MARVEL COMIC BOOK
ANIMATED TV SHOWS
On this page I have provided a brief summary on animated TV shows and TV
movies that have been made based on Marvel characters. The
page may not contain every single animated show as I tried to focus
on the more popular and main stream series. I do have a
page on my site focused on Marvel live-action TV shows that you can
visit by clicking here.
Some of the shows were available overseas
in one form of media, but not necessarily
available in the US so my notes about availability or no
availability refers to the US only.
The first animated show for Marvel debuted in 1966 featuring some of
their top characters rotating on different days. It was called
The Marvel Super-Heroes featuring Captain America, the
Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Sub-Mariner.
There was really no animation in this series. The producers
actually transferred artwork from real comic panels with a couple of
parts of the character that moved. Their mouths would almost
always move, but only a couple of limbs for certain motions would
move in a scene. The
characters did not move fluid as in real life and in real animation.
There were some classic stories including origins of each character
and ones against their most famous super-villain nemeses.
The shows were available for each character on VHS tape in
individual episodes, but can also be found on DVD for the complete
The one show that stood out the most during the 1960s came in
1967 with the Spider-Man cartoon series.
It ran 3 seasons with its very familiar theme song which was
referenced in the Spider-Man 2 movie in 2005 as a comedic homage.
The show’s animation and stories were actually pretty good for the
time period and is on the same level with the Fantastic Four show
that would start the following year.
Spider-Man would battle his most famous villains like Green Goblin,
Lizard, Doctor Octopus. As normally found in most animated series
from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, some scenes were reused again to simulate Spidey swinging across the city skyline or characters running from
left to right or right to left.
The show was fun to watch and was really memorable
which most fans
will enjoy watching today.
The show is available on DVD as a
complete series. The DVD may be pricey
since its initial release.
Hanna-Barbera made their first Marvel production with the
Fantastic Four show in 1967-1968.
This was the FF’s first animated series and being over 40 years ago
was actually pretty good in terms of the animation.
The stories stayed very true to the comic books and it was good to
see legendary icons from the FF world like Doctor Doom and Galactus
battling the team. The sound effects were atypical for cartoon
shows of the time and the acting was okay. It had an impressive
opening and closing credit with a catchy musical tune and sound
effects mixed in.
been shown on the Cartoon Network from time to time in re-runs, but
there is no DVD available for the show. VHS tape does exist for a
couple of the episodes, so if you’re interested you may want to
check online or at a local comic book show.
Hanna-Barbera followed up with their 1960s FF show with The
Fantastic Four in 1978, but this time the producers
substituted the Human Torch with a new character called Herbie the
The Human Torch was already licensed away for another project so he
could not be used for this series. Herbie’s mechanisms might remind
some of what R2-D2 did later in the Star Wars prequel films. Herbie talked
and had movable hands and arms and could fly and of
course was used as a computer to provide Reed Richards and the team
necessary data for their missions.
The show would feature FF regular villains like the Frightful Four
and Doctor Doom with stories taken straight from the comics.
The animation was typical of the day - good, but not great. It
was produced on DVD, but may be very hard to find due to its age and
can be expensive.
In 1979 Hanna-Barbera decided to try out a show with two of their
biggest characters teaming up with one of the FF team members as
sort of a variety show. Fred and Barney Meet the Thing
debuted, but the characters never actually interacted. The Thing
had his solo adventures separate from Fred and Barney.
This is a show that I often did not have time to watch when it
originally aired and reading other reviews confirmed that I really
didn't miss out. The producers basically changed this version of
the Thing from the comic book version giving him a slightly
different look and style so it wasn’t necessarily the Thing that
most readers would remember. The show is not available on DVD or
other forms of media to my knowledge.
Knot's Landing TV star Joan Van Ark voiced the next Marvel
animated show with Spider-Woman in 1979.
The opening theme if I recall correctly would tell of her origin
over and over so you would not miss out on how she became
The character as a young girl was bitten by a deadly
spider and was cured by her father who injected her with a serum and
now she has abilities that would be used later to battle crime such
as firing web from her hands/wrists which almost looked like lasers. She could even fly which is a
little odd since spiders can’t fly, but that is what you see in the
comics as well.
The series lasted one season and was a good show for that time
period. There is a Region 2 DVD complete
On syndicated TV
came the next Spider-Man show in 1981 battling his famous
rogues gallery of villains like Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Green
Goblin. The show ran one season simultaneously while NBC aired the
more popular Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.
Unfortunately it is currently not available on DVD or other forms of
and his Amazing Friends was a very good show teaming Spidey with
the Iceman from the X-Men and a new character created especially for
this show called Firestar.
The Human Torch was substituted with Firestar due to pressures from
parents. Producers decided to not include a character that was
constantly on fire like the Torch so they came up with Firestar as
an alternative. She essentially emulated the Torch with flame
powers, but never to the point where she was engulfed and her flames
came out of her hands almost like lasers.
For kid appeal and comedic purposes they created a sidekick so to
speak with a small dog named Ms. Lion. Often times the dog would end
up being part of the story and somewhat distracting too.
The more well-known villains appeared on the show as well as some
new ones like Swarm.
The show finally made its way to DVD, but due to its age may not be
around for long.
released The Incredible Hulk in 1982 and it would appear back
to back with Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends as part of a
one hour show.
The show for the most part stuck with the
comic book version of the Hulk, but there were none of the Hulk’s
super-villains except for the Leader. The producers would include
villains of other super-heroes in the show as well as the She-Hulk
who made her debut on TV shortly after making her first appearance
It was on the same level of animation with Spidey’s show which was
actually pretty good. It may not meet today’s standards, but
a good-looking show. The series was available on DVD by itself
as well as part of a complete collection
with the 1966 and 1996 versions. This series will be expensive
due to its age.
A pilot movie for a possible X-Men animated series came in the form
of Pryde of the X-Men in 1989.
The New X-Men team consisted of Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler,
Wolverine, Colossus, Dazzler and
Professor X who took on Magneto and
his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants with Kitty Pryde joining the group
and later was the central focus of the story.
Magneto plannned to redirect a comet to collide with Earth and the
battle between the two teams materialize in space and aboard his
The action and animation in this movie is very good and would’ve
made a great series had it been picked up by the network.
movie is not currently available on DVD.
There was a VHS tape version back when the movie was released which
you may find at a local comic book show or online. Amazon.com
has a few sellers offering this version.
A few years later
the X-Men would get their first animated series on Fox which
lasted 5 seasons starting in 1992.
The shows consisted of storylines from the comics during most of the
New X-Men days of the 1970s and 1980s.
The X-Men on this show were Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Gambit,
Rogue, Jean Grey, Beast, Professor X and Jubilee who would take on
the likes of Magneto, the Sentinels, Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister,
Sabretooth, Blob and the Shi’ar Empire.
Some of the characters roles in the show's stories would
change with this new lineup where Nightcrawler and Colossus for
example who were not regulars on the show originally fit in the comic book
storylines, but were substituted with the new members in those roles
for the show's episodes. It was done
very well and you would hardly notice.
Nightcrawler and Colossus would appear in the show in guest stars in
Major stories like the Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past would
be covered. It was almost like watching the comic
books come to life in this show which had great animation and voice
performances. It was a well made series which Fox would change the
scheduling of the show from Saturday mornings to weekday afternoons
in its 5 season run making it difficult at times for retaining
viewers who were mainly kids.
It might’ve lasted a little longer had they not changed the
scheduling, but did very well under the circumstances. Toy Biz
produced numerous X-Men action figures based on the show and the
is available on DVD in individual seasons.
next Marvel series came in 1994 with the Fantastic Four. The
team returned intact with the Human Torch after its last series in
the 1970s which featured Herbie the Robot in his place.
The uniforms were updated to the current comics of that time, but
the stories for the most part were the classic ones from the 1960s.
The show had a more lighter tone as the dialogue for the Torch and
the Thing were in a comedic mode at times with some of the
soundtrack sounding a bit corny and slapstick. Though the comics
had the Torch and the Thing constantly nagging at one another with the
Torch loving to play practical jokes on him, it was blended in well
in the books.
This show essentially went out of its way to highlight this.
Long-time comedic actor Chuck McCann voiced the Thing and he tends
to come off somewhat of a dummy when he speaks. Brian Austin Green
of Beverly Hills 90210 was the Torch and sounded a little immature
and tried too hard in his voice acting. They even had Kathy
Ireland-swimsuit model trying to be an actress at the time voicing
Crystal of the Inhumans and her scenes with Green were a little too
much for me.
Still the show was an upgrade over the last two versions and most
viewers will enjoy the series. Every big-time major villain
the FF had made an appearance on the show. Toy Biz produced a
pretty extensive set of action figures based on the show which were
very popular at the time of its release. The complete series
is available on DVD.
of the same set of shows with the Fantastic Four series came
Iron Man in 1994
which lasted two seasons. It was part of the Marvel Action Hour on
This was Iron Man’s first real animated series compared to the 1960s
comic panel come to life show. Robert Hays of Airplane fame
was the voice of Tony Stark and Iron Man.
Villains like the Living Laser, Whirlwind, Mandarin, Grey Gargoyle, Dreadknight would appear
in the show as well as supporting heroes
like Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, War Machine which spawned a very nice
line of action figures by Toy Biz.
The show’s animation and stories were better in my opinion than the
Fantastic Four show and the performances were not comedic in nature.
It is worth owning a copy. The complete series is available
Probably one of the best Marvel animated series was Spider-Man
which debuted in 1994. It lasted a total of 5 seasons and introduced
viewers of that time to a huge array of characters from Spidey’s
world, some of which had not been featured on TV before.
Park was a college student in the series and would encounter many of
the heroes and villains that are so well known. Aunt May and Mary
Jane Watson you would expect to see were regulars on the show.
The Punisher was one of my favorites and was done beautifully when
he appeared featuring his arsenal of weapons and vehicles. A hardly
used character like the Prowler and lesser known villains like
Silvermane made appearances on the show as well as some of Spidey’s
most recognizable super-villains like Kingpin, Lizard, Doctor
Octopus, Sandman, Rhino, Vulture, Electro, Black Cat, Venom, Shocker
The animation and stories were some of Marvel’s best on TV and
continues to hold up today. It also spawned a great line of action
figures that a lot of collectors have actively sought after that
by Toy Biz.
series is available on DVD in specific storyline and character
themed DVD collections, but I have not seen a complete series as of
The Incredible Hulk made
its way back to TV in 1996 for new audiences and initially the first season was
a success, however the second season producers added She-Hulk to the
mix and it sort of took away from the show.
The focus was not on the Hulk as he now had to split time with the
She-Hulk. The animation was on par with the Fantastic Four show
from 1994, but the stories started to water down a bit as She-Hulk
came off too glamorous with the non-glamorous Hulk.
Again another great line of action figures by Toy Biz were released
based on the series with these being a larger scale comparable to
the Marvel Legends line of figures in the 6-8 inch range.
The series was available on DVD as part of a complete
collection with the 1966 and 1982 versions. It also had a four
episode set of the first season and a separate second season
The Sentinel of the Spaceways finally got his own
TV series in 1998
with the Silver Surfer.
Some of the Surfer’s galaxy of characters and that of other Marvel
space characters appear on the show like Galactus, Drax the
Destroyer, Pip the Troll, Warlock.
The Surfer is drawn very similar
to Jack Kirby and John Buscema with the rounded head, dark
highlights around the eyes and strong physique unlike what had been
happening in the early 1990s in the comics with a slightly
ill-looking Surfer which would later be revamped by Ron Lim by the
time this series appeared.
The series did inspire a couple of action figure toy lines by Toy
Biz which were nicely done.
Unfortunately it did not last past
13 episodes. It is currently not available on DVD, but may be
available on Netflix.
debuted in 1999. The show had Peter Parker covering a space shuttle launch with John
Jameson, J. Jonah Jameson’s son as the pilot in the ship and
ultimately ending up on an alternate dimension Earth where Venom and
Carnage are about to board the shuttle. Spidey tries to
stop them both, but is unsuccessful with Jameson having been lost in
Spidey attempts to travel to the alternate Earth to retrieve Jameson
who is now a part of a freedom fighter group who are against the High
Evolutionary and his hybrid animals. Spidey stays on that planet
and fights High Evolutionary as well.
Venom and Carnage are also on the planet. There are other
characters from Spidey’s world like Green Goblin and Vulture,
but only 13 episodes were created. There wasn’t much time to
incorporate other characters. The animation was good, but the dialogue and
voice performances were so-so. It is available on DVD.
first Avengers show arrived in 1999 with The Avengers: United
The team consisted of Ant-Man, Wasp, Hawkeye, Falcon, Vision, Wonder
Man, Scarlet Witch and Tigra with their costumes made of armor and
The animation was good, but the characters were not necessarily
drawn the way you would like to see. The show inspired an action
figure toy line by Toy Biz and lasted 13 episodes. The series is
available on Amazon.com video on demand.
An interesting series came in the form of X-Men: Evolution
in 2000 where almost all of the mutants are in high school where one
school is for the gifted and the other is for Magneto's minions.
The characters are drawn with a unique style with slightly block
like features to their faces. For the most part all regular X-Men
characters are here, but younger. Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Rogue,
Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Angel, Magneto to name quite a few
made up the team. There are some new characters introduced such as
X-23, a clone of Wolverine.
Since the characters are younger, they go through their growing
pains as mutants and have to learn how to control their powers and
deal with fears that normal people have of them. They basically
remain a secret to what they really are to the outside world until
the middle part of the series where they are slowly uncovered by the
The animation is very good, but if you're expecting traditional
storylines that made the X-Men incredibly popular from those told in
the 1970s-1980s, then this is not to be found in this series. These are a different set of stories, but the usual good versus evil
continues between Professor X's team and Magneto's team.
The series is available on DVD in individual volumes containing
several episodes. Individual seasons are available on
Amazon.com video on demand.
current technology of the time a computer generated series on MTV
called Spider-Man: The New Animated Series debuted in 2003
with Doogie Howser star Neil Patrick Harris as the voice of
The show tried to align itself to the movie timelines between
Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 that starred Tobey Maguire. Parker continues to
experience awkward encounters with Harry Osborn who wants to exact revenge for his
father's death at the hands of Spider-Man.
battles typical villains from the comics like Electro, Lizard,
Kingpin and Kraven the Hunter. The series unfortunately did not
last for more than one season. It still has some very awe inspiring
visuals and I would have liked to see it continue so we could continue
to experience and explore this type of animation style. The series is available
on Amazon.com video on demand for the entire season or an
A modern-day update to the Fantastic Four came in 2006 with
Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes which lasted one season -
total of 13 episodes.
Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and somewhat the
Thing get revamped and look like and are teenagers with slick modified
hair and young facial features.
series does have the FF battling recognizable super-villains
like Mole Man, Annihilus, Dragon Man, Attuma, Terminus, but are told
in a different way that is not similar to the comics.
The animation is sharp, but for those who are used to seeing the
more traditional versions of the FF this may not be for you. The
series is available on DVD for season one and individual volumes which have a few episodes each.
Wall-Crawler appeared on television again
in 2008 with The Spectacular Spider-Man.
series went back to basics in this series with Spidey beginning his
career as a superhero/crime fighter with Peter Parker being friends
with Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn and encountering Flash Thompson in
As Spider-Man he first meets up against the likes of the Green
Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Shocker, Chameleon, Venom and Black Cat.
Other super-villains are introduced throughout the series.
The characters are drawn somewhat unconventional. They have
a different look and feel which reminds you of the X-Men: Evolution
series a few years earlier. This is not a detractor.
It's a well-made series and Spider-Man fans will enjoy this new take
on their favorite hero. The complete series is available on DVD.
Another X-Men animated series came in 2008 with
The series storyline focuses on an event where Professor X and Jean
Grey are lost and Wolverine and the Beast have tasked themselves to
bring the X-Men team together to find their missing comrades and to
combat a threat and prevent a prophetic future from occurring.
They receive the services of an unexpected mutant the White Queen
who locates Professor X and Jean Grey. Wolverine and Beast slowly convince other members
to rejoin who had left previously once Professor X and Jean Grey
were thought to be gone forever.
Following a similar style, the characters have the same look and feel
as the X-Men: Evolution and Spectacular Spider-Man
It's another fine series that unfortunately due to financial reasons
was not picked up beyond the 26 episodes that were produced.
The complete series is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Appearing in the overseas market was a motion comic mini-series
called Black Panther: Marvel Knights in 2010.
The new wave of motion comics for Marvel is an interesting concept
which has been seen with other properties like Spider-Woman
or Astonishing X-Men for
Here we have Marvel's first black super-hero in his first animated
series albeit not the traditional animation. The characters will
operate in similarity to comic panels coming to life. It's not
fluid, but there is movement in the characters' body.
Black Panther will take on his greatest villain in the Klaw along
with Juggernaut and Batroc as they invade the Panther's homeland of
Wakanda in Africa. Black Panther also tangles with Captain America
during this series which takes place during World War II.
It's an intriguing series that often gets overlooked from the more
mainstream. The complete series is available on
another spin on Iron Man trying to capture a younger, more cooler
audience with their offering in 2009 Iron Man Armored
Adventures. The show ran for two
Iron Man's alter ego Tony Stark is not an adult, but a teenager in
this show portraying him as a young technical wizard at this age
taking on familiar villains like Mandarin and Titanium Man.
It has interesting appeal and the animation and the stories are good.
If you want to see Iron Man as never seen before, then this series
is it. Hasbro has produced an action figure toy line based on the series
which mirror the characters.
series is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
The complete first season and second season are available on DVD.
Appealing more to kids is The Super Hero Squad Show that
started in 2009.
In it are Marvel's superheroes and super-villains who are pint-sized
in comparison to the normal adult-sized heroes you associate and
visualize with their comic book brethren.
They operate similar to the normal characters, but will relate to
children since they are geared more towards them with their stature
and stories which are humorous. It has spawned a collection of toy
figures which are typically collected in a pack of two figures with
limited movable parts.
They're cute looking characters and the show and its animation are
fun and playful, but if you're an adult collector this may not be a
series for you. The series is available on DVD and in multiple volumes which
contain a few episodes each.
A very promising
series debuted in 2010 called The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest
Heroes. This was a good precursor to the live-action Avengers
The original team of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man Wasp from 1963
including Captain America comprises this initial group with a plethora of
Marvel's heroes and villains appearing in each episode.
The animation and
stories is top notch and being able to see Marvel's
incredible array of characters move and interact albeit animated is
I have always wanted to see an animated show for Marvel just like we
had for DC with its Justice League Unlimited series showing
their entire universe.
The show appeared on Disney's XD channel and ran for two
seasons before it would be re-launched as a different titled series
called Avengers Assemble. Season one is available on
Blu-Ray while different
volumes which contain a few episodes each.
A very intriguing set of shows debuted in the United States on G4
TV in 2011 in the form of four shows. Iron Man,
Wolverine, X-Men and Blade were all produced in
the Japanese Anime style of animation as they originally appeared in
Japan before translated for American television.
There were twelve episodes for each show and the bold art and
stories as well as the action was high quality. American
audiences had never really seen these characters in quite this style
before. It was a departure from some of the previous animated
series and you really could not compare it to other Marvel Anime
the Iron Man: Rise of Technovore
or Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher movies
for example which too were created in the Anime style. These
series originally adapted the Marvel creations for Japanese
audiences so they could appeal to their markets. A year later
they would be re-dubbed in English.
The Iron Man series features Tony
Stark traveling to Japan to produce a new arc reactor power station
and showcase a new prototype armor that will replace him when he
retires. The armor goes out of control and Iron Man has to
stop it along with an organization called the Zodiac.
The Wolverine series features Logan discovering his girlfriend
Mariko has been taken to Tokyo by her father Shingen Yashida, the
head of the Japanese crime syndicate Kuzuryu and a supplier of A.I.M.,
in order to be marry to Hideki Kurohagi. Wolverine attempts to
rescue her and defeat Shingen and Hideki.
The X-Men series features the team following the death of Jean Grey
are reassembled by Professor X to travel to Japan to thwart sinister
forces in the form of the U-Men who are abducting young mutants in
order to harvest their organs.
The Blade series features Blade
visiting Japan on a mission where he confronts Deacon Frost (the
vampire who killed his mother, but also a mysterious organization of
vampires known as "Existence. Each
series is self-contained and can be found on DVD.
Based on the comic book of the same name came Ultimate Spider-Man
in 2012. The series ran four seasons and was shown on the
Disney XD channel.
The series is set after Spidey's first full year on the scene and
Nick Fury offers to train him so he can become a real superhero.
Spidey teams up with Nova, White Tiger, Iron Fist and Power Man.
Spidey and his group take on familiar foes like Doctor Octopus,
Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter and many others. Spidey even
joins the Avengers, but an interesting encounter with Doctor Octopus
and the Venom symbiote leads him to resign and rejoin S.H.I.E.L.D.
The series is partially available on DVD with a few episodes.
Individual seasons are available on Amazon.com video on
In 2013 the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. debuted.
The series comprises of the Hulk, She-Hulk, Red Hulk, A-Bomb and
Skaar as they work as a group against forces that only they can handle. Each episode is told from the view of a reality show
created by Rick Jones-Hulk's friend and partner. Many of
Marvel's characters like the Thing, Nick Fury, the Kree and the
Skrulls appear in various episodes.
The animation is on par with that of
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest
Heroes which is reasonably good. It does take a little getting used to hearing the
Hulk talk so intelligently in this series, but this does stay consistent with many
of the comic book series of the last couple of decades. The
series in individual seasons are available on Amazon.com
video on demand.
Picking up essentially where
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest
Heroes series left off comes Avengers Assemble in 2013.
The characters of the series are Iron Man, Captain America, Thor,
Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Falcon. Familiar villains
like the Red Skull, Modok, Thanos and more tangle with the Mightiest
Heroes and traditional stories from previous media have been
incorporated into the series like Secret Wars and Ultron Revolution.
The animation is consistent with its predecessor and has completed
three seasons on the Disney XD channel. As of 2017 it
is still ongoing and is available on Amazon.com video on demand for
Capitalizing on the motion picture success comes the Guardians of the Galaxy
in 2015. This version comprises of the same characters in the
film (Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and
Groot), but has no connection with the film or the Marvel Cinematic
Universe. The art and animation is below some of the other
Marvel animated shows and the humorous tone although in trying to
keep in sync with the motion picture does tend to come off somewhat
childish. It does not have the same kind of spark that the
film version has. The series has completed two seasons and is
available on Amazon.com video on demand containing several
The Marvel Future Avengers debuted in 2017. It focuses
on several youths who have powers and join the Avengers are learners
named "Future Avengers." As the series is relatively new and
no confirmed word if it will continue as there have only been one
episode shown, there isn't much more to add at this time and
difficult to tell if the producers and network plan on more shows.
In 2017 the Spider-Man series debuted replacing the previous
series Ultimate Spider-Man. As the same as that series
it is based on the comic book of the time. Familiar supporting
characters are featured in this series as well and one season has
been completed so far on the Disney XD channel. The
animation and performances are more tailored for younger audiences.
The show is not currently available on DVD or Blu-Ray.