Marvel has engaged in plenty of iconic animated television endeavors over the years, delivering plenty of fan-favorite shows that retain a major following long after their runs come to an end. While Marvel Comics has occasionally opted to make a comic book spinoff to its animated series, there are plenty of shows that have been unfortunately overlooked.
From Spectacular Spider-Man to X-Men, there are plenty of beloved Marvel animated series which have worlds worthy of exploring in greater depth. While these series have come to an end, Marvel Comics can always return with comic book spinoffs set in the same world.
10 Iron Man: Armored Adventures (2009-2012)
Capitalizing on the character’s popularity following 2008’s live-action Iron Man film starring Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man: Armored Adventures follows a teenage Tony Stark at the beginning of his superhero career as he battles villains like Iron Monger, Titanium Man, and even Doctor Doom. The series ran for two seasons between 2009 and 2012 before being canceled.
This series was unique in its depiction of a younger Tony Stark, who dealt with issues both as Iron Man and as a high schooler. A potential comic book spinoff could continue any future storylines that never came to be, perhaps even exploring Tony Stark’s college years and how his secret life as Iron Man would continue to plague his personal life.
9 M.O.D.O.K. (2021)
M.O.D.O.K. was a short-lived animated series starring Patton Oswalt as the eponymous supervillain. MODOK is primarily known for being one of Ant-Man’s main villains in Marvel Comics. MODOK took on different roles in his series, which depicted him as a struggling father. Despite positive reviews, the series was canceled after a single season.
M.O.D.O.K. was one of several series caught in the crossfire of Marvel Studios’ consolidation of Marvel Television, dooming the show from the start. However, Oswalt’s series stands as a brilliant character study that could stand to continue in another medium.
8 Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends (1981-1983)
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends followed the adventures of the amazing Spider-Man and many of his superhero allies, including Firestar and Iceman. The series ran for three seasons in the early 1980s before coming to an end, though it eventually received a reboot in 2021.
This animated series had a major impact on comic books, especially through the character of Firestar, who was introduced to the Marvel Universe after her television debut. However, the main continuity of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends has remained dormant since the series ended in 1983, making it long overdue for Marvel to revisit the show through a series of tie-in comic books.
7 Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H. (2013-2015)
Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. is an animated series following a superhero team made up of Hulks as they attempt to win the world’s favor through their very own reality show hosted by Rick Jones. Including characters like the Hulk, She-Hulk, A-Bomb, Red-Hulk, and Skaar, the series ran for two seasons, coming to an end in 2015.
Although Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. isn’t Marvel’s best-animated series, it certainly had an inventive premise that separated it from other shows. Moreover, the show’s focus on the team’s relationship with the world as they strive for acceptance is an intriguing theme that certainly warrants a continuation in Marvel Comics.
6 Spider-Man (1967-70)
Spider-Man ’67 marked the first long-form television appearance of Spider-Man, who would appear in countless other series over the next several decades. Focusing on Spider-Man’s many battles with his most famous enemies from the comics, Spider-Man ran for three seasons before coming to an end.
Over the course of its three-year run, Spider-Man delivered some spectacular episodes, but ended before some of the character’s most iconic comic stories were written. A continuation in comic form could reintroduce this version of Spider-Man to a new generation while pitting him against villains like Venom and Carnage, who didn’t exist at the time of his animated series.
5 Guardians Of The Galaxy (2018-2019)
The Guardians of the Galaxy received their very own animated series in 2018, capitalizing on the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise featuring the same characters. This iteration of the Guardians included team members like Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora, Drax, and Star-Lord, whose adventures spanned three seasons.
Guardians of the Galaxy delved even deeper into the team’s comic book roots than the MCU films, expanding their lore over the course of three seasons. A comic book spinoff, however, could pick up where the series left off, reintroducing the lovable band of misfits as they continue to explore the reaches of deep space.
4 Marvel Zombies (2024)
Marvel Zombies is an upcoming animated series that serves as a spinoff to the fifth episode of Marvel’s What If…?, which itself was based on one of Marvel’s most chilling horror comics written by Robert Kirkman. The series is currently expected to premiere on Disney+ in 2024 but, with Disney’s recent cutbacks in animation, may prove to be disappointingly short-lived.
If Marvel Zombies does get canceled, a comic book spinoff continuing the story would go a long way in making up for the short-lived series. These comics could build on Robert Kirkman’s original series, this time placing the MCU’s version of Marvel heroes in a zombie-infested apocalypse. A comic book spinoff would also have more freedom than a television adaptation, leading into the violent side of the dystopian world.
3 The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (2010-2012)
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was an animated series following the amazing adventures of its eponymous superhero team. The show included iconic Marvel characters like Captain America, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Vision, and more, running for two seasons before being suddenly canceled.
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes had lots of potential for its third season, which unfortunately never came to fruition. However, the story can finally continue nearly a decade later in comic book form. The compelling characters and storylines set up in the original series certainly deserve to return, in whatever medium Marvel is willing to make happen.
2 The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008-2009)
Spectacular Spider-Man was one of the best cartoons of the 2000s and a fan-favorite adaptation of the titular web-slinging superhero, who was voiced by Josh Keaton. The series ran for only two seasons before being canceled, leading to widespread campaigns to save the series, which unfortunately proved unsuccessful.
Spectacular Spider-Man‘s cancelation was especially disappointing, as major characters like Hobgoblin, Mister Negative, and more were confirmed to appear as some of the main antagonists in future seasons. While this version of Spider-Man has made appearances since, including in the 2014 Spider-Verse comicevent and the upcoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, he certainly deserves to have his story continued in comics as well.
1 X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997)
X-Men: The Animated Series is often considered to be the best animated Marvel series of all time, following the eponymous team of mutants as they struggle to survive in a world that hates what they represent. The series ran for five seasons in the 90s and is set to receive a Disney+ continuation, entitled X-Men ’97, in late 2023.
While X-Men: The Animated Series has received several short-lived comic book spinoffs in the past, there is far more that can be done with the world and characters. An additional, ongoing line of comics exploring the X-Men’s journeys leading up to X-Men ’97 would be a welcome reintroduction to the franchise, preparing audiences for the team’s long-awaited return.
NEXT: X-Men: Every Single Animated Series (In Chronological Order)
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