Not all superhero stuff has to be for angsty tweens.
If there’s one thing superhero fans who are parents love to ask, it’s: how do I get my kids interested in this stuff? Should I get my kids into this stuff? All understandable questions, of course. I mean, if you’re the kind of person who has several long boxes of back issues of comics, you’re already kind of thinking about your kids inheriting that collection. How else will you justify the hundreds spent on action figures, Funko Pops, and related memorabilia? Trust me, I’m in the same boat. I have a 2-year-old son and a 6-month daughter and I’ve already begun working my magic on them faster than you can say “Doctor Strange.”
Spider-Man has always been the most adaptable hero, perfect for all ages due to the often lighter nature of his stories, sense of humor, and colorful bad guys. A few months ago, I was searching for something new to watch with my toddler on Disney+. There are only so many times I could rewatch the same episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (which admittedly is pretty fun too).
I came across Spidey and His Amazing Friends, a computer-animated series that premiered on Disney Junior in 2021. After trying for some time to find age-appropriate superhero content, Spidey was the perfect fit, and my son was instantly hooked. He wanted to know more about the characters, what made “bad guy” a bad guy, and he wanted to look at some of the kids’ comics on Marvel Unlimited.
Spidey and His Amazing Friends doesn’t just focus on Peter Parker’s Spidey, but also on Miles Morales’s Spider-Man, and Gwen Stacy’s Ghost-Spider, allowing kids to see themselves through a variety of Spider-people. Together they team up to take on the villains Green Goblin (who appears to be an actual goblin), Doc Ock (the Carolyn Trainor version), and Rhino.
The series feels like the perfect precursor to the more mature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse by incorporating the same characters. Each episode consists of an A and B story that runs about 12 minutes each. The stories focus on the characters learning virtues like patience, teamwork, managing anger, and dealing with minor crises like hiccups, purse snatchings, a kidnapped baby squid, and weather mayhem with the help of their science lab and spider-bot, TRACE-E.
The show also features guest appearances from other characters like Black Panther, Hulk, and Ms. Marvel, giving younger viewers a taste of the larger Marvel Universe that awaits them. And despite the superheroics at play, there’s no kicking or punching at hand. The heroes always find non-violent means to capture the non-violent baddies, usually with webbing or simply talking them into turning themselves in. If there’s one flaw the show has it’s that the three villains, Green Goblin, Doc Ock, and Rhino do get a bit stale after a while. I’m hoping that future seasons expand the roster of Spidey and his amazing friend’s rogues gallery.
Spidey and His Amazing Friends is the perfect starting place for parents and their little ones, offering plenty to laugh at and discuss afterward. Oh, and it also has an awesome theme song by Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, who also composes the music for the show, which will prove impossible to get out of your head. So, if you want to help raise the next generation of comic fans it’s in your power to do so, and you can do it while still feeling responsible.