Ah the good ol’ 90’s. The years I grew up in as a child. I was spoiled and able to watch EVERY awesome tv show that aired on networks including Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Boomerang, Fox Kids, and Kids WB (remember the last two?). For all of those who grew up in my time, I’m sure you are all familiar with a few of these shows we all watched as children: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (It’s Morphin Time!!!), Pinky and the Brain, The Animaniacs, Beast Wars, Teletubbies (oops that one slipped), Dexter’s Laboratory, Pokemon, and lets not forget our favorite dog in: Blue’s Clues (you know who you are).
The list goes on and on. It just goes to show you that without a doubt, the 1990’s arguably had THE VERY BEST television shows a child could ever wish to have. However, if you were a comic book character fanatic particularly Marvel, then you were treated with some AMAZING superhero shows. Here’s my personal list of “My Top Five 90’s Marvel Comics Cartoon Tv Shows” (I will do a DC article a little later so hold on to your batterangs and kryptonite DC Fans!) I have also included the tv show intros to help you stroll back down memory lane.
5. The Avengers: United They Stand (1999-2000)
Let’s start off with a show not many people are aware of. Often overlooked, The Avengers: United They Stand gave us Marvel fans a different group of superheroes who called themselves The West Coast Avengers (1984). This team was led by none other than the “smallest” comic book character: Ant-Man. Second in command was his wife Janet Van Dyne who plays the Wasp. Other major characters from this Avengers lineup include Tigra, Falcon, Wonder Man, Scarlet Witch, and the wise cracking Hawkeye. Oh, and let’s not forget, this show also featured our favorite Android: The Vision. He previously made a few cameo appearances in another tv series, but this was the first show in which he played a vital role (he will eventually make his cinematic debut in this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron). Created by Ultron, the Vision was voiced beautifully by Ron Rubin and became an official member of The West Coast Avengers after having transferred Simon William’s (Wonder Man’s) brain patterns straight into the Android.
The main antagonist of this show was Ultron and he appears in the first few episodes. The Avenger’s also had extra armor added to their costumes which I believe make them look more appealing as superheroes. Unfortunately this series did not take flight and was held to just one season ending with a total of 13 episodes. This show had a lot of potential but was later canceled. Though I wanted this show to be higher up on the list, the show only had 13 episodes which doesn’t give me enough episodes to work with. If you ever get a chance to watch it, please do. Apparently, you are able to stream the episodes on Marvel.com so check it out when you get a chance! You WON’T be disappointed.
Here’s the awesome intro to the show!
4. The Incredible Hulk (1996-1997)
This tv series lasted for a total of two seasons only. The show depicted Bruce Banner as the man fighting his alter ego the Hulk! A faithful adaptation to the original comic book story, this series showed us plenty of Banner’s back story and his struggle to try to become normal again. Besides being chased by the United States Army led by General Ross, The Incredible Hulk features many different movie villains and characters including the Abomination, the Wendigo, Crusher Creel, Dr. Doom, and the shows main antagonist: The Leader. While corny at times, this show was pretty entertaining to say the least. I personally enjoyed the first season better due to the darker tone. The creators decided to lighten up Hulk (literally) and turn him into the Grey Hulk. They also made She-Hulk a major character and had her become his sidekick for the duration of Season 2. Once again, another Marvel show worth checking out that is if you can get over the corniness a bit.
The Incredible Hulk Rules!
3. Fantastic Four (1994-1996)
Like the The Incredible Hulk, this show had plenty of corniness to go around. The show introduced us to our favorite four team of heroes that included Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and of course the Thing. This show also aired for two seasons. However, in my opinion, I preferred Season 2 over Season 1. Season 2 gave us more of a darker tone of the characters and their costumes are also more dark in color. What makes Season 2 also stand out is the tv show debut of the Black Panther in the episode titled Prey of the Black Panther. This episode also featured Black Panther’s main antagonist Ulysses Klaw who many have speculated will be in Avengers: Age of Ultron and played by the brilliant Andy Serkis. The series introduced to us the Inhumans as well led by Blackbolt and they will be making their cinematic debut in the year 2018. The show was yet another faithful comic book adaptation and is most certainly worth watching.
I’m going to throw in both Seasons 1 and 2 intros here for your enjoyment!
2. X-Men (1992-1997)
This was a close call between my #1 spot so bear with me here. X-men the Animated Series was perhaps the BIGGEST Marvel show in the 90’s. It spawned Five Seasons with a complete total of 76 episodes. Now that’s A LOT if you ask me. The popularity of this show was clearly what green-lit 20th Century Fox to go ahead and create the first cinematic X-Men film. It did not disappoint either. But I’m not here to talk about the films but rather this show.
Woah, what can I say but all good things about it. Charles Xavier was portrayed beautifully as well as his former friend Magneto. The chemistry the two have in the show is phenomenal. Even though I had a problem with Cyclop’s character in the films, I did not have any complaints from the show. He was clearly the leader of the X-Men (as he should be) and they did an outstanding job with it.
Other notable members from the show that were once again comic book faithful included Storm, Jean Grey, Rogue, Beast, Gambit, and of course everyone’s favorite rebel, Wolverine. This is why Hugh Jackman kills it as the character mainly due to the character’s portrayal from the animated series. The show also told the Phoenix Saga brilliantly (unlike how they butchered it in X-Men: The Last Stand.)
This show brings back a ton of memories while watching this as a kid. I can still remember the famous theme song that comes with this show and is perhaps the most memorable over all the shows on this list. Click on the video below to bring back those memories.
1. Spider-Man (1994-1998)
This is perhaps one of my favorite kid shows of all time. Spider-Man will always be my favorite Marvel super-hero and you know what? I have this show to thank.
The wall-crawling hero has starred in a few cartoon series before most notably the 1980’s Spider-Man and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. However, since I did not grow up in the 80’s, it was the 90’s show that carried me into the superhero realm for my passion of comic book characters. This show inspired me to want to be that hero and make the world a better place. Like X-Men, this series debuted Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film and later spawned two more sequels. Peter Parker’s back story was told beautifully in this cartoon series and included plenty of humor to go along with it.
What stood out to me the most was the villains in the show. Some of the major villains include Doctor Octopus, Chameleon, Scorpion, Rhino, Shocker, Hydro-Man, Hob-Goblin and of course the Green Goblin. Venom and Carnage were also there in a few well executed episodes. Unfortunately, my only complaint was that they never introduced the Sandman and Electro only made it into ONE episode. However, my personal stand-out star of all the villains is NOT even considered a Spider-Man villain. Instead he is Daredevil’s arch nemesis. I think we all know by now who that is… THE KINGPIN.
Wilson Fisk is mostly known as Marvel’s ultimate crime lord. He never backs down without a fight and is full of muscle. Not only is he intimidating by his sheer size, but also his menacing voice and presence shows he’s not a person you want to mess with.
Spider-Man the Animated Series also included other storylines such as Time Travel with Madam Web while introducing the character Ben Reilly as the Scarlet Spider. The Clone Saga was also shown towards the end of the series. In total, the show lasted for five seasons with 65 episodes. That being said, Spider-Man the Animated Series was only 12 episodes shy of beating out X-Men. Either way, they’re both REALLY great and I’d watch them over and over again when given the chance.
Also, the animated series intro to this show is pretty sweet as well:
So those are my top five favorite Marvel cartoon series. Which one of those is your favorite? Is there one you enjoyed that’s not on the list? Please share and comment below!