Ralph Bakshi’s Bitter SPIDER-MAN Memories


The 1967 Spider-Man cartoon is one of my favorites of all-time. It’s kitschy and groovy and hit me right in the cerebral cortex as a kid in the ’70s.

I loved it then and I love it now.

But, that doesn’t mean its flaws aren’t obvious — even if that’s a significant part of the show’s charm.

It also doesn’t mean it was necessarily a field day to work on the series — and to hear legendary animator Ralph Bakshi tell it, it wasn’t.

You might not want to hear this, Spidey.

“What I tried to do with those guys and my animators was to make it more realistic,” Bakshi, who took over the show in the second season, said in an interview that was reported by Geek. “I should also point out that my distaste for comic book publishers and editors rose vehemently at that point. Marvel Comics could care less what the guys on the coast were doing and they could care less what I was doing. In other words, they didn’t give a shit what I did with the show as long as they got their weekly stipend from ABC.”

Bakshi didn’t stop there: “To me, it was utterly amazing in those days to get anything realistic. It was all such crap and Spider-Man to me was real. Marvel Comics, Simon and Kirby and Ditko were great. I broke my heart to do the show, which is why I was so angry at Marvel Comics because if they had been even a little helpful, the show would have been so much better.”

The interview isn’t long but it’s a real barnburner. Click here to check it out. It’s worth it.


— 13 GREAT THINGS About the 1967 SPIDER-MAN Cartoon. Click here.

— The ’67 SPIDER-MAN Cartoon Has More Going For It Than You Think. Click here.

UPDATED: An earlier update to this story referenced questions about the original source of these quotes, the book Spider-Man: Confidential, by Edward Gross. Geek has updated its story to the proper byline. — Dan

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. That explains it…But Mr Bakshi had the “run-in” with Crumb over Fritz the Cat. At the time his stuff was well an acid trip…

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  2. Not to refute Mr. Bakshi, but the 1st season of the show was very faithful to the 60s Spider-Man comics (minus the teen angst). Other than a few examples in the Bakshi run (“The Origin of Spider-Man” in particular), he mostly went his own way, and came up with trippy, very non-Spider-Man-like adversaries and stories, and some of those were directly recycled from Bakshi’s Rocket Robin Hood show.

    Maybe he went in that direction because Marvel wouldn’t work with him like they should have, but I always took it at as he really just wasn’t that interested in following the source material.

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  3. Bakshi, man
    Bakshi, man
    Did the best Spidey cartoon that he can
    He spun a web in our lives
    The best thing was, to our surprise
    Hey there! It was the great theme song…

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  4. Me thinks Ralph doth protest too much. Recycling Rocket Robin Hood animation for no less than 5 episodes is not making it “realistic.” The continuity was terrible (day and night scenes mixed together, stock footage pasted in at odd times, etc.) The budget got cut, Marvel didn’t kiss his backside, and he treated the show accordingly.

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