June 07, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

No offense to Tobey Maguire, but we all know who made the coolest Spider-Man — the folks at The Electric Company! But with ABC Family airing reruns of Spider-Man: The Animated Series every Saturday morning at 8, we decided to contrast the cartoon wall-crawlers over the years. Warning: The competition may get a little sticky. — Dalton Ross

1. ABC’S SPIDER-MAN (1967-70) THEME SONG The swingin’ classic: ”Is he strong? Listen, bud, he’s got radioactive blood.” SPIDEY STYLE Peter Parker works a snappy yellow sweater vest with blue suit and red tie. SUPERHERO-SPEAK ”That gizmo makes the atom bomb look like a firecracker!” FINAL THOUGHTS The simplistic drawing may seem dated, but we’re caught in its web of campy charm. A

2. NBC’S SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS (1981-82, ’84-86) THEME SONG Pure ’80s, it sounds like it was recorded on one of those tiny Casio keyboards. SPIDEY STYLE That scruffy mane, those sideburns, the yellow turtleneck…that’s not just our Spidey sense tingling. SUPERHERO-SPEAK ”You’d get fancier treatment, but I’m late for a date.” Oooooh, playah! FINAL THOUGHTS While cornball compadres Iceman and Firestar are less than ”amazing,” the webslinger soars. B+

3. FOX’S SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (1995-99) THEME SONG Cheesy guitar solos (courtesy of Aerosmith’s Joe Perry) over repetitive cries of ”Spider-Man, Spider-Man, radioactive Spider-Man.” SPIDEY STYLE Forget about the Green Goblin. Parker’s real nemesis is his wardrobe, thanks to the T-shirt/blazer-with-sleeves-rolled-up look. SUPERHERO-SPEAK ”He’s created an imbalance between the gravitational pull of this dimension and the vortex!” Come again? FINAL THOUGHTS With great power comes great responsibility…to not suck. C

4. FOX’S SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED (1999-2001) THEME SONG Prodigy-lite technobabble that sounds really great when the TV’s on mute. SPIDEY STYLE With orange hair on top, and black on the sides, Parker looks more like a member of Kajagoogoo than a mild-mannered photographer. SUPERHERO-SPEAK ”Now all I have to do is survive the space-time warp, figure out how to land this baby on Counter Earth, and rescue John Jameson from a hostile planet.” Then what, lunch? FINAL THOUGHTS We’re willing to overlook the fact that it takes place on another planet and that Spider-Man wears a cape and a suit made out of ”microscopic robots”…wait, no, we’re not. D+

You May Like