RIP Paul Soles, the Original Voice of Spider-Man

Spider-Man swings towards the camera in the original 1967 animated adaptation of the Marvel character.
The Amazing Spider-Man swings into animated action.
Image: Disney

Peter Parker’s status as one of the most iconic superheroes of the western canon has meant that, as he web-slinged his way out of the comics medium and into alternate formats, many writers, actors, and voice artists have leant their interpretation as to who Spider-Man is. But now, one of the first to do so outside comics has sadly passed away.

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Over the weekend it emerged that Paul Soles, the Canadian voice actor who brought Peter Parker and Spider-Man to life in the iconic 1967 animated series, had passed away at the age of 90. An early hallmark of Canadian Radio and TV at CBC-TV and eventually the master of a career that played out across TV, Film, theater, and radio, Soles is perhaps best remembered as a voice actor.

Beyond his turn as Spider-Man—who he played for three seasons, and reprised once more for the Spider-Woman animated seriesSoles played Hermey the Elf in the classic Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but his Marvel Legacy didn’t end with the webslinger. Soles voiced Rick Jones and the Hulk’s alter-ego Bruce Banner in The Marvel Super Heroes, the actual first TV series to be based on the publisher’s cast of characters, a legacy he would briefly reprise in a cameo role in Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk as pizzeria owner Stanley Lieber, named after Marvel icon Stan Lee.

We may remember Soles’ Spider-Man in alternate ways these days—a memetic legacy that perhaps, in some ways, reconstitutes his Spidey into something far beyond what Soles could’ve imagined of the role as performed all those years ago. But without it, a vital part of Spider-Man’s legacy beyond the page would never have got the start it did.


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James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

DISCUSSION

solongsolongandthanksforallthefish
SoLongSoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish

What an icon; to me he WAS the CBC, like Pierre Berton or Adrienne Clarkson as TV mediums from when Front Page Challenge was considered entertainment. Sometimes Canada is just an embarrassing uncle, but you still love him anyway.

Probably grew overly familiar from watching Wayne & Shuster, but Paul Soles worked nonstop from 1960. Haven’t heard about him in decades, but that’s what happens when you live to 90. He had a Nurses appearance in 2020! Maybe a deathbed corpse or something, but he looked a lot younger than his age in My 90-Year-Old Roommate from a couple years previous.

Neatest thing I learned today was that he played Shylock at Stratford, stepping in for Al Waxman after he died.