New Spider-Man Isn't for Kids

The Spider-Man (search) who swings onto MTV tomorrow may be the most dynamic and violent animated version of the web-slinger yet.

The show, geared not for youngsters but for 20-somethings who watch MTV, is the first time a TV version of Spider-Man has been rendered in computer-generated animation and backed by movie-quality writing.

The animation style gives the show a 3D texture similar to many of today's cutting-edge video games, and, much like the games written for X-Box or Playstation2, MTV's Spider-Man includes animated scenes of violence that have never made it into any of the Spider-Man cartoons that have been produced regularly for TV since the mid 1960s.

In the pilot, airing tomorrow at 10 p.m., a character is beheaded by a magical samurai sword, and Spidey later unintentionally kills his foe - story devices that would never be allowed on Saturday-morning TV.

"It is the best adventure-action animated show I've ever seen - it's magnificent," says comic book legend Stan Lee, who co-created Spider-Man with artist Steve Ditko in 1962.

"This one has received the care, the attention, the love and the expertise it deserves," Lee said. "Those scenes of Spider-Man swinging around the city. It's like watching the movie itself."

"There's very little gunplay and violence compared to most cartoons you would see on Cartoon Network or other places," says MTV executive vice president, series development and animation, John Miller.

"I don't think it's as violent as most cartoons actually," he says. "There is a lot of fighting, but there's not as much gunplay."

Miller says MTV is a natural place for Spider-Man because the network has a long, "rich history" of producing animated shows like Beavis and Butt-head, Liquid Television, Aeon Flux and The Maxx.

Along with the action, MTV's "Spider-Man" also includes more serious acting, writing and character development than most of today's new 'toons.

It stars Neil Patrick Harris (search) (Doogie Howser M.D.) as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and singer Lisa Loeb (search) as his not-so-secret love, Mary Jane Watson.