Ultimate Spider-Man Swings His Way to Disney XD

Disney wasted no time in capitalizing on its new roster of Marvel heroes by assembling an animated Avengers series for the Fall, and they've already greenlit a second new series, this time based on Brian Michael Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man comic series. Marvel Entertainment has announced the development of Ultimate Spider-Man for the Disney XD channel, with a projected premiere of Fall 2011. As the project has only just been greenlit, there aren't a whole lot of details just yet. All we know is the name and inspiration. We can also surmise with some confidence that this be aimed at the much sought-after Happy Meal and action figure young male demographic that tunes into Disney XD on a regular basis. The days of the HBO Spawn series are well behind us. This new series replaces the cancelled Spectacular Spider-Man (2008) cartoon, which was actually a pretty solid vehicle for the oft-animated webhead, given his sordid history on the boob tube. Anybody remember Spider-Man Unlimited? No? Good.


Using the Ultimate series as a blueprint isn't a bad idea considering the comic's popularity as well as its fresh approach to the character and his universe. The information released so far doesn't mention any direct involvement from Bendis, but they could do worse than using the existing 140+ issues as inspiration. And if Bendis is indeed involved, we're pretty confident that it won't be MTV's CGI Spider-Man series all over again. Lessons have definitely been learned and that's safely tucked away in the vault. If this new show turns out as well as The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes already looks, we might be in for a new golden age of Saturday morning cartoonage.


  1. I’ve been meaning to ask….what happened to Spectacular? Anyway, if this is of that quality or better, then count me in. I just hope that if the movie reboot is being based on USM, that the ultimate flavor won’t be too much.

  2. Let’s hope this time they get it right. So far this sounds very promising.  This also has me thinking of the Black Panther cartoon for BET. I’m curious, did it ever air yet?

  3. Wow, I didn’t know Spectacular was cancelled, that makes me sad. It was far one of the best adaptations of Spidey I’ve seen. My concern for an Ultimate cartoon is that it would be too much like Spectacular, which was a solid blend of Ultimate and classic 616.

  4. good question, mcbaker… i really liked that series

  5. @mcbaker: I had no idea Spectacular was cancelled either.

  6. It’s a sad and sobering truth that the HBO Spawn days are indeed behind us…well to me at least. But that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy these kid shows, as my DVD collection of the 90’s X-Men cartoon will prove. I’ve also been liking Wolverine and the X-Men, and got pretty far into the first season. I’m guessing that Ultimate Spider-Man will have a similar art direction, as that seems to be the trend in kids animation nowadays.

  7. Bummer for Spectacular. I was still holding hope for new episodes of that. I liked their version of Gwen.

    Anyway, I’ll be looking out for this one for when it hits here up notth.

  8. Fuck them for cancelling Spectacular for this shit.

  9. *in jim gaffigan voice* "Hey fella I liked Spider-Man Unlimited."

  10. I wonder if they’ll actually use the Ultimate versions of characters like Bendis’s Venom and Green Goblin? I mean, those reimaginations didn’t really work at all beyond the context of the Ultimate Spidey series (in other words, they were cool for a second). Since a more conventional Venom (for example) has been more successful in every other media appearance of the character (even in the more recent Spider-Man 3), will they take a leap and use the Ultimate version of the character?

    If not, then I’m not really sure what the purpose of the "Ultimate" branding is at this point. The Ultimate line has really fallen off the radar, and the current series is "Ultimate Comics" now. I suppose it doesn’t really matter what they call it, but I think things would’ve worked out better if Marvel rebranded their cartoons as "Ultimate" when the line was still popular and still had a chance to take off in the public consciousness. Similarly, I think calling those cartoon movies "Ultimate Avengers" was also kind of a screwing with the branding. For geeks like us, branding doesn’t matter, but I think any across-the-board rebranding to reach, attract and cater to a new, outside audience was totally lost. "I saw that new Ultimate Spidey cartoon! Are there comics of that? Oh, there was a series called that which started ten years ago? Huh?? I thought it was new." "Is there a comic of Ultimate Avengers? My son loves that and I’d like him to read a comic. Oh, the comic version is just called the Ultimates and it’s more mature?" "I liked that cartoon Spectacular Spider-Man, but you’re telling me it’s more like Ultimate Spider-Man the comic–not Ultimate Spider-Man the cartoon–and the actual Spectacular Spider-Man comics are nothing like the cartoon I saw?"

  11. @flapjaxx  I was unaware that Venom and Green Goblin didn’t work that well. I’ve heard a lot of people praise the Venom angle he found and i thought it made for great drama and added to the relationship of Peter and Eddie

  12. Yay, another Spider-Man cartoon!

  13. I wish they’d continued Spectacular, that was a great series that was doing its own thing.  Was even arguably more enjoyable than the 90s series.

  14. make it 2 for 2 on the cartoon watching schedule for me

  15. I felt like spectacular was the best of Ultimate and 616. Great action, animation, voice actings, and reimaginings.

  16. I hope this has the quality level of a JLU.  I watched The Spectacular Spider-Man the other day, and I didn’t really find much to pull me in.  I know these aren’t for me, but I enjoy me some good comic book animation.

  17. I watched an episode of SM Unlimited once. It was horrible.

    Shame about Spectacular SM. Great show.

  18. How different than Spectacular can this really be, other than maybe animation style?  Ialways assumed it borrowed heavily from Ultimate anyway.  I also did not know Spectacular got the axe.  That was a great show, and thought it did ok ratings wise and with the critics.  Not sure why they think another Spidey show would do much better or worse.

  19. @kentish well for one he’ll have a different job, gwen won’t come in until the end of the first season, eddie probably won’t be there at all until the second season. plus aunt may will have a larger part and we’ll probably get some nick fury as well

  20. @jesTr There have been 6 episodes of the black panther and I must say that they are awesome. Here’s a little taste of the first episode on youtube.

  21. Hopefully this is better then that last cartoon cause that wasn’t good for me at all.

  22. SPECTACULAR! nooooo! I liked it way more than the ultimate line…esp. how its been doing recently….Poor greg weisman will never get that 65 episode series…boycott the new ultimate cartoon?

  23. So…am I the only person that actually liked The New Adventures of Spider-Man on MTV? …lol… I never saw it when it aired but I rented the DVDs after it was cancelled and I rather enjoyed it.

  24. I liked the MTV Spiderman series. The animation was strange, but i think it was an interesting attempt to do a 2d look with 3d animation. I think it just wasnt there yet. Why would you think that if Bendis is involved it WONT be the MTV Spiderman all over again, when he was heavily involved in that show.

  25. Oh man, Spec. Spidey was perfect! I hope Ultimate is even better but I never really cared for the comics as much as the originals.

  26. I dugg the MTV Spiderman show too. Since then I’ve heard so much bashing even by Bendis, I’m scared to revisit it.

  27. Thank you Paul for reminding me about Spider-Man Unlimited. Man I remember thinking that show was awful when I watched it and I was only ten.

  28. Damn, I hadnt relized that Spectacular Spider Man was cancelled. Still an Ultimate Spider Man cartoon is aces for me!!! But by the time it’s out I probablly wont have Disney XD so its moot anyway

  29. I think I realized that SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN had been canceled when they stopped showing new episodes like six months ago.

  30. There was pretty long break between seasons one and two of Spectacular, too.  I still thought it was coming back.  I loved that show, this better be good.

  31. Poor Spectacular. When I saw they were making an Ultimate cartoon, my initial reaction was "but… aren’t they already making that right now?" They even incorporated Kong, for pity’s sake.

    The nice thing about making shows that are actually targeted at children is that you can reuse the characters every couple of years; there’s always a new audience being churned in who never saw the last thing.

  32. @Jimski: It’s true. Much likes comics used to be, these shows aren’t meant to be watched by the same people for years and years. They are meant for new groups of kids.

  33. @Conor: Six Months? Wow I gotta start going through my Tivo more regularly.

  34. I, like Conor and Jimski, agree that it’s great to shake things up and get certain shows targeted to various audiences.  We’re at a point where we need a lot of these comic book shows targeted to kids to get the new generations moving towards the comic book itself. 

    That being said, I don’t know what the thinking was behind cancelling Spectacular Spider-Man for this – if they really are going to pull directly from USM books, it wouldn’t really be too different than SSM.

    Ah well, don’t mess this up, Disney…

  35. I thought Spectacular was the best incarnation in any medium ( better than Ultimate comics and the film Spiderman 2! ).  REally, really disappointed.

  36. and I also thought MTV’s wasn’t bad. 

  37. Spectacular Spider-Man was always inferior to Ultimate Spider-Man, so thie is great news.  My favorite character finally has his chance to get what it deserves: An "A" quality show.

  38. Its upsetting that Spectaular Spider-Man got cancelled, I doubt this one will be as good but I’ll reserve judgement untilI see it.

  39. The only interesting thing here is Spec Spider-man got cancelled? WHEN? Ok, so I’ll give Ult. Spider-man a chance, but I go into this knowing it will be cancelled in two years to be replaced by another cartoon set in the new movie continuity, which will shortly be cancelled also.

    Why reset very few seasons, I like the old Spider-man cartoon, and that ran for 5 whole seasons before being revamped.

  40. This is the only site I’ve read that says Spectacular Spider-man has been cancelled.  Every other site I’ve read says that decision has yet to be made, though it seems likely that it will be.  But maybe there is still hope!

  41. @cubman987 I can’t imagine two different Spidey shows on at once. But I’m sure at some point no one thought there would be 4 or 5 different ongoing titles for the character and the 90s brought us that.

  42. @RoiVampire  Yeah I agree, but there is some speculation they might allow some sort of conclusion to the series instead of simply cancelling it.

  43. I’m excited for this. I’m a sucker for all the animated Marvel/DC shows/movies and even if they turn out to be terribad, I still watch them through most of the time 😛

  44. At first when I saw this article I thought, "Oh sure, the movies were kind of Ultimate-like with his origin  and powers, so why not capitalize on that". But flapjaxx‘s comment reminds me that the movies had a Green Goblin which was more like regular Spider-Man, with only a little from Ultimate Spider-Man (Osborn uses a serum on himself, and he starts going nuts, but he doesn’t become a green hulking monster).

    I’m curious if the cartoon will have a similar Green Goblin character take as well.