By Marc Strom
With “Ultimate Spider-Man: Avenging Spider-Man” now on DVD, you can bring home 12 amazing episodes of the hit animated series. To celebrate the release, we looked back at the first season with series Associate Producer Harrison Wilcox, who helps to mold each episode from its initial conception all the way through to the finished version you see on the air!
|Spider-Man & Thor team-up in a retelling of the classic Frog Thor story in "Ultimate Spider-Man"|
Wilcox has worked on the series since the beginning of Season One, and continues to help Spidey along his heroic journey today in the show’s second season. “Ultimate Spider-Man: Avenging Spider-Man” travels back to the beginning, collecting the series’ two-part pilot as well as episodes guest starring the likes of Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine and more, giving us the perfect opportunity to catch up with Wilcox about the show’s origins and where we’re heading!
Marvel.com: How did you choose what characters would guest star in Season One?
Harrison Wilcox: At our writers summits we'd throw a bunch of characters that we wanted to use at the wall. Personal favorites, characters that have history with Spidey in the comics, that sort of thing--don't ask [Man of Action Studios’] Joe Kelly about the Micronauts by the way. Ultimately--ha see what I did there? Ultimately, we picked characters for the actual episodes that fit best with the personal story for Spidey that we were trying to tell.
|Captain America serves as an inspiration to the younger heroes in "Ultimate Spider-Man"|
Marvel.com: Why was it important to incorporate other characters and heroes from across the Marvel Universe?
Harrison Wilcox: Spider-Man joins S.H.I.E.L.D. so he can become the Ultimate Spider-Man, the Ultimate Hero. So it made a lot of sense that he would have adventures with the Avengers, and learn from the people he's hoping to one day become. Peter looks up to Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America quite a bit. Plus, there was this little summer movie called “Marvel’s The Avengers” that was on its way. Synergy, people!
Marvel.com: What is Spider-Man’s relationship with the Big Three? How does his relationship differ between Captain America, Iron Man and Thor?
|The Hulk and Spider-Man in "Ultimate Spider-Man"|
Harrison Wilcox: Iron Man appeals to the science geek in Peter. This is a kid who made his own webshooters and costume. He digs his S.H.I.E.L.D. tech, but he really likes Stark Tech. Still, Tony and Peter are very different people. Tony is a very public hero and Peter has always kept his identity secret. Tony is always trying to get Peter to use new tech he's made for him, but Peter has to make it work for him. It has to make sense for Spider-Man, not Iron Man.
The relationship Spider-Man has with Thor is probably the most fun out of all three. Thor isn't from Earth, and things get a little lost in translation sometimes with him and Spidey. For example Thor usually calls Spider-Man "Man of Spiders." To Spidey it's very much like meeting a hard rock star. Spidey's personality doesn't let him get phased when dealing with Asgardian threats like Loki and Executioner, despite whatever magic they throw at him. Thor has a lot of "warrior respect" for Spider-Man for that.
|Iron Man takes flight in "Ultimate Spider-Man"|
Despite Captain America being a living legend and someone Spidey and all young heroes look up to, Cap's relationship to Spidey is pretty straightforward. At the end of the day, he’s really a big brother to Spider-Man. He treats Peter with respect and support while helping him learn things about being a hero and a leader. It's probably the most personal relationship out of all three.
Marvel.com: What other Avengers would you like to see make it into the show?
Harrison Wilcox: Hawkeye, Ant Man and She-Hulk. I promise you'll get at least one of them in Season Two.
Marvel.com: Spider-Man has managed to team-up with an array of characters from Wolverine to Hulk. What do you think makes him such a good hero for team-ups?
Harrison Wilcox: He's young, he's a teenager in high school. He still has a lot to learn from these other heroes. But what makes Peter special is that he usually ends up teaching these other characters something important too.
Marvel.com: Who is your favorite hero for a Spidey team-up and why?
Harrison Wilcox: Iceman. I don't think I need to justify that to anyone reading this interview.
|Wolverine in "Ultimate Spider-Man"|
Marvel.com: A hero is only as good as his villains. Which villains have you had the best time bringing into the series?
Harrison Wilcox: Doom is always a lot of fun, especially when Spidey, who is completely outclassed in power, goes up against him. And Venom…we've been able to play with different characters having the Venom symbiote on them, and we'll continue to do so in Season Two. It also made a lot of sense for Harry to become Venom in Season One--both for the relationship he has with Peter, and with his father, Norman. While I love me some Eddie Brock it was more meaningful that we took an existing cast member who meant something to Peter. Lastly Doctor Octopus. Because of Spider-Man's involvement with S.H.I.E.L.D. we've been able to have villains like Ock clash against characters he normally wouldn't--like we did in the Iron Octopus episode, where he stole some of Iron Man's tech.
Marvel.com: How will his relationship with these heroes change in Season Two?
Harrison Wilcox: I'm not spoiling nothin’! Watch the show to find out.