So you have a Netflix account and you love comic books. Netflix has built up a pretty respectable amount of comic book movies and animated superhero shows, but it’s not always super easy to answer the all-consuming question: Where do I start?
Here’s the current Netflix Instant streaming list (updated June 29, 2015 – HUGE THANKS TO ANT-FAN in the comments!), along with some tips and pointers on how to handle some of the better animated series soon to be removed from Instant streaming:
When I first created this Netflix guide in the summer of 2013, I spent a good deal of time covering the impending removal of The Incredible Hulk (1996-1997, 2 seasons), X-Men (1992-1996, 5 seasons), & Spider-Man (1994-1998, 5 Seasons) from Netflix Instant.
As you’ll notice, all those shows are now gone, and this highlights an important part of Netflix Instant – Netflix can cycle out entire TV series during your subscription, with minimal warning. I’ve seen this happen recently with the Robert Downey Jr. led Iron Man movies, and that’s far from the first and only instance.
So with that in mind, here are the Netflix comic book movies and tv shows that are currently available for instant streaming, updated for the summer of 2015. Keep an eye on your instant queue for any changes in availability.
Marvel TV Series
Odds & Sods: In the 2008, Edward Norton led Hulk film, Lou Ferrigno makes a cameo as a security guard and Norton sends a letter at the end of the film signed “David Banner,” in homage to this series.
Years: 1981 – 1983
Important Comic Connections: Firestar was originally created for this animated series, primarily due to licensing issues with the Human Torch. She has since appeared in Marvel Comics, at one point as an Avenger. Her official debut is Uncanny X-Men #193, as a member of the Hellions..
Odds & Sods: The series originally aired during NBC’s Saturday morning cartoons, and was lumped together as The Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Spider-Man.
Seasons: 1 (only first season now available)
Important Comic Connections: X-23, the current femme-Wolverine in the Marvel Universe, actually originated in this animated series and was then introduced in the comics.
Odds & Sods: Recasts Tony Stark as a teenager. I know. No, really, I hear you, I know. It’s an interesting What If? though.
Important Comic Connections: Storylines in this series connect heavily to comic events like Civil War & Secret Invasion.
Years: 2012 – 2013
Important Comic Connections: Jeph Loeb (executive producer), Brian Michael Bendis (consulting producer), Paul Dini (consulting producer), many others.
Odds & Sods: Drake Bell, of Drake & Josh fame, is the voice of Ultimate Spider-Man. Stan Lee is a recurring character on the show, playing the custodian of Midtown High.
Ultimate Spider-Man is Marvel’s “we are now owned by Disney!” follow-up to the (spectacular) Spectacular Spider-Man.
It scales quite a bit younger (think Spider-Man inhabiting Spongebob’s world), but there are still a lot of the elements that made Bendis’s Ultimate Spider-Man so thrilling. With of course, lots of liberties – this is a new Spidey-verse, where Harry Osborne becomes a different bad guy, SHIELD has Spidey as an agent, he goes to school with Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Nova, and White Tiger… it’s not your Ditko’s spidey.
Seasons: 2 (thus far)
Based in the MCU, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents such as Phil Coulson (Yes he’s alive) and Melinda May take on various cases, it’s pretty interesting that the series follows the effects of the MCU itself (See: Captain America:Winter Solider) If you can get through the first season, you’re in for a treat.
Seasons: 1 (2 seasons in actuality)
Following the events of 2012’s Avengers, this cartoon is stuffed with more avengers, like Falcon, and Ant-Man. It also sorta-kinda follows the happenings of the MCU.
Seasons: 1 (Season 2 available July 28th)
Not one, not two, not three, not four, but five, five hulks. I’m not sure what threat out there needs five Hulks to stop them, but hey, who knows.
The first Netflix exclusive Marvel series is a must watch. It’s dark, epic, and gruesome all at the same time. It’s only a matter of time before Netflix takes over the world.
Also, Netflix is currently making Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist TV series’ as well. They will also develop The Defenders spin-off. (See:above, TAKING OVER THE WORLD!)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
This show used to be on Cartoon Network a long, long time ago (See what I did there?) It got revived for its sixth season on Netflix, and it’s not bad.
Type: Motion Comic
A slightly modified take on motion comics. Honestly it’s one of the best renderings of Loki out there, much more faithful to what makes the character so compelling than The Avengers film.
Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United
Type: Animated Legoes (see also: the coolest)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (not to be confused with the series)
DC TV Shows
Years: 2001 – 2005
Important Comic Connections:Justice League Unlimited marks the conclusion to the DC Animated Universe, a generally connected set of continuity started by Bruce Timm & Paul Dini with 1992’s Batman: The Animated Series.
Odds & Sods: Batman is left-handed in this series.
I LOVE this CW series, and season 2 is now on Netflix, with season 3 finished up on TV, it should head to Netflix sometime this fall.
and can’t wait for season 2 to find its way onto Netflix. In my opinion, it’s the best live action comic book TV show we’ve ever had. Yes, there’s some CW romance you may find cheesy, but there’s also a ton of easter eggs for fans of DC’s Oliver Queen.
Type: Live Action