As one of the mascots for Marvel Comics, Spider-Man has seen many popular incarnations across film and TV. However, in terms of animated iterations, few have been as revered as 2007’s Spectacular Spider-Man. Fans fondly remember this show for its overarching plot, three-dimensional characters, and brilliantly animated action. Of course, fans of Spectacular Spider-Man probably want more. Therefore, here are several cartoons that capture the same magic of the show.
The most similar show for fans who want more from Marvel would be 2000’s X-Men: Evolution. This was a natural selection, given that both of them are teen dramas dealing with similar issues. Premiering at the same time as Fox’s X-Men film saga, this cartoon distinguished itself from both the colorless world of the films and the campier 90’s cartoon. As a teen drama, the show also makes use of the X-Men universe to explore the challenging world of adolescence, all while capturing everything we loved about the aughts. Evolution’s adaptations of several characters would gain recognition, such as Rogue, Wolverine, and even the first appearance of X-23. For those unconvinced, they even got Kratos to voice Magneto.
American Dragon: Jake Long
Turning Red wasn’t the first time Disney made a 2000s animated work about an Asian-American teen with a monstrous alter-ego. American Dragon: Jake Long follows Jake Long, a Chinese-American with the power to turn into a dragon. Fans of Spectacular will find many familiar elements; a core trio, a rotating rogues gallery, and being set in New York. Additionally, the cartoon is also remembered for being a milestone for Asian-American representation in animation. Disregarding an art-style shift in season two, the animation and art are consistently good throughout.
Often seen as Nickelodeon’s counterpart to American Dragon, Danny Phantom is among the most fondly remembered of Nickelodeon’s cartoons. Much like Spectacular Spider-Man, it follows a teenage hero granted powers in a freak accident. While fans of Fairly Odd Parents will recognize its humor and animation, the series adds all the hallmarks of the superhero genre. Despite being episodic, Danny Phantom managed to have an overarching plot with evolving characters, a love triangle, and recurring threats. Also like Spectacular, it follows the struggle of a teenager caught balancing his normal life his crimefighting alter-ego.
In terms of teen superhero cartoons, Teen Titans is the first answer that comes to mind for many. Long before Teen Titans Go! managed to outlast the DC Extended Universe, the original cartoon was a classic Cartoon Network show. Much like Avatar: The Last Airbender, it pays homage to anime while balancing action, interpersonal drama, and comedy. The core team itself combines the awe of superheroism with the angst of teenhood. Of the show’s memorable rogue’s gallery, by far the biggest star is Ron Perlman’s ominous delivery as mastermind Slade. While this is, figuratively and literally, one of the darker entries on this list, it is still a classic example of a show for kids and adults.
The Batman (2004)
Much like the web-slinger himself, the Caped Crusader has also had a plethora of animated adaptations over the years. While Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series is the most widely known Batman cartoon, 2004’s The Batman is more underrated. Like Spectacular Spider-Man, it follows a rookie version of an iconic hero as he finds his footing against increasingly powerful foes. Setting this series apart from other DC adaptations is its iterations of various characters, such as a more feral Joker and an emo Riddler. The series won a number of awards and was successful enough to gift viewers five seasons worth of content.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012
In many ways, the Spider-Man and TMNT franchises are very similar; both follow mutant teenage heroes as they battle villains through New York City. Of the many animated adaptations over the years, the one closest to Spectacular Spider-Man is the 2012 cartoon. Much like the above, it combines the fast-paced action of a superhero cartoon with more slow, dramatic moments to build characters. Across its 124 episodes the series adapts virtually every character and plot from the TMNT mythos. What helps set this series apart is its constantly changing status quo, cycling through characters and main settings.
Spectacular Spider-Man and other shows are located on Disney Plus.