Growing Up With Spider-Man

During the late 90s, when I was between six and nine years old, I was a giant Spider-Man fan!

I never read any of the comics, I was more into Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck comics when I was little, but I have enjoyed his adventures through other media.

 

I was first introduced to the character through the Norwegian dub of the Fox Kids cartoon.

I used to play with my friends, but instead of Cops & Robbers we’d play as Spider-Man and his villains.

Spider-Man villains are the best in the genre, with only Batman villains coming close, so they were a huge reason for my infatuation with the series.

 

I liked to play as Shocker, due to his cool costume and ability to shoot shock-waves out of his hands. Although I had him confused with Electro for years as a result of his powers being changed from sound based to electrical based in the cartoon for some reason.

 

Later, I fell in love with Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films from 2002 and 2004.

MovieBob’s Really That Good episode about those films thoroughly explains why they are as great as they are.

When I saw Spider-Man 3 in 2007, I was afraid that I had grown out of the franchise, so I was very happy when I later learned that the film was universally despised.

I wonder how many people have thought that they have grown out of something they loved simply because they saw a bad iteration of it.

 

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ film from 2012 and its 2014 sequel did a lot to make me forgive Spider-Man 3.

Spider-Man 3 may have been the worst of the Raimi films, but it was still a film about Spider-Man, not a Sony marketing campaign starring a cool dude dressing up as Spidey on a lark.

 

So after three subpar Spider-movies in a row, it felt amazing to see Peter Parker show up in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ in 2016, fighting alongside Iron Man and the other Avengers, back in the nurturing arms of Marvel Studios.

 And then ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ took that ball and ran with it the very next year, and now ‘Homecoming’ is my second favorite Spider-Man film ever, my favorite being Spider-Man 2.

 

This year, Spider-Man played a pivotal role in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, next year will have sequels to both ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Homecoming’ with ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ being released, and at the moment I am having a great time playing the new PlayStation 4 Spider-Man game.

It really makes me feel like I’m a friendly neighborhood spiderman, as I swing through New York with ease.

 

And today, 14th of December 2018, the new animated film ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is released, and by all accounts I’ve heard so far, it is great.

This is truly a wonderful time to be a Spider-fan!

 

 

I don’t know what it is about Spider-Man that makes me like him so much.

I have a fear of heights (and I don’t much care for speed either), yet I often imagine myself swinging from building to building.

Perhaps, with great imagination comes a loss of anxiety.

 

Advent Calendar TV Shows

In Norway we have a tradition where each year the television channels air shows with a Christmas theme that has a new episode each day between December 1st and December 24th.

December 24th is the main day of celebration in Norway, so a British or US TV calendar would end at the 25th instead. 

 

I think this is a tradition that would be great for other countries to adopt aswell!

But until that happends, here are a few great TV calendars to check out, if you can find any DVD’s with English subtitles.

 

 

Jul i Skomakergata (1979)

Translated as ‘Christmas on Cobbler Street’, this is the second ever Christmas series to be made in Norway.

It may be slow and bare-bones by today’s standards, but it is a classic, and it is almost single-handedly responsible for this tradition.

It is a sweet little story of a friendly neighbourhood cobbler, and it aired for many years before any other show could even contend with it.

 

The Julekalender (1994)

This is a remake of a 1991 Danish calendar by the same name.

There was also a Finish remake in 1997.

It is a comedy about three individuals of a mythological creature from Nordic folklore, known as a nisse.

 

Nisses are commonly said to live around farmland, often in stables, in the mountains or in the woods.

They are similar to gnomes or the Scotish brownie.

Nisses are so prevalent in Norwegian folklore that we even named Santa “Julenissen” when he was introduced to us.

 

The story of the show revolves around three nisses from America who return to Norway.

They speak half English and half Norwegian, making them sound very silly.

 

The best parts of this show are the humorous songs they perform, and the husband and wife living at the farm close-by, who has to play hosts to an annoying vampire-like creature who is hunting the nisses.

The three nisses and the three people at the farm are also played by the same three comedians.

 

Amalies Jul (1995)

Translated as ‘Amalie’s Cristmas’, and made for children, this was my first ever Advent Calendar.

 

This one also revolves around three nisses.

A father, a mother and a daughter, the daughter being the main character.

Each day she has to do a prank or a good deed to a human living on her farm, in preparation to taking a test on Christmas Eve to determine if she can earn her long red stocking cap, a proof of her nisse maturity.

 

Mysteriet på Greveholm (1996)

A Swedish calendar, translated as ‘The Mystery of the Count’s Islet’.

A family moves into an old castle, and have to deal with burglars and ghosts.

 

Sweden has an even bigger culture around TV advent calendars than Norway, having produced a new one every single year since 1960.

 

Jul i Blåfjell (1999)

Translated as ‘Christmas in Blue Mountain’, this is a follow-up of sorts to ‘Amalies Jul’.

Instead of focusing on the traditional red nisses, this show stars a tribe of blue nisses living deep inside a mountain over a small Norwegian town.

The two types of nisse would later meet in the crossover series ‘Jul på Månetoppen’, and there would later be made a film based on the series, with the English title ‘Magic Silver’.

 

Vazelina Hjulkalender (2000)

This is a hokey but fun comedy show made by the Norwegian rockabilly-band Vazelina Bilopphøggers.

The band works at a scrap yard, and has to help Santa when he crash-lands in front of them.

They also have to contend with the rich people at the local hotel, who attempt to have their scrap yard closed down.

 

Olsenbandens Første Kupp (2001)

Also a remake of a Danish predecessor, this is a prequel to a series of comedy films about Olsenbanden, a small group of bank robbers.

The show is set in the 50s, and features child-versions of many of the characters from the films.

 

Nissene på Låven (2001)

‘The Nisses in The Barn’ is a parody of ‘Big Brother’, where several people compete for a money price by trying to not get voted out of the barn until December 24th.

While they are there, they can only wear a Santa costume, only eat Christmas porrige, and they all have to compete in Christmas-related competitions.

 

The same group of comedians would later go on to make another reality-show parody with people dressed as Santa called ‘Nissene Over Skog og Hei’, this time parodying wilderness reality shows.

One of the most popular characters would also get his own talk-show calendar, namely ‘Asbjørns Julekalender’.

 

Jul i Blodfjell (2017)

While the name is a parody of ‘Jul i Blåfjell’ (with “blod” meening “blood”, while “blå” means “blue”), the plot has nothing to do with that show.

This is a comedy horror/murded-mystery show, with a new murder-victim each day/episode.

The characters are all very funny, and the plot is genuinely intriguing.

 

 

I also have a list of fun Christmas films, if that is more your cup of eggnog.

Happy Holidays!