man?

Wayne: I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I'm still a big fan of the show. Greg's tight plotting, the look, the crew and cast... Josh Keaton is still the best Spidey. The Sinister Six episode is still one of my favorite action half-hours, masterfully written by Andrew Robinson and directed by Jennifer Coyle. It's inevitable that there would be a new version of Spidey, and I'm looking forward to the next seasons of Ultimate Spider-Man, but The Spectacular Spider-Man is still my own first extensive writing for Marvel characters, and it's a terrific TV show.

Marvel Animation Age would like to thank Matt for his participation in this interview! Follow Matt on Twitter.

Check out much more at Marvel Animation Age.
The Spectacular Spider-Man and related characters and indicia are property of
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, 2001 - 2014.
Marvel Animation Age and everything relating to this site - copyright, 2014.
Proudly hosted by toonzone. Contact us.