A recently unearthed interview with Stan Lee reveals the Marvel Comics legend didn't like the 1970s Spider-Man TV series. Lee, together with artist Steve Ditko, created the iconic webslinger nearly 55 years years ago, who made his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15.
Since then, of course, Spider-Man went on to be featured in his own comic book series in several different iterations, and came to life through animation and live-action projects, including film and television. But long before director Sam Raimi made the story of Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) a blockbuster film in 2002, there was another live-action interpretation of the Spidey that apparently didn't please Lee too much.
In a recently unearthed interview with Emmy TV Legends (via THR), Lee says he wasn't a fan of The Amazing Spider-Man — an hour-long action adventure crime series that ran on CBS from 1977-79 — that starred Nicholas Hammond as Parker/Spider-Man. The series was comprised of 14 episodes over two seasons before it was canceled. THR pointed out that The Amazing Spider-Man was actually the second live-action iteration of the character, since Spidey was first featured in short skits dubbed Super Spidey Stories, which were part of the classic PBS kids show The Electric Company.
While Lee didn't comment on The Electric Company version of Spider-Man in the Emmy TV Legends interview, he clearly didn't get a charge out of the CBS series. He says:
"The Spider-Man TV series I was very unhappy with because very often, people will take a novel, let's say, and bring it to the screen ... and they will leave out the one element, the one quality that made the novel a bestseller. With Spider-Man, I felt the people who did the live-action series left out the very elements that made the comic book popular ... They left out the humor. They left out the human interest and personality and playing up characterizations and personal problems."
Lee did like some aspects of the TV series, but mostly on the technical side. He says:
"On a technical level, I think they did a good job. The scenes of him climbing on the wall— in those days, they didn't have the wherewithal that they have today, and they did a very good job with that."
Anybody who's followed Lee over the years, even casually, knows its very uncharacteristic of the comic book writer and king of Marvel film cameos to speak negatively about anything, much less a Marvel project. Clearly Marvel's properties have drastically improved in his eyes, especially in the area of films, otherwise he would have disassociated himself from the projects.
Proof that he cares clearly comes in each of his Marvel movie cameos (and some didn't even make the cut), which effectively signals his stamp of approval. The good thing for Spider-Man fans is that he's appeared in all five Spider-Man films to date, and has a cameo in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming — projects that were obviously much more than the "one-dimensional" show that was The Amazing Spider-Man in the late 1970s.
Sources: THR, Emmy TV Legends