The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Along Came a Spider...

This episode cannot be discussed without talking about what will fast become the most controversial moment in Marvel Animation history. I know some of you think I enjoy going here, but I don't. I've been looking forward to this episode for a long time. I won't lie, I was disappointed when I had it spoiled for me before watching that Drake Bell was voicing Spider-Man in the episode. Then I watched it and something felt off. Very off.

1. Grey Delisle returned as Betty Brant, from "Spectacular Spider-Man." Daran Norris also had two lines at most as a generic cop. You don't bring in a voice actor for a generic role like that. J.K. Simmons was voicing J. Jonah Jameson, and well, I am convinced that Daran was originally recorded and dubbed over. But much as I love Norris in the role, I don't think that will be very controversial. But here comes the kick to the teeth...

2. Drake Bell sounded off. Way off. Like he wasn't in the room and no one was playing off him in the booth. He sounded like a bad anime dub. I began to suspect that he wasn't originally Spidey when this episode was recorded. Something smelled fishy. Like a can of tuna in July. Yes, my spider-sense was tingling.

Then, Josh Keaton posted this on Facebook:

Josh and I had a short conversation after this, and I am also reasonably confident that Josh Fine and Chris Yost were not in on this travesty. This was ordered from higher up very late in the game, it may have happened as recently as a month ago. But, it's bad enough that Craptimate Douchebag-Man is making a mockery of the webhead, now they need to infect this show with it too? I'll admit, I'd have been disappointed if it was Drake Bell either way. But knowing it was Josh Keaton and knowing that he got screwed over is a taint on the entire production. This is not what Fine and Yost wanted or envisioned. We were going to see Spectacular Spidey again... and it looks like for more than just this episode too.

The episode itself is not bad at all... the script and the story I mean, but it will forever be infamous for this. And I don't want to re-watch it every time and think about the behind the scenes assholeish behavior of certain individuals. Pissed off doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. I'd rather be just disappointed than outright pissed off. I can get over disappointment. This, is just nasty, dickish behavior. Shame on you, Marvel Animation. Shame on you.

As for the episode itself. Josh Fine and Chris Yost are admitted "Spectacular Spider-Man" fans, and this episode felt like a love letter to it. I remember Fine saying in his mind this show, SSM and "Wolverine and the X-Men" shared a universe. As much as the dub seems to kill that, I am going to treat them as such to honor the work of everyone involved and the intent of everyone before Loeb got his claws into this. This is the fault of no one who gave a damn about any of these shows.

Vanessa Marshall rocks as Madame Viper and I like how she's shaping up this season as a villain. Three episodes ago, she was repaying Cap by saving his life... now she's ordering the murder of civilians. She is a vicious and evil broad. I enjoy her very much, and I hope she pops up again.

Cap's words to Spidey are a lesson we should all take to heart. It's what we do that matters, not what others say about us. I need to take that to heart myself, it's a hard lesson to learn. In a lot of ways, it seems to perfectly echo the controversy of this episode. Cap may as well be saying all this to Josh Keaton too. We know what he did here, and we know that he is Spidey. Genuinely loves the character and no matter what Loeb does, how much Loeb tore down his work, the work is immortal and will speak for itself.

I wanted so badly to say this episode was spectacular. I'm sure it was once upon a time, but it's been stained. But you know what, why don't we let Marvel know that we want to hear the real version of this episode. It exists, it can be aired, it can be released on the DVD and Blu-ray release. So, if you're a fan of "Spectacular Spider-Man" and Josh Keaton... let Marvel know, and let them know now.

Tweet Joe Quesada with #JoshKeatonIsSpiderMan, and #DrakeBellIsNotSpiderMan ... the episode won't air in the US for at least two months. If we can't have it corrected for that, let's have it corrected for the home video release. We can do this, people.


  1. Why would Marvel redub one episode, it doesn't make any sense? Why are they wasting their time with redubbing one episode? Bad enough that they are already cancelling this show, now this. Also Drake Bell already voices Spidey in his own show and will probably voice Spidey in next Avengers cartoon since both shows will share same universe, why not let Josh Keaton voice Spidey because Bell will have plenty of time voicing Spidey.

    As for the episode itself. It was great, i loved it. Captain America is one of my favourite heroes, so i liked how they gave him a lot of focus in this season and this episode. Nice seeing Madame Viper and Serpent Society again. Viper was vicious and evil in this episode, in "Prisoner Of War" it seemed that she was softening but i was wrong.

    1. Notice that Keaton said he was in multiple episodes.

  2. Quartermain said it best.

    "What's wrong with your voice?"


  3. Thing that got me about this EP is based on this alone, Drake Bell could be a rather good spider-man. He was by far and away much better here than he has ever been allowed to be in USM.
    That fact alone would normally show up that Loeb has no idea what he's meant to be doing, and is getting in the way.
    But then you have this as just a tack on to the even bigger controversial decision that was the re-dub.
    Someone said in a fan forum that it seems like Loeb is trying his best to remove TSSM from history. Now we all know that will never work, but then Loeb thought USM would work. It's clear to me that he doesn't have the first clue about animation. And if that's clear to me it won't be long till it's clear to the Disney Marvel shareholders. In which case, who's next in line for his job?

    1. Greg Weisman?

      What? A man can dream, can't he?

    2. Joss Whedon.

  4. I can't even... wow. This is... dumb. This is like executive meddling at it's absolute worst. It's like Jeph Loeb is looking at the audience and going "Well if you don't like Ultimate Spider-man, I'm going to MAKE YOU like Ultimate Spider-man."

    Like... jesus. I don't know how it's possible for one man to actively make a show worse in this way, it's... unbelievable.

    1. The butthurt & senility is strong with Loeb.

  5. To be honest, Drake Bell's performance didn't bother me. I find most acting other people hate doesn't get to me actually, short something REALLY bad like CDI Zelda and English version of Megaman X4 or the original Resident Evil. I still hate the executive meddling. Stupid meddling.

  6. Yeah, I really never got the point of this and other creative tampering to the show. Sure if Quasada and Loeb intended to continue it with their approach it would make sense to make changes to ensure it had a longer life.

    But if the show was planned for ending anyway, why not let it go out the way the original creative team planned?