Comics On TV: Japanese "Spider-Man"


With new set photos from "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" being released on a near-weekly basis, our spider-sense has been tingling like crazy for the highly-anticipated sequel. Last week, we got our first glimpse of a pre-CGI Paul Giamatti fully decked out in his Rhino gear but leaving much to the imagination. Before that, we got a great look at Jamie Foxx in his Electro attire. It's no wonder we've got "Spider-Man" on the brain!

Joss Whedon's "S.H.I.E.L.D." may be the latest live-action Marvel TV series, but it is by no means the first. In fact, back in the late 70's there was a live-action "Spider-Man" TV series! In Japan!

Series Statistics

Network: Tokyo Channel 12

Broadcast Date: 1978 - 1979

Seasons: 1

Episodes: 41

Produced by the Toei Company and starring Shinji Todo, "Supaidaman" is vastly different from the American web-slinging superhero that we all know and love. Although the Spider-Man costume remains pretty much the same, there's no Peter Parker, there's no Mary Jane, there's not even a Daily Bugle. Instead, Spider-Man is a young motorcycle racer named Takuya Yamashiro who gains his spider powers after discovering a crashed UFO and its alien pilot, Garia.

Garia, who hails from the planet Spider, explains to Takuya that he's come to Earth in order to hunt down the diabolical Professor Murder and his evil alien army, the Iron Cross. Injecting Takuya with some of his blood, a dying Garia passes the torch to the motorcyclist, handing him a bracelet that can shoot web lines and remotely control his spaceship, the Marveller, as well as a giant robot called Leopardon. That's right. Japanese Spider-Man has a spaceship AND a giant robot! Don't believe me? See for yourself in the theme song below!

Notable Episodes

The Time of Revenge Has Come! Beat Down Iron Cross Group!!

The first ever episode of "Supaidaman" sees Takuya's transformation from daring motorcycle racer to spider-powered superhero. It also gives us our first look at Professor Monster and his lovely cohort, Amazoness, who magically creates a giant dinosaur (with a pickax missile launcher hand) for the new Spider-Man to fight.

The Experimental Labs of Horror! Evil Professor Monster!

Delving deeper into Japanese Spider-Man's arch nemesis, this episode introduces the fact that Professor Monster needs to consume the blood of human beings in order to survive. Plus, we see how his Iron Cross Army was created: by killing several dozen men, re-animating them, and then killing them again.

The Great Battle of the Cockroach Boy!

After a young boy begins terrorizing the city, frightening the citizens of Tokyo with his pet cockroaches, Spider-Man confronts the child only to discover that the reason he's been acting up is because his father has been kidnapped by the Iron Cross Army.

Strange Tales of the Past! The Cursed Cat Grave!

In yet another attempt to rid the world of Spider-Man, Professor Monster invokes the spirit of a deceased cat that had been killed by a samurai in decades past creating the terrifying Cat Demon Monster. Using ancient Japanese magic, Spider-Man exorcises the cat demon from the robot monster's body.

The Ferocious Hit Song! Sing and Dance to the Killer Rock!

Turns out Japanese Spider-Man's greatest foe is none other than Rock n' Roll. After Kobayashi Kotaro and the BB Five release a new hit single about Spider-Man, Professor Monster kidnaps the band and replaces them with cyborg duplicates capable of emitting a frequency that will make Spider-Man's head explode.

Still not convinced that "Supaidaman" is the best show ever? Well then, watch this epic battle between Spider-Man and the Mer-Man in which Spider-Man drives a flying car into a spaceship that transforms into a giant robot then throws a sword at the monster causing it to explode!

This is Comics On TV, the column that celebrates the classic comic book TV series that blazed the trail for modern day hits like "Arrow," "The Walking Dead" and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." If you have any favorite episodes of this week's series, let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!