To add to the festivities surrounding Spider-Man: Homecoming's Friday release, I'd like to look back at something that is quite possibly our favorite web-slinger's strangest rendition. In May of 1978, the world was blessed with one of the weirdest comic book TV shows to date: Spider-Man — or, well, the Japanese sentai Spider-Man.
The series follows Takuya Yamashiro, a motorcycle racer. When a UFO crashes on Earth, Takuya's life is changed forever. After following his father (who subsequently dies from investigating the crash), Takuya meets Garia from Planet Spider. Garia injects Takuya with his own blood, which gives Takuya spider-like powers. The show is your typical tokusatsu show, complete with a monster of the day.
He also has a giant robot, because why the fuck not?
The show has no resemblance to the Spider-Man we know, aside from the name and costume. The stunts and action sequences are actually really good, but then again, sentai as a whole has always had good fight scenes. The series isn't bad either, and the show did help shape the future of sentai as we know it. The robot — Leopardon — was the first of its kind in a tokusatsu show. This would lead to the Super Sentai series incorporating giant robots from then on.
Spider-Man only lasted a year, but Marvel had a three-year deal with Toei. The venture thus gave us Battle Fever J, Denshi Sentai Denjiman, and Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan.
You can actually watch the show online, so if you haven't seen it, I implore you to watch it.