First, I think I should apologize for the title of this post. Honestly though, can you blame me? We are talking about an episode of an old Spidey cartoon featuring Swarm.
This character didn’t always appear the way he, or possibly it, did in the cartoon. The comic book version of Swarm is quite a bit different. The cartoon and comic book versions are both a group of sentient bees. That is pretty much where the similarities end.
The comic book origin begins where most villainous origins from the 1970’s do . . . with Nazis. Fritz von Meyer, who would later become Swarm, was one of Adolf Hitler’s top scientists. He escaped capture after World War II by going to South America. While in South America, he began working with a mutated bee colony. What else would you expect an ex-Nazi scientist to do?
Fritz was trying to take over the mutated hive by trying to enslave the bee’s queen. This plan didn’t go well, and the bees ended up being just a little more than upset with him. The bees attacked Fritz by totally devouring him and just leaving his skeleton behind.
Fritz von Meyer’s story doesn’t end there though. Because the bees were mutated, they somehow absorbed his consciousness. Fritz and the mutant bees, arguably a cooler band name than Fitz and the Tantrums, were merged into one being called Swarm. As far as character design goes, Swarm is pretty cool looking. A dude in a purple cloak with white gloves composed of bees.
Pretty crazy stuff! You can read it yourself in a comic featuring one the most unique teams in Marvel Comics . . . the Champions. The team roster originally included Angel, Black Widow, Ghost Rider, Hercules, and Iceman. The first appearance of Swarm can be found in Champions 14 (1977).
How does that differ from the cartoon? First off, the protagonists are different. The only hero that is featured in both is Iceman. In season 1 episode 5 of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, titled “Swarm,” it’s our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, along with his trusty allies Firestar and Iceman, that face off against the formidable foe – Swarm.
Unlike the comic, Nazis have nothing to do with the origin of Swarm. The cartoon explains it rather succinctly as being a meteor colliding into a bee nest. A pretty simple equation . . . Space rock + Bees = Swarm. Of course, the bees become self-aware, and they begin causing havoc by mesmerizing people by turning them into bee/human hybrids. This is actually kind of horrifying. Just take a look at the screenshot below.
Also, the way Swarm is depicted is a bit different. They lose the cloak and gloves but keep the most important ingredient. . . a ton of bees. One more notable addition, he also has eye lasers for some reason. You can check this dude out below.
Differences aside, the cartoon is still fun and fast-paced. Spidey, Firestar, and Iceman need to unravel the mystery behind the swarm of bees and try to figure out how to cure everyone. Luckily, they are able to resolve everything in roughly 30 minutes.