Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 2, Episode 9

Background

Magic is another area in which Spider-Man lacks any type of footing. Usually when a magic-based adversary appears, Dr. Strange is involved and we have a team-up. Since that isn't happening, let's see how Spider-Man fares against an all-powerful sorcerer that happens to be evil.

Story 'The Evil Sorcerer'

  Spider-Man TV (1967) - Season 2, Episode 9
Summary: First Aired Nov 9th 1968 (full-length episode)

Six thousand years ago, Kotep [the evil sorcerer with green skin to let you know he's the bad guy] battles Brazman - his opposite - for supremacy of the word. Kotep loses and is transformed into a statue.

Fast forward to the present day [Present day 1968. Whatever] Peter is rejected by Susan Shaw, one of his classmates, when he asks her to go to the beach. She explains that she has an archeology paper due on Monday. Peter slightly mocks her for preferring that "dull stuff" to the beach. [You don't have too much room to talk, Mr. Science Nerd] She politely declines a second time.

Susan then attends a museum tour with the rest of her class hosted by their professor. The high point of the tour is the display of Kotep. He explains that Kotep was the most powerful magician in history. He was betrayed by his demon army and his spirit was bound to the mummy that stands before them. The Professor continues by stating that he's found a spell that may restore him to the modern world. [Again, 1968 modern. You can guess what's going to happen at this point. Since he's never given a name and he's acting nutty, I'll refer to him an "Professor Jerry" in honor of The Nutty Professor]

After the tour, Susan agrees to grab some coffee in the museum restaurant with Bob. Peter finds them and realizes why she turned him down. Professor Jerry has problems of his own. Dean Wilkins fires him for continually scaring his classes with his stories about Kotep and his method to resurrect him. Professor Jerry leaves vowing to show him - and the world!

Later after reciting a plain-English spell while wearing a bed sheet and a fez, Professor Jerry returns Kotep to life. He is rewarded by an attack from one of his demonic servants that seriously injures him. The students hear the disturbance [They must have great hearing] and return to the exhibit to find Kotep alive. The male students in the group (except Peter) attack the sorcerer and the demon and literally get slapped around. When Peter leaves to "get help", Susan calls him a coward claiming she'll never speak to him again. [Nice. Attack blindly when you're clearly at a disadvantage. Great strategy, lady] Peter changes to Spider-Man and attacks Kotep, eventually driving him away from the students. The students get Professor Jerry to a hospital.

Kotep retreats to a separate dimension and summons the rest of his demon army. They agree to follow him, but he must defeat Spider-Man before they will obey him. Kotep agrees to this condition. Using his magic, he creates a giant spider web on Earth. This quickly attracts Peter's attention. He changes to Spider-Man and investigates. Susan arrives and tries to pass along some information Professor Jerry gave her. She tries to tell Spider-Man that Kotep's power comes from his scepter. Unfortunately he can't hear the full warning. He is quickly brought to Kotep's dimension.

Spider-Man arrives at Kotep's castle [How he knew where to go, I have no idea] and is greeted by the evil magician. He is then introduced to two of his friends: giant spiders that pull him into their web and try to devour him. Spider-Man finally realizes that Susan mentioned Kotep's scepter and takes it from him. Waving it randomly he destroys the spiders and frees himself in the process. Spider-Man then breaks the scepter, causing Kotep to be returned to limbo. [Seconds before he actually vanishes, you see him do the "quivering lip" thing. It's awesome.] Without the power of the scepter, Spider-Man is returned to New York.

With the threat erased, Wilkins offers Professor Jerry his job back for helping to rid the world of the menace he introduced to it. [No, I disagree. How about 'no jail time' and call it even?] As Peter, Susan, and Bob leave the hospital, Susan fawns over Bob for his bravery against Kotep. Bob reminds her about Spider-Man's involvement. She dismisses it stating that he's a superhero, he's supposed to act brave. There aren't any superheroes around here. Peter rolls his eyes.

General Comments

Uhm, yeah, this is pretty much what I thought would happen. Crazy - er - nutty professor wants to prove his theories correct and unleashes a threat that only Spider-Man can stop.

For someone with the advanced knowledge of magic that Kotep is reported to have, he isn't that bright. His power comes from his staff. This really should be a way to focus his innate power, not the source of it. One question arises because of this: If his power is in the staff, wouldn't someone try to steal it from him? Specifically one of his demons?

Much like a small child rolling peas on his/her plate, Kotep enjoys playing with his food. He should have just tried to kill Spider-Man, but like every other villain he became too cocky and was defeated.

Overall Rating

1.5 webs. They tried to put on a good show, I'll give them that much credit. It's a reasonable story in which Spider-Man is clearly out of his class but still prevails. This follows the basic formula for all Spidey cartoons and it would work better if there was a "good guy" magic user to balance Kotep. Unfortunately that would have cost additional money to animate (cheap! cheap!) and taken the spotlight away from the main character. If you're going to resort to formula, you have to follow the formula. You can't introduce new elements and get the same feel.

While it's clear that this story is a better fit for Thundarr the Barbarian than Spider-Man, I can't fault them too much. There was a noticeable increase in new animation in this episode. The story structure was lacking in places, but overall good enough for a kids' cartoon.